Christian Renaissance Retreat

“Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, ‘Let us rise up and build.’ So, they strengthened their hands for the good work.” Neh. 2:18

On June 2nd – June 3rd, 2023, Christian Uprise Thru Edification (C.U.T.E), Discipleship Ministry, Inc. hosted a Spiritual Renaissance Retreat, at the Honor’s Haven Retreat & Conference Center, in Ellenville, NY. Our theme was: “Making the Impossible Possible with Christ. We were blessed by the venue and the presentation of the facilitators and preachers.

This idea was spirt-led after re-reading, “The Nehemiah Plan,” written by Dr. Frank M. Reid III. The book rekindled my passion to rebuild the walls in our individual lives, families and community. He emphasizes how we, as a people have fallen asleep on our socio-economical fight that we are still facing today. The book demonstrates the plan of God, through Nehemiah, to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the people who had returned from captivity. I immediately was compelled to call to the attention of our Ministry, how we needed to begin focusing on our need and ability to rebuild the walls. Nehemiah was responding to the news that the remnant that was left, from captivity, were in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire (Neh. 1:3, NKJV). The correlation of what was happening then, to what we are facing today was paramount to me. It provoked me into action. How can we begin to rebuild the walls, which are symbolic to ourselves, our marriages, families and the community.

Therefore, I was led to challenge our Ministry to study the book of Nehemiah and to study the book, “The Nehemiah Plan.” Moreover, the retreat was created to rededicate the mission of our Ministry for this season. Bible studies were held, focusing on how God used Nehemiah to restore the temple, the city, and the people. He sought God, gathered his resources, and returned to his homeland with passion and purpose! God is calling for us to follow the same plan demonstrated in Nehemiah. We have to be willing to go beyond the church walls, the traditional church experience, to revitalizing the people of God to witness, strengthen, and encourage the lost.

Our retreat opened with a workshop on “The Levels of Relationship,” which was facilitated by Nicole Azaan, VIP Coaching. Coach Nicole imparted the different levels of relationships as our mind, (don’t be doubleminded); our emotions (be aware of your emotions, but don’t go crazy); our energy/strength (you can not control the energy of others, only yours); our body (get some rest, go to bed); your heart (God is looking for a heart response, your heart matters)! There is a difference between a demonic burden vs. a divine burden. God will give you revelation through your relationship with Him. Stop hiding behind your church-work and do the soul-work. We need to face our emotions, and overcome them by the word of the Lord.

That evening, Apostle Dr. Patricia A. Wiley, pastor of Oil of Joy Ministries II, Brooklyn, NY, blessed us with her message, “Consider It Done!’ She encourages to make a sound before God, for Him to respond to our call. She declared, “Greater Now!” versus greater is coming. She ministered and prophesied to us to walk in our God-ordained ability. She also charged us to repent from our old ways, thoughts, and action; because God is restoring the dry bones.

Whew, we were electrified with the moving of the Holy Spirit. Many were delivered from the burden of their past and their pain. One of our members came to my room that morning and said, “I have been changed! I am not going home the same way I came.” Another, was encouraged to rise up and walk. One of the prophetesses in the room, took her by the hand and began to lead her out of despair.
The next morning, we heard from Shantel A. Williams, owner of The Firm, ALP, Orlando, Fl. Shantel is known as the Sassy Accountant. She shared her expertise in financial planning, budgeting, and tax preparation. Her information was priceless to the group and most were intrigued by her financial insight. She was instrumental in helping us see the light of day financially, and gave us something to look forward to in our investments and planning.

After lunch, the next workshop was called, “Recovery and Restoration,” which was facilitated by yours truly. I opened with a clip from the movie, “Collateral Beauty.” Will Smith, the actor, begins talking to his staff about the three abstracts that impact all of our lives. The three abstracts are: time, love, and death. I used this medium because all of us are wishing for more time (or grieving lost time), longing for love (or have been loved abused), and we all fear death! These three abstracts have caused us to face difficult challenges and changes in our lives. Life causes change, and change causes loss. We discussed the idea that all grief is not relegated to death, and so may have not grieved some of our emotional upsets. Instead, we shut down, rather than allowing ourselves to be restored! The symptom is: we have lost our song; not our salvation, but our song. The biblical interpretation of this is David’s cry for God, “To restore unto me the joy of my salvation (Psalms 51:10). We have to repent as David did, and ask God to restore our joy. We need joy and gladness to show up in order to restore our joy! Joy unlocks our purpose and allows us to experience the fruit of God’s spirit. Dr. Reid tells us that we must repent to reach the strength we need to rebuild. We need to gather our resources in God’s word, prayer, the power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit will give us the power to stand and resist the devil. We can no longer be, just Sunday entertainers. Once we are restored, there will be a revival and we can rebuild the walls.

Finally, Pastor Bryan Greaves, Christ Central Church, Amityville, NY, preached us crazy! His subject was, “What’s Your Plan?” Matt. 7:19: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” His posture was, after everything that you’ve heard, what are you going to do! In order for us to bear fruit, we must stay connected to the water. We are to be like the tree planted by the rivers of water. Otherwise, we will not bear good fruit and we will be cast into the fire! Our hands have been strengthened and we are ready to do the work!

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