Epworth Forest CC - That Thing - July 9-14 (2017)

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Sailing Off

It's that time when campers have to pack up their things and go home. But the love and worship doesn't end here, it will continue to be in the hearts and minds of these wonderful campers! Here is the end of the week video to look back on the memories made this week!

And don't forget that you can see all the photos from this week in our gallery!

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Casting Off To Sea

It is now Thursday, the last day of camp! It has been such an amazing week, and there are so many fun things planned for this last day! This morning Holman opened up Session with some worship.

Everyone was swaying along to the music, and many campers had their arms around each other, or hands in the air. It was such a special moment for everyone.

Anchored In The Ordinary

Matt opened his message with the story of the first Holy Communion. In the book of Mark, it is told that Jesus had the disciples prepare the dinner in a house, with just some bread and wine.

In the course of their meal, having taken and blessed the bread, he broke it and gave it to them. Then he said, 'Take, this is my body.'
Taking the chalice, he gave it to them, thanking God, and they all drank from it. He said,
'This is my blood,
God’s new covenant,
Poured out for many people.'

Read more about the Last Supper.

Communion is known as being a holy, sacred meal. It represents love and sacrifice. But, it's also incredibly ordinary. Matt broke down the first Holy Communion for everyone:

  • When: This happened during the Passover festival. Everyone in Jerusalem is partaking in this.

  • Where: it takes place upstairs in a plain house. It was a random house that Jesus instructed the disciples to ask the owner to prepare some space for the Messiah to dine.

  • What: The meal consisted of bread and wine. It wasn't fancy wine, or amazing bread, it was quite ordinary.

Matt told everyone four ways to be faithful in the ordinary:

  1. Treat every moment and place as sacred.
  2. Treat every person as holy.
  3. Live like flesh and blood are more important than phones and computers.
  4. Always assume God wants to use you in huge ways.

There is extraordinary in the ordinary. What we've been given is this moment, right now. It may seem like a mundane Thursday, but it's holy and sacred just like every other day. The people next to us are a gift and sacred.

Even the most ordinary people in the Bible did amazing things through God. Moses, Paul, Peter...

We are given our ordinary lives to do extraordinary things through our amazing God.

Here is an afternoon update from our Assistant PM, Sara!

Free Time On Deck

Today was a gorgeous day! We have been blessed to not have rain today, so many campers flocked the beach and lakefront activities! Take a look at the fun below! To see more photos, check our gallery!

Anchored In Tomorrow

Tonight Matt closed out the week by talking about what the future holds. Everyone will go back to their regular lives tomorrow, whether that's to a job, family, and friends back home. Matt told everyone that instead of being melancholy, we should celebrate, even if we don't feel like it. Here are some things he said we should take to heart:

  1. Celebration is built into the fabric of being God's people. In Leviticus 23, it is a chapter of the Bible where God is telling the people to party, and celebrate life, and to also rest. A lot of the times today's society sees partying as a waste of time; it's lazy or it's not being productive. Matt said that back then, it was seen as an offering to God, to praise and celebrate.
  2. The foundation of of celebration isn't feeling, it's offering. Sometimes we feel like celebrating. Sometimes we don't. There are days where everything is going smoothly, and then days where everything is just going wrong, hour after hour. Still, we should try to find the light in those situations, and praise God for those days.
  3. Jesus-followers should lead the way in celebration. Who has more to celebrate than us?

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation...

Isaiah 61:10

Jesus even gets accused of having too much fun. When's the last time you've been accused of having too much fun? Matt said that we should be more like little kids, who see the whole world as a playground of fun.

We cannot continue long in anything without joy and celebration.

Richard Foster

We're out of practice of celebrating, we need to let our community see us celebrate more with all of our might. Matt gave us a few ways to begin:

  • Laugh more
  • Have friends over for dinner
  • Give your parents a hug for no reason
  • Go to a movie by yourself

Matt closed us in prayer, and challenged us all to lead the way in our lives.

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All A-Boat God

Good morning! It is a lovely Wednesday here at Epworth, and everyone is pumped for the new day! This morning Holman Band started off with some worship to get everyone into the mindset of Session. They played several familiar songs:

Anchored In Grace

Today, Stacy invited two of her good friends on stage to talk abut hope. These two work at two separate 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. Stacy introduced us to Heather, who works 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.

Stacy, Scott and Heather talking about grace in organizations.

