All glory to our Heavenly Father who gave 57 youths and 21 adults a blessed spiritual and physical retreat in UK Farm Resort, Kluang, Malaysia, from 24th to 26th December 2018.
Pastor Koshy preached 5 messages on the doctrine of adoption under the theme, “Children of the Most High”. We were taught on how our adoption as children of God is the highest point of our salvific experience on earth, and that it stands distinct from the regenerative experience of justification, forgiveness, reconciliation in the Ordis Salutis (Latin for “Order of Salvation”). While regeneration deals with our nature before God, adoption deals with our status in relationship with God. Adoption upgrades our status in relationship with God, from “bastards” (cf. Hebrews 12:8) to children of the Most High! With this new identity, we owe nothing to the flesh, fear no pressure from the world, and look forward to the eternal hope of glory with our Father (Romans 8:12-16).
This year, Pastor introduced a new segment, “Bible Reading”, in the retreat programme. In these 5 sessions, Pastor rekindled our love for the Word of God by training us to read with understanding, and to listen with attentiveness to the public reading of Scripture. After establishing the occasion for the public reading of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, Pastor gave the youths reading assignments to teach us how to divide Scripture according to its thought-progression, and to read Scripture with sense, so that all who hear may understand.
Apart from the spiritual feeding, the participants were physically nourished with the homemade food provided by the farm. Our afternoons were spent interacting with the farm’s animals (such as goats, sheep, ostriches, deer, rabbits and many more), as well as having a time of sports and games together.
As youths of Gethsemane, we thank God for this annual retreat through which we could grow closer to one another and, crucially, to our Heavenly Father! We also thank God for the many adults who joined us to take care of and support us in our retreat. To God be the glory!
Report by Cornelius Koshy (on behalf of the GYF Committee)
Thank God for a blessed YF camp, where we could learn about the theme, “Children of the Most High”. Truly, what a blessed privilege it was to learn of the love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Now that we are adopted as heirs of the Most High, we are to shine as lights in the world, and be blameless and harmless, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. Thank God for courageous young men of old, like Daniel and Joseph, who proved to us that we are never a fool to lose the whole world to keep our souls with God. Thank God that we can pattern ourselves after them, and to purpose in our hearts, that we might not defile ourselves with the world, but go onward, forward and upward till Jesus comes again.
Thank God for the opportunity to come for this camp. It was difficult for me initially to apply for three days of leave due to my NS commitments. But I thank God that He has made a way for me.
Thank God for the Word faithfully and powerfully preached. Through these few days, one thing that has touched my heart the most was this sentence said by Pastor: “Adoption is God’s gracious and merciful act which bestows unworthy sinners the admission and rights into the family of God.”
Oh, the magnitude of His love, grace and mercy! If left alone, we would just be helpless and pathetic creatures seeking for a little comfort and so-called acknowledgment from people of this world (who are in the same miserable state as we were). But, by God’s infinite decree, we are called sons of God who now receive the ultimate acknowledgment, approval and acceptance of the eternal most High God through Christ. This is the greatest honour one can ever receive. May this truth stick in my heart, that it may continue to guide every word and deed I do.
In conclusion, I pray “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ;” (Ephesians 4:14-15). All praise to God!
I thank God for the precious lessons I have derived from God’s Word faithfully expounded during this youth retreat. Pastor has truly elucidated the differences between regeneration and adoption, and reiterated our obligations as “Children of the Most High”. Isaiah 53:5 states “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Christ has redeemed us through his atoning death on the cross. He has emancipated us from sin’s galling fetters and ensnarement. He is our Mediator and Intercessor, whom we know has removed all enmity and reconciled God and man. Having received the gift of salvation, it is imperative that we “put off the old man with his deeds; And put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:9-10). Adoption not only encompasses regeneration, an important facet of soteriology, but also further establishes our position in relation to the Father. It changes our attitude towards Him. As sinners saved by grace, elected to be heirs of a wonderful inheritance, we cannot be fixated on the ephemeral things of this transient world. Each day, I am still learning to be more Christ-like in spite of all the seemingly insuperable challenges I may encounter along the way. In my pilgrim’s progress, I must learn to be more submissive to God’s will and not yield to the flesh. Putting God first in this morally deficient and decadent world may be difficult, but I put my trust in my Saviour – my Refuge and Strength. Although our steps may falter, we must humbly seek Him and repent, for the Lord is judicious in his chastisements, which are commensurate to our transgressions. Finally, I cannot forget the privileges of our eternal glory and blessings in being a part of God’s kingdom. I pray the Lord may use this ministry to the youths mightily for the extension of His kingdom.
