Aicha, Blood Bowl, Bungee Run, a Broken Bus, Snow, and Sin(?)- Just another Jr High Winter Camp

Yesterday we came back from our yearly winter camp and it was definitely an experience unlike I’ve ever had. Here’s a rundown of the weekend.

– On the way up, our bus broke down on the mountain. The radiator started leaking and water was pouring out of the back of the bus. Thankfully, we were in an area where we got cell phone reception. I called the camp up and told them we were stuck and they didn’t have a bus or van to shuttle kids up. but thankfully there was a guy there that had just dropped off a group of kids and he said he’d come down and get us. Total sovereignty of God moment there. So we unloaded our bus, waited for awhile for the bus to get down to us, and then loaded it up, and eventually got to camp 6 hours after we left church. By the way, it took us two and half hours to get home, which is a normal time.

– we get to camp late, missing the first session, but safe and sound. The next day we had two sessions. The sessions were quite odd and shallow, and even the kids noticed that. Then that night was ‘decision night’ and he went through the two sessions without mentioning the word ‘sin’. it was more of a message to have kids turn to God to get rescued from the situations they find themselves in life or from the culture around them. It was a very incomplete Gospel. I was really frustrated because a lot of kids stood up, but didn’t know why. We had one kids who sensed that his relationship with God wasn’t right, and at the end of the night asked us, “So how do you get saved?”.

the speaker gave three alter calls, one to give your life to Christ, one to ‘rededicate’ their life, and another to committ your life to service. I was joking later that he should have given an alter call for those that want to pray or evangelize more. Just keep going until you’ve made everyone in the room stand.

Russ and I talked to the speaker the next morning, and it didn’t go how we thought it would. He said that it was never his intention for it to be a salvation message. This surprised me because that’s almost what camp is all about. And then why would you give an alter call if it wasn’t your intention to preach salvation? He pointed to the logo of the camp that year, and it had words like ‘discipleship’ and ‘love’ and other words on it and he said it didn’t say anything about sin or salvation. Then I pointed to it and said, ‘It says faith!’. How do you come to faith without realizing your sin.

He said his intention was to get the kids to trust God with their lives, and I asked him how that’s possible without dealing with your sin first. He asked me how Christ dealt with the disciples. I said that was a different time and before pentacost, but that Christ still called them to repentance. He kinda rolled his eyes and said, ‘Oh…ok…’ like he was saying ‘you’re one of those dispensationalists’ or something.

The conversation finished with him saying, ‘well, we could go around in circles about this all day.’ Russ and I were a little shocked and we talked to the camp director right after and he said he was surprised that he said that and that he’d talk to the speaker. I guess it ended somewhat well, because in the last session, he talked about sin for the first time and really explained well the day after ‘decision night’.

– one great thing from the weekend was ‘Aicha’, which is a video on It is basically this freshman aged kid singing to this girl named Aicha and then adding this fantastic dance at the end. you should find it and check it out. Now the song is stuck in all our minds. Also, search for ‘numa numa’ and watch the video. just funny stuffy.

– our team made me very proud, as we once again walked away with the Rec Time Title. The thing is, though, is that we did it with our 7th graders, who are mostly all smaller than the wife. Our boys were slit into two groups, and it was basically our 7th graders on one team and the big 8th graders on the other. We ended up teamed up with a group of awesome girls from another church. They were so hardcore and together we almost swept every game we played, and we won every spirit award we could. Our other boys and our girls’ teams tied for 3rd. Our tiny tirants just whooped up on everyone. It was funny when they announced it beacuse all the little guys jumped up and you could almost sense that everyone was thinking, ‘they won the rec time?!’ Good times…

Well, we got back down the mountain in one piece (just one girl with a sprained ankle acquired in a cabin incident). It was a good weekend and it was really good to see a lot of the kids use discernment and recognize when they were hearing something that wasn’t right and not being content with the shallow teaching. that at least told me that they have been paying attention when we teach them.


Joy in All Days

This morning I heard that today is officially the most depressing day of the year. The reasons this psychologist gave were the following: It is dark for a long time; New Years resolutions have mostly been broken; Christmas debt have shown itself, and the poor weather has gotten old. This psychologist’s conclusions are enough for me to not want to listen to one. The reason is that they would encourage our joy to be found in things or in ourselves. But what we see from the Word of God is that true joy and satisfaction is only found in one place: the throne of God.

