Growing: Downloadable Retreats
Our downloadable retreats were created with you in mind.
Over many years of leading retreats, we have developed a tried and true resource for you to enter into a time of quiet and solace before God amidst the chaos and busyness of everyday life.
Each retreat is centered around a theme and includes ideas for entering into silence and solitude, guided reflection on scripture, prayer exercises, journaling, and other practices that allow you to enliven your conversation with God.
Featured Downloadable Retreat
Make Way for Christmas!
What could it look like for you to make a new way to enter into the celebration of Christ’s birth? God chose to enter fully into our human experience and show us what his love looks like through the actual events of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
600 years before that first Christmas, the prophet Isaiah announced on behalf of God, “Make way for Christmas!” His works spoke about making a way for God to come to his people, which is what Christmas is ultimately about.
A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
– Isaiah 40:1-5 (NIV)
This is a costly highway construction project! This is God coming for us, to restore us, to forgive us, to speak tenderly to us, to remind us that he sees and knows and cares about our own places of hardship and suffering, full-well knowing our condition. We are not abandoned. God builds a super-highway right into our suffering, and takes its full weight on himself so that we might be comforted.
This downloadable retreat will explore God’s determination to build a highway to his people, including you, and offers springboards for prayer and reflection as you consider what it means to join God’s construction crew this Advent season.
Downloadable Retreats by Theme
Encountering God in the Everyday
Care for your Soul using Lessons from the Life of Jesus
The inner dimensions of life are what are referred to in the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, NASB). This commandment does not so much tell us what we must do, as what we must cultivate in the care of our souls. This downloadable retreat uses lessons from the life of Jesus to guide you in caring for your soul.
Soul Tune Up
Every few thousand miles, cars go to the mechanic’s garage for a “tune up”. Often, this requires interrupting one’s busy schedule and putting the car in the hands of someone who can make the necessary diagnosis and changes. No wonder maintenance is deferred! The same is true spiritually. It takes effort to create time and space for rest, prayer and real conversation with God about the wear and tear that we experience on our own journey. The “Soul Tune Up” downloadable retreat will provide you with tools to help you enter this season feeling refreshed and ready to welcome God’s presence anew. When we are in tune with God, we experience a deeper and lasting endurance.
A Mini-Vacation With God
Jesus modeled the importance of taking time away from the busyness and demands of life to rest and to spend time with his Father. At one of their busiest seasons in ministry Jesus invited his disciples to come away on a mini-vacation with him. (Mark 6:30-32) Vacations renew our perspective and build relationships with the ones we love. This retreat guide will help you take a vacation with God–to spend time together, renew perspective and enjoy one another’s company.
God in the Whirlwind
Often our lives feel like whirlwinds. Much of what spins around us is good and some is painful. Regardless of the source, if we are hoping to tame the whirlwind in order to free up time for God, it seldom happens. Jesus modeled another option. He was frequently surrounded by the whirlwinds of human need well beyond what any of us routinely face. But he established a rhythm to his life, leaving the demands on his time and moving to a quiet inner-place of connection with his Father. This retreat invites us to move into the quiet inner-space in our own lives to be with God even in the midst of the whirlwinds that we live in.
From Bondage…to Freedom
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God speaks of freedom for his people. What might it look like to experience freedom from ingrained patterns of thought and behavior that hold us in bondage? How might we increasingly access the freedom and transforming power that is offered to us through the cross and resurrection of Jesus?
Lenten Invitations: Responding to the offers of Holy Week
Holy Week presents many invitations, among them the opportunity to renew our sense of awe as we worship Jesus on Palm Sunday. Or to humble ourselves and allow Jesus to care for us, as he cared for his disciples when he washed their feet. We are invited to the intimate conversation at the Passover table and to pray with Jesus as he suffers in the Garden of Gethsemane. And on Easter morning, we are invited to fully live a resurrection life with the Risen Christ. This retreat offers guided reflection into invitations that flow from the events of Holy Week as well as ways you might respond by connecting with Jesus afresh.
Re: Again… A Retreat for Lent
The prefix, RE, means “again”. As we enter again into the Lenten season, we are invited to REMEMBER what Christ did for each of us. Journeying with Jesus in his suffering reminds us of the depth of his love for us and allows us to open our hearts to him in RESPONSE. RECOLLECTING the events of Christ’s suffering, crucifixion and burial, prepare us for the gift of Easter. Use this downloadable retreat to guide you as you journey with Jesus to the cross…and the joy of Easter.
