The beginning of the week is always rough. This year was even more rough simply because we had so many students who had never been to camp before. It's hard to know what to expect and so most students come in maybe thinking we just swim, eat and have a little Bible study. We do these things but tend to be more focused on the Word.
The Word of God is powerful. It doesn't need us to add anything or try hard or dress it up. The Word of God is powerful enough to do all God desires to see done. We are called to preach it, read it, love it, embrace it, obey it, care for it and digest it. So really our camps are big are getting students in the Word of God and then stand back and watch as God does what only God can do. This week God did this but the beginning was slow.
We saw students struggle in groups, in actions, in simply being tired. But they labored in the Word, striving to follow and lean in to the promises of God.
Wednesday is always the tough day. But this year I begin to see a turning within hearts. Intensity picked up and focus sharpened. This gave way to an outpouring of blessings from God.
If Wednesday is Hump Day Thursday is typically a Friday type day. I mean this by saying everyone knows Thursday is the last day. It's the last competition, last service, last day to really soak in all that God has for them. The Devotions have been building up, the sermons have been sharpened. The focus was clear....Reach for God, in knowing and doing. Reach while understanding storms will still come, sin will still be present and trials will always abound. But our joy is not based on these things....our joy is based on us being "in Christ." In Christ we are victorious. Without Him the opposite of victorious is true about you. So we Reach for this joy. Not to obtain it but to enjoy it, enjoy Him, in all His glory. When we do and as we turn our hearts to His things begin to happen that only He can do.
Thursday night, during worship, a young man came down and began to pray. As I went to pray with him, this young man that has been on my heart for some time, I knew something big was going to happen. The conversation moved outside where Maxim simply said "I need God to save me." This was big!
By the time the night was over 9 other students were called by God to be saved. God had revealed Himself to these students and they confessed Him as Lord. It was emotional but more than emotional it was the fact that students were confronted by a holy God and they saw the condition of their heart and their need for Him. This caused me to become emotional....tears stained with joy.
Now the hard work begins. The build up of camp is huge and evident. But now Monday is coming. Trials are coming, temptation is coming, drama is coming, math class is coming. We must love the moments when God's grace overwhelms us to the point of tears but we must also be ready for the dry seasons and moments where suffering and the need to fight come.
To make this even better I learned today that a student was reflecting on the week and her relationship with God this morning. Once this reflection ended her heart was changed....was made new by God. She become a follower of Christ in her bedroom. No sermon, no singing, no invitation. Just a girl and a holy God. She has a new heart this evening! 11 students forever changed and another 89 people who are definitely burning brighter tonight in light of an awesome week of camp.
I must say this is nothing we could have done. God would have saved these people regardless. We are just so thankful He chose to do this great work during camp week. I am so thankful we were able to rejoice even more with the 4 people who were baptized at camp. I pray for the ones making decisions for Christ. I pray they press into discipleship and the hard work of growing. I pray I continue to fan into flame the fire that has begun in all our hearts. I pray we remember the sun when the storms come. I pray we sing loudly when everyone else is screaming. I pray we lead well. I pray that when we are in a storm we know the storm is not in me. I pray we get serious about sharing this great hope. I pray our students see the significance of spending a week together in the Word and worship of God. Things happen at camp and as we give our time to Him. I could spend a week at any other place but not during this week. There is nothing like camp week. So I pray and begin thinking towards next year.
While many students were changed this past week there remains some that are still in a mode of discovery. They may be new to hearing about Jesus and have many questions. I pray they stick with it, ask questions, seek God.
I am thankful for the many adults who gave up a week to help out. We could not have done this without them. I pray we all become greater ambassadors for Christ and His church. I am thankful for Brian being obedient to the Holy Spirit and to our two friends from Honduras (Raul & Jon) who gave up a lot to be here. They love us and we love them. I am thankful for our Pastor for investing and being there for us this week. I am most thankful for God leading, saving, and blessing.
Start planning now for (___________________) Camp 2016. This September we will kick off our new year and new theme and begin the march to summer camp 2016. Don't wait too long to get plugged in.
Thank you for allowing your student to participate. If you're student was not able to attend this year I pray you'll begin now to make plans to attend next year.
So...we come back...100 of us with a fire in our hearts and walk/relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I am sure we reached and I am sure we "grew in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Can't wait for Wednesday Night together. Praying....
First full day is in the books and God sent the heat! Thankfully it appears we drank our water and applied our sun screen, for the most part!
