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 ūüėČ

#letsgodeeper

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Names of God

At the last meeting, my fellow UTurn Junior High Leaders and I talked about the various names of God and how we could illustrate/teach about the names at youth group. We had some great discussions regarding different names and it really got me thinking into how God has been evident in my life and how each of the names attributed to Him in the Bible are still so evident and clear. Perhaps the best way for me to show what I mean is to briefly discuss a couple…

  • Yahweh Jireh: “The Lord will provide” Through everything, God provides just what we need, when we need it. He knows the plan that is best for our lives, and will provide for us accordinly, all in His timing. I keep trying to plan out my life and it never really works in the way I want…I have learned that God has a plan and I need to just be willing to go along with it and set my own agenda aside. In a way, this is why I do not have my life all mapped out and planned…sure, I have a desire to better myself and I have the motivation and drive to do so, but I am also letting God work on the roadmap of my life (I like the way that sounds…possible blog post in the future??)
  • Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Santifier” God alone can make us pure and holy, through Him we become as we were meant to be. We are all sinners…you, me, everyone. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Through Christ we are made holy once again and our sins are washed clean away.
  • Yahweh Ro’i: “The Lord my Shepherd” God guides us and protects us, much in the same way a shepherd guides and protects the flock. We are all lost sheep and Christ is seeking us all out to bring us back together in His flock. Whenever I get off track, I feel the gentle prodding my my Shepherd…getting me back on track.
  • Jehovah Nissi: “The Lord my Banner” Jesus is our rallying point, the firgure that we, as Christians, gather around and are united under. I will rally around the banner that is Christ…it is above any nation or government and is my first allegency.
  • King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

There are so many names in the Bible used to describe the attributes or characteristics of God. It is a topic worth studying and deserves so much more justice than a simple blog post can provide. We are covering some the various names of God during Wednesday evening services with the junior highers. If you should feel so inclided, please pray that God gives us the words to say so that the junior highers understand just how great and mighty God really is, in all aspects of life.

Names of God

Above are the various names of God...which do you feel the most drawn to, the most powerful or the most inspiring? All thoughts welcome!

Winter Camp ’12

Winter Camp '12

EFC Junior High UTurn Winter Camp '12

Well, just got back from an awesome weekend with my youth group! It was our annual Winter Camp and it was great to say the least. We covered nearly the entire book of James in just under 48, it was awesome! We divided the book into different sections and used different tools to teach the book to the junior highers.¬†The weekend was full of good teachings, informative workshops, morning devotionals and great messages. It was so great to be able to come together and talk about Jesus…and everything He has done and will do for us. Some of the junior highers really opened up with several of them recommitting their lives to Christ and one even stepping out in faith for the first time.¬†

We also had a blast just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. I mean, hanging out with junior highers is never boring! From sledding to games to hours spent playing football in the snow it was all so much fun. It was great to get to better know the students and leaders. Now I’m back home, a little sore, but totally refreshed. Awesome weekend to be sure ūüôā

I think what hit close to home for me, was the no matter how old we may be or how smart we think we are, God can always teach us something. We talked over the course of the weekend about being an authentic Christian, and God spoke to me as well as to the students. There were definitely great reminders during the weekend, most of which came from conversations with other leaders and from talking with the students.

Friends and Co-Leaders

So last night was awesome…I got to spend time with my fellow youth group leaders. We’re all leaders with the junior high youth group at our church, Eastside Foursquare. While we do get to see each other each week during youth group, it’s always so great to have a chance to be in community together outside of being at church. Each month we meet at our youth pastor’s apartment, have dinner, plan for upcoming weeks/months and all sorts of stuff. It’s typically a few hours of a good mix of fun and seriousness as we work together. Last night was our Christmas meeting and it was wonderful! We had a delicious dinner and spent some time just chatting. Then we jumped into brainstorming topics for the new year as well as continued planning for our Winter Camp in January. (We’re spending the entire weekend on the book of James) After we covered the business end of things, we¬†enjoyed some Christmas fun. We exchanged gifts, played games and just enjoyed the chance to hang out with each other. It was great!

I feel so blessed to be a part of this group and am so thankful for each of the leaders. When I moved home after camp, I prayed that God would open an opportunity for me to get involved with youth ministries, if that was His will for me. Literally the next day I talked to one of the youth pastors at my church and she asked if I wanted to help out with the youth group. I’ve now been involved with the junior high youth group for most of the school year and it’s been great. It took me a little while to get accustomed to it, mainly cause it’s a different area of ministry than¬†I am used to, but I am so thankful I decided to stay with it. I’ve been co-leading the 8th grade guys, and while they are a challenge at times, it’s been very rewarding. I enjoy helping out with different aspects of Wednesday services and working alongside a great group of individuals. While each of us come from different areas and experiences, we all have something to give and make the youth group better for everyone…1 Corinthians 12, anyone?

It’s been a great experience so far and I look forward to more great times to come! Please keep our youth group, students and leaders in your prayers.