Archive for October, 2010

The year was 2003. I was in highschool at the time, and a friend and I had driven to the south side of the city to attend a student-led prayer event at one of the schools there.

This fellow asks me how he can pray for me, and I tell him, “Just pray that I will remain strong and continue to faithfully serve the Lord.”

Then I asked him, how can I pray for you?

And he said, quite smuggly…”You don’t need to pray for me…*I’m* not struggling with *my* faith.”

?????????

We were in a hurry because we had to get back to our own school before classes started that morning, but I’ve always wondered…should I have just smacked him?

So you’ve planned a retreat for your church group.  Now you need some new Christian retreat ideas.  You can make your event a more enriching experience if you pay attention to the details and add some creativity.  

If you have not yet defined a purpose for your retreat, this is the first thing you should do.  Once you have defined the purpose of your event, you will want to pick a theme.  Themes can center on a passage of scripture (i.e.: 1Corinthians 13).  Some people choose a theme based on a subject (i.e.: faithfulness, joy, or intimacy).  Still other event planners go with fun themes like country western or medieval times.   There are many Christian retreat ideas that can be a catalyst to your theme.

A great suggestion is to recruit a group of volunteers to help in planning and executing the event.  Initiate several brainstorming sessions during your planning meetings with these volunteers.  Many creative Christian retreat ideas will originate from these brainstorming sessions.  

The most obvious ways to incorporate your theme into your retreat are in the food, the music, the speaker’s sessions, and the activities.  Other Christian retreat ideas are unique, ranging from the idea of hanging posters on the walls of the dorm rooms, to playing games that teach the theme through interaction.

Don’t forget to consider the comfort of your retreat attendees.  Give them a preparation list so that they can pack to accommodate the weather, the setting, and the activities.  Also include in the list additional items that may come in handy when they are at the retreat, such as a journal, flashlight, and insect repellant.  These Christian retreat ideas make the difference between a good experience and a poor experience.

Another one of many favorite Christian retreat ideas is to gift each guest, upon arrival, with a small tote bag filled with items such as a water bottle, a package of crackers, a name tag, a highlighter, and best of all…earplugs.  (A good night’s sleep is imperative to a great retreat experience!)  You may also choose to leave a mint on the pillow of each attendee.  These small yet thoughtful gifts will make your guests feel comfortable and welcome.  Paying attention to these small details will be well worth your time and effort and ensure a memorable retreat experience for all.

Mark Dubler is the Executive Director of Otyokwah Camp & Retreat Center and a Christian Retreat Ideas expert. Check out our great discounts for first-time groups at Camp Otyokwah.

Mark Dubler has been a leader, host, and participant in camps and retreats for the last twenty years.

How to organize a Christian women’s retreat is a topic of interest for churches, women-groups, and faith based ministries. Church-hosted retreats for women are filled with fellowship and fun. The retreats can take on a number of different purposes, including showing appreciation for ladies who serve in the Church; revitalizing those who hold leadership positions; providing a time of prayer, reflection, and companionship for women within the Church; and much more.

Planning such an event requires a couple of steps that the organizer needs to be aware of. To begin, a theme of the retreat needs to be chosen. For example, perhaps the retreat can be a spiritual getaway specifically for new moms who are also members of the Church. After the theme is chosen, the organizer needs to speak with the Church’s pastor about a date and time for the event, and invites need to be sent out for the retreat.

After invitations for the retreat are sent out, information and materials will need to be gathered for the event. Religious bookstores, online religious shops, and Church bookstores are excellent places to look for such items. If it is decided that a video or DVD is going to be played as a part of the retreat, then the organizer must make sure that the event location has a player to accommodate this.

Next, the organizer needs to make up a retreat schedule that leaves space for quiet time, group sharing, teaching, and good old fun. With this said, the retreat location should either be quiet and lovely or just a spot that specializes in holding retreats. Such an environment relaxes one’s mind and soul. Retreats are typically held in a hotel, cabin, tent on a camping ground, or private home. The cost of renting the facility, meals, materials, etc. Should be split among the group.

After a schedule is made up and a location is booked, the organizer needs to make a list of the fun things in the area. Retreats should definitely include some time for fun. For instance, perhaps the ladies could go out to eat together or attend a museum.

The organizer of the retreat also needs to ask each of the ladies to bring parts of the meals that will be needed for the event if food will not be provided by the lodging facility. Furthermore, the person putting together the event needs to remind the women of all that they should bring to the retreat, including toiletries, a Bible, paper, pen, etc.

Last but not least, the organizer should think of an exercise that breaks the ice for everyone attending the retreat. Perhaps the ladies can sit in a circle and introduce themselves. After this, they can each mention what brought them to the event. In addition, she should perhaps make up little gift bags to give as thank yous to the ladies attending the event. Also, lots of pictures should be taken at the retreat to commemorate it and capture different memories.

