submitted by Steve  Hatfield

CCM Winter Retreat Summary

After trying to get him several times previously, we were blessed to have Jimmy Munson, lead pastor at the Chattanooga congregation, as our guest minister for the CCM Winter Retreat at Saints Grove Campground, Feb. 16-18. The theme for the retreat was “Seek First the Kingdom of God.” Jimmy was accompanied by two others from his congregation, Kenny Alcom and James Rice, who also shared their testimonies during the weekend.

Jimmy gave us several practical helps for seeking the Kingdom first in our lives, especially in the words of the Chattanooga Saints, “Faith made me do it.” He encouraged us to be guilty of living for Jesus because “faith made us do it.” We need to get our hands dirty for the Lord, but any success we might have is God's not ours. We should risk beyond what's comfortable, to be in “trouble for God.”

He showed us a prayer reminder using our hand – the thumb is to pray for someone close to us, the index finger (pointer) for someone far away, middle finger (strongest) for leaders, ring finger (weakest) for someone who is weak and the pinkie for someone who is smaller than we are. He reminded us that each person has at least one gift; ours may be like the triangle player in the orchestra and his “ting” at just the right time is important to the music. He also told us about the 11th commandment when Jesus said He had a new commandment – to love on another as He loved His disciples.

He shared about the '17 second miracles' that happen every day, if we are alert for them; simple acts of kindness we can do that will make a difference in people's lives. We should also have a 30 second testimony ready to share because often that's all the time we have. He reminded us that Jesus offered righteousness versus 'rightness,' and so should we. Jesus hung out with “sinners” who didn't do the “right” things according to the religious leaders. If it's easy for us to follow Jesus, we're probably stuck in the mud and don't know it, and we need to do something different. Jesus makes us winners. And in our churches, we should be welcoming, just as Jimmy expressed his thanks for our group making him, Kenny and James feel welcome during the weekend. Find the goodness in people, tell them they are priceless and that God is madly in love with them.

In closing, Jimmy said it's not about us, victory is in the invitation and if we want peace, we have to work for real justice. We were truly blessed. Yo buddy!