One Extreme to Another...

This morning it hit me that I've been gone more the past two months than I've been home. Out of the past 57 days, I've been gone 30 of them (or more). Now granted, not all were ministry related, some were family vacation. But let me tell you this, some things I looked forward to, others I didn't. As a matter of fact, I was really looking forward to vacation, but seriously dreading church camp. However, after it was all said and done, I enjoyed church camp way more.

You see, Sherri and I took a cruise to the Caribbean in early May. Oh the vacation was fabulous and it was nice to let our hair down. However, as fun as it was, there were aspects that we simply did not enjoy because we do not surround ourselves with such things. Not because we look down on those who do, but because we simply do not want to surround ourselves with the temptation; it is far too great for us to withstand. We love to cruise, but we will be looking for healthier options for cruising and vacationing.

With that said, I was not looking forward to camp season. 3 weeks, super hot, and kids everywhere. In my own opinion, I teach adults better; I simply have trouble relating a message to kids. In fact, my own children echo this. It was out of my comfort zone to say the least. But first came the High School kids. Wow. What a surprise that was. So many of those kids have a solid faith under them. Not only that, but it was refreshing to see them growing closer to God through the camp. That week I led family groups and played sports I hadn't played in a long time. It was so much fun.

The next week was 3rd - 6th grade, which I was the main speaker for. This is what I was so nervous about. Would the message that I was trying to convey get across to a bunch of tweens? Well, as much as I lacked confidence in myself, I knew God would use me to speak to them, in spite of my weakness in teaching younger children. Once again, God moved in mighty ways. Kids were working through tough situations, letting go of hurt, pain and anger, and simply opening up to God's lead. God showed up immensely.

Then came Junior High week. The week everyone was the most exhausted. The week that could be the most difficult simply because of the age of the kids. Sunday and Monday had no shortage of difficulty. There were some major obstacles blocking God's movement in that camp. We're talking major spiritual battles. Many of us leaders felt it, especially in one of the campers. That's when we enlisted the help of the prayer warriors in our home churches. That's when the team came together in prayer at camp to break the walls down. God came through Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Between the main camp speaker, the teachers in the morning and the testimonies at campfire, God moved those walls. By the time Thursday night came, only a handful of kids didn't get up from their seat for prayer. Even then, I could see those still in the pews wrestling in prayer. God came through, like He always does.

From one extreme to the other, it's been a roller coaster of emotions the past 2 months. As much as I loved the cruise; as much fun as I had relaxing and letting my hair down, I had more fun working my behind off for 3 weeks at camp. I enjoyed seeing the next generation of Christians forming in their walk before my very eyes. I am still saddened for the future of what our country holds for my fellow Christians and I as time moves on. I dislike the fact that our camp has been smaller in recent years. However, what I do like? The fact that the quality of those kids in our churches is heads and tails above what it has been. We are no longer raising lukewarm kids. They are serious about their faith. Yes they struggle. Yes they can get lukewarm at times. But they're committed. They're serious. And God is preserving a remnant in the children we see before our eyes in our churches. Invest in the kids. Disciple them. Pour the faith, grace, mercy and hope into them as God has poured it into you. Don't lament over lack of numbers. Rejoice in the quality of those present.

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