One Happy Camper–Thankful Thursday

happy camper

So I’m going to count this as a Thankful Thursday post even though, well, technically, it’s already Friday. But, hey, when I first sat down to begin typing, it was still Thursday. But it’s a camp week, and  I’ve just returned from watching my adopted family group at our local church camp finish up a late night swim after a great night of worship, teaching, luau-ing, and cardboard regatta boat adventures.

I  love church camp. I love it for a zillion reasons and each one of them makes me thankful for the whole church camp experience and the blessing of getting to see God up close and personal working in the lives of students of all ages. This week I was privileged to get to teach close to 70 students who will be starting their first year of high school in the fall.  Many of these students are struggling at home, in school and in the pursuit of a relationship with God in the midst of the pressures of the world. It’s often hard to process all that goes on in a week of church camp, and all the things there are to be thankful for as a week comes to a close, yet when I stop for a few minutes to do so, I know God is glorified.

For example, this week I got to see:

1) A girl who started out determined to not have fun stand before a room of people and share how her life had been changed and how she couldn’t wait to return next year.

2)  God speak to the hearts of our teaching and preaching faculty to intertwine our lessons and messages with the truth and love of God without any of us ever speaking to each other about our topics.

3)  A shy, dyslexic boy share about his constant prayer for friends being answered this week for the first time.

4) Incoming high school freshmen gain a passion and hunger for God and His Word.

5)  A team of Bible college students allowing themselves to be used by God to serve, share, play, listen, teach and learn, and do so with great humility.

6) God stir the hearts of students to give generously to help a missionary and his wife return to the states for a home visit.

7) Students praying for focus, for the spirit of God to move in the camp, and for pancakes. (Hey! Not everything is spiritual at camp!)

8)  Faculty and students singing with reckless abandon that “there’s no God like Jehovah!”

9)  A young girl share how after a Bible class, she got out her Bible and read the stories of Ruth and Boaz, David and Esther because the class made her want to know more.

10) A high school freshman ask more about attending a Bible college with a coop program because she realized she wanted to do all she could to hold on to her faith as she goes out on her own.

Ok, so that’s only ten things and not a zillion, but there’s no way I’m not going to make it to a zillion tonight! I am what we call “camp tired” and tomorrow I’ll be up early to close out our session, pack up and head home–well, after one more quick weekend session with some third graders.  But I head off to bed thankful for all God has done, all He is doing and all He will do in the lives of the students and friends I shared this week with. I’m blessed to have been part of something so special, something sacred. . .something eternal. . .something so worth it. And I get to do it all over again next summer with the next group of ninth graders, and that makes me thankful and it makes me one happy camper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Scrap This (Lessons Learned at a Scrapbook Retreat)

scrapbook lane

Below are the notes/ideas I used this past weekend at the LaMoine Christian Camp Scrapbook Retreat I had the pleasure of speaking at. Ladies, you asked for them. . .now you’ve got them. Well, at least Friday nights. (Ok, minus the naked child making brownies on the counter story!) I wil post Saturday nights notes on next week’s Mama Mia Monday. Sorry they aren’t a bit more “developed”,  (Ha! That’s a little pun, there!) but it is Light the Night week at church, and I’m working on some photo opportunities for our HiSKidZ moms!!

 

As Scrapbookers, we use our photos to preserve memories, tell our stories, and ultimately pass on a legacy… Stories of families, events, trials and triumphs which when assembled reveal much about who we are, where we have been and even where we are going.

 

I think God was the original scrapbooker. He has preserved for us memories and snapshots of himself and His children who throughout History tell a story of who He is, who we are as His people, where we have been and where we are going.

 

This weekend, I hope to take four scrapbook terms and connect them to God’s story in order for us to have a little greater insight into the awesomeness of the God we serve.

For example:  The Template!

templates

The template—God’s Word is the perfect template for our lives. Micah 6:8 says, “I have shown you oh, man, what is right. You should act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” A simple template for living.

 

Or I Thessalonians 4:11 which says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. You should mind your own business and work with your hands as we taught you too. Then your life will win the respect of outsiders.”

 

And of course, Luke 10:27 which says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

All templates for what it looks like to follow Christ, and live as His.

 

And then there’s adhesives. . .

adhesivessquares

We all know what adhesives are for. They are for sticking, attaching, adhering and keeping things in place so that what we put down on the page sticks.

 

Well, I believe God is in the adhering business as well. He would like for us to adhere to His instruction.

 

Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go and make disciples, everyone of you, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded.”

 

He didn’t just say teach them everything I have commanded, he said teach them to obey everything I have commanded.

 

James 1:22 says, “Don’t just listen to the Word, do what it says.”

 

Make it stick.

 

Deuteronomy 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

 

See what  I mean?  It sounds to me like God is in the adhering business.  Because he wants us to remember. Did you know that the word, remember, is in the Bible almost 150 times. God is all about having us remember. Remembering for our good and so we can pass on what has been given to us.

 

Even cooler than us remembering Him is that He is all about remembering us.

 

We scrapbook to preserve, and we scrapbook to pass on. We scrapbook because it helps to know who we are which helps us to live out who we are.

 

God does the same thing. He has preserved for us His words and the events and experiences of our spiritual ancestors so that we will know who He is, and He is faithful, just, caring, compassionate, a shield, defender, father and judge. . . .

 

When we make it a priority to stick these truths, His truths, into the stories of our lives, we are able to remember, and know and share who we are because we are reminded and we know in our hearts who He is and that we are His.

 

His templates show us again and again what it looks like to belong to Him, and as we choose to stick them firmly into our hearts, we live them out in our daily lives.

paper cutter

Tomorrow evening I’d like to share a bit about cropping. Now don’tcha know cropping is such a great thing!! When it’s a picture.

 

It’s also a great thing when it’s our lives, and because we can trust God’s perfect design, we can trust Him to crop just the right things out of the picture so that the very best shine through.

 

As we look forward to more of the truths of God found in scrapbooking, let’s pray about what God wants to stick onto our hearts this weekend, and ask Him to show us more clearly His template for the story of our lives.