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.

Here is an afternoon update from Grace, one of our Storytellers!

Soaking Up The Sun

Today was a perfect afternoon for lots of outdoor activities! Check out more photos in our gallery!

Anchored In Truth

This evening was started off with some worship. You can listen to the songs we worshipped to in the list below!

Truth. What is it? Matt explained to everyone that there are three truths that we need to know:

Truth #1: The world is hurting. There are so many things going on in today's society, from poverty, bullying and body image issues, to persecution and hate. Matt calls us to do something about this.

You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.

Read the story of Jesus' ascension here.

When it was time for Jesus to leave this Earth, and ascend, the disciples were instructed to go out and spread the Gospel and all that they had been taught.

Yet, sometimes we ourselves are complacent. Matt told us that we don't have time for complacency, or boredom. It's time we bring heaven to Earth.

Truth #2: We've been created to lead, give, and serve beyond ourselves. We have a purpose. Our purpose is not to stay within, but to go beyond ourselves. Share your talents and gifts. There is a place where your passions and God given gifts meet.

The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

-Frederick Buechner

This gift doesn't have to be earth shattering, it can be anything.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Learn more about Joshua and the truth he received

Truth #3: To be strong and courageous takes risk. There aren't any guarantees that nobody will think you're crazy or nuts. When we find that place where things connect, that's when we will feel alive. We can't just stand here and do nothing.

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Wor-Ship

Holman Band started everyone off with a lovely worship session and played these songs:

Anchored In The Storms

Throughout the Bible, there are many verses about suffering, going through pain and worship. Psalms is an entire book in the Bible that has songs written about various hardships that the authors had to go through. Everyone has a storm, has been through one, or knows someone that is.

Matt tells us there are four truths about suffering:

  1. We all experience suffering. Your suffering doesn't mean God loves you less. It doesn't mean that you did anything wrong either.
  2. We have two choices: we can suffer poorly, ignore it and deny it; or we can learn to suffer well. We can admit that it's painful. We can find someone to talk to, or pray with us. Suffering is one of those things where the only way to stop it is to just work through it.
  3. It's okay to wrestle with God. Matt told us that it's perfectly normal to have questions about God, and to wonder why He does what He does.
  4. The promise is we don't have to suffer alone.

Matt, Stacy, Sara, and Ginger sharing stories about storms from their lives.

God even said:

...For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'

Hebrews 13:5

...And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:20

Not everything happens for a reason. That isn't the case. Instead, God can and has the power to bring something good out of any situation.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Romans 8:28

Seas The Afternoon

It was a fun afternoon for campers! The free block started off with a Camp Song battle, where cabins have to perform a camp song and the best cabin performance wins high fives from the judges! There was also paintball, street hockey, and so much more! Check out these pictures below!

See more photos at our gallery!

Anchored In Grace

Matt tonight talked about grace. He opened his message by explaining that in the Old Testament, people usually had to do something to prove that they were followers of God. Like Matt talked about the other day, people have been known to use truth to divide. It was a hurtful and harsh process to try and become a follower of Christ.

But, in the Bible, Peter says there's another way:

We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.

Read more of the story here...

God has given us His Son to give us grace so that we don't have to do those horrible things in order to proclaim our love and passion for Jesus. We can simply follow Him and accept His grace.

Matt posed two questions about grace:

  1. When Jesus came to Earth did he come to show grace to everyone?
  2. Does God desire us to show grace to only a specific set of people?

Yes, and yes! Grace makes no worldly sense sometimes though. Jesus wants us to show mercy, favor those that hate us, or hurt us, said mean things, etc...

That can be the most difficult thing ever to do.


Matt explaining grace during his message.

But Matt explained there are two parts to forgiveness:

  • We are to call it what it is.
  • We are to treat that person like they did it in the first place.

We need to understand all the ways we need forgiveness. We need to know that Jesus treats us like we never did anything. And once we grasp that, we are to extend that sane understanding to others.

Yes, it is incredibly hard to do that to those people that are not so great to be around. Matt's advice was to forgive them, show them grace, but you don't have to be around those hurtful people.

We are conduits of grace. Why would we not want to pass it on to others?

Have you recognized your need for the gift of grace? Who needs you to extend your gift to them?

The world is a better place when grace is flowing. When we receive it and pass it on to others. It starts by us receiving it though.

Let's make this world a better place with grace!

