The CKS Retreat 2010 was held from the 22nd to the 25th of June, which was also the week after the church camp. Despite it being so close after the church camp, I felt that I was both spiritually and mentally refreshed by it.
The theme for the camp was Covenant Defence 101 and our camp master Jonah gave an opening address on how our precious truths are constantly under attack and there is a need not only to be well grounded in our own believes but to know what the opposing doctrine is as well. Like what Sun Tze wrote in his Art of War – “If you know both yourself and your enemy, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.” (Jonah did not actually say this but I thought that it was an apt description).
Pastor Goh was our camp speaker and he gave us 3 messages over the course of the camp. The first was on God’s Covenant with Noah. The covenant was a covenant of friendship and God was the one who initiated the covenant with Noah playing no part in it. The rainbow is also the sign of the covenant, with the white beam symbolising the covenant and the splitting of the light representing the manifold aspects of the covenant of grace. Through the rainbow God also promises us that he will not destroy the world by ood again and it is also a sign that God will judge the wicked while proclaiming His blessings to His elect.
The second message was on Defending the Reformed faith, where pastor Goh mentioned the 5 pillars of the reformed faith. (And also on TULIP)
1. Glory of God
2. Sovereignty of God
3. Scripture Alone
4. Committed to Faith Alone
5. Covenant of Grace
He also mentioned about the regulative principle of worship which refers to the elements that should be included in worship. Only elements which are explicitly taught in scripture should be included, the basis of this is found in the second commandment.
The third message was on Living the Antithetical Life where the idea was to have a spiritual separation from the world as the Bible mentions that we are not to be unequally yoked. This message yielded a very interesting discussion and some interesting questions were brought up in the area of music. Is all worldly music bad? Is it the lyrics or the tune that is bad? How do we draw the line between good and bad music? And finally, is the music we listen to glorifying God?
There were also two workshops; the first was conducted by Elder Wee on the Heresy of the Conditional Covenant. What we believe in is the Unconditional Covenant where the covenant is established and maintained by God alone for his elect. And that we cannot be saved by our own faith. Rather it is only by the grace of God are we able to have faith in Him.
On the other hand, the Conditional Covenant teaches that faith and good works are conditions to our salvation. This is to say that God makes the covenant with many but only those that can fulfil the conditions will be saved. This is false because it makes keeping the covenant the work of men and compromises the sovereignty of God.
The second workshop was conducted by Elder Lee on Pentecostalism. They believe that God is still revealing truth beyond the scriptures today and the emphasis is on emotion rather than logic. And the heart of its error is the denial of the sufficiency of the Bible as the only authoritative and complete revelation of God’s truth.
We also had much time of fun and fellowship together. From normal captains ball to improvised captains ball with fruits such as tomato, banana, papaya and durian (just kidding). Let’s just say that after the game we were not very clean, especially Isaac’s CK shirt which he wore for the first time. There was also the epic battle of the Koh’s which was a no holds barred fight. (I won’t tell you who lost though :P). Then there was the BBQ which was awesome. On hindsight I should not have gorged myself as that left me with no room for the durians later.
Finally, I would like to thank God for all those who took time to help out in the camp and also those who attended the camp. Thank God for all the people that have made this camp such an enjoyable one, people like Jonah the song book hugger (spotted hugging the ck songbook while sleeping by Joshua), Julia the love sick (she came despite feeling sick and having lessons in the day, maybe a special someone played a part as well), Ivan the lost (guess who got me lost on the first day), Isaac the Strategist (*nearly* won the couch game for the guys), Claudia the queen of spades, Josiah the fruit smasher (don’t stand near him), Aaron the fruit smashed (he found out the hard way), Paul and Joshua the duet (they make lovely music together through the night) and who could forget Marcus the cat.
Written by: Cornelius Boon | Issue 4
On 4-5 June 2010, God blessed CK with a retreat.
The retreat started off with an opening address from our retreat master, Daniel Tang. After the briefing on what to expect during the day’s activities, we headed to the multi-purpose hall where we had our ice-breakers, which was in fact, to make our own lunch. We had to make our own pizza lunch out of bread or dough, and other ingredients like capsicums, pineapples, mushrooms, ham, cheese and hot dogs. I believe the campers enjoyed their very own ‘self-cooked’ meal, despite the long queue at the oven. Thankfully, we had enough food to go around.
Since Pastor Lau was not well enough to present his message after lunch, we played games planned by Vera instead. This game tested our memory power to the limits as we smacked plates and endured the forfeits!
We were thankful to God that Pastor Lau was well enough after our games to give the message. He exhorted us on the theme, God’s peculiar people, which is our CK theme, as well as the CK retreat’s theme. The text was taken from Exodus 19:5-6. I learned that due to the great departure, man is in a state of death, and only God can deliver us from this death. Man therefore must look to God for mercy and deliverance. The fruition of God can only come through a divine covenant, the Covenant of Grace. What struck me was that calling ourselves Covenant Keepers makes it really important for CK to keep this covenant. We see the need to continually study the subject of the Covenant of God. I believe we all took something home from God’s Word.
After the message, CK divided ourselves into groups for the message discussion where we talked further about God’s Covenant of Grace and examined the subject through the discussion questions. There was much food for thought after the spiritually edifying message.
We took public transport to the barbecue pit for our dinner. Before the dinner, Jonah gave a word of exhortation by the beach. The dinner was the effort of some youths and all the mothers who came prepared with food and drinks. The BBQ dinner was indeed a real treat for our already grumpy stomachs.
Then we took off on our bikes to venture around Singapore, well, at least part of it. Safety was such a high priority that the retreat committee readied medics, adult helpers and even standby emergency drivers! Night cycling can be dangerous and the journey was long and tiring but it was indeed a good time of singing God’s praises along the way and looking out for our fellow brethren. Sleepy people with sore muscles, we finished the course safe and sound. I could not wait to jump into bed!
Psalms 121:5 “The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.” Truly God has kept his people during this period of fellowship during this CK retreat. The teens definitely had a good time of spiritual bonding through the activities. Even though it was only 24 hours but I believe that God used this time to bring his people together, even parents, for a blessed time together.
I would like to thank God for guiding the retreat comm, Daniel, Vera, Ruth, Josiah, Boaz, Noelene, Marcus and myself through the planning and running of the retreat. Serving God in this committee has been a blessing in itself. I would like to thank all the people who have helped out in one way or another, whether it be through providing food, or feeding us with spiritual food.
Quoting Pastor Lau in the Retreat Speaker’s voice, “May God show you that His peculiar people are those in covenant fellowship and friendship with Him. They are His special treasure, the apple of His eyes. You should not be ashamed of His Covenant of Grace, but appreciate it deeply and keep it dearly not only yourself, but in the generations to come.”
Written by: Isa Chan | Issue 4