Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Anonymous- here ya go

I am not sure who the writer was, but they have been waiting for me to write another post.

Roughly four days ago, we got back from our camp with Student Life; I want to start off talking about why I recommend this camp before telling about my thoughts over the week.

1) Truth. The camp is about truth. The Bible studies even to you through out the week are not some feel good lessons about people today that you should look up. No. Their lessons are based solely on scripture and the men and women who are just like you that follow the will of God.

2) Seclusion. We see our ECHO))) group every Wednesday and Sunday (Night), but here we have them for 5 days. Night, day, us, them, Bible, worship, truth. The setting of the sole purpose to worship God is rejuvenating and an experience that is never forgotten.

3) Staff. The people that work for SL are awake with the Holy Spirit. The students that are working for them care about what SL stands for. Graham Hill is a wonderful Camp Director that thrives to not only help the Family Group Leaders teach a Bible driven message in Bible Studies, but a wonderful peer to youth pastors (more on this later). We have had the pleasure of having Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin as speaker and worship leader... need I say more. I will also say that I am a fan of the founder of SL, Randy Hall. Reson and I had the pleasure of meeting him this year at the Youth Summit. It was great getting to tell him how much we appreciated the work he has put into a ministry we believe in. He loves Christ!

4) Statement. They have a strong mission in Student Life and that is "Helping Teenagers KNOW CHRIST through HIS WORD." It's not about the gimmicks or what they can sell. No. It's about the Word of God and making sure our youth are learning it, are understanding it, and are living it.

5) Missions. They are HUGE supporters of Compassion International. They believe in it. They don't make money off supporting this wonderful mission, but they know CI does what they say they will do. They help those in poverty gain hope; they help the widows; they support the orphans. Really, I can't think of a better mission to support. (More on this later) By the way... have you sponsored your CI child yet? It will change you!

So, those are my plugs for Student Life.

Oh wait there is one more:

7) Community. They believe in other camps. They want other camps to thrive. On our last day of camp Graham led us in prayer for the two other camps that would be in the same building we were in. Our chair would soon be taken by other students that needed awakening, and we prayed for them! How awesome is that?! It's not about what SL is doing. It's about what the Holy Spirit, God our Father is doing. How awesome is that?!

Well, now I'm done with that, but there is a warning what I will say changed in my heart over this week may just be a big gigantic plug because really God is blessing this ministry.

Day 1: 
“Worship is like breathing: you’re created to do it all the time. It’s a lifestyle”
—Joseph L. Garlington
Louie did something I had never experienced before, and it is certainly something I never want to forget.  After Chris finishes his worship through song, Louie will usually continue worship through the reading of scripture, but he didn't instead he called a prayer meeting. I'm not talking a prayer meeting were you stand/sit in a circle, hold hands, and you prayer silently to yourself while someone else leads the prayer. No...
I'm not talking about that. I'm talking Louie had over 100 teenagers that were leaders in their youth groups come down in front of 6,700 people and pray for their peers. I'm talking about students just like the ones that my husband and I teach at church. High schoolers... junior high schoolers... 12 year olds, 16 year olds, 19 year olds, falling to their knees praying out loud for the Holy Spirit to fall down on their friends and on students they have never even laid eyes. It was one of the most powerful things I have ever seen. Louie never spoke a word other than encouragement of prayer. There was a genuine rawness to these students that I am not so sure I had it (no, I'm sure I didn't). Thought I would like to think that I was, I never was THAT raw. 
This went on for the rest of the worship time as Chris continued to sing "Spirit Fall:"

It.... was.... I want to say powerful, but really it just doesn't begin to touch it. Powerful seems like a weak term when something so magnificent happened. It was God coming down, and His presence through the Holy Spirit convicting everything inside your being. Have you ever felt wrong about everything you have ever done or stood for and standing next to the one Sovereign God? This is as close as it's going to get until that judgment day happens. The audible prayers of students praying scripture back to their Maker... beyond anything I have experienced. As one of our students shared, it's a small part of what Heaven will be like. I could go on about this first Day I really could, but I know that there is nothing I can write that would make you understand this unless you were there.

Our human heart wants to be devoted to something. The Holy Spirit comes as a means to magnify the Son who lifts up His Father in praise. 

