From cooking in the kitchen to exploring underground in the Ape Caves, Jesus is with you! (Matthew 28:20b.) When you spend time regularly with kids—whether as a parent, volunteer, or caretaker – you’ll notice children are fairly quick to see God’s joys and beauty, as well as feel confident of His presence. As we mature, however, we tend to get distracted from God’s obvious declaration, “I AM” and may begin to doubt His nearness or, possibly, His existence.
As a reminder to those from one to ninety-two:
1.You can always stop and talk to Jesus. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 directs us to NEVER stop praying. Some translations may say, “pray continuously.” Nehemiah is a prime example of this as he prays to God while having a conversation with King Artaxerxes. (See Nehemiah 2:4 and 5). It seems that Nehemiah prayed silently in his heart without making a spectacle of his prayer or even a glitch in the conversation with the King. Nehemiah had been praying to God about the devastation brought upon Jerusalem which weighed heavily on Nehemiah’s heart, and it was natural to talk to God even in, perhaps especially in, the midst of his petition to the King. Can you think of other examples in the Bible of people praying to God at peculiar times. (Psst— Jesus did it a lot.)
Challenge: Practice placing a pause mentally in an ongoing dialogue and pray. It doesn’t have to be long. Perhaps simply praising God for His goodness, asking for peace in this situation, or the right words. If you have kids, practice physically stopping and saying a quiet prayer. Once again, it doesn’t have to be long—give God glory as you admire His creation, or if an ambulance goes by pray for guidance and quick discernment for the paramedics and comfort for the families involved. Take these opportunities to explain to your children that Jesus is always with us, God hears our honest prayers, and He wants us to talk to Him always.
2. God’s existence and greatness is apparent in the world around us. “The heavens declare the glory of God… They have no speech… Yet their voice goes into all the Earth.” (Psalms 19:1-4.) Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Challenge: Unplug from the hectic pace of the day, and slow down long enough to recognize some of God’s invisible qualities made known through creation. Consider His compassion and mercy shown through the world around you. Do you show compassion and mercy to others? If you have kids, then invite them to do this with you and discuss your findings and reflections.
3. Be a light to the world! It’s a cute song with hand motions and all, however, it can seem illusive in a culture set on looking out for the best interests of oneself. However, Christ calls us to be set a part… to be different. (1 Peter 2:9-12.) We should look not to our own interests but the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4.) A lot of times we are confused as to what God’s will is for us. The Old Testament prophets make it pretty clear, and I believe Micah 6:8 summarizes the best saying, “act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Jesus makes it even more simple and states in Matthew 22, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This Summer to the shock of many, our church did not do a large VBS. Instead, we opted to do smaller events spread out throughout the Summer. There were many reasons, and nearing the top of the list was so that we could have multiple opportunities not just to teach but also to practice being a light to the world; guiding our young people to be a light to the people around them right now. And we will continue encouraging and leading our children through the Summer and onward to be a light; training them up in the ways of Christ to do God’s Will. If you want to join us as a volunteer then start by clicking here. If you’d like to sign your child up for one of the remaining Summer events, click here.
Challenge: Be kind and forgiving to those around you… and not just your friends and family but to those who are unkind to you too.
Two weeks ago we sent 9 students down to Jr. Camp at Wi-ne-ma where they joined over 100 campers and 90 volunteer staff from all over the state for a week of making friends, singing praises, memorizing bible verses, raising money for a mission’s project in Africa, and so much FUN!
The week’s theme was, “Our God is Greater!” Each day brought a new focus to that overall theme. Students learned that God is greater than:
- Our Problems
About half of the campers were there at Wi-ne-ma for the very first time, which made the week all the more fun. Our students had an absolute blast, and if you bump into any of them I encourage you to ask them about camp, and what they learned and experienced!
Camp is a place I care about deeply. I spent a lot of my time there as a child, and I continue to spend as much time there as an adult. Camp shaped me in ways that I may not have experienced elsewhere. It was at camp that I heard God’s call on my life to go into ministry. I felt Him tug me towards bible college – a place I wanted to go to so I could learn more about God, but never felt that it was “realistic” for my future. I can remember the week that it I realized it was realistic, and that I wanted to give my life and career over to God to further His Kingdom…I was at camp that week. I realized that I never wanted camp to end, and that it didn’t have to. Every week could be a week at camp. A week of friendship, a week of joy, a week of learning more about God, a week of taking another step closer to Him, a week of showing that love to children (children who may have
never experienced a love like God’s love in all their life), a week of hope.
Thank you for being a part of Harvest, of supporting our ministries and caring for our children. I hope that you would join me in praying over these most precious students, and that God will continue to use us, and places like camp Wi-ne-ma, as a tool to change lives – to show our kids that God IS Greater than everything, nothing will overcome Him, let His Kingdom come and let us continue to be a part of it!