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

1077104_10201049407174167_472253076_o

Watching and Waiting

Watching the news from all around the world…

I long for the day when the grey curtain of this world is pulled back and the splendor of heaven fills every crevice on, above and below the earth.

When it seems there is no hope, remember Christ has already won the ultimate victory.

In Him there is hope.

In Him alone. 

The Song Right Now…

This song has been on my mind and in my heart recently.

…I’m coming back to the heart of worship…

This song relates to much of what is going through my mind right now, perhaps more to be written later.

May this be my prayer in my life.

Good Friday…an account

The following is another video produced by the Skit Guys and depicts several accounts of Good Friday.

Good Friday is one of the most significant days in human history. In fact, I would say it is the second most important day in history (with Easter being the first and Christmas the third). This is the day that Christ gave Himself, His life, for us. He surrendered Himself to death on the Cross. By the end of the day, He was dead…dead for the sins of the world…for you and for me. The good news is that the story does not end there, not by far, but today it is important to sit in the power and meaning of the day, the implications this day has for all of us.

 

As you go forward into this Easter weekend, think about today…think about the sacrifice that was made for you.

Palm Sunday- Skit Version

Today is Palm Sunday, a pretty important day within the Christian faith, the day He entered into Jerusalem on a donkey, less than one week before He would die on the Cross.

The Skit Guys put together a video explaining various aspects of the day for us in a fun way with a great message! Check it out…

This week…let’s cover the road to the Cross with our hearts, our souls and our minds as we reflect on the final week of Jesus’ life. And let’s celebrate in anticipation of the return of the King of Kings.

 

Nothing Greater

What do you say to someone who feels like they’ve lost it all- over the edge with no one there to break their fall…

What do you say to someone who feels so unloved-giving themselves away a little bit every day just to be good enough…

What do you say to a hopeless soul who can’t remember their way home-and everything is out of their control…

What do you say to someone whose life is on the line and they’re unsure what happens after their last breath in time…

What do you say to someone whose built a wall you can’t break through- and it’s so hard for them to hear the truth…

Don’t lost hope, don’t let go

Don’t give up, you are not alone!

There is no valley, there is no darkness-there is no sorrow greater than the grace of Jesus.

There is no moment, there is no distance, there is no heartbreak He can’t take you through.

So before you think that you’re too lost to save, remember….

there is nothing greater than grace.

Memorable Memorial Weekend

So this past weekend is definitely one for the books. I had the privilege to be a leader with my church’s high school youth group. They had planned a Memorial Day Weekend trip to eastern Washington for white water rafting and camping. And let me tell you, it was quite the weekend to be sure! I figured I would outline the weekend, so you can better get an idea of everything that we did.

Saturday Am: Our group, consisting of approximately 40 students and leaders, met at the church at 8:30 AM. Miraculously, everyone was fairly on time, and how often does that happen? We packed up cars and trucks with tents, backs, coolers and other camping paraphernalia. After some quick instructions and prayer, it was time to hit the open road. I was one of the drivers, and my friend Kasey (also one of the youth group leaders with me) rode shotgun. We had a very enjoyable drive and spent the time talking about all sorts of different things and people. From Bothell it was straight to US 2 and up an over Steven’s Pass. We had a brief stop in Leavenworth for lunch (unfortunately no brats on this trip) before continuing our trip through Wenatchee and north to our destination: Alta Lake Camp Ground.

Saturday Afternoon: Everyone rolled into the camp group around 1:00 and we started setting up camp. With so many people helping out, it did not take long at all to get all our tents up and mock-kitchen area established. Then we were all off to enjoy the afternoon. We spent some time talking about the weekend ahead, but we all really just wanted to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather…did I mention it was 75°? A group of us went down to the lake and had a good time just relaxing on the beach. Several people went swimming, and I opted for a nap on the beach. It was such a relaxing afternoon, and definitely needed. I knew it was the start of something great and refreshing. I spent some time praying over the weekend, hoping God would move in the hearts and minds of all of us, especially the students.

