Thursday, June 26, 2014

After Camp Study- BE JOYFUL

This week at WNW we continued the After Camp series "BE" as we looked at the subject "BE JOYFUL."  We began playing a new game outside we recently purchased called Kanjam which is a team game with frisbees and goals.  We then enjoyed some food and then began our study.  We opened with several discussion questions to get everyone talking.  We discussed subjects from your dream car to how God is still impacting us from our Mfuge camp.  Then we discussed the difference between happiness and joy.  We concluded that happiness is a circumstantial emotion while joy is contentment in Christ.  We looked at 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  We usually see these verses as three separate commands: rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all things.  However they are intended to be intertwined as we seek Jesus daily.  As we spend time with Him, growing closer to Him daily, it becomes natural to be full of joy.  We discussed how even in dark and bleak circumstances we be joyful because we know that Christ is our only hope in life.  We wrapped up by handing out rubber bands to everyone and we wrote "BE JOYFUL" to wear as a bracelet to be reminded to be joyful in all circumstances.  We closed in prayer and watched the MFUGE video that I showed the church on Sunday.  We had a really great night and it was a blessing to hear the students discuss the matters on their heart.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

After Camp Study- BE THERE

This week at WNW we began the first of three after camp lessons based on the "BE" theme from MFUGE.  This week's lesson was "Be There".  We began the night with a time of fellowship and nachos.  We then split into 2 groups to play several rounds of "reverse charades" where teams had to act out what they were told while a single person from each team was the guesser.  Afterward we discussed the challenges involved and how the guessers were dependent on the ability and willingness of their team to act out accurately the clue they were given.

We then read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37.  It is a story that most are familiar with.  We discussed the story that Jesus was telling, then went back to understand why He told it by reading the verses before in Luke 10:25-29.  The expert in the law asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life.  Jesus answered by asking him the question "what is written in the law?"  He answered appropriately by sharing he is to love his neighbor.  He then asks the question "who is my neighbor?" who prompts Jesus to share the story.  The man here wanted to know what the minimal requirement of him was.  How often do we want to do the minimal possible to get by?

We then discussed in a bit more detail the story that Jesus told.  The Levite and the priest did not stop to help the man though they were the ones everyone expected to help.  They were expected to help people even if they did not want to.  We often do the same.  We discussed ways we can move from serving others out of obligation to serving out of compassion as the Samaritan did.  We read Romans 12:9-13 which mirrors what Jesus was teaching the expert of the law.  It is believed by theologians that the men in this story were returning home from their annual tenure at the temple.  In other words, they had been to their own summer camp.  They had met with God but had not put into practice the things they learned/experienced.  For some of us, we met with God at camp but maybe our lives already look just as they did before.  We passed out note cards and had the students write down Romans 12:9-10 on one side.  Afterward they turned their cards over and wrote down three things they can commit to help them keep their focus on God so they will love Him more and love others well in order to be there for them.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

MFUGE '14- Friday

Today was our last full day at camp.  I challenged the students on Thursday night to give their all and to return with no regrets.  Today's theme was "Be Bold."  We received an incredible challenge from pastor Erik Reid on the theme.  I took a lot of notes from tonight's message.  Here are a few things he said that stood out to me the most:
-Do we see Jesus as the Supreme Treasure above all other treasures
-When talking about sacrifice he said this: "We don't sacrifice anything, we receive everything."
-Many of us have chosen heaven over heal, but we haven't chosen heaven over earth
He shared the following to help fuel boldness
1) God Really is Sovereign
2) Jesus Really Knows the Danger
3) Eternity Really is at State
4) To Die Really is Gain
In our group time I challenged them that in order to be bold in their faith that they may have to give up something- particularly in friendships that have a negative impact.

This has been a really incredible year at camp.  So many great things have happened this week that it is hard to process it all into a blog post.  Thanks for the prayers and we ask that you pray for safe travels tomorrow as we return to Tennessee.  Also pray for our students to continue to grow in their walk with Jesus.

Friday, June 13, 2014

MFUGE '14- Thursday

Today was another great day for us here at MFUGE.  The theme for today was "Be Real."  The challenge from camp pastor Erik Reed tonight was for us to remove the masks that we wear and to be real with one another.  When we wear masks we rob ourselves of genuine community.  He stated that 2 things keep us from taking off our masks:  1) Gossip and 2) Lack of Grace.  He asked us to get with 2-3 people and share with one another the masks that we are struggling with and that need to be removed.  We spent some time in these small groups sharing and praying for one another.  Our group devotion time was sweet as we continued thinking about this theme.  Students shared their experiences from the day and even their burdens for people they are ministering to as well as other students in their groups.  I bragged to our students about who proud of them I am for their unity and their respect.  We had plenty of distractions tonight from those around us, but our students are reverent during worship which is a blessing.  It is also a blessing to see how unified our students are.  Unity allows us to further accomplish the will of God.  I also challenged the students during our group time not try to be someone that they are not.  I said that God created you to be the you that He created you to be.  In other words, stop trying to be someone else, but seek to be who God has called you to be.  Friday is our last day on site so please pray for boldness in us all.  Also please pray for strength and energy to finish this week well.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

