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Archive for June, 2008

Back.

I have missed blogging and blog-stalking the past few weeks. Is that lame? I hope not.

Camp ended last Monday. It has taken me this entire week to even begin functioning again. I now know a whole new level of exhaustion.

I did indeed find the ONE. Two of them actually. One for each week of camp.  

At Middle School Camp, the ONE prayed to receive Christ As We Were Packing Up The Luggage To Leave. Not kidding. Talk about last minute.  I sat down with her, and I asked her straight-up if she had ever given her life to Christ. Big tears welled up in her eyes. She looked right at me, tears streaming down her cheeks, and told me that she had never given her life to Christ. She had wanted to pray to receive Christ all week, but she had been too scared to get up during an invitation and too scared to ask anyone about it. She was hoping Someone Would Ask Her.  I cannot stand the thought that that moment may never have happened if I hadn’t asked.  I had no idea that she was the One until her luggage was already outside and ready to go.  

High School camp was a different story completely. I knew the One within hours of her arrival. She was honest and outspoken, and she shared with me almost immediately some of the battle she was facing….and I have been exactly where she was. She wanted to be free, but she wanted control and self-sufficient security more. I have been in that place a thousand times, and no one can know that place except for the people who have been there. I have no doubt that God orchestrated that relationship. My entire group was switched less than two hours before HS Camp began…but God had known all along that she was the One for me to go after. And I went after her with as much Truth as I could possibly squeeze into five days.  Her chains aren’t gone yet, but I believe they will be one day. And I believe it was a privilege to plant Truth in her until she wants Freedom Himself more than anything else in life.

I want to update more so badly, but I am on self-restriction this week.  I’m swamped.  I spent the weekend in Atlanta at Deeper Still, and I’ll spend the 4th of July with my family before going to Liberty for a week-long intensive for school. I have a TON of homework to get done this week, but I hope to update more in the next few days. 

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Gone!

It’s 11:14pm, and I am almost ready for bed. This, my friends, is a miracle. Goals that have been achieved today:

1. The interns got to leave the office (The Day Before Camp) by mid-afternoon. I left at 7:00. No one has ever (to my knowledge) left the office that early the day before camp.  It is a real miracle.

2. I packed 10 days worth of stuff into my FreakingHuge suitcase. I didn’t even have to pull out the WhereAreYouMovingTo?ThatThingIsBigEnoughToLiveIn suitcase. I’m getting better at packing.

3. My apartment is not a total disaster. It’s not super-clean, but it will be neat and tidy when I get home.

I’m off to camp in the morning. I won’t be back until the 23rd…so don’t look for any posts in the immediate future. I’ll post when I recover. In the mean time, I covet your prayers. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE camp, but after 10 straight days of camp last year, I could understand how  the glory of God could literally kill a person.  🙂

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Awesome.

This was a real conversation that I had at VBS last week.

Me: Can you tell me why you raised your hand during the invitation? Why did you come out here to talk to me?

Young girl(YG): ::Stares back blankly.::

Me: (Take Two) Sweetheart, do you know what sin is?

YG: No.

Me: Have you ever done anything you weren’t supposed to do? Something disobedient to your parents maybe?

YG: YES! I tell them lies ALL THE TIME!!!!! (Note: This was YELLED at me with sheer joy on her face. I had apparently made a connection…but maybe not the one I was looking for.)

Me: Did it make your parents happy when you told them a lie?

YG: I don’t remember. Can I go to the bathroom?

Me: Yes, you can go to the bathroom in just a minute. (Looking for a new path in Gospel-sharing). Do you know who Jesus is?

YG: DUH! (Yelled at me – complete with rolled eyes and exaggerated head nodding)

Me: Okay, what do you know about Him?

YG: (Completely uninterested in the questions I’m asking) Am I going to get baptized? Do you have to go all the way under the water when you get baptized?

Me: (Giving up on any hope that she had really understood the invitation). Yes, they put you all the way under the water when you get baptized. Is that scary to you?

YG: No. I’m not scared. I can do a cannonball.

Me: Awesome.

Seriously. This is why I don’t do children’s ministry.

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The one.

Camp starts on Friday. That’s FIVE DAYS from today. And in work time, that’s about FIVE YEARS of stuff left to do. 

Everything in my spiritual life right now is directed toward camp preparation. When things get this chaotic and busy with church stuff, I have no choice but to put everything else on hold for a few weeks. As I’ve been praying and trying to gear up, I’ve been stuck on this one short parable in Matthew.

Matthew 18:12-14 – What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

The one. That is all I can think about this week.

I cannot get the picture out of my mind.  Jesus taught us to leave the ninety-nine to go after the ONE. Just one. Because ONE was just as significant to Him as ninety-nine.  And I want that to be true of me too.

