Great I Am

When I was with my church at camp a couple weeks ago, I was introduced to a new worship song. I know it has been around for a couple years, but it was the first time I remember hearing it. Since camp, it has become one of my all time favorite songs. It is a little bit funny though, no matter what artist I hear cover it, I still picture our band at camp playing together and the students worshiping as one. Such a powerful song!

Hallelujah, holy, holy
God Almighty, the great I AM
Who is worthy, none beside Thee
God Almighty, the great I AM

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Let’s Go Deeper…Camp 2013

Just a couple days ago I got back from an amazing week. I recently started going to a new church (more on that later, but it is a great place!) and was able to go to camp with the students. I was unsure I would be able to get five days off of work since it is our busy season, so I put it in God’s hands…well, long story short I got the time off and was able to go!

Our church rented a large group campsite at Alder Lake, near Mount Rainier here in Washington. Unlike most church groups who go to an established camp with cabins and the like, our church does everything on our own. We met up a few days before camp to load a U-Haul with tents, grills, refrigerators, bleachers and the like. Then we met up at the church on Monday, loaded into cars and bus, and headed south.

So there we were, 100 students and leaders at a giant camp group site with a week before us…and let me tell you, it was awesome! The week was full, we went non-stop, the way camp should be. From group games (geezerball, capture the flag, four-way volleyball, etc…) to afternoon activities (swim time at the beach, canoeing, inter-tubing/powerboats, rock jumping, etc…) the days were packed. The best thing was, there was still so much more to the day than that.

While the activities and games were a large part of camp, perhaps the most impactful times were when we were gathered as a group listening to testimonies, worshiping together, and learning from our lead pastor about how to go deeper in areas of commitment, love and more. It can often be difficult to put into words times like these. The best way I can put it: God moved. One of the students put it best, he said, “The Holy Spirit was there and was moving during worship.” Students and leaders alike felt God there, each experiencing something different but equally special.

For the week I was a counselor for 7th and 8th grade boys. I shared a tent with 5 guys and we spent the day doing activities and having good conversations. It is slightly ironic, but for the two summers I worked at a camp, I was never a counselor. Heading into the week I was a bit nervous to be in this role, but my nerves were quickly dissipated. The guys were lots of fun and full of energy. We had good conversations, random/goofy conversations and everything in between.

Now that I have been back for a couple days, I have had time to reflect about my time at Alder Lake with North View Church. It has been difficult to answer people when they ask “How was camping?” I guess the best answer would be that it was amazing. For me, I now know many of the students, leaders and parents from North View, the church I have decided to start attending on a regular basis. Not only that, but God did speak to me and I now desire to know Him more…but most of that I am keeping for myself, for now.

In short, it was an amazing week. Students came to Christ and many others recommitted their lives to Him. We had lots of fun with games, activities and skits. I made new friends and had a great week. I look forward to more great times ahead with these people.

Pictures to come…eventually 😉

#letsgodeeper

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Encouragement from the Park

So for part of today at Camp, I spent some of my time at the Island Lake Skate Park. During the school year the park is open to the public, as a ministry, on Wednesday afternoons. As it turned out, today we did not have the staff needed to cover it so I went out there to hang out with the skaters…and what I witnessed surprised me.

Here were 10-20 middle school and high school boys who like to skate, and that is there reason for come to Camp. From what I could tell, many of these boys did not know each other previously, have varying morals/ideals that are important to them and only come to Island Lake to skate.

During my time at the skate park, I ended up being encouraged by much of their behaving as they went around the park, trying new tricks, laughing and most of all-encouraging each other in everything. With every trick performed, even if failed, was greeted with encouraging words from the other skaters. If a random bunch of high school-aged guys can encourage each other through skating, then we should be able to encourage each other through everything we do.

I urge you to learn a lesson from the skaters…look for ways to encourage each other through everything!

Labor-less Labor Day

I must say… I love three day weekends! And this past weekend was no exception…go Labor Day Weekend 2012….let me tell you about it.

So, as good as the weekend turned out being, it did not start off well. I left work early on Friday due to being at my hours for the week, and because I was not feeling well at all. I got home and slept, woke up to eat, and slept some more.Saturday was a mix of sleeping, watching tv/movies, and playing Call of Duty. Saturday was a bit bitter/sweet because my buddy Evan hit the road to head home to Montana. He has been living with me all summer and is off to get himself married next Saturday (you can bet on a post about it).