MFUGE '14- Wednesday

We're at the halfway point of the week and to be honest this is where a bit of exhaustion sets in.  With that in mind I'm going to keep it brief.  Today was another great day.  We saw things go well on all of our ministry sites.  We had extended free time this evening and enjoyed spending some time out in Greenville.  The worship service and message tonight were incredible.  We were challenged today in the message and Bible study to "Be Last."  Pastor Erik closed the message with an example with buckets of water labeled "God", "Me", and "+" (everything else).  Too often we pour most of ourselves into everything else and little into God.  However in being last, we pour ourselves completely into God, hiding ourselves in Him.  As we met in our church group devotions I asked the students to share what God was speaking to them.  As several shared one thing is obvious- our students are burdened to see lost people saved.  So the question I would ask you to consider is this "How concerned are you that lost people need to be saved?"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

MFUGE '14- Tuesday

Today was our first full day of camp and first day on our ministry track sites.  After our quiet time and breakfast we made it to Morning Celebration.  Five minutes in, the fire alarm went off and so we were required to evacuate.  Thankfully there was no fire and we were able to resume shortly.  After worship and Bible study, we headed out to our sites.  When we arrived back on campus we had a bit of free time before dinner and worship.  Pastor Erik's message was solid tonight as he preached the gospel.  He challenged us to ask ourselves "are we not something that we think we are?"  He used the example of how we often think we look one way when we run, exercise, etc. but in reality we look a certain way.  Sadly many people believe that they are Christians when in reality they have never truly made Jesus their Lord.  After a closing song of worship we were dismissed to our nightly church group devotion time.  We all shared about our experiences from the day in Bible study, ministry sites, and worship.  It was exciting to hear what the students had been involved in.  I am extremely proud of all the ways that God is using them, not only in ministry and challenging those who live in this area but also those attending this camp.  Our night life activity for tonight was cancelled due to storms since it was an outside activity.  Please continue to pray for us in many ways: strength, energy, health, open hearts, removal of distractions, boldness, obedience.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

MFUGE '14- Monday

After months of planning, we left this morning for MFUGE at North Greenville University.  Greenville is a city that we have grown to love over the past few years.  We arrived around 3:00 pm and after going through the registration process it came a huge downpour.  Some of us got wet but we were able to wait it out briefly then proceed to get settled in our dorms.  The Opening Celebration was a really great time as Matt Papa led us in worship by opening with a blended version of the songs "Here For You" and "O Come Let Us Adore Him."  The camp pastor Erik Reed threw a challenge to us all about having our eyes focused this week.  We then met with our track groups to plan out our ministry efforts for the week.  We wrapped up the night with a time of group devotions where we shared about our groups and prepared our hearts for the week.  I can tell this is going to be an amazing week.  Our group is eager to serve as well as hear from God.  A few of us adults have not been placed in ministry tracks yet due to some capacity issues, but we are supposed to find out in the morning where we will be.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

WNW 6/4/14- Younite Promo Night

This week at WNW we took the opportunity to promote this year's Younite camp that will take place July 23-27.  We began the night with a time of food and fellowship.  I played a countdown timer I used from last year's Younite that has KJ-52's "Do the Bill Cosby".  We then went into a worship set that included three songs from last year's Younite:  "Burning in My Soul" (Brett Younker), "Shadows" (David Crowder Band), and "I Believe" (Jason Castro). This is the last WNW we will do music until Younite as we will do Wednesday's differently for the summer, so it was a great set to go out with.

After singing these songs, we showed this video highlighting last year's Younite.  I then talked about the history of Younite and how the vision came about to offer a mission camp serving those here where we live.  I let the students share some of their favorite memories over the years which was fun to hear.  Then I began to share about this year's theme.  We first read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 where Paul talks about his weakness.  Personally I feel weak daily.  Sometimes I think about God's calling on my life as a husband, youth pastor, etc. and I feel insufficient in my abilities.  I see here though that in my weaknesses Jesus shines through bringing glory to Himself.  His grace is sufficient and is all I need.  The only thing adequate in me is Him (2 Corinthians 3:5).  All I have to do it take hold of Him and allow Him to work in and through me.  When I do this, I will never be insufficient.  It is because of all that He is, I am able to be who I need to be and who I am called to be.  This year's Younite theme is "bcUriam" (Because YOU Are I Am).  There are so many attributes and qualities of God we can focus on but there are three will look at during this camp.  Fire is a symbol of purity/forgiveness- Because He is Forgiving, I am forgiven.  An anchor is a symbol of hope- Because He is Hope, I am hopeful.  Obviously a heart is a symbol of love- Because He is Love, I am loved.  I am so excited about what God will do in our students this week, and the impact He will have on this community through us.