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Unfortunately this morning, we had to say goodbye to the campers. But, we're so grateful for an awesome week and can't wait for next year at That Thing! Here's our end of the week video!
Anchored In The Ordinary
Ashlee talked this morning about being okay with living an ordinary life, because in the ordinary, God has so many plans. But, she warned that if we're not careful, we will begin to live ur lives just for the next mountaintop experience.
Jesus wasn't a mountaintop savior, he had "desert" moments too. Ashlee gave the campers three ways to live for the ordinary moments:
- Change our perspective. The greatest trick of the enemy is to make you think that your life is anything but extraordinary. This isn't the grand finale, this week is a launching point.
- Look to how Jesus lived His life. Jesus dined with sinners and tax collectors and not the nicest people. He loved everyone.
Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. Matthew 9:10
- Resist disqualifying yourself. The enemy wants to destroy our faith, grace, and happiness. Many ordinary people that screwed up in the Old Testament went on to go great things through God. Abraham never thought he'd have children, Moses never knew he'd be a leader, David never thought he'd accomplish many things as a warrior.
We get in our own way sometimes.
Ashlee closed out the message with five things that will help us see God in the little things, and to focus on on being content in our ordinary lives.
- Ask God for light.
- Give thanks.
- Review the day
- Face your shortcomings.
- Look toward the day to come.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.
Here's a morning update from our Program Manager, Stacy!
Anchored In Tomorrow
Tonight is the last night at camp, and everyone is sad to have to leave in the morning. Ashlee talked about what we are doing after today, and where we are going with our faith. She told the story of the invalid man on the side of the road that Jesus immediately heals. The man is instantly able to walk and Jesus tells him to pick up his mat and go. You can find the whole story here.
What does the mat represent? It represents our own unique story of healing. Some might argue and say that their "story mat" isn't anything special, that it's been too long since the healing. Or that the story is too dirty, or too insignificant.
Ashlee gave everyone invitations on how we can be anchored in tomorrow:
1. Affirm Jesus' power in our story.
2. Abandon the scene of our despair.
3. Allow others to encounter Jesus.
Our stories of transformation aren't just for us. They're for our communities, our families, the world. The invitation is to affirm, to pick up what we've learned and to allow people to know Him.
The no longer invalid man was anchored in tomorrow. We should live the same way!
We opened this chilly morning with some worship songs played by Mass Anthem:
Check out this audio from this morning's worship!
After, Stacy invited three of her good friends on stage to talk abut hope. These three work at non-profit organizations that help people in some way.
The first to be introduced is Scott Green, who helped co-create Let Them Laugh Out Loud. Located in Warsaw, they help bring clean, healthy water to those that don't have access. The money they raise go directly to help dig and construct wells. In the last 8 years, Let Them LOL has built 100 wells, giving access to over 35,000+ people.
The second organization is International House, located in Fort Wayne. Two ladies that work there, Ann and Heather, talked briefly about what they do at International House. They told us that they harbor refugees and help them get back on their feet. Some of the refugees have traveled a long way, and need assistance finding a job or learning how to read, speak and write English. They have helped countless men, women, and children find a safe home here.
Now, some might think that they could never achieve such a calling in their day jobs, but as Scott told the campers; God is going to use us, no matter what field we are in.
Jesus was about relationships and investing in people. He loved people where they were no matter where they were from or what they looked like. We can learn a little from Him, and follow His calling.
Live with your eyes and heart wide open.Recognize the nudge God is giving you, because He will give us opportunities, and lastly, we challenge you to pray about where you need to be.
This afternoon was perfect for campers to participate in different activites around campus! There was dodgeball, volleyball, pyrography (which is wood burning), and many more! Check out these photos below!
You can see more photos in our gallery!
Anchored In Courage
This evening in Session, Ashlee introduced courage. When people think of courage, they think of people living off the land in the woods, or skydiving. The dictionary definition of courage is:
Courage (kur'āj), bravery; meeting danger without fear. noun
We must be anchored in courage our entire lives. She gave the campers some advice when it comes to courage:
- In order to cultivate courage we must see it as a discipline. Courage begets courage. When we are courageous, other people are too.
- Courage requires sacrifice. It can be easy in the big sweeping moment to have courage, but hard in the small, and "insignificant" moments.
- It's counter-cultural. Jesus was always sacrificial and bold during His time on Earth. Are you willing to sacrifice your reputation?
Ashlee told about the story of the paralyzed man that was lowered down to Jesus through the roof by his friends. It takes great courage to climb up on a perilous roof, just so their friend could see Jesus.
You can find this story here!
Our courage has the power, in the hands of Jesus Christ, to heal other people.
So where do you start? Maybe with some personal courage. Start small, and step into it. Maybe you are already comfortable with that, and want to start with worldly courage. Help those that are hurting, whether it be human trafficking, or homelessness.
How has God gifted you so that you can give courage to other people and bring light into the darkness?
Good morning! It is a fantastic start to the day and campers had lots of fun at morning Session. The band played lots of songs that are familiar and new, to get everyone singing along in praise. They played:
- This Is Amazing Grace
- This I Believe
- Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
- 10,000 Reasons
- Here's My Heart
This morning Ashlee talked about the storms we have in our day to day lives. Sometimes we power through our struggles and reserve ourselves. Ashlee tells us that we can't selectively numb our emotions.
Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
There are times when other people go through a trying time too. We must be there for them, and be present but not try to fix them. All they maybe need is some silence, a hug, a simple prayer, even crying with them.
To be anchored in a storm, Ashlee says that we have to ask two questions: Are you allowing people to be there? Are you allowing to be transformed by this storm? All we have to remember is to keep our eyes on Jesus and we shall not sink.
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
This afternoon has been gorgeous for activities of all sorts! Campers have participated in Tie-Dye, Street Hockey, Archery Tag, and Waterfront fun! You can find more pictures at our gallery!
Gods Grace Is An Ocean
Tonight we did things a little different for evening worship session. The band opened up with worship like usual, but instead of going right into the keynote, some of the Summer Staff performed a skit. The skit was about a daughter who had to get dropped off at her intoxicated father's home after he forgot to pick her up. Learning about how Jesus washed the disciples' feet in church that evening, the daughter decides to show grace and wash her father's feet.
The lead singer from the band sang Amazing Grace, in between different videos played on the screen. The videos were about judgement, feeling unloved and hopeless.
The entire session was based off an amazing book called What's So Amazing About Grace? by Phillip Yancey. (You can find where to get it here.)
The campers were split into two groups, where one group would stay and listen to Ashlee give a short keynote about grace, and the other group went to small stations in the lobby. The stations in the lobby each had a theme from a page in Yancey's visual book about grace.
Grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less. It means that I, even I who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God’s family.
-Philip Yancey, What's So Amazing About Grace?
Good morning! It is now the first full day of camp and everyone is full of energy! It's a gorgeous day outside, the sky is blue and birds are chirping. God is good.
God is good to one and all; everything he does is suffused with grace.
This morning during Cabin Community Space, cabins Strawbridge and Barbara Heck went to Sky High, our giant 55' swing. Campers have to get harnessed in and their friends have to pull the rope that takes them up to the top! It's a great way to bond with each other and have fun at the same time. Here are some photos from this morning!
There is also Ultimate, a game kind of like soccer, but in the air with a Frisbee!
You can find more photos at our gallery!
Anchored In Love
Ashlee talked about love in tonight's keynote. She mentioned that we hear all about love in songs, or in celebrity magazines, etc. There are so many ideas of how love should be.
The idea of love is easy. Actual love is hard, day after day. So, as Ashlee told everyone, the idea of being anchored in love has to do with not just others, but ourselves as well. We must be anchored in God's love.
For some, this might be really hard, as they have not seen love in action and nothing to base it on. And when it comes to loving yourself it's just as equally challenging.
But, in John 3:16 the Bible says:
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
God loves us so so much that he gave a son, made of flesh, and sacrificed him to give us peace, grace and so much more. For us.
Ashlee asked us to consider that God feels the same way about the people to our left and our right. He loves all of creation.
We must love others in return. In 1 John 4:19, it talks about perfect love casting out fear. Ashlee closed out the keynote with the challenge of letting others serve us, so that we can serve well with love in our hearts.
All Hands On Deck
It's the first day of That Thing Week Two and it couldn't be a more beautiful day! Campers arrived this evening, and it was amazing to see their excitement! Campers have already started games of volleyball, and have settled in pretty quickly. We can't wait for Evening Session and worshipping Christ later tonight!
Check out these photos below, and click here to open the gallery to see photos from today!
Tonight was the first night of worship and we rocked the new Discipleship Center!
Stacy, our Program Manager, opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new building. She had campers that have been here for 4 or 5 summers do the honor of cutting the ribbon.
What a breathtaking experience for a camper to get to worship in the old Auditorium and the new Discipleship Center Auditorium!
This summer's band, Mass Anthem started everything off with some worship music!
Based in Tennessee, the three gentlemen collectively can sing, play both electric and acoustic guitar, and a drum pad! They are incredibly talented, and everyone can't wait to worship and rock out with them every day this week!
This week's keynote speaker Ashlee, hails from the state of Texas. She is so excited to speak to the campers and talk about God this week!
Mass Anthem led tonight's worship session with a few songs:
- Real Love by Hillsong Young & Free
- Relentless by Hillsong
- Wake by Hillsong Young & Free
- King of My Heart by John Mark McMillan
- Everything To You by Mass Anthem
Tonight Ashlee talked about the tale of two boats. One is the Titanic, and the other is the fishing boat that Jesus went out on with the disciples. She talked about how we each are designers of our own boat in life. We are constantly making decisions on what to do with...everything.
The Titanic, on one hand, was very opulent and grand, but lacked lifeboats for half the passengers on board. When the captains received warnings that there could be ice, they ignored it and went full speed ahead.
The fisherman's boat was simple. Modest, and most likely a little smelly from fish and bare feet, it didn't carry much value. But that boat carried Jesus across the Sea of Galilee to feed the 5,000 and when he walked on water after a large storm.
(Read more about the fishing boat here!)
Ashlee asked us which boat our life is modeled after: the stellar, but failing Titanic, or the humble fishing boat?
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Ashlee closed the evening with this challenge:
We can't talk about the anchor until you talk about the foundation that it's tied to.
Keep following the blog to learn more about being anchored in God this week!