But then I woke up on Sunday and felt so much better! Sunday was basically a family day, the first in a while! All three of us had the day off and we decided to go to the fair. We spent a good part of the day at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe. We saw animals, booths, various displays, a lumberjack show and more. It has been a while since we have been to the fair so it was really nice to be back and have time to cruise all around. And as it usually is with the fair, we ate too much…but it was all so tasty! After the fair is was back home for a nap then I headed over to Amanda and Robert’s for pizza, fun conversations and Madden ’13 (it’s awesomeeee).

Monday was the true adventure day, however. After visiting one of my friends who just had surgery, I met up with Bryan and our adventure began! We jumped on the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry and cruised over across the water. After grabbing a quick lunch we made it to our destination: Island Lake Camp! Yes, the very same that I used to work at and is so near/dear to my heart. There were not too many staff members still there so late in the summer but it was fun to see the staff that were there. I was especially glad to see my buddy Joel (who you know by a previous post is going to India soon). Byran and I spent time walking all over camp, and it was fun being able to tell him all about it and about some of my fond memories from Camp. We also decided to take a short trip to Miracle Ranch and I was able to see a couple friends there too before getting the ferry back home.

So, there is the basics of my weekend. It may not seem like much to you, but I greatly enjoyed it! It was three days full of a little bit of everything: laziness, adventure, travel, hanging out with friends, and reliving great memories. All in all, a very good Labor Day Weekend…relaxing and rejuvenating.

We Are The Free!

So. Amazing! I want to see this song and the power of the words filling youth groups, camps and churches across the nation and world!

We are truly the forgiven and freedom generation! Let’s join together and spread the fire that is in our hearts…our fire for Christ will never fade away and we will always give the glory to Him who is above all. Let’s rise up into to world He created and spread the good news! You, no matter your age, are part of the Freedom Generation…LIVE IT!

We are the free, the freedom generation
Singing of mercy
You are the One who set us all in motion
Yours is the glory
There’s a fire in our hearts and it burns for You
It’s never gonna fade away
We are the free, and Yours is the glory

Creation Fest & Mud Run 2012

Well, I have been looking forward to this moment for a while now. It is the eve before I head out for what will be a great weekend, I already know it! For the first time ever, I am able to go to Creation Fest here in the Northwest! In case you do not know, Creation is a yearly music event…four days of music with some of the biggest names in Christian music today, plus countless other groups. While I will only be there for one day, I am so very excited! To be surrounded by believers all day, while worshiping and enjoying being with each other and having a fun time…it is hard to find the words to describe an opportunity like this, but I am pumped!

Then, on Saturday I get to take part in another great event, the 5 K Mud Run, sponsored by World Concern and taking place at Island Lake Camp. It’ll be 5K of mud and run, all while raising money to help bring clean water to those in need around the globe. PLUS, it is being held at the camp I used to work at so I will be able to see some of my friends too. Needless to say, it is going to be a busy but great Friday and Saturday…of that I am certain!

Here is the promo for Creation Fest 2012:

And the promo for the 5K Mud Run (my friends in a promo video= so cool!)

The next couple days will be great, but are not completely free of worry. Please join me in praying over both events…prayers for safety, hearts to be changed and new memories to be formed. I know God is going to do great things in Washington this weekend…and I cannot wait to tell you more about it when I return!

Until then, in case I do not see you…good afternoon, good evening and good night! Stay classy 🙂

To Camp. From Me.

 Recently I was doing my evening devotions and I started reading Philippians for what may be the first time, at least in a long time. As I started reading through the first chapter, the following set of verses really stood out to me. You see, I have lately been really missing my friends at Camp and truly wish I was working there again this summer…there is no place I would rather be in the entire world…but I am working to stay true to the path God has placed before me.

Nonetheless, I think about Camp constantly and spent time in prayer for my Camp family and friends, as well as all their efforts with various groups and campers.

As I was thinking about Camp, I came across this verse. It fits what I wish I could say to everyone at Camp. Philippians, a letter in the New Testament, was written by Paul to the church in Philippi. He was imprissoned at the time and could not be with them, so he turned to writing to them in words of encouragement and thankfulness. I may not be in prisson (don’t worry, mom, I’m fine), it almost feels like it-just because I am separated from them. So I too turn to words of thankfulness and encouragement, turning to the words penned by such a great man so many years ago. How true his words still hold.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completionuntil the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testifyhow I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousnessthat comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

To Camp: Keep up the hard work! I know it can be difficult and tiring sometimes, but I have full faith that you will prevail. I wish you all the best and look forward to when I see you again! You just never know when I may turn up….

Staff prayer at camp….how I wish that was happening right now. Know that it happens in my heart and mind.