October 2019 newsletter
“As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.” (Luke 5:16, MSG)
Jesus often withdrew from the crowds to spend time with God. During seasons of difficulty, after performing miracles, when immersed in crowds, or before making important decisions, Jesus got away to spend time with the Creator. There is something special about getting away from the places you frequently habit and your daily routines. We often forget to look for God when we are immersed in our daily routines, driving and going to the same places, and we miss out on the way God might be speaking. Jesus typically went to the mountain to pray, but maybe you are more of a beach person like I am? Where do you withdraw to experience God’s presence?
You don’t need to travel far from home to withdraw to an “out-of-the-way place” to rediscover God’s presence. As new residents to the city we have been enjoying getting away from our daily routines and checking out those special spots throughout Bethlehem – Monocacy Park, the Lehigh River access points, even the Bethlehem Library. Please share your favorite spot we need to visit! Sometimes you don’t even need to leave the comforts of your home to experience God’s presence but changing the room you pray in can make the difference.
This month I am really looking forward to our annual Epworth Youth Group retreat up at Pocono Plateau because there is something really special about getting away to spend time with God. This year we even opened up the invitation to the young adults within our community. Retreats in particular are meaningful not only for your own personal relationship with God but for our connections within our faith community. Sometimes Jesus even went to the mountains with his disciples! (Read Luke 9:28 to see what happened)
As our youth, young adults, and leaders head to the mountains this month to pray, I hope you keep us all in prayer as we “withdraw to an out-of-the-way place” to reconnect with God and one another. If you have the opportunity, look for ways you can withdraw amidst your daily routines to spend time with the Creator. Take your family to a park you’ve never been to before and explore signs of the new season. Enjoy your morning coffee at a different coffee shop and offer smiles and greetings to people around you. Spend some quiet time outdoors with the Creator and marvel at creation. Sit in your favorite armchair and listen to the way God can speak through a new song on the radio. Maybe you, like the youth, might want to go away to withdraw for a time of retreat?
Let us strive to be like Jesus and as often as possible “withdraw to out-of-the-way places for prayer” because you just never know what God might say to you!