Renewal In A Circle of Stones

Renewal is an essential part of the life-cycle. Nature does it each spring. Even the cells of our body are periodically renewed. Therefore, it is only reasonable we human beings need to be renewed spiritually. Like clocks we tend to rundown and need rewinding.

Recently I took 36 athletes and twelve coached from Shorter University, notice now “University,” to Montana for a week of Christian leadership training. The week involved a variety of interesting things including a visit to Yellowstone, mountain hiking, swimming in the icy waters or Lake Agnes at 10,000 feet.

One activity was more engaging and stimulating than others.

It involved a morning of fasting which meant missing breakfast. For college students that is a start. They left their watches with group leaders, and turning off their cell phones had them sealed in a paper bag to be used only in the event of an emergency.

The ranch is over six miles long and three miles wide. The students were spread out across this area known as the high desert. Each was to find a place where they could not see anyone or be seen. Once in their isolated spot they were to gather up a number of the abundant stones and make a circle. They were then to sit in the circle alone. They were instructed to stay in the circle all morning except for restroom breaks.

The only movement they saw was deer, elk, antelope, moose, and eagles.

The circle was to symbolize God’s will. They were to stay in the circle and meditate all morning long.

For any active person, especially college students, this is a different discipline. One side affect of fasting is that every time there is a hunger pang it should be reminder that as the body needs food our spirit need renewing. Hence it is a reminder to refocus on God and pray. It is also a discipline in controlling our bodies.

At a given time shortly after noon an air horn was sounded and vans went out to pick them up.

Before they were to leave their circle each person was encouraged to go outside the circle of stones and find a special stone to be used to symbolize something in their life of which they need to be forgiven and renewal begun with the Lord. The stone was to be left in the circle as a symbol of leaving a bad habit or life-style impropriety (sin) behind with the Lord and starting over —- renewed.

For many that was a first, a severe discipline.

Leaders have to be disciplined. Being a Christian leader requires discipline and dedication.

The apostle Paul wrote of disciplining his body and keeping it under control. Our word is self-control. In a society of “me first” and “looking out for number one” where any appetite is to be indulged this was meaningful training.

We all train our bodies. Some train their body to indulge itself. They exercise little or no self-control.

A well self-disciplined life is a productive life. Devise your own equivalent of the circle of stones and begin self-discipline by spending time alone with God —- renewed.