Published: 4 years ago

Raise Ebenezer? Check.

Two weeks.

Two. Glorious. Weeks.

That’s what it’s been since the last post. In that time, my girl and I got away for a few days to celebrate twenty years of marriage. It was five days of pure bliss. No cutting up food. No refereeing arguments. No potty training accidents. We remembered how much we really like each other (which is always a bonus after 20 years).

And then last week our team got away for a brief time for our semi-annual-sort-of-regular-did-we-forget-to-do-this-last-year staff retreat. Again: 2.5 days of not cutting up anyone’s food. Unless you count Rick Langston, who is getting old and sometimes takes a bite and forgets to chew.

But I digress. Our retreat took place at Ridgecrest Conference Center, the site of my 8th grade summer youth camp. Since that week in 1987 I’ve been back twice: once for an overnight trip and once to just drive through. So on Wednesday afternoon I tried to relive my middle school years and take a trip down memory lane…

Ridgecrest1

This was the view outside the room in the Maple building where I stayed way back when. It was here that a bunch of dumb little 8th grade boys got into a full-scale pillow fight (the kind where bones get broken). It was here that my youth pastor Sam told us a really embarrassing story about the time he went to Hawaii (I probably can’t repeat it here). And it was here that half the guys in my group fell in love with half the girls from Philadelphia Baptist Church in Mississippi (believe it or not, I wasn’t in on that matchmaking session).

Ridgecrest2This is Spilman Auditorium. Jason Gaston and I had to talk a security guard into letting us in there, but I’m glad we did. This was the place where God planted some of the first stirrings of ministry in my heart. It was the place where our camp speaker preached a few messages that I still remember 26 years later. It was the place that many in our group experienced life change that we never quite got over.

We sing an old song around the Summit called Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. In it, there’s a line that says “Here I raise my Ebenezer / Here by Thy great help I’ve come / And I hope, by Thy good pleasure / Safely to arrive at home.” It’s a reference to the Old Testament account of the Israelite victory over the Philistines, when the Israelites placed a memorial stone to signify God’s grace to them.

Ridgecrest is one of many Ebenezers I can point to in my life…one of many places that I can look back on and remember God’s faithfulness during a crucial time of life. Some of those Ebenezers happened nearly three decades ago. Some three years ago. Some three days ago.

Ebenezers are important, because they give us a place to hang a little bit of significance, or attach a memory, or remember when God moved in a particularly fantastic way. I hope my kids will have some of those same Ebenezer moments they can point back to, whether that’s in our home, our church, or – like Ridgecrest – a camp experience.

How about you? What are the Ebenezers in your life? What are the places that hold a special memory for you? Comment below.

5 Comments.
  1. Jaime Z says:

    Love this, Danny. Remembering is one of the best things we can do. It can lead us to heartfelt worship as we recall that God’s love endures forever.

    I have a few Ebenezer’s…
    – Upper Turner Campus Center at Azusa Pacific University. It was September 1991 and I was 4 weeks into my freshman year at APU when I heard a guy named Miles McPherson (heard of him?) speak in Chapel. As he talked about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego I was stirred by his message. At the end he invited people to surrender their lives to Jesus, and I did.

    – A little house in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. It was December 1999 and I was leading a team of college students on an outreach to Brazil. As the team was sitting inside a little house on top of a hill in a favela (slum) overlooking Rio, I remember God’s Spirit whispering to me that one day I would serve with the same organization that we were volunteering with (YWAM). I thought, ‘heck no! I am in graduate school at UCLA, I am not going to be a missionary! Not me, Lord!” Three years later, I would be in Buenos Aires, Argentina, serving with YWAM.

    I have a lot more, but I will stop there.

    Thanks for the reminder to remember!

    Jaime

  2. Marc says:

    Danny,

    The Ebenezer’s are not only for younger years. I experienced Church camp for the first time, also at Ridgecrest, when in my mid 40’s. I went for four or five summers with the youth group of the church I was involved with at that time. I loved it, and it seemed in that environment even an adult could separate from the world outside and sink in totally to the camp experience.

    And as for the greatest of these, Mission Fuge in Charleston SC. You know, the land that you can perspire in the shower it is so hot. Working with young folks in housing projects, I think it is referred to in SBC circles as a “backyard Bible club”. Truly an experience that will change your perspective of the world around you.

    Thanks for reviving some memories that were napping.

    marc

  3. Brenda Pergerson says:

    Hi Danny,
    Thank you for reminding us of the importance of our Ebenezers. When our previous pastor Mike Green was at Cresset he preached on that importance and how important it was to remember God’s work in our lives. You brought back some of my Ebenezers at Ridgecrest. The dorm picture brought back sweet memories of a picture that was taken of a few of us at one of the wonderful prayer convferences we were there to attend. What a great teaching, growing and life changing event we had in wonderful prayer times on our knees before God. I love the memories of the sweet times at Ridgecrest.
    Brenda P

  4. Byron Hill says:

    Very cool to read the stories of how God used Ridgecrest to impact your lives. Thanks for sharing and we look forward to each of you returning to Ridgecrest soon.

    PS – Danny, how did your staff retreat go?

    Byron Hill
    Executive Director, Ridgecrest Conference Center & Camps

    • Danny says:

      Byron, thanks!

      The retreat was fantastic. We appreciate your hospitality and the accommodations! If Clouds Coffee Shop had been at RCC when I was in 8th grade, I could’ve added another Ebenezer moment! 🙂

Have a Comment?

Some HTML is OK
%d bloggers like this: