Epworth Forest CC - That Thing - June 18-23 (2017)

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Anchors Away!

Today we had to say goodbye to the campers. It's bittersweet, but the memories will last forever! Here is the end of the week video!

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Anchored In Originality

The band, Mass Anthem, led worship this morning and performed several traditional hymns. Porcia talked about The Disciples in her keynote, and how they compared themselves to each other right after feeding the five thousand and seeing Jesus chase out the demon in the young boy.

Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, 'Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.'

Find the full story here.

Everyone can learn a little from that. It isn't so much as who does the most, or the best, but simply those that just accept Jesus and live with their hearts on fire for him will live in such an amazing way.

Free Time On Deck

Today is an amazing day for weather and activities! The sun is out, it's not too hot, and on the lakefront there is a nice breeze! There are so many things happening this afternoon, such as:

  • Greased Watermelon (a game you play where you must carry a Crisco-covered watermelon to the other end of playing space in the lake)
  • Lakeside Painting
  • Talent Show
  • Bracelet Making
  • Lake Tubing

...and so many more! Check out the photos below from all the fun campers had!

Here's a little video from the Talent Show! Two campers play and sing an inspiring version of Oceans (Where Feet May Fail):

Anchored In Tomorrow

Tonight is the last night of worship! It's hard to believe that it is already here, feels like it was just Sunday! Many of us will go back to family, and our hometown church, and summertime jobs.

So, where do we go from here once we leave?

Porcia talked tonight about being committed. When everyone leaves this place tonight, we shall continue to lift Him up high.

The Good Samaritan story in the Bible is one that Porcia says God laid on her heart to share. If you haven't heard or read the story, check it out here in Luke 10:25-37. Porcia explained that God will send the hurting and the broken to us. There is nothing more extraordinary than ordinary people doing ordinary acts of love with gospel intentionality.

And yes, we will need courage to do God's work. But we are to run after our dreams and pursue Jesus. Don't waste what God has put inside you, it can and will contribute to the kingdom of God. Be that light in your community.

The God we experience here is the same at home, or anywhere.

Don't forget that you can find all of the photos from this week at the gallery!

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In Hope

This morning 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 99 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.

Stacy, Scott, Ann and Heather talking about hope and 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.

Activities Aplenty

This afternoon was packed with fun games, crafts and fun! Check out these photos below and as always, you can check the gallery!


Anchored in Courage

Porcia talked about the book Isaiah this evening. Isaiah has this vision from God, and is told to go and is called to service as a prophet.
We might think that God only has plans for the evangelists and the leaders and those can move large crowds, but not us. Porcia tells us that isn't true.

Everything is an opportunity to do God's work. God is calling you to be a different and a leader.

When you see with the eyes of God everyone is a "10". They are worth something. (And don't forget to see yourself as a 9.9. This is because you are to esteem others.) We have the ability to see others how He sees them. It's time to rise up and be the people God wants us to be!

Porcia goes on to say that we are to love the unloved. Our purpose is to be Jesus for other people. Be a good examples, and to preach the gospel to all nations. We are all apart of that call. We are equipped. Don't despise where you are or think that you can't make an impact.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong

We as a community are full of world changers. Don't be afraid to be one!

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Anchorage

Good morning! It is a fine day here at Epworth, and we have a new morning update!

This morning everyone was pumped to start morning Session, and danced along to the songs playing during countdown to worship!

Worship this morning consisted of:

In The Storm

Porcia this morning talked about those moments when everything is a peace in the walk of faith, and everything just seems good.

And then sometimes things happen, there are consequences that follow, and a storm brews. But Portia says that that is okay, there are going to be storms in your life no matter where you are. Whether it's on the mountaintop of faith, or the forest halfway up. There isn't a storm just because we've done something wrong.

When we follow Jesus though, we are not alone in the heavy rain and wind. He is with us always, until the end of time. We have to choose what we know is true about God. His way is higher than ours. He is going to work it out for good.

Portia explained some verses that are the promises of God:

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you

1 Peter 4:12

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4

There is purpose for the trials that God allows in our lives. We can rejoice when we go through trials because then we know better times are on its way. God is a healer. We aren't made to do this on our own, God is there to help.

Activities Ashore

Campers had fun this afternoon experiencing different games, learning labs, and for some, tubing for the first time! Check it out! You can see more photos of fun 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, which you can find where to get it here.

The campers were split into two groups, where one group would stay and listen to Porcia give a short keynote, 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? alt

Trusting Our Ship

Mass Anthem rocked out at Morning Session with songs that are both new and familiar!

It's raining! We aren't going to let that stop the fun here at Epworth though! This afternoon's activities have been put on pause as the weather clears up and it's nice enough to go back outside.

Here's a Monday update from some of our staff!

A Curiosity For Truth

Today in Morning Session, Porcia talked about truth and posed some questions to the campers.

Where do we go for truth? Do we ask our peers? Our parents? The world? Sometimes we do things just because they've been done that way over and over. We don't stray from that path because it's comfortable and it feels like it's the right choice.

Yet, we are told how to live in the Bible. We are told to pray and be civil towards those that despise us. Often times though, it's really really hard to be nice and not want vengeance. It's difficult to love that person and really be nice back.

A lot of the time we just say "You do you, and I'll do me and we will be good."

But that's not the point of life. We can't just focus on ourselves and try to get through life with our head ducked down only looking out for our own back.

Christ is the center. Not them or your neighbor, or ourself.


Porcia, our keynote speaker for That Thing Week One.

There is only one place to find the truth and know what is real. That place is God's Word. And there's no better place to start than the Bible. Jesus doesn't want anyone to be perfect, He just wants to know you.

So, what's going to be true when all else fades? When everything is swept away? His words and his love. Let whatever you think is truth now and accept God as the truth.

We challenge everyone to pray for open eyes and to know God more. To desire Him and seek His word.

You can see photos from this morning's session at the gallery.

Action Stations

When campers aren't at the scheduled activities, they have 2 to 5 o'clock block, where everyone is free to go and try different games, swim on the lake, or just simply hang out around campus!

Here are some photos of campers enjoying their afternoon!

Archery Tag on the Rec Field


Faux Yoga in Pell Lodge

Anchored In Love, Jesus, Freedom

Mass Anthem opened the Evening Worship with some time of dancing and praise! Check out these awesome photos below!


Adjusting The Sails

Porcia tonight talked about how God has called each of out of darkness and into the light. He has given you a purpose and a story.

We serve a God who sees everything, who knows it all. He has written our story by hand. And in that story, God is using us everyday. We don't have to be a part of the ministry or talk on stage to love a lifetime of calling.

Portia said that we also don't have to have everything figured out to follow Jesus, He is not thrown off my our doubts.


Porcia talks about our individual purpose and how she found her own.

When we decide to follow Christ, He takes that to heart. Forever.

Sometimes we might have darkness in our lives. And that's okay, God always has hope for us. We are unbelievably precious to God, who sent His Son to die for us. He doesn't care about the darkness and bad things.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

You can find this Bible verse here

All in all, God is a good Father, who has called us out of our darkness and into the light, He washes away our sins like the tide. There's no shame in admitting there's baggage you need to let go, throw it overboard.

God accepts you wholly.

Don't forget you can check out pictures in our gallery from tonight's Session!

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Setting Sails

Today is finally the day! It's the first day of That Thing and we could not be more hyped to meet the campers and start our journey learning about God!

Campers have settled and are unpacking, and exploring the campus. It may look a little different this year, but it's still the same Epworth through and through!
Here are some photos of everyone checking in:




Be sure to check out the gallery to see more photos during the week!

Campers were given a scavenger hunt to pass time before Evening Session, and had to find little geocaches that led to another location and so on! The first cabin to find all of them gets first access to the Discipleship Center.

Update: Strawbridge was the first cabin to find all!

Adrift

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's band Mass Anthem, led us in worship to start off the Evening Worship.

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 we are so happy to have Porcia Baxter as our keynote speaker! She hails from Minnesota, and travels all over to deliver messages and speeches to groups.

Anchored

Jesus never fades or wavers.

He is an anchor.

Sometimes we tie ourselves to things that aren't necessary. We try so hard to be like everyone else and to fit in. We try and tie our anchors in life to things that we think we need, things that are necessary. What do you tie your anchor to?

  • Popularity?
  • More social media followers?
  • Being skinny?
  • Having the coolest gadgets?

In reality, Jesus doesn't care about those things. He knows us so intimately, the things we think about and the mistakes we've made.

Guess what? He doesn't care about the bad.

You might say that you've been waiting and waiting on God to answer those prayers and to give you relief from those anchors weighing you down. You don't know if he'll ever be there.

He will.

God is a good Father who will watch over us daily, and take care of us. Sometimes we are just too busy chasing other things to notice that He's there. When we chase anything but God, it will become a meaningless pursuit. It's okay to dream or want to be the best, but it's not okay so much to have those things as a higher priority.

We can find satisfaction in Him. We need more of Him. Jesus is the only one that can satisfy that need to be perfect or to have more things. He can let our anchors go.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

You can find this Bible verse and more here.