July 2013Walking Worthy: July 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Camp Recap

I promised you a camp recap, and here it is! For those who have never attended summer camp, you need to know that camp is a different world. People often do things they wouldn't do in normal life. You know things like doing weird chants, weird dances, and dressing in ridiculous ways. This is your warning, some of the pictures below might disturb you (Especially those of my husband dressed in fuchsia).

Our camp theme of Light it Up, was from Matt 5:14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." 

Here is a brief rundown of how we do camp: All together we had 2,500 at camp with our church as the hosts. Each grade represents a different color (purple, red, blue, orange, yellow, green, & FUCHSIA). Every morning we dressed in our color, went to teaching time with our grade, then we went to wild and crazy rec, in the afternoon we were free to do organized sports or do whatever else we wanted, every evening we had worship & teaching time all together (Jon Kitna was our speaker), then we went to late night snack shack, and finished up the evening with our church time and small groups.

This was the last camp for my small group girls. I felt impressed to spend as much time as I could with them. The last 6 years I have had the privilege to walk through life with these girls. The Lord has used them to teach me so much! It was a blessing to spend one last week of camp with them.

Meet my girls (minus one, who was serving at camp check in).  This picture was taken on the first day of camp.

Meet Fuchsia school. My husband was the fearless leader of Fuchsia school this summer. It totally blessed me to watch him lead almost 100 kids each morning in the Word and then in the craziness you see below:

At camp, it is totally normal for guys to wear nail polish:

Meet Flora the Flamingo & Ellie the Elephant. Flora became our cabin mascot. Every day she went on a journey during cabin cleanup. This day Flora & Ellie were playing our favorite card game Skip-Bo.

It is also perfectly normal to wear tutu's at camp. In fact it is a camp necessity. This is one of my favorite pictures from camp!

Tutu's, bumblebees, yep we go all out (I warned you remember?) This is Derek, he is one of our college students. We convinced him he needed to be a bumblebee at camp!

On tutu day, it was decided that Greg needed his hair did. Here he is with his hair stylists.

Here is the finished product. Notice his pink hair bands?

Here I am with my man. I honestly love how he was willing to go all out. I must say, he totally dressed himself. He even picked out his pink tights. He was quite concerned about getting a run in them.

 On our last full day Flora & Ellie with zip lining. It was quite the adventure. In fact my girls won cabin cleanup that day and we all received free pizza & a drink at snack shack that evening.

Here is Eric (leader of our rec staff) & his golf cart. Jon Kitna and Eric had some healthy banter back and forth all week. Kitna brought his baseball team with him to camp. They might have been responsible for this incident. (We do not affirm camp pranks, you should never do a prank at camp, however I couldn't pass up a picture here)

Worship all week was led by Jimmy McNeal and his band. Jimmy leads worship at the Austin Stone. he is a man of great humility and love for students. He also has an incredible love for the Word, it is evident in the way he leads worship.

And here I am with my girls on the last day. I cannot believe this is our last camp group photo. I love these girls beyond measure and am praying that they will continue to follow Jesus as they walk into the next phase of their life.

And here are my girls with Jon Kitna. As we walked up to get out picture one of my girls asked "Who is going to touch him?" We all died laughing, he happened to see our giggles and asked us what we were laughing about. This ensued a quiet and awkward picture with Jon Kitna.

This is me with Marissa & Joe. They are both in our college ministry and spent all week as cabin leaders. I am so excited about how much they love the Word and want to in turn lead their students in the Word.

Joe & Greg, brothers in Christ, lovers of the Word, men of integrity. I am grateful for the way Joe encourages Greg and he leads our college ministry.

Hmmm..last day, the rest of us are wearing our camp shirts...Derek....where is yours??

These two men watched Greg grow up into the leader he is today. I am blessed by the encouragement and affirmation they instilled in my husband at camp!

Me and my Lovie. Worn out, but so grateful for the week God gave us to love on college students.

I just wanted you to know that as soon as we returned, the nail polish was removed. Don't worry, this isn't a normal thing he does.

And there it is friends, my camp recap. We watched God do some awesome things! We watched him grow our love for college students, grow our students in their love for the Word, and were able to encourage them and speak truth into them as they heard from God.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Love One Another

Last week I was at youth camp. As most of you know my small group girls graduated from high school this year, so it was their last year of camp. A post full of pictures is coming later this week!

Today, I want to talk to you about what God taught me at camp. Often I struggle as I walk into youth camp. It takes so much preparation at work to be gone an entire week. I barely see my husband before camp. This year, was different. This year I was so excited to be at camp and hang out with my girls. My prayer as I walked into camp was that I would be intentional with them in the short time that I had.

I thought I walked into camp with an open heart, ready to serve, speak truth, and love on my small group girls. But you see there was this small little blackness that started to spread. That blackness was anger & bitterness. For the past few months I have struggled to love one individual in particular. The details are not necessary, but my actions toward this person were mostly cold and never trusting. I had been praying and asking God to teach me something and on Wednesday night He did.

