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Take Your Kids To Camp

May 22, 2023, 9:00 AM

Take Your Kids to Camp!

This month’s article is very near and dear to my heart. Some of the greatest and closest experiences with the Lord occur during and after challenging and horrible circumstances, but they also occur during times when we willfully retreat from the chaos of everyday life and marinade in His presence! I am talking about camp! There is nothing like unplugging from the maze of societal inputs, those things striving to simply make consumers out of us and making our way out to the river to focus on our calling. God has set us apart through redemption, and we must regularly go back to that place and allow Him to influence our hearts and minds. As I write this article, I am confronted with thoughts relating to Associational Children’s Camp and all the work that goes into preparing for the thousands of children and adults that will be impacted by the Gospel this year. So, what are the benefits of taking and sending your kids and grandkids to camp?

“Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. But the boat was already over a mile from land, battered by the waves, because the wind was against them. Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost!’ they said and cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. ‘Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s You,’ Peter answered Him, ‘command me to come to You on the water.’ ‘Come!’ He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’ When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, ‘Truly You are the Son of God!’” – Matthew 14:22-33

Life is often about facing our fears. So, what keeps us from taking the risk? How do we overcome those fears? What do we do when we doubt that the new chapter of life which God is writing for us, is for us? How do we remain focused amid the distractions? Peter answers those questions as he jumps out of a boat and does the amazing. He walks on water. When the disciples first see Jesus coming, they mistake Him for a ghost. They have spent the whole night afraid the storm would drown them, and now a ghost shows up.

1. Camp is a great place for disillusionments to be dispelled. Things were going from bad, to worse, to stupid. Have you ever noticed that we make the problems of life worse in our heads than they really are in reality? As men, women, boys, and girls, we are masters choosing to worry over trust. Well, the disciples fill in the blanks, and upon seeing a figure walking on the water toward them, they assume that it must be a ghost. Often times we make our fears greater than they are. But how do we handle real fears? We must know the person of Jesus. At camp, we become more familiar with Jesus and increase the odds of knowing Him in the deepest most personal sense. Only through a personal relationship with Him will we be able to recognize Him…including as Savior.

2. Camp is a great place for distractions to be defeated.  Peter leaves the boat when he knows that it is Jesus on the water and not a ghost, and for a little while he walks on the water. He does it. Peter does the impossible! But then things change. Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused upon the storm. When Peter got out of the boat he was focused on Jesus, he was focused on the source of his power. Then Peter shifted his focus, the source of his power, to the problems which surrounded him. We all sink when distracted from Jesus, our source of power. The obvious distractions were the booming thunder, cracking lightning, whipping wind, and pounding waves. There’s a storm going on around Peter, it’s easy to see why he gets distracted. He’s afraid. Just a few moments ago he was hiding in the boat from the storm, now he is exposed in the middle of the storm. Often times when we get scared by things that look like they will overtake us, we turn from Jesus, the source of our power and peace, to focus on the storm. When we choose to focus on the problems rather than the power, we sacrifice our connection with Jesus. Jesus is a power greater than the problems we face. John writes in I John 4:4, “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” If we focus on the problems, then we will lose sight of the one greater than anything. We can also get distracted by subtle things. The problem is we oftentimes get too busy for Jesus. We do not need to get busy doing good things, we need to get busy doing the things Christ has for us to do. Taking or sending yourself or others to camp may be the most important thing you do all year.

3. Camp is a great place for doubt to be destroyed. When Peter got into the boat, the disciples worshiped Jesus. But this time the worship was different. Earlier in Matthew Chapter 8, the disciples are in the boat when a storm comes up. The storm is so bad that they think they will die. Sound familiar? Only instead of walking on the water, Jesus is asleep in the boat. The disciples wake Jesus and He speaks to the winds and the waves and the storm calms. The disciples look at one another and in Matthew 8:27 they say, “What kind of man is this? – even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Compare that with what they confess here. Now they say that Jesus is the Son of God. How did they get from “What kind of man is this?” to “You are the Son of God?” Something about the whole experience opened their eyes to the power and ability of Jesus. Before this encounter, Jesus was just an amazing man, but now the disciples saw Him as the Messiah and Son of God. Not only must Christ be our first choice, but He must also become our only choice.

Jesus may not come when you want, do what you want, or follow your every direction. But Jesus does care. He is all-powerful and He will help! But you will not experience Him this Summer at camp IF YOU DO NOT GO. One last thing. Notice that the storms do not calm down until Jesus gets into the boat. The whole experience with Peter walking on the water happened while the storm raged. Sometimes Jesus does not remove the problems of life, but He shows up and walks with you through them. That’s where trust and faith come in. Our life is built on Jesus and Him alone, not Jesus and something else, or Christ and someone else. When we realize that all we need is Jesus, we will trust Him. It will not matter if the storms rage, or the lightning flashes. All that will matter to us is that we have Jesus. Turn off the nonsense. Rather than competing with all those things that challenge or pull us away from our relationship with God this Summer, get to camp and focus on Him…and listen. 



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