day 5



As Beach Retreat ends each year, students begin to ask themselves, “Now what?” How do I take what I have learned at Beach Retreat and apply it to how I live, think, and act when I get home? How can I keep the passion I have developed for God and His Word, and my love for Jesus, strong enough that they will be reflected in my daily life so that others will see a difference in me? These are important questions, and the final two Silent Sounds devotionals provide some much-needed direction as well as some important words of encouragement. In John 15:5 Jesus tells His followers that it is only as they remain in Him that they will bear fruit, for “apart from Me you can do nothing.” So if students – and adults – want to bear fruit that lasts, be salt and light in our dark world, and be difference-makers in their community, they (and we) need to “remain” connected to the True Vine, Jesus Christ.


It’s part of human nature that people want to stand out and be special, and yet they also want to fit in and belong. These desires seem contradictory, don’t they? To feel special, we try to stand out, not fit in. But to belong, we try to fit in, not stand out. How can we do both? These desires are actually given to us by God, and we will discover that both can only truly be met in Him.

The truth is we cannot fulfill our God-given needs to feel special and to belong by looking horizontally to other people or to the things of this world. Doing so will leave us feeling dissatisfied, disillusioned, and disappointed.  These needs can only be met vertically in our relationship with God.

Feeling special
We can feel a deep sense of being special because we are made in the image of God. We are loved by Him, so much so that He sent His Son to die for us, to forgive us, and to save us. In Christ we receive the approval and acceptance of the only One whose opinion matters. And when we are confident of God’s approval and acceptance, we no longer feel a need to impress others or to compete with them.

A sense of belonging
In John 3:16 we read that “God so loved the world” and that “whosoever” believes in Him can have everlasting life. We are all sinners in need of a Savior! Regardless of our ethnicity, socio-economic status, intelligence, or accomplishments, we all share this common need that can only be met through a saving, personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ.

In the world, not of it.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:13-16

As Christ-followers we have a deep sense of specialness and belonging that comes from our relationship with God. We also have a special task. We are to be “in the world, not of it” as we make a difference everywhere we go – and with everyone we know – by being the salt and light that Jesus talks about in the verses we just read. You are special to God, and you belong to Him. Knowing this frees you to seek to make a difference in the lives of others. You are no longer driven to compete in order to stand out, or to compromise in order to fit in. How can you be salt as you preserve and add flavoring to your community? And how can you be light and shine the light of God’s love in the darkness of today’s world?


We can’t stay on a mountaintop forever! After a life-changing week at Beach Retreat, students need to know – and all of us need to know – that the key to staying close to Jesus and in love with God’s Word can be summed up in one word: “Remain.” The way to stay close to Jesus is to remain in Him. What does that mean, and how do we accomplish that on a daily basis?

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”  John 15:1-4

Remain in God’s Word
When you love or admire someone, you want to spend time with them and learn more about who they are. The same is true in our relationship with Christ. To remain in Him, we need to learn more and more about who He is. Because we cannot see Him with our eyes or touch Him with our hands, one way we get to know Him is through His Word, the Bible. There are many resources available to help you increase in your ability to study God’s Word in a Daily Quiet Time.

Remain in Worship
The word “worship” means to “ascribe worth to” and to “show reverence for” someone. The only person who deserves our worship is God. He is the one who created us and breathed life into us. He is the one who sustains our lives, who loves us so much that He saved us from sin and death. We owe him everything we are and have. Yet, the main thing He desires is our heart, our worship. Worship is an essential part of remaining in Jesus.

Remain in Prayer
It is impossible to have a healthy relationship with someone if you never communicate with one another. At its most basic level, prayer is simply talking to God. We communicate with Him in prayer and He communicates with us through His Word. Jesus gave His disciples a “Model Prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13; we know that as the Lord’s Prayer. It gives us a great place to start as we build prayer into our daily time alone with God. In prayer we acknowledge who God is and give honor to Him, we surrender our will to God’s will, we ask Him to meet our daily  needs, we confess known sins, we ask for a willing heart to forgive others, and we ask God to help us stay on the right path.

Remain in Community
In many ways, the Christian life is a team sport. Simply stated, we are not meant to be alone; we need community. That is where the church enters the picture. The church is not just the building where worship is held. When the Bible speaks of the church, it is referring to the people who worship together, love one another, and encourage one another to follow Jesus.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Hebrews 10: 24-25

To “remain” in Jesus following Beach Retreat, develop a “Remain in Jesus Plan.” Remain in God’s Word, Remain in Worship, Remain in Prayer, and Remain in Community.

You can do this! And many people are praying for every student, every leader, and every parent who participated in BR this year.