In conclusion, there are a lot of steps involved with planning a Christian retreat for women. These include choosing a theme for the event, gathering retreat materials, sending out invitations, making up a retreat schedule that includes time for fun, asking ladies to share in bringing meals, and creating an ice breaking exercise for those attending the retreat. Furthermore, little favors provide a nice way to say thank you to the women attending the event, and lots of pictures should be taken to commemorate the retreat.

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Please note this does NOT come from me. This person writes about how biblical prophecies are said to help prove the Bible:

The Bible may not predict a specific year, but it does predict a number of years to when an event will occur.

The destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, the birth and death of Jesus. The rise and fall of major kingdoms and powers since Babylon. The beginning of the preadvent judgment.
Where is much to find for the willing and God respecting student. In short a number of events in the bible can be traced to a particular year.

A number of these events and times can be confirmed by other historical writings.
Why does the Bible have to mention a specific year, in order for a prediction/prophecy to come to pass and be right? You are judging it based upon your standards. If the Bible says that in later times, there will be a cashless society and this comes to pass, than the Bible has made a truthful claim. God doesn’t stoop down to man’s levels and starts putting dates on things (i.e. on December 21, 2012, the end will come). Besides, the whole calender system has changed over the years and God is not a God who revolves around man’s times.

However, the Bible has mentioned that in later times, there will be a cashless society and its practically at the door step. Revelation 13:16-17, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

The technology to make this mark exists today!
Okay, that’s the end of his argument.

What is your response?

Thank you for your answers.

Christian women’s retreats come in all sizes and shapes. Some are exciting with music, speakers, dance, pageantry, and games.  Still others are quiet, intimate, or very personal.  There is a myriad from which to choose.  You alone are the one who can best determine what suits your spiritual needs.  It is well worthwhile to invest a little time and effort in researching the Christian women’s retreat offerings.

First of all, determine what your needs are, and what you’d like to gain from attending a retreat.  Are you in need of inner peace? Or do you long for deep interpersonal connection with other ladies? Perhaps you are hoping to get some guidance for a particular issue in your life.  Knowing what you are searching for is of utmost importance when choosing a Christian women’s retreat.

Once you have identified your personal desires, you will want to research the many venues that are available in your area.  Consider doing an internet search for “Christian women’s retreats.”  You can also contact local churches for information on upcoming events.  Investigate the many nonprofit organizations that focus on women’s issues.  Often, they sponsor annual retreats which feature highly esteemed female leaders.  

For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you may want to consider traveling across the country or even, across the globe to find a Christian women’s retreat that is world-renown.  Of course, time and money can be possible factors that will determine if this is a plausible option for you.  However, it can be life-changing and one of the best experiences you will ever have.

“A friend in need is a friend in deed.”  If you are experiencing particularly difficult inner turmoil, you may want to consider inviting a friend to attend the Christian women’s retreat with you.  Sometimes a friend can bring vision and hope to you as you process through the issues that arise at the retreat.  If you have a small circle of close friends, it can be very rewarding to experience a retreat together.

Mark Dubler is the Executive Director of Otyokwah Camp & Retreat Center and a Christian Women’s Retreats expert. Check out our great discounts for first-time groups at Camp Otyokwah.

Mark Dubler has been a leader, host, and participant in camps and retreats for the last twenty years.

Money in the Bank and Christian?

Well Wrestlemania 25 is over, the dust has settled and all the results are on the table. Primo and Carlito Colon are the new Undisputed Tag Team Champions (Much to my pleasure ^_^ ) Matt Hardy soundly defeated Jeff Hardy in an Extreme Rules Match that leaves many a brow raised as to the real ‘extreme’ factor. Chris Jericho defeated the Legends after a stellar performance from Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, where the latter proved exactly why he’s Hall of Fame material. “Santina” Marella walked out crowned the first “Miss Wrestlemania” John Cena & Triple H drew much ire from the IWC by winning/retaining their titles. And as I predicted, Undertaker & Shawn Michaels delivered a match for the ages, where the former proved exactly why the Deadman is to be feared at Wrestlemania.

I meant to ask this question earlier, but given the occurrences of the Money in the Bank Match and the resulted it yielded from the IWC, it seems perfectly fitting to ask it now. I’m well aware that there seems to be a wave of resentment going through the boards at CM Punk winning the coveted Briefcase, thus guaranteeing him a title shot against any champion at any time. I for one and fine with CM Punk being the winner of the match, after all, last year he was made to look like an utter joke who got lucky in 1 match. Not to mention his World Title reign was atrocious. Now Punk gets a second opportunity to do things over and show that he is indeed a top notch wrestler who deserves to be in the World Title bracket.

