Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I spent the last week with the youth group from my church at the Ultimate Youth Camp. It was my eighth year going but my first year as a leader- so it was quite a different experience. I've always enjoyed camp- the intimate worship, hanging out with my friends for a week away from responsibilities, work and school, the crazy rec games and getting to play dress up for the different theme nights. It's such a fun week, the best part always being the way God changes lives from the inside out (we had nine people get baptized this year!!).

I've often questioned why it is that God's presence is so strongly felt at events such as these. The same people who could care less about worship on regular Wednesday nights or Sunday mornings have encounters with God that bring them to tears at camp. Why is that we seem to only allow God to change our hearts at these big events?

I think there are lots of reasons that contribute. The amount of prayer that camp is covered in from the rest of the church is incredible and makes a huge difference on the outcome of the week. Also, at camp we are pulled away from all the distractions of our every day lives.

While these are important factors, I believe one of the biggest reasons that encounters with the Lord seem to be so much stronger at camp-type events is because of our expectations. Camp is supposed to bring us to a "spiritual high" it is expected to be a "mountain-top" experience. Although this expectation can get us into trouble by causing us to try to recreate what we've experienced in the past or force an emotional encounter, it also allows us to be open to God moving in our hearts. On Sunday mornings, few people prepare their hearts beforehand for God to move. We expect to sit through service, sing a couple songs, maybe learn a thing or two from the message, pray and go home. We aren't near as open to God speaking to us, especially not in a way that would shake our world.

On the second to last day of camp, a student came to me and said "I can't wait til camp next year, I just love it so much..." Camp is a great time- it's a lot of fun and a place where it is easy to be a Christian, which can be a relief from "real" life pulling us to be in love with the world. But we can't live camp to camp or mission trip to mission trip. We need to expect God to move in our every day life. We need to prepare our hearts to hear from on a regular basis, not once or twice a year. The same spirit that moves on the usually emotionally charged Thursday night at camp lives inside of us constantly, we need to expect Him to move all the time.

love you all!!


At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen....let us all live our ives as if we are "at camp" everyday of our lives expecting something great every day. Thank you for writing.

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keen and valuable insight Whit! Thanks for writing! \o/

At 11:21 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

I agree. He is always at work both in and around us. However, I'm grateful that He allows times of special celebration and concentration as well. I think that's even a biblical concept--a time of coming apart, of asking Him to refocus our minds and hearts.

Praying for Brent, Deanna, Lauren and all the teams, departing at various times tomorrow--to the nations!

with tender love
and prayers in pink,


At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think if we expected "the High" like in camp on a daily basis we would get it? Or would "the High" become commonplace? Just food for thought...

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