The first full day always brings a lot of energy and surprise. The energy is great about mid day and during our service. The surprise is when they realize they can't sleep until 11am.
Today, Wednesday, is hump Day, the day the body tries to figure out what to do in response to only getting 4 hours of sleep ahead of a full day. So we are praying for wise choices today, some rest and a full, open heart heading into tonight's service.
I am currently praying hard for our students. Praying that we all be broken and see God for all He is. We must consider if the things we are pursuing are worth so much of the time we are giving. Are we willing to see God as ultimate and then give Him the energy and time He deserves? Is God our ultimate pursuit? Does He deserve my time? Will I decide to deal with things or hurry through them in order to move on to the next thing, the thing that is easy and temporary? This is my prayer today and this week. I hope you join me in this prayer!
Today is a bit stormy but our hearts are filled having been challenged to ask some tough questions last night. I'm praying these are still fresh on our minds.
All 75 students and 24 adults have arrived at Reach Camp, checked in, gotten wet and sweaty, ate, got more sweaty and are now in their groups discussing the song of their life (the sermon for the night.)
The sermon was based on the fact that we are all singing a song...your life is telling a story....has a foundation. What is that story? There is a song of the redeemed, there is a song only the redeemed will sing. But throughout tonight students were confronted with the Gospel, shared in the breaking of bread during communion. A good first night and a good foundation from which we're hoping God will be honored and glorified and draw students to Himself.
Be praying for our first full day tomorrow!
Good morning....afternoon....evening! Hope everyone is doing good. We here at the Rock are gearing up for Reach Camp in a major way. Last night we took some time to begin preparing our hearts for an amazing week. We attempted to help them focus on the week ahead rather than waiting until next Wednesday to begin seeking God and reaching for Him. How much greater of an impact could camp have if we went in with an attitude of expectancy? What if we really believed God would meet us there and do a work only He could do? So we prayed together, read together, talked together as we begin to turn our hearts towards Reach Camp.
Attached are 3 of the 4 stations we had last night at the Rock to prepare for camp. It's always good to take inventory of our thoughts, heart, plans and direction. Also included is our prayer sheet. Things we're praying for and things we invite you to be praying with us.
If your student is attending Reach Camp make sure your balance is paid and you have all the information. These are located at the Reach Camp Page.
It's been a busy day and much of it has been given to working out our rooming situations. It seems like each year we add a couple to our total of camp but never have we seen such an increase. This is a good thing but boy does it add some wrinkles and things to work out. Rooms are a big thing and currently we are completely full. Our transportation is also at the limit so for the first time in Rock history we have officially shut down signups. We do have a waiting list for students interested. If someone drops out or space opens up we will do all we can to get you to Reach Camp 2015.
75 students signed up so far which surpasses last year by 12 students. Typically we add 2-4 students. We usually are always seeking more space to the point that we are also on a waiting list with the retreat facility to get another room. But we praise God for the faithfulness of students wanting to attend. We realize the desire for going may be different for all our students but we hope God turns all our hearts to the one true purpose of us heading to the beach.
What do we do?
At camp we immerse ourselves in the Word of God among the people of God. We don't waste any time on the schedule as we promote discipleship, fellowship, and worship at each part of the day. We strive to glorify God by leading students into His presence with the cross as the blazing center. So the schedule is packed and students, leaders too, are spent at the end of the day and week.
We start our day with devotions on the beach that we write specifically for this week and the Reach theme. We engage in worship through 2 gatherings (AM and PM). Spread among all of this we have competitions and give some free time to rest up or wear yourself out. We have great food and great leaders who all share the same desire; help students know Christ and follow Christ. This is our goal and it starts and end with God. So basically Reach Camp is about leading students to God and we attempt to create a schedule that screams this.
There is a ton of information on the Reach Camp page. We've just uploaded the Competition teams, this is the master list if you will. If your name is not on the list that means we don't have you down as going to camp. This means you need to call or email me. If your name is on the list but you are not going we need to know. Our space is so limited that every spot matters. We'd rather know before Monday, June 22.
On the Reach Camp page we also have the consents, what you need to bring list, schedule, 10 things every parent needs to know and some other tidbits. So please check it out and begin to pray for God to change hearts and open eyes to His grace and mercy through Reach Camp 2015.
So with that said, or typed, I'm closing the lid on the macbook in hopes of shutting my eyes for a bit. This is the calm before the storm.....some calm!
Good night and good morning!
Why a blog?
A great way for parents and ministry to connect and continue the conversation of what's going on at The Rock.