Day 2:
"The greatest moment in life is when you are spiritually alive!"
Louie Giglio
This was a day of three Bible times, and I'm sitting here thinking this will be the longest post ever! The day began with a Bible Study time with Graham for the adults. As the theme of camp being DEVOTED, we looked at men that were devoted to Christ. We aren't talking about praying before bed and each meal, and going to church on Sunday and Wednesday. We are talking men that lived in Him every moment of their existence, Saul. Back when Myspace was the place to be, I put that I wanted to meet Paul. I still do, and this day reflecting on him made it more so. The scripture was Acts 9:1-31, but I'm just going to post 1-16:
1But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" 5And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 11And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." 13But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your 14And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name."  15But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.  16For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

This is some powerful stuff. A man who killed people for believing in God in Jesus as the Son of God was now proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord. Only His will is perfect. This is a great story to really understand that only God can change the heart of man, and that we as man have no idea what His will has in store for us. I am going to say it, there is hope for those that murder (yes, this includes a mom that was found not guilty by a jury), there is hope for those that hurt others (yes, this includes a husband and wife that held a girl captive for 18 years), the hope is in Christ, and His will gives hope to those humans believe are hopeless. It's hard for us to comprehend, but if it be the will of God may He be magnified through it. Saul saw it through that Stephen was stoned to death. He was making sure that many others would die, too. Yet, through God Saul had hope, and he became a servant of the Lord and suffered for it. He was a chosen instrument of the Lord. 

Louie spoke on our conformity to the world. How we hang our worth on what our parents, friends, and strangers say about us. For that sole purpose, we are to ONLY be imitators of God. Ephesians 5:1-2, which just so happens to be ECHO))) motto.  "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."We are to imitate Him, we are to walk in love, and we are to be in the light! If you aren't awake then you CANNOT be His imitator.  In verse 14, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." He is the healer, restorer, and His is truth! Have thanksgiving, be reverent, and do not fill your time with foolishness. Surrender your life to His call!

The evening service was incredible. Louie is a fan of the universe, the stars, the galaxies. He focused on the scripture

Psalm 148

Praise the Name of the LORD
 1Praise the LORD!Praise the LORD from the heavens;
   praise him in the heights!
2Praise him, all his angels;
   praise him, all his hosts!
 3Praise him, sun and moon,
   praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
   and you waters above the heavens!
 5Let them praise the name of the LORD!
   For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
   he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
 7Praise the LORD from the earth,
   you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!
 9Mountains and all hills,
   fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!
 11Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!
 13Let them praise the name of the LORD,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
   praise for all his saints,
   for the people of Israel who are near to him.
   Praise the LORD!

So, during the service he presented us with this (from another concert, same thing):

Before we even begin our praises God hears those stars, He hears the whales of the ocean, and that's not even the millions of stars in the galaxies, or the millions of creatures and living things on the earth, and that is not even the millions of Christ followers from China, Russia, or Iraq. HOLY COW! If that doesn't stir something in your heart I don't know what to tell you, you aren't awake! His name alone will be exalted and raised in praise!

Day 3:
 "18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."

This is the beginning text of what we talked about on Day 3. However, we focused on the devotion of Peter. The disciple that denied Jesus three times even though he swore he would not. The disciple that would later get a chance to proclaim his love for Jesus three times when Jesus resurrected. The disciple that died for the one thing he believed in. The passage that got to me the most was John 21:15-19. Tears streamed down my face as I read Jesus forgiving Peter three times for his three denials. Peter saying, "Lord, you know EVERYTHING; you know that I love you" is a proclamation of Lord, you know I screwed up, but you also know I love you. Peter had faith in that, and in the end of verse 19 Jesus says, "Follow me." Peter did. He proclaimed his following at Pentecost, and to his death. Peter was devoted!

The morning service was telling of the thread that runs through the story of Christ. There are two questions to ask yourself:
1) What do you want to with you life?
2) What does God want to do with God's life?
The second question is bigger than what the first one is, and are we ready to ask that in our self centered lives. Think about it! It's not asking, "What does God want to do with your life?" NO! It's what is God's plan for His life. 
  - all people to be told the Word (Gen 12:1-3)
  - all nations will exalt Him (Ps 46:10-11)
  - all nations will worship Him (Ps 86:8-9)
  - His Son would die for all nations (John 3:16)
  - all nations be made disciples (Matt 28)
  - be witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:7)
  - all is from God- reconcile the world (2 Cor 5:18-19)
  - He would ransom every tribe, nation, all people (Rev 5:9)
He gives us a the first promise to the last praise, and He has a thread through the story of Him. He will complete the story with or with out you!!!