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Anchored In Truth

Good morning! It is the first full day of camp, and though the weather has been rainy today, that won't stop us!

This morning Matt talked about truth in his message. He talked about the story of Jesus and and His disciples, and how Jesus called upon to Nathanael to follow Him. Nathanael didn't believe that it was truly Him, until Jesus said:

Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.” Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”

Read more of the story!

Nathanael had heard the Lord's truth, and because of that, believed and decided to follow. Jesus knew that he was seeking truth. Matt told everyone that there are three important things about truth:

  1. Curiosity is key. To be curious means to be interested, and challenge things. There are endless opportunities to be curious and more to learn.

  2. Boredom is dangerous. It's being disinterested. Some may say that there's nothing left to learn. It makes us care less and less, like whatever it is doesn't matter. We are to get curious about God.

  3. Always be curious about what's true. There's a difference between believing something because you actually saw it, and being told something.

Get under the fig tree, like Nathanael did, and run towards Jesus' truth.

Truth is truly for everyone.

Activities Ashore

Today was a perfect first day for campers to experience and meet other campers during our free block. During free block, there are a multitude of different things going on that campers can participate in! Today we had Ultimate Frisbee, Ice Cream Making, Flower Crown Making, Sky High and many more! Check out these fun pictures below, and see more in our gallery!

Anchored In Love, Jesus, and Freedom

This evening was started off with worship by the Holman Band:

Matt opened the message tonight by asking about everyone's story. He said that we all, every single one of us, has a story. We are to never underestimate the role you play when you share with someone.

Matthew in the Bible wrote the first book of the Gospel's, and shared his own story of his encounter and walk with Jesus. It wasn't ever a magnificent story, there were times of not so proud moments.

Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him.

Matthew 9:9-13

You see, Matthew was a tax collector. Tax collectors weren't well liked back in Jesus time, they were well known to put an extra tax on the Jews, and pocket the rest. Matthew, as a Jew himself, was stealing from his own people. Yet, Jesus saw great potential in him, and told Matthew to follow. Jesus proceeds to have this dinner party at Matthew's house, with other tax collectors, and sinners.

Why would Jesus eat with the sinners? Because they are worth it.

Matt explained to everyone that Jesus is like a doctor who heals our sins. If we can acknowledge what we've done wrong, we've done it for Him, and we are no longer sick and troubled. Matthew's story is a story of healing, and resurrection.

You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live.

John 11:25

We are so worth it to Jesus. He came to give us a new life no matter what. We're invited to His dinner party. And since Matthew had to leave behind his old life, his tax booth, we are called to leave behind our old selves and lives also.

Jesus does not see good or bad. He sees someone who was created by God, whom He loves, was willing to go on the cross for.

Don't forget that you are worth it.

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All Aboard!

Campers have arrived! Everyone is so excited to be here, meet new people, and grow closer as a community and to God. It's going to be a fantastic week; there are so many fun things in store! Be sure to keep checking here for updates on the fun, and check out our gallery for pictures!

What Are You Anchored In?

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 week, we have the privilege of having Holman who comes from Ohio! They have been leading campers in worship several times here at Epworth.

This week's keynote speaker is Matt Boyle, who hails from Chicago, Illinois. He is a return speaker, and has been coming to Epworth for the last three years. We are so excited to receive his messages that he has for this week!

Tonight Matt talked about anchors. He told us that Jesus is the one who came to save us and rescue us, and that God is our anchor of hope.

But what is being anchored to God like? What does it look like to follow Him?

Matt explained what God is really about in a few points:

Bondage or freedom. Some might think that following God is like being weighed down, but that's not the case. He gives us rest. One of the first things Jesus says is that He's all about freedom.

Rules or invitations. During the time of Jesus, Matt told us a story of how the farmers would not build fences, but instead build wells on their property. The well is an invitation to stay in the yard for the animals, but a fence is a rule. God is giving us an invitation to follow, but isn't making us stay.

Perfection or growth. Jesus didn't choose His disciples because they were perfect. He chose them because they grew. God is not asking for perfection, He just wants us to grow to be more like Him.

Unhappiness or joy. Rejoice and be glad. God wants us to be happy!

Matt wrapped things up by saying that God wants us to be anchored in these things: freedom, invitations, growth, and joy.

We are called to untie ourselves from those things that are not God and tie yourself to Him. That is that only true way we will receive the freedom and joy we are looking for.

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