Have you ever been driving down the road and seen this decal to the left on the back window of a vehicle and ask yourself, “What is that all about?” I know; I did. Ultimately it has something to do with a religion, right? Well I am here to share with you that it goes far beyond religion; far beyond any specific church; in fact it is something that helps us realize how awesome a relationship with Christ and with others can actually be. Let me introduce you to something known as an ACTS Retreat!
ACTS is a retreat that has been sweeping across our country for over 25 years. It was influenced heavily by a retreat know as a Cursillo Retreat which had its start between WWI and WWII in Spain and focused on 3 main principles; Piety, Study and Action. Three gentleman in a suburb of San Antonio Texas, Ed Courtney, Joe Hayes, and Marty Sablik were instructors and coordinators with Cursillo. With years of Cursillo experience and a mutual friendship, they developed and held the first ACTS Retreat in 1987 which was designed to be more relevant in the day to day needs and lives of the church community and its members. Since then, the ACTS Retreat has exploded and is having incredible effects on marriages, families and entire communities!
ACTS stands for Adoration, Community, Theology & Service and receives its biblical inspiration from the scripture in Acts 2:42-47:
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I can tell you from personally being a part of this ministry, both as a retreatant and as serving on several retreat teams, that this was one of the most life changing events I have ever attended in my life. The sense of acceptance, love, understanding, forgiveness and peace that I experienced cannot be put into words; no matter how hard I try! I truly understand what it means to have brothers and sisters in Christ; and on the retreat I actually felt and experienced the Body of Christ through others! It was an overwhelming sense of love that engulfed my heart and recaptured it back from the decades of self-doubt, poor self-image, guilt, loneliness and sin that had trapped me from living the life God had intended for me.
The testimonies shared by the gentlemen on the retreat were so powerful that they have inspired me to start a ministry called Divine ImpACTS; a place for others to come and experience God’s impact on the lives of others and to receive the evidence of His existence and desire to work in their lives! Through the sharing of their stories, I was able to regain a belief of hope of and inspiration that God can and will work in my life if I only open up to it! I attended my first retreat with an open heart and desire to move closer into relationship with Christ and I can honestly say that I received that through and in the relationships with all the men from the retreat. They are my brothers in Christ for life!
ACTS Retreats are held in over 22 states in the U.S., 8 states in Mexico, as well as Canada, Honduras, South Africa and England. They are held for Men, Women and even Teens! Once you attend a weekend, you leave aware of the fact we are all connected; all brothers and sisters; all a part of one family in Christ! There is no need to ever feel alone again as you will always have others to call on in your time of need. If there are ever any people I know I can count on its my ACTS brothers and sisters.
I have, as well as countless other people and pastors, seen this retreat transform entire church communities, igniting them with a passion for love and service in the name of Jesus Christ. Individuals begin seeking a more intimate relationship with their maker and that transcends through their actions and involvement in the community; through their service to others! They share their Adoration, love and respect for their relationship for God with their Community; seeking the Theology and understanding of their faith in Christ; and allowing that to shine through in their Service to others around them. I have never seen one weekend retreat have such a profound impact as an ACTS Retreat.
I pray that if you have ACTS Retreats in your community, that you make it a personal mission to attend one. I for one, am making it a personal goal to bring ACTS to Colorado where I currently live as no one here as ever experienced it; and I know when that time comes I will be able to count on my ACTS brothers and sisters in the South to help me make it happen!
For more information on the ACTS Retreat, feel free to visit their website at www.actsmissions.org and see what the facts on ACTS are all about! Here’s to countless more Divine ImpACTS through the ACTS Retreat! May it RAISE YOU UP into a more fulfilling life with Christ!