The story is already happening, and it takes the pressure off of us to think that we need to make one because it's not about us! God will let you have the little of story you if you want it, but it will end with "The End." He is giving us chance to be apart of the bigger story that has no ending. There are dark days in life even in God's story. Look at His Son's death!

Luke 23:26-43

The thief that recognizes Jesus as God comes to reality that Jesus did nothing wrong, and that the bigger reality is that in just a few hours he would be dead, and HE GOT IT! God revealed himself to the thief, and he did not ask Jesus for help, but instead asked for his grace and to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He knew the reality because of GOD! His worst day became his best day because he would spend eternity in Heaven with Christ. The sun failed that day as Jesus died. Jesus knows what the darkness feels like because He experienced it! The temple tore in two because that curtain that was separating us from God the Father was now torn and Jesus stands in front of us as a covering of love so that we CAN be in the presence of God.  
**God is bigger and working on this broken world.  
He may give man free choice, but He never loses control!**

Day 4:
"If you want to hear the audible voice of God, read scripture out loud." 
-Mitch Landress (but also by Graham Hill at camp)

The devoted men of Christ saw Christ, knew His direct teachings, they saw His death, and they studied the scriptures from the Old Testament. In Acts 2:42-47, The LORD added to the number of those having the revelation of God. To be devoted means living in His light! 2 Timothy 1:1-14 speaks of our suffering for God because Jesus abolished the law of man. From the flame of God we got the Holy Spirit that gives us power, love, and self control. Paul mentors Timothy and reminds him to share in suffering, guard the spirit as it was entrusted to you, and that to stay in the word. Only 8% of high schoolers raised in church stay Christians into adulthood, and the reason? Because they had mentorship like Timothy had in Paul. Suffering comes from being an instrument of Christ, and being a teacher for His story. When we follow Him we know we must guard our hearts for the enemy is ready to attack!

1) The front door of the church worship.
     - it doesn't mean a thing
     - they never worship when they're there
     - the heart and soul is somewhere else
2) The door of Jesus (Hebrews 13:15)
     - you have to come to door two, come in, and that is the real door to worhip
     - people can't worship when they don't know Christ because they feel condemned
     - we want to worship before we even get to the church
     - there is a sacrifice of praise continually *God is pleased with this sacrifice*
3) The door we leave His place and go to the world that He loves
     - we must sacrifice through not only praise, but through the works to help His people
     - take Christ out with you into the world as worship and share the love of God

Our last service of the week was about not taking our knowledge of God for granted. When we don't take action for our mistakes will leave us with the greatest regret! We need fuel to keep us working Him, we need GLEE!
In the unending ending is great sorrow because no one can revote, it is DONE, FOREVER! This is not Rob Bell's Heaven and non Hell. This is the Bible's hell. There is no revoting. There is no sorry God, I come to you now. NO! God wanted us to know how the story would end because He gave the ending for John to write. This letter was written for us. 
**Reverence is a requirement, but it does not mean silence**
Revelation 21
G - have God at the center of it all 
      - if you keep you at the center you will have no joy
      - you're there, but there is nothing to celebrate
L - have Love for the thread
      - you will not have flee if you don't have love for the world and the nations
E - Exchange the life for truth
      - Romans 1- they forsook the glory of God for their gain
      - they chose God as nothing and self for everything
      - you won't except the norm of the culture
E- Endure the suffering until the end
      - you have to overcome this because with it comes sitting with God at the throne
      - those that gave up will be and in hell

Day 5:
"Fight the Good Fight of Faith"
- The Apostle Paul
1 Timothy 6:11-16 was our final scripture for a word of endurance and encouragement in times of fighting sin and the world.

Everything that I have written here are the things that really touched me. However, there is one things that I have not mentioned and that is my change in my prayer life. Not only on the first night did I experience seeing the students pray, but each night following I went with Reson to the Youth Leaders meetings. Those meetings change my heart in a way that I was expecting. These men and women all their for the sole purpose of 1) being with God, and 2) teaching students that God is the only way was such a light of encouragement for me. All of getting on our knees every night and praying for ourselves, for our students, that God would come into the place of worship lead me to tears each night. The knowing that so many were praying for us, our youth, and everyone in that center was moving. To hear Graham say that I may work for Student Life, but even if I didn't I'm here for you! I have seen a rapid change in my prayer life, and the worship of prayer of one of great power. I am full of great thanksgiving for this change in my heart. Tomorrow, I will write about how my heart changed even more for the work that Compassion does. 

I am a month and half away from meeting our precious Smith!

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