Saturday Evening:  A couple of us volunteered to make dinner on Saturday, and it was lots of fun. We all worked hard to prepare a taco dinner for 40 people, and I must say that it turned out great!

Serving up dinner!

so much food!

We sat around the campsite, eating and enjoying getting to hang out with new friends. After dinner we had a great devotional time with words from our youth pastor, Dawn. She is such a great leader and speaker, and I always enjoy hearing her give a good word. After she spoke, Dawn gave us an hour for personal devotional time. This was such a key component of the weekend, and one that I had been looking forward to. A couple of us went back to the beach and enjoyed the time in God’s Word while watching the sunset and nighttime fall around us. We all reconvened at the campsite and spent time sharing and praying with each other. After that, it was time to relax around camp and just enjoy camping. Several people stayed up late around the campfire, and I spent some more quiet time at the beach…it was great to be away from distractions and have a couple hours to think, pray and write.

Lovely time on the water

Sunday Morning:  I woke up to a beautiful morning on Sunday, perfect to spend a little time with Jesus and enjoy the peaceful morning. We had a great breakfast and a devotional time focused on learning about what it means to be a disciple. After a personal devotional, it was time to get ready for the central activity of the weekend: white water rafting!! 

Braving the River:  After changing into swim wear and gathering together, we drove to meet up with the rafting company at the nearby river. They were all great and helped us get the rest of our gear together before pilling us onto a bus and heading north. Once we were at the launch site, we divided up into the different boats. My team, which just happened to be the best, consisted of myself, Caroline, Elizabeth, Dane, Kevin and Andrew and was led by our guide, Michelle. Our boat was the front runner, we launched from the beach and were soon far ahead of everyone else. From there it was 13 miles of fun. From going in huge holes, getting splashed and soaked, to just having a great time with each other. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and there was always something new to see. We worked extremely well as a team and I was so proud of each of the students. At one point, I intentionally jumped in the river and floated along the raft for a bit…while the water was super cold, it was also very refreshing…Caroline managed to pull me up, back out of the water! We had fun drifting and laughing and I know we all wished it would have kept going. When we were back in sight of our cars, I jumped out again and spent the remainder of the time floating, and sometimes walking on the bottom, from boat to boat. What a grand adventure!

Sunday Evening:  By the time we got back to camp, we were too tired to do much of anything. I went down to the lake with some of the students and enjoyed getting to hang out with them and relive various parts of the rafting trip…there were so many great stories! We had a yummy dinner once again and spent the remainder of the evening having devotional time, listening to the wise words of Pat, sharing about our lives, praying for each other, and of course eating s’mores. I slept so well that night.

Monday: We were all much slower to wake up on Monday, but we all managed it and worked together to make another great meal. After I shared the morning devotional (I talked about the importance of taking retreats and showing that even Jesus did during His ministry time) we again had individual devotional time. We worked together to clean up camp, and a group of people went for a late morning hike. I opted to relax back at camp and just enjoy the last little bit of peace and quiet. Once everyone was back we had a huge lunch, consisting of everything left over, and finished packing. My car was full once again, and Kasey and I jumped in and hit the road for home. We again talked about so many different things, mainly about the weekend and different things that had happened in both of our lives over the past three days. We hit traffic but were not worried about it, aside from the desire to visit a restroom. We met up with everyone at a pizza place in Monroe and enjoyed one last meal together. Then it was the final push to the church and ultimately to home.

 

back at church!

Now that I am back to “real life” I know I will be reflecting on my time at Alta Lake. Here are a couple personal takes-a-ways from my time on a much needed retreat:

  • Retreats are not necessarily a break from what is going on in life. Rather, it is a break from the noise of life, and an opportunity to focus on God and His plan for our lives. Retreats are a great place to turn over issues and situations to God and seek out His help and guidance.
  • People of all ages have something worth saying, just take a moment to listen and do not just discount them on account of their age. While high schoolers seem inattentive or disinterested at times, give them time to think through things and formulate thoughts, the results may just surprise you! The high schoolers on this trip were just great all around.   
  • Whitewater rafting is great.

What a trip…what a weekend…one naught to be forgot.