Beach Retreat & Text Messaging During a Sermon

04 Sep

Yesterday night (Sunday) I spoke at our beach retreat. Jenni, the boys, and a few of our youth went to the beach with our friends at Victory Worship Center in Americus. I talked on eating the Book (the Bible), a message that I preached in at Cornerstone Church in July. (You can hear the July sermon on our website at

I tried something different during the message. I asked the youth and adults to text me with feedback using their cell phones. I asked for feedback regarding the Scriptures, the message or me. I told them to text me with comments, questions or observations. I thought it was a great way to use a youth-friendly communication tool to allow them to interact with the message I preached.Here are the notes from my talk:

Eat This Book
Revelation 10:1,8-10

Revelation 10:1 ESV Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.

[8] Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” [9] So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” [10] And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.

The angel = Jesus
The scroll = the Bible

We are called not only to read the Bible, but to eat it.
1) It is a sacred book.
2) It is God’s story.
3) It is written to y’all. (eat in community)
4) It is for your transformation.

I received 18 text messages during my 30 minute talk. The time and message is in bold. I did withhold names from those messages that included a name. My comments are below the text messages. Obviously, I did not text back a reply to each text message. I am just now replying to their comments and questions.

10:31pm What gave you this idea?
I got the idea from Earl Creps. He taught at the Assembly of God Theological Seminary and has traveled and talked about leadership and reaching out to the next generation. He spoke at the chapel service at a Christian college and had the students text him while he was speaking. His website is

10:31 pm I think you’re a great speaker. Ive learned boatloads from you over the past year…
Thanks Sarah! I really appreciate all that you did during the retreat. You are a blessing.

10:39 pm I will remember that the 3 right answers are usually God, Jesus, or Bible.
I am glad I can help. It is funny but true. When a Bible study leader asks a question, the answer is either God, Jesus or Bible at least 50% of the time!

10:40 pm You did this in church not too long ago.
I preached a longer version of this message on July 2nd at Cornerstone. You can hear the longer vision on our website at If you have an iPod, you can subscribe to our podcast on the website too!

10:43 pm I should eat and read instead of just reading it.
Yep. Reading is to download information. Eating is for living. Eat away!

10:46 pm I took the little scroll from the angels nad and at it. It tasted is sweet as honey in my mouth but when I had eaten it my stomach turned sour. THIS VERSE MADE ME THINK ABOUT IT BUT I WANT TO CONSUME IT TOO!
You know I failed to talk about this part of the text, but eating God’s book will at times turn your stomach sour. There are part of the Scripture that don’t make us instantly happy. It is like eating broccoli (with no cheese). It doesn’t taste so good, but it is good for you! Jesus says some things that make my stomach turn. Things like take up your cross and follow me. Cross means death. No fun, but it is good.

10:49 pm I didn’t know people died just to get the bible published in English and that makes the bible seem even more holy to me. So thanks for that information.
Yeah guys like John Huss were burned at the stake for working to translate the Bible into English. Amazing. There are people that love the Scriptures so dearly that they were willing to give their lives so that other people could “eat” it. It is a holy thing.

Read more about John Huss here:

10:51 pm I really like ‘god doesn’t have grandchildren, only sons and daughters.’
I wish I can claim that as my own idea, but that is a recycled thought. I have heard it from a number of sources. Nevertheless it is true. All teenagers must reach a point in their lives when they own their faith, when they no longer just take mom and dad’s word on it. Jesus has to become theirJesus and the Bible must become their book.

10:51 pm The little book taste good.
Yep. So eat it. Chew on it. Think about it. Talk to God about it. Digest it. Let it become a part of your life. Live it.

10:54 pm Thanks
You are welcome…

10:54 pm How do you get to a place where you wanna read the Bible after you have been a Christian a long time, and it is a chore.
Man, what a great question! I think all Christians hit a wall in reading Scripture where it doesn’t taste at all like honey. There are times when it becomes a chore for all us…me included. What I have found helpful is to read from different translations. I currently use the ESV (English Standard Version). I also recommend the NIV (New International Version), the NLT (the New Living Translation) and The Message Bible. A new translation helps to bring some freshness to Bible reading. Also, don’t get in a hurry. Take your time reading the Scripture and don’t get down on yourself if you miss a day or two– or even a week or two – in your Scripture reading.

10:55 pm The three concepts get the bible then open it and then eat it.
That is so easy, even a Caveman can do it! It works for Geico and hearing from God.

10:56 pm the message made me think about how sometimes when I don’t read or “eat” my bible I seem to be in a worse mood and fed than if I make the decision to spend time in the word
Yeah….eating changes your mood. If I eat nothing, but junk food…I get a little cranky. When I eat a healthy balanced diet ( like my mamma told me to do) I feel better…healthier. It is the same when it comes to eating God’s word. I haven’t really thought about it until I read your comment. Great observation.

10:56 pm I am going to eat some everyday
Good! Eat a way and remember to share with your friends.

10:57 pm Hey that was a great message I think u broke it down pretty good I haven’t looked at it like that before. It was good
I am glad that I was able to show you something familiar in a new way. I appreciate the encouragement.

10:58 pm Hey Mr. Derek this is my first year comin to the retreat I got saved this weekend it feels alsum. Well I know this has nothing to do with wat you said but I thought I would let you know! C ya
Dude that is alsum (awesome?)! I am happy to hear that God has saved you and I am proud that you are stepping out and telling people. Here is a few helpful suggestions to keep your passion for Jesus:

1) Get a Bible for yourself and eat it
2) Talk to God regularly…not just when you want to ask him for stuff
3) Hang out with other Christians particularly at Church and with the youth group
4) Don’t be ashamed to tell other people that you are now a follower of Jesus. Some people may laugh or ignore you, but most will respect you.

In all I got 18 messages over 30 minutes. It was great to read all this great feedback. Y’all are great!


Posted by on September 4, 2007 in Ministry



5 responses to “Beach Retreat & Text Messaging During a Sermon

  1. Jeff Vreeland

    September 6, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Great Idea!

    Where you reading these during the sermon? Or just all of them after you were done?

  2. Derek Vreeland

    September 6, 2007 at 1:57 am

    I didn’t read the messages until after the sermon. I told the group that I would reply to the messages on my blog.

    If time allowed I would have read the txt mgs out loud at the end of my talk and answered them right there and then.


  3. Jeff Vreeland

    September 6, 2007 at 10:07 am

    As I told you earlier – you should really think about doing it once a Sunday during your sermon – would be an awesome way to explore new technologies.

  4. Anonymous

    September 8, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Great idea! problem is as long as aname is attached the comments will always be positive. I learned this the hard way in business.
    I will look in your archives, qm really wanting to hear that serman, I must have missed it somehow.

  5. Anonymous

    September 9, 2007 at 5:41 am

    My name is Fred Flintstone to the above Anonymous statement.


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