It was a great honor and privilege to speak as this was my first retreat engagement as the main speaker. Most of the time, I split the sessions with my wife, Steph or others. Since I had to design the theme of the retreat, I prayed and thought about what was most important to teach college students and something ambitious came to mind, the entire Bible.
Many of our families do not have exposure to the Biblical storyline which I called “The Epic Story.” So, I got to take the opportunity to try to preach through the whole Bible in three talks. What I didn’t realize was that the Holy Spirit was compelling me to share a very personal story about our son, Joel as a part of my evening sermon.
One of the main themes throughout the Old Testament is “Hesed” or “pursuing love” of God. At a previous prayer meeting, a teammate played a song that was very dear to me, Your Love is Strong by Jon Foreman. That song was a great comfort during the first 10 days of Joel’s life when he was in the hospital for an extremely severe case of jaundice. The ordeal taught me a great deal about God’s love that pursues us through out Scripture as a main theme, and relates very well to how I felt towards Joel (at least in part). I asked the worship team for the Fall Retreat if they knew that song, and they were already planning on playing it.
After sharing this story, I felt very vulnerable because of being in front of that many people. Nevertheless, call it emotion or conviction from God, I felt a desire to invite many who felt dry with God to repent and turn back to him. Second, I invited those who didn’t know God to begin a relationship with him. Five students responded to the invitation to become a Christian and I later found out two more students made decisions for Christ subsequently!!!
I’m grateful for the opportunity, and to be reminded that the Bible is still relevant and life-transforming. Not only that but being vulnerable in front of people definitely has a place in sharing the character of God. I think it makes the Gospel really real for any congregation. It certainly was for me.
Tony Wee, Epic Movement DC staff