Gan Chien Huey
Praise the Lord for the opportunity to be part of the Gethsemane Youth Retreat 2018, where I’ve learnt that adoption into God’s kingdom truly is an act of free grace, something we are undeserving of. What a privilege as it meant we will become joint heirs with Christ! Truly, who can do so unless God Himself has so graciously allowed it? This adoption fills us with the Holy Spirit. In trials and temptations, as long as we remember His divine promise, and hope and pray, the Lord will strengthen us for His glory, and we can be victors over sin. Resist the devil and succumb not, be courageous in the Lord and compromise not.
I must remember that weakness in the flesh is no excuse not to do the Lord’s work. The Lord is just and will give us trials so that we will rely fully on Him alone, so that we will draw close and trust in Him with all our hearts. Whatever the outcome, do only that which is pleasing to God, for it is better and wise to please God than man.
May we be conscious and alert of our testimony, and stop using the excuse of “being human” to falter and disobey God’s Law. Let us be aware that everything we do and say should follow in the footsteps of Christ, the best example of living as “sons of God”.
I have learnt that being adopted in Christ, I must walk away from the world, which I know is difficult for me. But being a child of God, God has empowered me to fight the spiritual battle against the devil. I have been doing Biblereading from Genesis to Numbers with my family, which I had stopped after a few months. But now, after Pastor’s exhortation in this camp, I am willing to re-start my Bible-reading again.
I had a wonderful time of fellowship with the other youths in this youth camp. I enjoyed the activities prepared by UK Farm, as well as our games i/c’s, Jonathon and Titus. Looking forward to the next youth camp!
I thank God for this wonderful privilege of coming to the youth camp to learn God’s Word, which has really been a blessing. I know that it is through the working of the Holy Spirit that I’m able to receive and learn all these things. One thing that gripped and impacted me the most is the sober truth there are no “grey areas” in Christianity and in God’s Word. It is either yes or no, right or wrong, according to the Scriptures. You are either living rightly with God or you’re not; there is no “half-half”. When I heard Pastor Koshy preaching regarding this, I was so convicted in my heart and I thank God for that. Sadly, as a Christian, there can be times when we get so deluded and unguarded in our thoughts, and trifle with so-called grey areas too. Looking back, I realise I was guilty of thinking about what is the limit that I can push without offending God. I was so ignorant of the fact that even having such a thought is already a sin in itself – it is so corrupted! But God is indeed so merciful, as time after time He chastised me when I was at the point of falling. Time after time, He sustained me and kept me close. I’m so grateful.
So, this message has convicted me and taught me that I need to be honest with myself and check my heart to see my intentions. Truly, very often when I think about grey areas, it is just a way for me to rationalise my way through to please my selfish desires. I’m more sure than ever before that there are no grey areas; the Bible is so clear. It is clear that we need to flee from all appearances of evil. This has really shown me that I need to grow in the knowledge of Christ and to have a more in-depth study of His word, so that I will have a clearer understanding of His instructions.
Thank God for saving me from my sins. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). Now I am a child of God and I need to behave like one. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). So my prayer is: “LORD, have mercy on me and help me to conform more and more to the image of Thee.” All glory be to God.
Praise God for the privilege to attend this year’s youth camp. As in every youth camp, there are so many precious lessons taught and gleaned, of which I would share a few. We are children of the Most High – elected, called, justified, forgiven, adopted and reconciled to God. God draws us to Himself – this is the highest privilege one can have. It is not the accolades of the world, nor the worldly ambitions that attract us; rather, the joy and peace that we are children of the Most High. No Christian is an orphan, for we are sealed by the name of God and are called the sons of God. Our Most High King and Master has transferred us from the world to God. Hence, I pray that we will live no more after the flesh, nor in fear, but have full trust and dependence upon God who has so mercifully and graciously saved and loved us. We must not let the threatening things enslave us but rejoice in the sure hope of glory that each child of God has in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Prior to this camp, the aspect of Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation) that charmed my soul most was Election, i.e. how God sovereignly had mercy & compassion on me, independent of my willing and running. Regeneration, i.e. having tasted that deadness in trespasses & sins, to be quickened by Him alone who is able, was a wondrous truth that occupied my mind too.
But this camp has given me a newfound love and appreciation for Adoption. It is a joy to know that it is He who bought us over, and likewise declared our new legal status – gladly on behalf of us, His powerless children – to the unbelieving world. Truly, it is not our entrance into, but His welcoming, sealing & safekeeping of us in this new, holy beloved family of His that makes adoption the highest point, even the greatest experience of salvation on earth.
As the new year draws to a close (and I know not what to expect in 2019), I pray that I will stop being indebted to the flesh, having learnt that I don’t owe the flesh anything, but instead be a submissive child, a partaker of my inheritance, even if it entails persecution or chastisement.
Joy floods my soul for Jesus has saved me,
Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me
His precious blood He gave to redeem,
Now I belong to Him;
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me,
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.