Awaken: Winter Youth Retreat

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AWAKEN - this was the theme of this year's Winter Youth Retreat for Metro's middle school and high school students. Inspired by Ezekial 37, the question posed over the weekend was “can these dry bones live?”

Despite the extent of planning, prayer and fasting that our adult volunteers and student leaders did ahead of the retreat, we had to have faith that the Holy Spirit had more in store for our youth than even an ounce of our preparation could allow. And while the reasons and expectations for attending the retreat were as wide-ranging and varied as our youth itself, there was no way we could image the extent to which God showed up!

Can you say, “REAL TALK?” Our guest speaker, Josh Olivero certainly could, and real talk is exactly what he brought during this weekend. He brought real talk preaching from Ezekiel 37 in a relevant way that was not only captivating but enlightening and empowering. He brought real talk teaching from the Word in a way that it was not only indisputable but fully acceptable. He did not hold back. Pastor Josh spoke truth in love as we saw an awakening, a life come to the “bones” of our youth as faithful servants, prophesying into their hearts, minds, souls with real talk.

Of course, a retreat wouldn't be a retreat unless there was a lof fun mixed in. Whether it was playing foosball or ping-ping, shooting hoops, playing silly group games, planning and performing skits, snacking on junk food, or just staying up all night - it was all evidence of the life-giving, frenzied enjoyment that our youth experienced during the weekend.

The retreat culminated in a time of prayer after Josh's final message. He asked the youth to scatter on the floor and instructed the adult volunteers to go around and pray for the youth as they were led. It was a spirit-filled time of intercession when our volunteers were gifted with the opportunity to directly pray for the youth as the Holy Spirit filled the room and moved in an incredible way. Shortly after, the youth were also invited to pray for their friends and fellow peers as God led. As they prayed for each other - the high school kids praying for the middle school kids, and the teachers praying with all of our youth - you saw an inkling of the army of God spoken about in Ezekial 37:10.

Whether it was in the overheard conversations, the discussions in small groups, the laughs had during games, the random acts of kindness displayed, the newly formed friendships, the love shown from elder to younger “siblings,” the inquisitive and/or heartfelt questions asked, the prayers prayed for one another, the worship given to our Lord of Lords, when the question is asked, “can these dry bones live?” the resounding answer is, “YES, LORD! In YOU they can!”

Submitted by Dan Kim



Ezekiel 37 - The Valley Of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “ Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. 11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”