For the past couple weeks, I was in Vermont preaching at a family camp (one of my all-time favorite camps to be at!). As we celebrated the 116th anniversary of the camp’s existence, I reflected on a few of the things I learned while being there. While there were many memories and reflections, here are 7 things that first came to mind.
1. I Can Trust Jesus
Six hours before I flew to Vermont, I was in a meeting when a crazy rainstorm started. Within a few moments after it started, the street where our cars were parked began to fill with water and before we could move them, the water was above my license plate.
Wide-eyed I stood amazed at this freakish flood. By the time the meeting ended, the water had receded and when I went to check on my car, I found that over eight inches of water found its way inside the car.
Still needing to pack, I rushed over to our campus to vacuum out as much water as possible before heading home to pack. As I left Colorado and headed to Vermont on a red-eye flight, I knew there was nothing I could do for the next two weeks – entrusting the car with a friend of mine on campus to do what he could.
The entire camp was a wonderful opportunity to trust Jesus. There was nothing I could do for the car. I knew it was going to cost a bunch of money (thankfully the money I was given from the camp has been able to pay for cleanup – even that was obviously the provision of God).
Upon returning, I declared my trust in Him, knowing that even being back I was incapable of dealing with the car. I was encouraged to think if God knew the rainstorm was coming, that my car was parked where He knew a flood would be, He would be more than capable of bringing everything to a resolution.
(Note: though there are still several problems and issues we are working on, the car appears to be working okay overall. Thank you Jesus! And yes, the car is pictured above)
2. God’s Plan is Better
As a preacher traveling to another place, it is sometimes difficult to decide on what messages I should preach. I had finally decided what my plan for messages was, when an hour before my first sermon, I felt the message wasn’t right. I wrestled internally about it – not wanting to throw it out but truly wanted to preach what God wanted to say. I ended up scrapping everything I planned and went with a series of messages from Ephesians 3:14-21.
Looking back, the messages were exactly what needed to be preached. And God spoke powerfully!
No matter what I may plan, His plan is always better. I want to continually and consistently live in His plan and purpose for my life!
3. Teens Ask Tough Questions
Each morning throughout the camp, I had the opportunity and joy of preaching to 60+ teenagers. On the last day, I opened it up for a time of questions & answers. One of the things I learned is that teens are wrestling through more than I thought they did. Our world is facing tough issues, and how we as Christians should think and respond is important. I was encouraged that the teens weren’t interested in simple answers but wanted to think through large, complicated, and difficult issues.
4. God Loves Rest … and it’s good for the body
I love that God made rest. The fact our bodies need sleep is a tremendous joy. While some people take sleep a bit too far, seasons of rest and rejuvenation is actually good. One of the things I love about camps is that it often affords the opportunity to sneak in a nap (and if you have ever been involved in family/youth camps you know that naps are important).
One of my roommates and I call naps “investments.” The word “nap” sounds like a waste of time, but “investment” gives the connotation that I am doing something now with the purpose of greater gains later. If I find myself so tired I can’t focus, it is actually prudent to take a short power nap to refresh my body and mind so I can be more productive later in the day.
5. Patience is a hard, but necessary, lesson for the soul
This past Monday I spent 19 hours traveling, trying to get home. When we get stuck in traffic, our plane is delayed (again … and again), our kids won’t stop crying, or we find that the toaster doesn’t cook our pop-tart fast enough – it is an incredible opportunity for God to teach us patience. After spending nine hours in the tiny Vermont airport waiting to fly to Philadelphia then back to Denver is root for frustration and anxiety; but it actually became a wonderful time of rest, laughter, and getting caught up on emails.
The next time something happens that causes impatience and frustration to rise in your life, allow Jesus to form greater patience and humility within you.
6. Young People Still Seek Jesus
In our culture where teenagers are leaving the church in droves, I was encouraged to find dozens of teens who wanted to grow in their faith, to dive into Scripture, to not hold back in worship, and to live their lives wrapped up in intimacy with Jesus.
7. Worship as the Body of Christ is Amazing
Hundreds of people from all over the country (though mainly from New England) gathered in a little camp in Vermont to fellowship, worship, and hear the Word proclaimed. People from a variety of backgrounds, denominations, and experience – unified and worshiping Jesus. I can’t wait for Heaven!
Question: What is one thing you learned this past week? Tell us in the comment section.