Epworth Forest CC - That Thing - July 6-11 (2014)

Camp Photo Gallery

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Event Photo Gallery

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thursday

I am Chosen

We are so blessed by each of these campers that have been with us here at Epworth this week. It has been an amazing week filled with love, laughter, fellowship and life changing experiences. Check out this video to see what it was like, and join us next year for That Thing 2015.

The Light of Jesus

Wow, what an incredible week it has been! We LOVE to see God moving in big ways in these campers’ lives. He has been so good to us here at camp this week! Tonight we talked about trusting God and shining His light even in the difficult times. God often brings us to our breaking point in order to show us that He is there with us through the trials. Surrendering your life to Christ doesn’t guarantee you a life without pain, but it does mean that God will bring purpose to your struggles. When we find ourselves question our circumstances, we must always remember that God’s plan and His timing is always opportune.

God has been broken for us – His son died on the cross for our sins – and what He asks in return is that we pick up our cross and follow Him. The simplicity of the cross is beautiful – no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, it’s never too late to follow the Lord because Jesus’ blood is enough. In those weaknesses and those struggles and brokenness, we are made stronger in Christ. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says,

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Tonight we asked campers: Will you be the light of Jesus when you go home? To be the light you must spend time in scripture and time with the Lord. Scripture paints this picture of God being the light of the world, and through Him we too can shine His light in even the darkest places.

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Katniss?

Campers brought out their inner Katniss Everdeen today and learned some awesome new archery skills!

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Game On

The campers from Duecker and Fenstermacher got crazy today on the paintball field! Their game was so intense and so much fun!

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Having a Clear Vision

We had an incredible time of worship this morning with our friends Sing Love:

Our friend Pastor Chris Stahlman of South Whitley United Methodist Church was with us this morning to challenge campers on this last full day of That Thing 2014. Chris began by explaining that there are two types of people in life: some people watch life go by and others step up and engage in it. God did not create us all to be wallflowers!

We all know that life is not always easy and that there are many experiences that can and will hurt us. But if we choose to be a person that follows Christ, we should accept the challenge to do not what is easy but to take a risk, to extend beyond themselves to make a difference for someone else.

In order to make a difference in the world around us, we have to have a vision. Chris encouraged campers this morning to define their goals through God. When we make a decision for Christ and have God as our focus, we will have a vision worth working toward.

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One more time…

wednesday-thursday

I am Moving

Tonight we spent some time exploring what is is that God has called each of us to do. Just like we did this morning, we’re asking God what the next step in our lives is. We began with some more awesome worship:

As we question what the next step is for each of us individually, we must remember that God has no limits. Sometimes we think we know what a “mission field” is or what it’s supposed to look like, but we are not God. Where He has called us might not look like what we expected it to. Hebrews 11:6 says

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 

Regardless of where God is calling us, we must believe that He has a good purpose for us and we must trust Him to take care of us. When Jesus called Peter out of the boat in Matthew chapter 14 and invited him to walk on water, He simply said, “come.” It was an open invitation for anyone in the boat to step out in faith and come to be with Him, but only Peter had the boldness to actually do it. In the same way, God is offering each of us an opportunity to walk with Him and live a life filled with His love, joy and peace. We simply have to have faith and trust His will for our lives.

We must have courage, and courage comes from God alone. Many times we face difficulties in our lives and wonder where God is during that struggle. But God never sets us up for hurt or despair. God allows us to go through difficult times to grow our trust in Him so that we can do more to further the Kingdom through Him. Even in times of trial, if we keep our eyes on the Lord He will always raise us up and allow us to overcome.

God sees the big picture for our lives that we cannot see, and He’s challenging us to step out in faith and live out His dreams for us.

ULTIMATE!

Ultimate frisbee got intense today down at the rec field! We’re headed to dinner now and are so excited for tonight’s activities and evening session.

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Surprise!

Two campers decorated a cake for our Activities Coordinator, Gabby, this afternoon! It was awesome!

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Preparing for the day ahead

Campers are free of supposed “dark energy” and full of laughter after a hilarious session of Faux Yoga down by the beach with Sensei Alex and Yoga Master Max. Check it out!

So now what?

It is so great to begin each day singing praises to our God! Here is what we sang this morning in worship:

Today our friend Scott Greene joined us to help campers work through the question, “So now what?” This week we’ve been learning all about what it means to live out Christ’s love here on earth, and this morning campers were called to action. We took a look at the story of David and Goliath (2 Samuel 6:1-15). David was called by God to perform a task, just as each one of us are called to something by the Lord. We are all chosen by God for a specific purpose.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. - 1 Peter 2:9

Scott shared with us the ministry God has called his family to: they are all a huge part of the organization Let Them LOL, a group that raises money to build wells for clean drinking water in Africa. God has chosen their family just as He has chosen each camper here on site to fulfill His purposes and bring glory to His name.

As we ended our session this morning, campers were encouraged to spend time in prayer asking God what he has chosen them specifically to do. We pray that He will reveal to all of us His will for our lives.

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Rise ‘n Shine!!

tuesday-wednesday

I am Kind and Loving

Worship tonight was so LOUD as we shouted songs of praise to our awesome God! We sang:

Micah 6:8 says, “He has showen you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” The Lord calls us to not only be moved with compassion but to take action. There are people in our world that are hurting, and God calls us to do something about it. He doesn’t call us to temporarily fix problems with mission trips, etc., but to permanently change our lifestyles so that we are constantly loving and serving others.

Many times we feel God calling us to action, but we limit His capability to take care of us and to meet our needs. As a result of that fear, we do not step out in faith. God doesn’t need us or our resources, but if we are willing to trust Him, He will use us. We are filled with God’s Word and the knowledge of His will for our lives, but we must also have an outlet for God’s love in our lives. It is in this that we fulfill the Great Commission.

1 John 3:26 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. As followers of Christ we often take an “on/off” approach to sharing that love and our faith. We know what Christ did for us on the cross and still we sit comfortably by and do nothing about the conditions of the world around us. But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable, He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations.

We ended our session tonight asking ourselves this question: If I’m the only picture of Christ that someone else sees, what does that look like? The love of Christ should compel us to do something about the conditions of our world.

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Tubing Time

Our campers and volunteers had a BLAST out on the lake this afternoon!

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Flyin’ High

The rain has cleared up and the skies are blue here at camp! Campers were so ready to try out our giant swing, Sky High, this afternoon!

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The love of Christ

It’s a rainy Tuesday here at camp but we’re still SO excited for the day ahead of us! We started our day off with some worship led by Sing Love:

This morning we talked about the transforming power of Christ’s love. Our definition of love is easily altered by the world’s influences, which leads us to have a very warped perception of what love truly is. 1 John 4:7-8 says this:

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
God IS love and it’s the love of Christ that transforms us on a daily basis. This love should compel us to be more concerned about our character than about our reputation. It should encourage us to be humble, sacrificing our own glory and fame to be a part of the team – the Church – magnifying the name of Jesus. As a team united for Christ, our purpose is not for the church, our position, or our individual reputation but instead our purpose should be to make famous the name of Jesus.
Today Sarah asked campers: Do your lives look like this? Are you reflecting Christ so greatly that the world around you sees Him and not yourself?
We are reminded through the story of Moses that God has big plans for each and every one of us. God’s plan for our lives is even greater than the biggest dream we can think of. And even though we are sinners, His love can transform us and equip us to do His will every day in our lives.
### Good morning!

A morning message from Assistant Program Manager Stacy Hartman:

monday-tuesday

I am Holy and Loved

It is so great to worship our God together!