From Fasting to Feasting
We are given the Season of Lent to prepare us for Easter. Traditionally characterized by prayer, repentance, reflection and fasting, Lent offers an opportunity to notice habits that prevent us from living freely and gratefully. When we choose to fast we allow ourselves to feel our need and let the emptiness point us toward God who is the only one who can satisfy our deepest hungers. In our culture of plenty, it can be difficult to choose to fast. When we can so easily satisfy our hunger with a rich plentitude of savory flavors why would we abstain? But without allowing ourselves to feel hunger, physical and spiritual, it is difficult to fully embrace the fullness that is offered at Easter. According to Ronald Rolheiser, “Lent cleanses the palate so that we can taste life more fully.” This retreat offers guidance in embracing Lent so that we might prepare our souls for the feast of Easter.
Where Hope and Fear Meet.
Anxiety. Uncertainty. Fear.
Like the fingers of fog over our coastal hills, they threaten to settle in the valleys and crevices of our lives, obscuring our hope.
Recent experiences heighten our awareness of fear: earthquakes, floods, firestorms, acts of terrorism and war, political unrest. Add to that our individual fears.
We long for genuine HOPE.
The Christmas Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, reminds us that in Jesus’ birth, both “the hopes and fears of all the years are met…”
This downloadable Advent retreat will guide you to explore ways your own hopes and fears might be met in Jesus this season. You will be offered prompts throughout with suggested ways to pray and reflect with God. Plan to spend a few hours, or up to a day. We hope the conversation with God that you begin will continue throughout the Advent season.
The Worth of Waiting
Advent is about waiting.
For centuries, the Israelites waited for God’s promised one to finally come. We too experience waiting and can lose hope that God will show up in the realities of our lives. But what if these Waiting Times are actually worthwhile in their own right? What if God is doing something in us while we wait? This downloadable retreat will offer ways to meet God in the midst of our waiting places this Advent Season.
This Year will be Different!
When we say, “This year will be different” our minds go to ways we might manage our time, calendars, relationships, shopping, entertaining—you name it—differently, so that our families and we can enjoy the busy season. But what if there is a “different kind of difference”? What if this year is different because we live into the reality that Jesus, Emmanuel, really is with us and invades our ordinary days with extraordinary meaning, hope and purpose?
Entering Advent through the World of Narnia
In the Chronicles of Narnia, the White Witch cursed the land so that “it was always Winter but never Christmas”. The arrival of Father Christmas later in the story signaled that the True King of Narnia, Aslan, was on the move and the winter freeze on hearts and minds was melting. Advent comes as a reminder that the world’s True King Jesus is on the move. Our retreat will provide space and springboards for noticing the ways that God continues to move in and around us. Join us in creating space to enter Advent with a warmed and alive heart for God.
On Earth… as it is in Heaven, an Advent Retreat
Jesus’ birth-the Incarnation of God taking on human form and likeness-brought the very “Kingdom of God” to earth, to us. During his years of ministry Jesus often announced that “the Kingdom of God is at hand”; it is no longer “up there” but now it is “down here”, accessible to us. During this Advent Season, give yourself and Jesus the gift of an hour or two to reflect on how you can live your ordinary everyday life–especially during the hectic Christmas Season–“as it is in Heaven”.
New Year Prayer of Examen
A new year brings a chance to start over, a chance to review, refresh and begin again. The ancient spiritual practice of the church called “the Prayer of Examen.” provides a template for looking back over your year or your day to increase your sensitivity to the Spirit of God working in your life and to provide you with awareness of your need to co-operate with and respond to God’s Presence as you move forward. This downloadable retreat will guide you through a Prayer of Examen looking over the past year so that you might enter the new year in step with God.
New Year’s resolutions are usually focused on an outcome, something we do. They aren’t about being or becoming. That is an inward orientation, something that emanates from us, out of who we are at our core. Jesus’ invitation to follow him, to be his disciple, isn’t a matter of improving on the shortcomings in our outward presentation; it’s about taking on an entirely new orientation to our very existence, from our very core. It’s about aligning our lives so that increasingly, we take on the character of Christ. It’s a BE, not a DO. Instead of making resolutions to change your behavior (or not) why not make space for a real conversation with God about what it might look like to live this year Transformed by Grace. This retreat provides guidance for reflecting upon and experiencing anew the work of God’s grace in our lives.