Blowing On the Hot Spots: Growing Stronger by Focusing on the Gooding

 
It may be winter, meaning only the most adventurous of us are braving the elements to go build a camp fire, but as we enter into a new year as a church family, we want to take a moment to learn a lesson from an old camping phrase, “blowing on the hot spots.” For those of you who build camp fires, you know that often to keep it going, to keep the fire burning and growing, you have to literally blow on the hot spots, the places in the fire where heat is found, where flames are growing, where the fire is thriving. As you do this, the heat spreads and fire catches. The entire fire becomes brighter and stronger as you blow on the hot spots. The same is true in life. There are going to be areas of life that are discouraging and hard, areas that maybe don’t catch fire as quickly as others, and sometimes we can spend so much time focusing on the bad, that soon even the good, bright areas of our lives can fade until our entire fire is put out. As a church, we want to be the light God has created us to be. We want to come together to encourage one another (Heb. 10:25), to grow into a brighter, stronger instrument of the Kingdom of God. To do this, your church staff will blog weekly about some of the past, “Hot Spots” to encourage us to look at all God is doing to truly, “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Together, we will blow on the hot spots, allowing our fire to spread and grow that we might better carry out the mission God has given us as a church. So join us here every week for our weekly “Blowing on the Hot Spots.” 
 
This week we turn our attention to a very exciting hot spot. This past weekend 21 teenagers and 9 youth leaders journeyed out to Hume New England Camp and Retreat Center for their annual winter retreat. The process of getting the teenagers and leaders there was not easy. There were many hiccups in the process, ones that were unexpected and completely out of our control. There were moments the week of the retreat that leaders questioned whether or not it was actually going to happen, but God, in his infinite goodness, made a way for those teenagers and leaders to not only go on the retreat but encounter him in mighty ways in the process. 
 
The theme of the weekend was “Trade-Up” and teenagers were encouraged to trade up what the world says is important for what God says is important, to trade up anything that might be pulling them away from God, anything that might be distracting them or causing them to live a life that is not pleasing to God, that they might truly live as the young men and women God has called them to be. It was an incredible weekend where we saw teenagers draw nearer to God, allowing him to soften their hearts that they might be more like him. 
 
It’s amazing what God can do in a weekend, especially a weekend that from human perspective and human understanding should have been a train wreck. However, our God is greater and his ways are higher than ours. Our hot sport for this week reminds us that even when life seems to be spinning out of control, our God remains capable of doing far more than we could ever hope or imagine. May you rest in that truth this week. Our God is on the move.