This evening Sarah talked about gifts. Christ offers us the ultimate gift – the opportunity to be forgiven by Him and in relationship with Him. However, humans are often drawn to gifts that look pretty, and that sometimes gets us into trouble. Satan likes to wrap sin in pretty packaging. The enemy makes our sins look minor and unimportant so that we think they aren’t really that big of a deal.

On the other hand, Jesus didn’t come in a pretty package. He was undesirable, rejected and despised, and we’re guilty of doing the same thing still today. This is Satan’s goal – he doesn’t want us to desire God but instead to look at everything else in our lives and be distracted by it. God is patiently waiting for us to focus on Him and allow Him into every aspect of our lives.

The exciting thing about following Christ is that even when we buy into the shiny, gift-wrapped sin, He always forgives us. In order to be like Christ, we’re called to forgive in this same, unconditional way.  Matthew 6:15 says, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” In order to do effective ministry, we need to be set free from the bondage of hate.

We were reminded tonight that a battle rages on between good and evil, but God always, always prevails. Satan will continue to tempt us in our weakest moments, but God’s love will overcome. No matter how long we are in the wilderness and wandering far from God, He still pursues us.

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Tug O War

Campers had a crazy game of four-way tug o war today! Check it out!

GOAL!!

In honor of the World Cup campers celebrated some big-time goals on the rec field today!

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Who am I?

This morning we heard from our friends Stephanie Reibe and Joe Garrison from Castleton UMC as they spoke about asking the question “Who am I?” We began with some more worship from Sing Love:

We were reminded this morning of Moses and the story told in Exodus 3:4-12.  God calls Moses to action, asking him to deliver the Israelites from slavery under Pharaoh’s rule. Much like many of us would probably react, Moses first asks the question “who am I” to complete such a task? The important thing to remember comes next in verse 12: “And God said, ‘I will be with you.’” As we begin this week of camp, our prayer is that students will give up their own desires and open their hearts to hear God sending them out into His broken world. This morning campers are spending time in Learning Labs as we continue to grow through the experiences God has in store for us this week.

Good morning, campers!

Here’s a morning message from our Program Manager, Phil Harman!

[![sunday-monday](http://res.cloudinary.com/impact-2818/image/upload/v1423287299/sunday-monday_ihgjwu.png)](http://res.cloudinary.com/impact-2818/image/upload/v1423287299/sunday-monday_ihgjwu.png)

I am Chosen

We are SO EXCITED to kick off week four of That Thing 2014!! This week as we grow closer to God together, we’re focusing on Colossians 3:12 and learning what it truly means to be the chosen people of God. Colossians 3:12 says

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

We began our first session tonight with awesome worship led by our friends, Sing Love.

Sarah Hill, a youth minster and counselor from Hawaii, is with us this week as our keynote speaker. Sarah reminded us tonight that each individual camper is here for a specific reason and that God has a purpose for each one of us. Even when it’s hard to see, God has prepared a plan for our lives and has something specific He has called each one of use to do here on earth. We are His chosen people!

God tells us that He has ordained us, He has selected us individually and called us into existence. But trouble arises when we start to pick ourselves apart and to see our mistakes and our faults and believe that God cannot use us. Often times we begin to compare ourselves to others, seeing what other people can do that we cannot. Sarah reminded us tonight that this is an impractical thing to do. A kitchen has only one cheese grater and one apple cutter and both utensils serve a specific purpose. In the same way, God designed us specifically for one purpose and He only needs one of us.

The only thing God is waiting for us to do is surrender our lives to Him. God doesn’t favor one position or one human quality over the other, He’s simply looking for someone who is willing to give up their life for Him. Sarah reminded us tonight that our lives have amazing value in the Kingdom. We are all chosen for something great and God knows exactly what that is.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

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Here we go!

Campers are moved in and getting ready for tonight’s first evening session with keynote speaker Sarah Hill!

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Welcome to camp!

Greetings!

Today’s the day! It’s a great day for your campers to make their way to camp and embark on a wonderful journey with us here at Epworth Forest!   sunday-up