Before the speaker ever went on the stage I battled the Lord during our time of worship. The Lord was calling me to repentance, He was exposing my sin. I HATED it. I wanted to run away. I did my best to rationalize it. But the Lord would not let me go. My mind raced with verses on love "love one another, love your enemy, if you don't love the brethren you don't love me." Over and over again they kept coming to mind. God wouldn't even let me stand up and sing. When the speaker began to talk on love, I knew the Lord refused to let me go. He wanted me to deal with my sin. He wanted me to love everyone, not just those I thought deserved my love.

At the end of the service, I climbed over the bleachers and went to the prayer room. I knew they needed me to counsel others, but I just couldn't. I needed to deal with my sin NOW. If I didn't I might not do it at all. I got down on my knees, opened my journal, and started confessing my sin to the Lord. Repent means to turn around and walk the other way, from your sin and toward Jesus. I knew that I could not stop at confession, but I needed to change the way I viewed that person. For me, that meant repeating scripture every time I even saw that person or thought about them. I realized that I had trained my mind to think negative thoughts toward that person. So I began to repeat scripture and the word love, over and over again in my mind.

As I write this, my heart is still struggling to love that person. It is a daily battle. It involves daily walking in my need for Jesus. I know I cannot love on my own. If left to myself my heart would be full of bitterness.  In Jesus I am called to walk in love and forgiveness. So daily I am seeking Him to help me love. To help me change my perspective of that person. To forgive, let go, and seek love.

I must ask you to consider your heart. Are you loving one another? I am struggling to, but asking the Lord to help me in the midst of my sin. To help me love the brethren. I cannot walk in a manner worthy of Jesus and hate my brother or sister in Christ.

We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 1 John 4:19-21
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Monday, July 8, 2013

Fighting for the Unity

Sixth grade was the worst year of my life. Well, at least is seemed that way at the time. I had just moved up from elementary school leaving my best friend behind. Elizabeth was a year younger than me and it was like torture to not have her in Sixth grade with me. I had two girls that I was friends with. One day they made fun of something I wore. I was so embarrassed that I yelled at them. I can't remember what I said, but my words created a storm. My two friends became my enemies and they seemingly lived to make my year as miserable as possible. 

Words of Fire
My words started a storm that felt unfixable. James 3:5 says "So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!" James lays it out there for us, the tongue, even though it is so small, is strong enough to set an entire forrest on fire. The tongue is powerful!

James goes on to talk more about the tongue" With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water?"

James makes it quite clear to us. As believers our mouths should not bless and curse men. That word curse in the greek means "to pray against, to wish evil against a person or thing" Any time we wish evil or speak evil against someone we are cursing them with our mouths. James tells us that a fountain cannot send forth both fresh and bitter water from the same opening. As believers we should be a fresh water fountain. Bitter water should never come out of us, in the same way our words should never be filled with a curse. 

The fiery words I spoke  in the Sixth grade happened in a moment. My friendship with those girls was never the same. My heart breaks when I hear about similar situations happening in the body of Christ. 

Unity in the Body
When speaking of the body of Christ Paul often reminds of for the need of unity, giving each other grace, speaking in love, and walking in forgiveness toward each other. In Ephesians 4:3, Paul urges us to be "diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." In Colossians 3:12-14 Paul writes "So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." When speaking of the body Paul often reminds believers that there is one body. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul uses the word one or same 17 times. Over and over he reminds us that the body is to be one. Whether we are Jews, Greeks, slaves, or free, all believers are made into one body. Paul is crystal clear that as believers we should not only be concerned about unity in the body, we should fight for it.

The Fight for Unity
How do we fight for unity? It starts with our tongue. Often dissension in the body of Christ happens when we open our mouths and speak. It happens when we gossip about other believers. It happens when we argue and fight. Paul is clear about how our response should be, let's go back to Colossians 3. We are to "put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, & patience; bearing with one allotter, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone."So when we are faced with a situation where we want to speak in a manner that is not worthy, then we do what is often hard to do, we speak in a manner worthy of Jesus. Colossians tells us that just as Jesus forgave us, so we too ought to forgive others. So when we walk in the things that are hard, we are walking like Jesus, we are forgiving like Jesus.

But I Can't Do it!!!
You might be like me and thinking, I don't have the strength to do that. Or, you don't know what they did to me. I may not know what happened, but I can tell you that God's Word is still clear on the answer. Colossians 3:12-14, is not an option. It's not even something we are to strive for. As believers Colossians 3:12-14 is our identity. We are to wear it like clothing. So how do we we walk in this? How do we embrace this as our identity? By embracing Jesus. When we abide in Jesus like we see in John 15, then we are given the strength to walk in the way Paul describes in Colossians 3.

So where are you at? What kind of words come out of your mouth? Are they words that curse or words that bless? Are you hurting the body of Christ by speaking words that divide? Or are you fighting for the unity?

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