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Spiritual Emphasis Retreat

This past November, HCA high school students and staff members had the privilege of attending our biennial Spiritual Emphasis Retreat at Shiloh Bible Camp. We heard from HGC Pastor, Tim Stanley. Pastor Stanley challenged our students concerning what genuine faith looks like. He asked them, when dealing with a friend who may be in need of loving confrontation, are we willing to say what needs to be said or do we shrink back in fear? “What is more important, your friendship, or your friend?” If the friendship is more important than the friend, do we really love our friend? Or is our comfort more important to us? Love is seeking the true good of another as God defines the good. Loving your neighbor as yourself requires that we see others through the lens of Scripture and a willingness to face rejection if the Lord so ordains it. The Apostle Paul reminds us that “Love must be sincere.” We are to “hate what is evil, and cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9-10). Truly loving another demands that we hate the sin which prevents godly flourishing, first in our own lives, and then in the lives of our neighbor. Is this not the example that our sinless Lord sets for us? Is He not the One who was “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3) but “for the joy set before Him (you and I and all who are redeemed), endured the cross, scorning its shame” (Hebrews 12:2). Beloved, let us love one another enough to “speak the truth in love, so that we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the Head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). May God grant us the grace to do so!