Having Thus Retreated...


Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / July 24, 2016

Before we begin our sermon this morning, I want to ask those involved in last week’s Camp 2:52 to write down

one word (put it in the sermon notes box) that you think rightly describes our 2016 summer youth retreat.

(Take a tally of the one-word answers).

There is something about retreating that helps us move forward.

The noun “retreat” is often defined in the following ways:

a quiet, private, or secure place … a period of seclusion, retirement, or solitude.

I have to tell you that our summer youth retreat is not a retreat in the purest sense of the word.

More often than not it’s neither quiet nor private and it is seldom a place of seclusion, retirement or solitude.

But this word “retreat” is also used to describe a very helpful and sometimes necessary military maneuver.

On the battlefield the call to retreat often signals a temporary withdrawal from the fray in order to fight another day.

A retreat is not a surrender!  Troops are pulled back to catch their collective breath and refocus for another charge.

In a spiritual sense, this latter definition best describes our summer youth retreat.

Over the last forty years, I have heard adults look back on their days at camp and describe it with the word REFUGE.

I hope that camp will always be thought of in this way - - it is a place of refuge and security.

Luke’s gospel (Lk.5:16) tells us that “(Jesus) would often slip away to the wilderness to pray.”

As hard as it may be to accept “retreats” are only temporary - - they are not designed to last forever.

The purpose of a retreat is to pull back for a little while to rethink how we’re going to move forward on a daily basis.

The word of God calls for us to be IN THE WORLD, but NOT OF THE WORLD (cf. Jn.17:13-21). 

Jesus prayed to God - - “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.” (Jn.17:15).

The theme for this year’s retreat was, BRAVE.

The goal of our retreat was not to encourage us to think about withdrawing from the world, but rather

to help us prayerfully contemplate how we might bravely move forward as we face our day to day struggles.

I want to speak about this more during the month of August.  At this juncture I intend to ramble a bit

about this past week’s retreat.  I’ll try to stick to my notes somewhat so as to not ramble too long.

YOUNG ONES - - One of the highlights of our camp for the last few years has been a number of younger ones.

This is a blessing because young ones are so moldable.  It also bodes well for the future of our camp.

We have experienced a lull in the number of older teens we have in our congregational pool.

At our peek, our camp had 119 campers.  That was drawing from a time when the Parkman Road church was averaging around 250 on a Sunday morning and The Church in the Falls was averaging over 300.  It was also a time when about 10-15 campers were coming from the churches in Ashtabula and Conneaut.  Currently, our pool is smaller.  This year we had no campers from

Ashtabula or Conneaut and only four from Erie.  Most of our campers currently come from two churches.

Brilea Woods came to camp last year as a first-grader and was outstanding.  This year she was a veteran second-grader.

She may end up getting a big sister award when she is in the fifth grade!

COOKS - - All of our cooks deserve a big salute.  Deb Rossi came to camp for a few days but had to return home. 

She has logged close to forty years as a cook and for some strangely spiritual reason she continues to love it.

Michelle Maas continues to excel.  You have to help load groceries at her home to fully appreciate all that she does.

Randy Maas and Shawn Wood are a dynamic duo.  Randy arrived every afternoon - - he often came with additional

groceries (paid for out of his own pocket).  Randy could be a chef is he so chose.  He made some delicious lasagna & garlic bread.

Shawn Wood received this year’s “above and beyond” award.  While everyone was attending the awards ceremony Shawn was

mopping the entire Woods’ Edge lodge.  He even made the cooks biscuits & gravy and fried apples.

I’m not sure what supplements Shawn is on, but I wish he share them with me.

Margi Paukovich camp to came (with asthma).  In all my years, I’ve never known a cook to donate $500.

GENEROSITY - - We started this year’s retreat with a balance on hand of about $1,600.

We were hoping for 60+ campers, but we fell short (the difference between 50 campers and 60 is $1,500).

Over forty years of camp we have never ended in the red.  Our elders assured me that we would have the extra funds if needed.

On the day before camp Kris & Charleigh Wildman donated $100 and Mark Glasgow gave $100.  Yet we needed still more.

Last Sunday I appealed to our congregation to help a little more - - by the end of the day we had received an extra $1,300.

And then later in the week $200 more was given.  Years ago I read a book by Arthur Gordon titled, A Touch Of Wonder

He spoke about how there is “wonder” in everything around us.  I think of this often when it comes to camp.

Over the last 40 years the three churches I have worked with have overseen the investment of well over ½ million $s in this retreat.

A few cynics may argue that we could have spent this sum more wisely, but I would dare to differ.

There is nothing in the ministry of the church more important that investing in our youth!

COUNSELORS - - What a nucleus of strength and commitment we bring to this table year after year.

We now have 34 men and women who are members of the 10-year whistle club.

I can’t tell you how comforting it has been over the years to have a veteran staff like Mark & J Lombardi and Ron & Pam Wildman.

And David & Lara Brazle and Mark & Jill Brazle.  And Fred Chester…Sandy Brown…Stephen Flask…Kelly Hobbs…Cory Sheldon… Memphis Bailey…Tom Corp…Maggie Villers and many others.  I have been praying for others to fill the shoes of the likes of Keith & Linda Chopic, Vic Rossi, Burdette Stewart and Doug Holestine (who combined served about 100 years or more) and God has sent us Rob Espinosa. Other young couples like Nic & Haley Wildman and Kris & Charleigh Wildman are determined to see our camp go one for years to come.  Likewise for Kacey Paukovich, who has served as a counselor for several years now.  She just taken a new job.

She actually now resides in Pittsburgh.  As a counselor, fresh out of college, she sacrificially gave $300 to help out this year.

This year Raina Maas was named the rookie counselor of the year - - she’s got nine years to go to get her whistle.

CAMPERS - - This is the heart of our camp and it continues to look very bright.

This year’s campers-of-the-year were Gabby Chester and Logan PitneyAlli Patouhas was named most improved. 

Josh Espinosa & Pamela Dedes were named students-of-the-Word. Evelina Frasca & Dylan Wood were named, big sister/ brother.

I have invited Logan Pitney and Josh Espinosa to share in preaching to us on one Sunday coming soon.

Gabby brought a friend with her to camp this year, Maria Nicopolis.  Like Gabby, she too is a very sweet young lady.

She’s been to church a few times.  I asked her on Friday where she went to church and she said, CORTLAND.

As I mentioned earlier, we have lots of younger campers coming up in the ranks and this is truly exciting.

HELPERS - - Shan & Trudy Wood helped us get supplies to camp.  This year Shan was a “bleeding” servant.

Every year for several years now Bob Villers has made arrangements with the Air Base to borrow cots.

And Tom & Roseann Kennedy pick up the cots and deliver them to camp - - some to Elliott lodge and some to Shep Lodge.

This year Mark Glasgow and his friend Dan delivered our hay wagon loaded with additional gear.

So many others help behind the scenes and your contributions do not go unappreciated.

Tell the story about returning the bales of straw.

Fred - - this is what happens when you aren’t able to be at camp for the whole week.

THE LOVE OF THE LORD - - The main thing that makes our camp so very special is the love of the Lord.

Jesus said (Jn.13:35) - - By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Love is the golden chain that binds us together and gives us the aroma of Christ.

The apostle Paul tells us how we ought to clothe ourselves (Col.3:12ff) - -

And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion,

kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another,

Whoever has a complaint against one anyone;  just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

And beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with

psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you

do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Tell of Ranger Chad & Robin Holmes (and Tagd).

Having thus retreated, let us bravely move forward for the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ!

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