Jr High Winter Camp 2008: Day 2

Day two started bright and early, probably a little too early for many of the boys in my cabin. After a delicious breakfast of waffles, we hung out outside for awhile, waiting for them to set up for the morning chapel. The leaders all sat on an oversized wooden swing, and had boys duel with snowballs for our entertainment. Soon, the boys thought it would be a good idea to turn on 5 and throw the snowballs at us. Matt and I quickly dispelled the wisdom in such an action after applying a white wash and snow down the shirt. They must at some point learn that they don’t mess with leaders. Only each other at the command of the leaders.

In the morning session, Darin spoke from the parable of the branch and the vine in the Gospel of John. Again, he pressed upon the idea that it is not all about us. When people look at the tree, they don’t say, “My, what wonderful branches!” No one marvels at the production of the branches, because the branches are just tools used to grow the fruit. The true source of the fruit is the tree, and the branches are just tools.

He also spoke about the production of the fruit itself, and said that so often we attempt to duct tape fruit on. Darin would say things like, “Hey, check out this fruit. Yeah, I went on a missions trip. Check me out.” God isn’t impressed or glorified when we ‘do’ things or speak ‘Christianese’, while our hearts remained unchanged. Instead, we must acknowledge our dependence upon the vine, and produce the fruit that He has prepared for us.

After the morning session, we prepared and sent off the group that was going to the mountain for skiing and snowboarding. Since about half the group was staying behind, I stayed back with them. I have never been one to ‘embrace’ the mountain, but I was actually a little disappointed I wasn’t going out to the mountain. One of the downsides to the camp was a lot of downtime, and then after everyone left for the mountain, it felt like a lot of energy and life had been sucked from the camp.

After lunch, we had a scavenger hunt that made us run all over the camp making snow angels, throwing snowballs, finding clues, counting steps, and screaming “I’m a Little Tea Pot”. My team, affectionately named “The Steve Holts”, made a valiant attempt at victory. After a lot of running around, we got all our answers the right way (we didn’t ask the camp staff to answer them for us like other teams did).
Much of the afternoon was spent tubing, where we pushed the course to the limits, sending as many people down the course as they’d allow. Since there weren’t that many in line at this time of the day, we pretty much could do whatever we wanted. Later on in the free time we played some games inside. I taught them how to play ‘Phase 10’, and they even had a ‘Rock-em, Sock-em’, which only another leader would play with me.

Eventually, the rest of the group got back from the mountain. They were full of stories, and some were a little too red, spurning my advice to where sun-block. After showering (minus the boys in my cabin who unfortunately thought bathing was for losers), we had dinner and our evening session.

The Saturday evening sessions at camp are always the evangelistic message. These have been touch and go the last few years, with the low point being a Gospel message without sin being mentioned. Some speakers also feel the need to get as many kids reacting as possible, thinking anything less would be unsuccessful. Thankfully, I knew Darin didn’t care about numbers. His perspective is that he’d rather have one true convert committed to a life of Christ, than 100 kids stand and abandon their decision a week later.

Darin’s message focused on the fact that we are just jars of clay, vessels of weakness. There is nothing particularly amazing about us, in and of ourselves. We are a broken, rebellious people, but for some reason, God loves us. He said the modern equivalent to the jar of clay would be the Styrofoam cup. There is nothing remarkable about the Styrofoam cup. The only time it has true value is when it is filled with something. We, as Christians, have value because of the God that dwells within us.

After the chapel, they gave us church time. This evening we broke up into cabins to talk about the message. My cabin conversation went really well. We spoke of how to deal with our weaknesses, and how our only prayer is a holy and righteous God. We talked about how the boys shouldn’t be concerned with how the world says they are to act, and to instead focus on breaking the world’s mold and taking a real stand for Christ in our hearts and lives. The conversations went really well, and will be something that will be good to follow up on.

The rest of the evening we had free time, which is always interesting after a message like that, because everyone is acting a little different. There is more joy in the room, there is more love being showed to each other. I can’t help but think this is what obedience and a broken spirit before the Gospel looks like.

The snack was churros, which were delicious, and in the main room they were playing ‘Everbodyduck’. I walked into the kitchen to get another churro and saw Darin was talking to a couple people in there, and I said to a couple camp staffers, and loud enough for Darin to hear me, “Man, what’s with the music out there?! It stinks!” Darin agreed, saying “Yeah! Especially this song. What were they thinking when they recorded that?!” Confused, the staffers weren’t sure what I was talking about. They asked if Parachute Passing (the camp band) was playing. I laughed and said, no, it was just Everybodyduck. They had a blank look on their faces. “Who’s that?” they asked. I just started laughing, and pointed to Darin as I walked out, and said, “Just that guy’s band.” I guess it’s not an inter-generational taste. Funny moment.

3 comments on “Jr High Winter Camp 2008: Day 2

  1. BethsMomToo says:

    Hey, I LOVED Everybodyduck…which, perhaps, proves your point!

    “When people look at the tree, they don’t say, “My, what wonderful branches!” No one marvels at the production of the branches, because the branches are just tools used to grow the fruit. The true source of the fruit is the tree, and the branches are just tools.”

    What a wonderful illustration!! I’m going to remember that one!

  2. Beth says:

    That couple that are missionaires supported by FBC (we ate at the Italian Restaurant with them in Bedford)- he used the same type of example- but putting fake fruit on the branches- when we try and do good things to impress God or make us appear righteous- instead of naturally grown fruit.

  3. ehudadams says:

    yeah, i think i’ve heard it somewhere before. I preached on that passage and it may have been in something I read on it.

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