Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hallowed Ground

I spent some time on hallowed ground this past weekend at a men's retreat I was speaking at. It’s a place where God has and still is speaking to people. Sitting not a quarter of a mile from the Potomac River is this place called the Potomac District Camp and Retreat Center. It is one of the campgrounds owned by Assemblies of God churches.

Established seventy-five years ago, this campground was a place for churches to come together for “revival” services, youth, kids and family camps. As a young boy, my family and I traveled to this camp every summer. It was usually extremely hot in the summer and eastern humidity did not give you a break, unless you call violent thunderstorms a break. The air conditioning consisted of metal walls around the tabernacle, which were lifted up during services and closed when it rained. Small cabins with no bathrooms were the hotels for guests. The doors creaked loudly when you opened them and slammed behind you as they shut. You always knew when someone entered or exited their summer residence.

There was no pool at the time, no gym to work out in, no video game room - just one building with a ping-pong table for entertainment. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

It may not have been a premiere vacation spot, but there is one thing that drew hundreds of people there every year to this place: it was a place where people met with God.

People who did not have a relationship with God met Jesus there. Children, youth, and adults were filled with the Spirit of God and many were called to be in occupational ministry. Missionaries were called to other countries on that property as they spent time at an old wooden altar behind the tabernacle. If you needed prayer, encouragement, or a conversation about life, there were retired pastors and missionaries living there who would take you in their home, give you a glass of tea or lemonade, and make you feel like you were the most important part of their day (in many ways, you were).

As an adult, I became a pastor in West Virginia, which was only fifteen minutes from these hallowed grounds. Every year I would reserve one of the hotel rooms for a couple of days just to get away, pray and listen to God’s voice. I would walk the well-worn paths and ask God questions: “What are you doing in my life?” “What is your dream for your church?” “What areas of my life are you wanting to change?” It was during these occasions where God brought clarity and direction. On other occasions I would stop by and walk the grounds. Trust me, there was not much to look at, but there was a lot to listen to.

My daughter was healed on those grounds. It’s a long story, but she, like many others discovered that God hears and answers prayer.

Yes, those grounds hold a special place in my life. It’s a place of remembrance, a cornerstone of faith for me.

We should all have places where we look back and say, “God met me.”

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