This past week I was back at SoCal Teen Camp where we spent an intense week going through 1 John, discussing the different ways God makes Himself known to us, and the ways we make His love known to others. Here are the highlights of the week, and how His presence was made known:
I love working on massive projects with my friends in youth ministry. I have so much respect for how these guys have dedicated their lives to God by serving young people. Not only are they passionate about working with teens, but they are some of the most skilled ministers out there. Southern California is stacked with talent when it comes to youth ministry, and SoCal Teen Camp is where that talent comes together to serve God, and He shows up in amazing ways.
I have to give huge props to our volunteers that choose to serve at Teen Camp. Every year God blesses us with a couple dozen staff members that bless so many students. I also have to give a special shoutout to Ashley, Mallory, and Wendy for coming through in the clutch, and completely pouring their hearts in to their girls’ lives. Ashley has a kindness and a desire to work with teens that is unrivaled, and most importantly, has a pure heart that serves as a great example. Mallory is a never-ending source of energy that could rarely be found away from a young lady in need of a kind ear. And Wendy simply gets it, she doesn’t have to try and minister to teens, she simply does minister to teens. All three of these young ladies made such an impact on the students’ lives, and I am humbled to call them friends.
I have no doubt about the future of our world. I firmly believe in this generation, and their desire to change the world for the better. I am constantly impressed by teens and the depth at which they operate. This past week was the pinnacle of that depth for me. Watching students wrestle with tough questions, seek Godly counsel, and put their faith into action is an unreal experience. From the very get-go, this years’ campers blew all of us away with what they were willing to share, their struggles, and their triumphs. The depths that they reach to live out their faith brings a a joy to my soul, and can be explained by nothing less than the presence of the Holy Spirit manifesting itself in these teens.
I love leading small groups at camp. Every year I am thoroughly impressed at what is shared, revealed, and wrestled with in our small groups at Teen Camp, and this year was no exception. I co-led the cabin 4 boys and girls group, which consisted mostly of upperclassmen high-schoolers. We talked about some great issues, asked tough questions, and had great feedback to the ideas that were coming up. I have no doubt that God was very present in our circle, and am very thankful for that group of teens that fully gave themselves into the discussion. I was blessed hearing their thoughts and reactions, and I pray they were blessed with (some) answers and a strong calling to know God’s love. I was really excited that two of the young ladies in or group decided to get baptized last week, and could not be more proud of their commitment to the Lord.
The guys in cabin 4 were so much fun to chill with. They have a depth that is admirable, a sense of humor that rules, and a desire to truly live. Also, a big thanks for saying that you wanted to listen to my meager stories.
Having a few days to process my thoughts from camp, I’m still in awe at how God chooses to make Himself known in our lives. The older I get, the more often I find myself reflecting on how things have shifted over the years. Tides of good and bad come and go, they always have and always will. That is our story. We navigate the calm and enjoy the still waters, all the while we walk with a God who is right there with us. This is the peace that God brings. It is not the absence of conflict, or the quiet, or the people of the world getting along, it is knowing that God is here. Now.
one love, one heart.