Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Future Hope

For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth. By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother's womb; My praise is continually of You. I have become a marvel to many, For You are my strong refuge.
Psalms 71:5-7

I’ve tried to count the number of years that I attended camps for children and youth.  From my own years as a teen at Falls Creek Baptist Assembly in Oklahoma and then at Latham Springs Encampment and Piney Woods Encampment as a Youth Minister and Pastor camps have been a great part of my life.
It was at Falls Creek that I felt the call of God to the ministry.  I cannot dismiss the number of times I found direction and hope while in a camp setting away from all the daily distractions of life.  As I grew older I had opportunity to help other teens and children discover God in a personal and meaningful way.  I saw many children discover how they could draw strength and direction from their faith.
This week I made a trip to Brownwood and Heart of Texas Baptist Encampment where Intensity 2013 was underway with some 140+ of our teens and counselors participating.  Entering the camp I was immediately reminded of what was so special about camp.  Groups of teens were everywhere sharing in any number of activities.  It was hot.  I mean…IT WAS HOT!  And yet, they were not huddled in the air-conditioned cabins but gathering outside to share together in recreation and fellowship.  It hit me…It was the relationships!

Too many of our teens are never heard.  They seek attention through various means trying to satisfy the need for validation and identity.  At camp, every teen was somebody.  There was a true spirit in that place that everybody was somebody.  I saw youth that I know were desperately shy and oftentimes outside the normal groups being encouraged and supported by others.

Share time at camp is always a time of openness and honesty where barriers break down and voices crack as they share deep pain and fear.  The others hear them and respond with understanding and compassion. 

Worship is done with complete abandon.  Arms high and voices loud they proclaim their faith and hope in God!  They shout of His power and victory!  They grow quiet to hear the Word of God and respond in praise as souls are saved and victories are won.  They are amazing!

Camp may be the closest we get to being the church on earth I ever witness.

This week I was rather shocked to hear that the messages of the week would not be dealing with a lot of teen issues but about being a part of church.  The pastor spoke clearly about who we are as God’s children and then challenged the teens to be who they were…The Body of Christ on earth. 

Scripture to Claim:
Then I said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 1:6-8

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