This past week our church enjoyed a week at our church youth encampment. While it is true that we endured the heat, some bumps, scratches, bruises, and some bee stings – there were many things that we were blessed by. Let me elaborate.
Often while you are at church camp, you are apt to get caught up with the “busyness” of the week such that if you aren’t careful you will fail to [see] all of the blessings that the Lord affords us. Let me name a few. We were blessed with ~75 full time campers. We were blessed by the cooperation of our youth and their willingness to participate in the activities – including helping out during kitchen cleanup. Our youth were actively involved in the Scripture memorization, reciting the Ten Commandments / the Books of the Bible / the “Roman Road”, even taking notes when the respective preachers were preaching. All of our teachers were impressed by the participation of their respective students – and some of the adults who normally are the “students” were able to assist the teachers in the classes. We were uplifted through the songs that were rendered (both congregational and specials) and we were fed by God’s Word through the messages and devotionals. There were no televisions or radios to “keep up with the world”; even most of the cell phones had “limited service”. But there was time for Christian fellowship, study and meditation upon God’s Word.
One of the greatest blessings, though, was that our focus was truly on “spiritual” things – the study of God’s Word, sharing God’s Word, and life application – such that lost souls would receive Christ as their Savior, and saved souls would strengthen and/or renew their walk with the Lord. Our theme for the week was “The Choices You Make, The Paths That You Take“. The theme was reinforced through the preaching and teaching – and greatly through the team building and competition. It was pointed out that the most important “book” one could ever read was the Bible – and it was especially a wonderful blessing to see the campers huddled around a table working together to learn the Scriptures. The youngest campers were also challenged to memorize Scriptures and they did well in reciting the Scriptures.
It was often stated during the week, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [Romans 3:23],” “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Romans 6:23],” “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:8],” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. [Romans 10:13],” “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. [Romans 10:9-10].” It was a blessing to hear most of the campers recite these Scriptures. It was also a blessing to hear several of the campers share their testimonies.
There were two campers who made professions of faith during the week, and there were several who were under conviction and they were asking questions. For these, we were reminded that our role was to plant and water the Gospel seeds – and it is the Lord who provides the increase. There were also several who gave indication that they were rededicating their lives unto the Lord and that they were seeking the Lord’s direction for their lives. We must continue to pray for all of these – in that the lost will receive Christ, and the saved will allow the Lord’s Spirit and His Word to guide them in their journey of service unto the Lord. It was also stated that the two most important questions one could ask are: 1) What must I do to be saved? Answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”; 2) Lord, what would you have me to do? Answer: “Here am I; send me.” Yes, our time at camp was truly a blessing and you missed a blessing by not attending. Why not begin making plans now to go with us to camp next year?