But this is not the case with many people, and hasn’t been for the last couple months. I’ve seen many rumors go by ever since Christian’s return. Before which MVP was the strong favorite to win the Royal Rumble or the Money in the Bank match as a reward for his 5+ month losing streak. I think most of us can agree that after a losing streak that long, winning the US title hardly constitutes any sort of “reward” especially when the value of the belt is less then then the materials it’s crafted from. Truthfully MVP was my pick to win the match.

Yet back to the rumor, once Christian set foot in the WWE, MVP and all other worthy winners were soundly shoved into the corner as the IWC made Christian their “Champion”. According to mass belief/rumors in the IWC, Christian was supposed to win the match, then cash in the briefcase later that night to take advantage of Edge and win the title, thus sparking a feud between the two. Thus when this “plan” failed, there was an uproar. Not because CM Punk won the match, but because Christian did not. MVP, Kane, Shelton Benjamin, any of them could of won and it would of produced the same response. I know that for a fact, because today I looked at a question about the MITB match and 99% of the answers were about how Christian was supposed to win.

So my question to you, the IWC, is why Christian? I’m sure most of you are more then aware of his successful run in TNA, he is a former World Champion and a multiple time Tag Team Champion. His abilities allow him to Main Event (to those who know him) and he could be a top star in any promotion he works in. Most of that info you would know by watching TNA. However in the WWE Christian was a Mid-Card wrestler, which is fine by all accounts. Christian for one reason or another left the WWE to go to TNA.

Since coming back, Christian was placed on ECW, a move that makes alot of sense business-wise since the show needed star-power. During which time he began a feud with Jack Swagger, which resulted in the two putting on a great match though Christian unfortunately came up a little short.

Since then he has not done much, not that he’s been given the chance to since the Money in the Bank hype has taken up all his time. But there enlies the ‘meat’ of my ‘evidence’ against Christian. I like him, I really do, but with everything he’s done since his return there is no justification for him winning a match as big as the Money In the Bank. He’s been back and has only been in for one feud, and truthfully he’s only been back for a couple of months. Any other participant in the Money in the Bank match from Kane to Kofi to Henry, Shelton, Punk, MVP and Finlay have more right and stake to that win then Christian. Really, Christian is at the bottom of the ladder. This is all aside from the fact he left the WWE to join a rival promotion and comes back, and people expect him to get VIP status in a couple of months? I think the WWE made that mistake one time before with Brock Lesnar.

In short, out of curiosity, those who wanted Christian to win, why? What has Christian done that the other 7 participants have not done to earn that win? I’m not very interested in: “I like Christian because he’s cool” or “Well he’s popular” or “he was a world champion in TNA” sort of answers, because none of those are very substantial. When you look at everything that he’s done story wise since returning and ring-wise, why would Christian deserve it above anyo
Anyone else*

I’m not too interested in answers such as, “well he’s cool” “he was a world Champion in TNA” or “I like Christian” since they aren’t very substantial.

As always let’s avoid the negative remarks, thumbs-down to opinionated comments, and Best Answer will be given to the one who best supports his/her answer.
Don’t forget to star the question

Do christians consider their schools more important than their churches? The one my daughter went to always had volunteers for programs and events but the church is nearly non existant in terms of growth, volunteering and activities. All the school staff came from the congregation and they worked in the school their entire life but they don’t do a single thing in the church.

I find it wierd because wouldn’t they invest in their church. Now that the school is shrinking because no one can afford the $500 a month per student it takes to go there, they are losing their own positions and barely keeping the school open. These are die hard christians.

I just don’t see how this was wise for them.
I just don’t see how it’s wise for them to build most of their foundation of a religion on private schools that few people can afford. Isn’t religion supposed to be available for everyone?

Few people have ever found the hidden treasure in observing a special kind of Christian spiritual retreat called a retreat of silence.  Some have other ways to describe it: meditation, listening to the inner self, hearing the voice of God. Whatever you prefer to call it, a day of silence gives breath to the soul.  For Christians, this kind of retreat can be truly spiritual.  The traditional retreat format includes games, activities, and lectures, which can unfortunately take the place of actually communicating with God.  The day of silence is just the opposite.  The only things you do all day are talk to God and listen for His voice.

We are inundated with sound everywhere we go.  The car radio blasts on when I turn the key.  The grocery store is playing Aerosmith in “musak! ” And you can learn how to speak Italian when visiting the rest room in your favorite restaurant, as they play language tapes over the speaker system! Planes zoom. Trains screech. The TV blares with commercials. Did you ever notice that you can virtually never escape the noise?  Just as a body needs rest, so does the spirit.  A quiet place is one anecdote to our stress.