For the last six or so months the Jr High has been going through the book of Philippians. WIthin the book of Philippians, Paul repeatedly shares the command to rejoice. And as every Jr Higher can tell you, he’s writing this book from jail, not usually a setting that encourages joy. What do you think the reaction of the believers in Paul’s time was when they found out he was in jail? It probably sounded something like, “OH NO!! Paul’s in jail! Is God in control? Why would this happen?” Remember how important Paul was to the church. Remember what he meant to these young believers. If we were in charge of organizing Paul’s life, I doubt any of us would have planned for a couple stays in jail. But we aren’t the ones in charge of planning our lives.

Some people think that Paul should not have gone down to Jerusalem, and was in jail as a result of Paul’s own sin. This view is definately a valid thought. Look at Acts 21:4. Men were telling Paul in the Spirit not to go on to Jerusalem, but he did not listen to them, and continued on. In Jerusalem he was arrested, and shipped off to jail. Eventually he found himself in Rome, where he penned these books.

Was Paul in jail as a result of his disobedience? i think that conclusion can be drawn and is safe. Did God use Paul’s sin to bring about a greater good? absolutely. Without this stay in jail, we may never have had the books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, or Philemon. God used Paul’s own failure.

And Paul’s joy was increased in the situation. He was humble to admit that the work would continue though he was in jail. And his present situation did not steal his joy. Paul’s joy was not in the success of his ministry. Paul’s joy was obviously not in material things, personal pursuits, or his position in life. Paul’s joy was “in the Lord”.

If Paul’s joy was in anything else, it would have been rocked. If Paul’s joy was found in anything else, it would not be a lasting joy, because nothing else in life is reliable. Let this heart of Paul be a lesson to us to make sure that our joy is found in God alone, and cannot be lost no matter what situation life brings us.

An Intimidating Opportunity

Well, as a couple of you know, and most of you don’t, as of February 1 I will be the new Student Ministries Director at my church. This past week was one of a lot of overwhelming situations that came up, and on wednesday I found out that our Youth Pastor, Dave Halverson, was going to be moving on to fill a new Outreach/Evangelism Pastor role in the church. This isn’t because he feeled that he had failed or wasn’t qualified for the youth pastor position, but he knew when he took the job that it would probably mean moving on to fill a new pastoral position when the opportunity presented itself and the church was ready.

This lead them to ask me to fill in this role that he was leaving behind for at least the next year and half, until I graduate in May 2007. This situation was very very intimidating and I felt a large feeling of inadequacy as to the role. I did not feel like I was really ready to be ‘the man’ and be the one that everyone looks to and the one who sets the pace. The way things are going, our youth staff is going to be really young, but its a great group of people. They are all commited to the goal of bringing the youth to Christ and presenting them complete in Christ.

Then in chapel on thursday R. Kent Hughes was going through II Corinthians 12 and how God was the power that was behind Paul. We are easily misled to think that people of power are the people that God are behind. That shows through the popularity of crusades and healing shows and the like. But the thing is that God is the power behind the weak. even though I feel like I’m very much not ready for this, I know that God will be faithful to be the strength and somehow allow us to be successful with this ministry.

See Spot. See Spot Run. See Spot Itch.

Well, as a some of you know, a couple of weeks ago I had an infection in my finger. This finger ended up growing bigger and bigger, and I finally had it popped and squeezed and went on some antibiotics. Well, about a week after going on this medication called Augmentin, which is really Amoxacillin (sp?), I suddenly started breaking out in little red bumps. It was about fifteen minutes before the chapel program at Jr High started when I started feeling itchy. About twenty minutes later I lifted up my shirt to discover, lo and behold, I had more red spots than the pimply face of 14 year old boy. I went back to the place and they said that I could stop taking the meds and that it should be good by now. Fastforward two days, and the spots got worse and covered most of my body. my nose went untouched. it even worked its ways on the the palms of my hands. So we went to the emergency room and they said I had a pretty good allergy now to Penicillin and Amoxacillin.

fastforward another couple days and the spots have started to fade a bit and now are more of a purple. Leah has given me the adorable and affectionate term of endearment “Spot”. She also took some pics and I’ll probably put a couple of those up.

real post coming soon…

Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been on vacation as most of you know and will be available to post more in a couple of days, most likely Thursday. In the mean time, does anyone know of a website or service where I could place a document where one could download it from the internet? I’d like to put some things up, and I’ve been thinking about starting a little newsletter/article thing. so if anyone knows where I could get such a service, please let me know!

Also, I know that some of you have had Lost withdrawals. There’s a new 2-hour episode coming on Jan 11 starting at 8. And I know someone of you have been watching old episodes. Any thoughts? I think my mom has watched the entire first season in a few days. (if i ever did something like that I’d be accused of being a sluggard)