Monday, July 28, 2014

Beach Camp Blessing

Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." 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 1:4-8

Over the past months our students have looked forward to Beach Camp in Panama City beach, Florida.  Many of them worked and saved for this very special week and the time with their friends.  As the camp approached our student ministers and some of the students would ask me if I was going.  Normally I would go down to camp for a day or so here in Texas but this was a different situation.  The thought of 15 hours on a bus and getting my daily work completed for the time I was gone pretty well canceled any consideration.  There was also the thought of hard mattresses, no sleep and noise like only teenagers can enjoy.  However, I began to see what a great opportunity this was to connect with the students and, even more, listen to them and discover the needs in their lives and their families.  I don’t know that they or I were aware of just how God was going to reveal Himself during the week.

By the time I arrived, God had already manifested His presence in a mighty way in their first worship.  Kids were saved, many sought forgiveness and others committed to lifetime service to Christ.  It was like the purpose of the camp was achieved in the first night; but it was only the beginning.  You see, one of the most difficult parts of spiritual growth is God getting our attention.  Breaking into our lives and getting us focused on our need and His desires is not easy.  After He has our attention He can begin to transform us into the image of His Son but capturing our focus is not easy.  That is why camp is so important to these students.  God gets a chance to meet with them and have a part in their lives.

Can you picture over 200 young people listening to a sermon for over an hour?  Can you imagine senior boys weeping and hugging each other in comfort and joy as they pour out their hearts to God?  How would your heart be touched to see 100 young men committing to God and each other to be Mighty Men of God like David’s men? 

As I watched and listened it was confirmed…this was where I was supposed to be.  Where else can a pastor be during the week that he can spend time with over 200 of his church?  I knew that just being a part of this had brought these students and me closer together.  They were openly confessing their pain and their desire for healing and God’s power in their lives.  Any pastor longs to hear this from his congregation regardless of their age.  Yes, I know that mountaintop experiences have to be tested in the valley.  But can we not open our hearts to receive a glimpse of the mountain to inspire us in our walk.  Bring it home students!

As I flew home I wondered if God could use these students to reveal Himself in a fresh and powerful way to their parents as well as their friends.  My thoughts went directly to Jeremiah 1:7 and God’s affirmation of Jeremiah as a youth.  There is no doubt that He can use youth  as Paul also told Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:12  May God use these young lives to challenge us to a deeper and more vibrant faith and walk.

Scripture to Claim:
For You are my hope; O Lord GOD, You are my confidence from my youth. Psalms 71:5

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