I grew up going to a camp that is run almost indentically to Long Hollow’s – Camp Cherokee. It was always great to see a lot of people choose to follow Christ for the first time at camp, and it was always thrilling to see the brokeness and the joy that followed when most of the students made significant decisions of some sort. But, for me, I’m so grateful that it wasn’t always about the ninety-nine. My camp counselors, mentors, and spiritual heros came after ME – the ONE.  My life didn’t change through watching the ninety-nine make decisions, and my life wasn’t altered by the massive numbers of students who wanted to speak at the share service. My life was significantly impacted by the people who came after me – the ONE – as if I was the most significant, valuable, and precious person in their eyes.  They were attentive, confrontational, loving, and bold in speaking Truth into my life. And I learned from them that I was significant. I was not just significant because they thought so. I was significant and valuable to them because I was significant and valuable to my Creator. They left the ninety-nine to come after ME, and my life is different because of it.

I want to be like that. I love the tradition we have at Long Hollow for seeing big numbers and massive alter-calls and such. It is the hand of God on our ministry. It is our blessing. But I want to be the kind of counselor who is willing to leave the ninety-nine, the numbers, and the invitations… for the ONE. Who is the ONE? I don’t know yet.  But I want to go after her. I would rather invest my week and my life into just one girl if it means she’ll know freedom in Christ for the first time. I would rather fail to connect with the ninety-nine if it means that I could connect with the ONE who is terribly lonely.  I would rather counsel the ONE every single night of the week than counsel the ninety-nine who don’t need much guidance anyway. I would rather miss out on some fun conversations and some group bonding if it meant that I could spend one-on-one time with a girl who just needs to know that she is significant.  I want to show her with my actions, my love, my confrontation, and my bold truth that she is absolutely significant and valuable in God’s eyes. I’ve been the ONE, and I want to go after the ONE. 

I’ve decided that this will be the only thing I pray for camp this year. I won’t pray for the masses to make decisions. God will work where He wants to work. I won’t pray for a flood of students at the invitation. I won’t pray for the highest attendance we’ve ever had at camp. I am simply praying that I will leave the ninety-nine and go after the ONE. Because ONE is just as significant to God as ninety-nine.

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Sometimes I forget to breathe.

Not really, of course. But it feels like it.

Things are a bit chaotic right now. We’re just over a week away from middle school camp, so the office noise level is slightly above that of a high school marching band. And with all the phonecalls-phonecalls-phonecalls work the interns are getting done, there are approximately 598,908,342 interruptions at my desk every hour. I love the interns. They make my life SO much easier. But they definitely ask a lot of questions.

My social life is making a shift too. Summer schedules mean later nights and more spontaneous fun than a routine winter week offers.  And my friend group has just grown some in the past few months. It’s a good thing. Just a bit overwhelming at times. And I’m only two weeks away from my first attempt as a full-time student while working full-time. I’m not sure how I’m going to juggle my time management and workload.  I just know that I want to give it a whirl. I’m hoping it will all get done. But the task list looks quite large right now.

I’m not one to get flustered or stressed out easily. I would consider myself to be pretty even-tempered (publicly, at least). I don’t typically panic or get overwhelmed with tasks and chaos and challenges. I’m generally pretty good at managing one thing at a time until everything is done. But for some reason, every once in awhile, all the stress washes over me. I get flustered beyond words. My heart races and my chest feels tight and I feel like I’m either going to pass out or throw up. For a brief moment, I panic and contemplate the consequences of literally running away from it all. And then, I pick up the next task and manage the challenge one checklist at a time. My even-tempered self returns and I pretend like nothing happened.

But really, I know that panic came because I forgot to breathe. I forgot to slow down enough to be authentic and real. I forgot to pause and notice the days that are flying by while I’m too busy taking care of my task list to ever look up.  I forgot that it’s okay to be stressed and overwhelmed at times…so I just held my breath. And the stress came.

I’ve got to remember to breathe.

 

 

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VERY important news.

Clear your schedules.

I’m not playing around about this.

Tonight (YES, tonight!) was the summer premier of my all-time-favorite-will-lose-sleep-over-missing-an-episode-will-definitely-talk-about-these-people-like-I-know-them-personally reality TV show.

Yes, this is the VERY important news.

Not the news you were expecting? If you’re feeling a bit disappointed, you clearly have never experienced The Mole. It’s like the board game Clue meets The Amazing Race.  Not familiar with The Mole? It’s an adventure reality show where 12 people are fighting to complete tasks and challenges to add money to a final prize. But 1 of the 12 people is actually secretly trying to sabotage the challenges, and it’s every other contestant’s job to try to figure out who that person is. Genius.

As a counselor-in-training, I LOVE this show.  It’s like an opportunity to use my best people skills to read minds and discern motives. I have picked out the Mole within the first three weeks of every season so far.  I was devastated when the show went off the air a few years ago. But now…whoa buddy. It’s back. I’m pumped. I can’t deny it.  JUST in case you are smart-wise-and-intellectually-superior and will be devoting an hour on Monday nights this summer to watch, here are my first week predictions. They might change in the first few weeks, but I’ll figure this thing out early.  First impression Mole possibilities: Clay & Craig. 

 Are you watching????

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