My guess is that if you asked 100 students in youth ministries across the nation what their favorite part of the summer is, 99 of them would say CAMP! There is something about getting away from all the noise that distracts us in our daily lives and being able to focus on those things that are really important…Faith and Friends.
I had the blessing of serving at this year’s Otter Creek Christian Camp as a staff member. My responsibilities included writing the curriculum, training staff and participating in a Book Club. It was an AMAZING year. I am constantly amazed to see how God shows up to camp. I lost count after counter over 52 weeks of camps and retreats in my youth ministry history. Over a year of my life spent at camp! What a rich, rich blessing! I have been so fortunate to witness time and time again God showing up in some of the most expected ways:
- There was one year we gave students over 3 hours of solitude time at FDC.
- The 3 hour Concert of Prayer at SEMP in Seattle and it felt like 10 minutes.
- When Lou Zamperini (of Unbroken fame)spoke to students at LDYR (both times).
- Campfires at Teen Camp.
- Counselor Devos at IMPACT Training where they SING.
- Guys Night at the GROVE.
- Watching “Invisible Children” for the first time at Wildwood Camp.
- Witnessing to people one the streets at SEMP Portland.
- Seeing student lead groups and speak at SoCal Retreat.
- Doing Shalom Circles at the Unity Retreat.
- Countless student-led devos.
Over and over, times where you don’t think anything will happen, God shows up in unexpected ways. That happened this year at OCCC. One night we had the students go on a short walk with their favorite verse from the Bible. They ended up spread out in a field where we had a time where we worshipped by hearing the Word spoken out loud. Imagine a field filled with 300 tiny lights illuminating scripture and hearing AWESOME verses being shouted out loud. The lights looked light stars that were hovering over the meadow we were sitting in, but what was more breathtaking was hearing verse after verse being spoken. It was HOLY.
It truly embodies the passage that testifies:
“For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
That night the Word of God as truly ALIVE as it was spoken, shouted, lived and experienced. I feel in many of our communities of faith the Word is a nice companion that we enjoy a marginal acquaintance with, but we do not want an intimate relationship with it. We do what we can to keep it at arm’s length. We do not really engage it or wrestle with it. It is nice if it wants to make an appearance in our lives every now and then, but don’t get too intimate.
I encourage you to ENGAGE with scripture in a new and intimate way today. Maybe its reading it out loud, listening to it with greater interest, reading it as if the very words of life come forth from it, sharing it with another through text messages, talking about it with a friend, or living it in a new way. Regardless of the way(s) you choose to encounter God’s Word today, I hope you are able to hear something new and fresh. May you experience the Living Word this week.