As a Christian, I know how good it is to connect in spirit with God. So I take a Christian spiritual retreat once a year, at least.  The idea is very simple.  Find the most quiet, peaceful place you can.  A retreat center often has single rooms available for these kinds of guests.  Perhaps you prefer to stay at a local hotel for the day.  Ask a good friend who will be traveling if you could use their home for the day while they are gone.  This spiritual retreat for any Christian does not have to cost a dime. Just be sure to find a comfortable spot with no phones, no TV, and no radio.

Most people who plan a day of silence prefer to find an outdoor setting.  Some prefer to hike, others to sit.  If this sounds like the kind of spiritual retreat that fits you, be sure to bring along several things to make your experience more enjoyable.  Bring the following: cushion, journal, pen, portable alarm clock, snacks, insect repellent, hat, sunscreen, warm jacket, hiking shoes, and water bottle.  The day is yours …indulge in the solitude!


Mark Dubler is the Executive Director of Otyokwah Camp & Retreat Center and a Christian Spiritual Retreat expert. Check out our great discounts for first-time groups at Camp Otyokwah.

Mark Dubler has been a leader, host, and participant in camps and retreats for the last twenty years.

Okay so my best friend and I have been planning to go to Rock The Universe (a christian concert thing at universal studios) all summer together because she went last year and i didn’t get to go, and this will be her last year with us (she’s moving in spring) so i’m trying to spend a lot of time with her ‘cuz I’m REALLY sad she’s leaving, so I was gonna go with her and her whole church, and see some of my other friends that I havnt seen in awhile down there…

On the other hand I’ve been invited to this huge surprise birthday party (that my bff wasn’t invited to because she doesnt go to my school) for my other friend, who’s turning 16. The date of the party wasn’t confirmed when I agreed to it (they had to see what date they could rent this building out) and I was soooooo excited ‘cuz this would be my first real highschool party and my OTHER best friend was going to go with me and we were all excited together.

Well the date got confirmed and… it’s on the same weekend that I’m going down to Orlando!!!

Now I have to pick between my two best friends (well, one best friend and the other + the rest of my friends) and I don’t know…

I’ve already explained to both that I’m going to have to choose and they’re waiting on my answer… But every time I think I’ve picked one I get really upset I’ll miss the other and I change my mind!

So… now I’m asking YOU! Which one do you think will be better….?

Is it Non-Christian to see a counselor?

My childhood was good for the most part. However, there were sparse events throughout my childhood that make me feel traumatized a little.

For instance, we were raised as Christians. Whenever we did something that Mom didn’t like, we were told that we were going to Hell. At the time, I thought that this was normal. However, I have recently realized that we were going to Hell for the things that the Lord doesn’t like, not Mom. I feel that there was a misuse of authority.

Mom often jumped to conclusions and spanked me for no reason or for silly reasons. For instance, I was threatened with her fist for trying to help another student with her schoolwork simply because Mom said not to do it. There was no reason for it, just simply to control.

After spankings, I would have panic attacks and asthma attacks, but I would be told to be quiet. When I could not stop gasping for air (“making noise”), Mom would then say that I was going to get another spanking. She would says things like “you hypocrite, crying and carrying on, you will go to Hell”. Once, I was about to pass out during a panic attack and the last thing that she said before I lost consciousness was “Well, it looks like you’re going on to Hell”. After a few minutes, I awakened with her just sitting down glaring at me as if it was my fault that I passed out. She didn’t even call for help or anything!

She has screamed at me very loudly, called me the “Devil”, “possessed”, etc. for minor mistakes. If I ever disagree with her on anything, she says “well, you were smart when you were younger but I guess you’re not now…” These kinds of incidents have happened several times. However, I cannot talk about them with her to find out her reasons for behaving this way because she denies them all. If I try to talk to her, she will turn her back on me and scream to the Lord to take me (“the Devil”) away because I am “lying and accusing” her. She acts as if I am losing my mind and she pretends to have no recollection of these events. She sometimes says things like “there are people who really beat their kids, so compared to that, you were treated well.”

I can’t talk to her about anything because as soon as we don’t agree, she turns her back to talk to the Lord about me instead of finishing the conversation with me.

Now, I second-guess myself with every decision. I try to think about if it is something that she would like. I am trying to pick colleges and every time that I find one that I like, I find myself wondering what Mom would say. At night, her screaming and accusations replay in my mind over and over again. I even find myself wondering about how to pray because I was often scolded if I made a mistake during a family prayer.

Should I see a counselor? What should I do?
(I am still living with mother and she says that Christians shouldn’t see counselors… moving out would only make her more upset).

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