Epworth Forest CC - That Thing - June 15-20 (2014)

# Camp Photo Gallery

Follow the button below to open the event photo gallery. You will need to have your password that was handed out to you during check-in.If you have lost your password, please contact the camp office at 574.834.2212; you will need to verify your identity and connection to a camper in order to retrieve the password.

Event Photo Gallery

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I am Chosen

What an AMAZING week here at That Thing 2014. We are so thankful to God for showing up this week and creating life changing experiences for these campers! Check out a recap of this week:

I am Patient and Humble

We love to feel God moving here at camp! Tonight’s worship session was powerful as campers joined together to praise our Lord and Savior in song.

In today’s world, high school students face many obstacles. We’re all living with the pressure of others’ expectations, jumping through hoops to please our parents, worrying about taking the “right” next step, and along the way balancing our popularity and success. The world we live in demands that we climb that ladder of success, even if it means we have to step on people to get there.

Tonight Matt explained that if we have chosen to follow Christ – if we’ve been changed to make a change – we can’t follow this worldly pattern of living. We see an example of this in the book of Mark (10: 35-45) when two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, approach Jesus to ask about their “status” in the new kingdom. The disciples had started to worry about climbing the social ladder. Jesus responds to them by explaining that even He, the Son of God, did not come to this world to be served but rather to serve others. Jesus explains that to be great, we must humble ourselves and live a life of servanthood.

The “ladder” lifestyle leads to destruction, but Jesus has offered us another path. What we learn from Him is that the throne of our King is a cross: “The cross is where the love of power is defeated by the power of love.”

Matt challenged campers tonight to take everything we’ve learned this week and put it into practice at home. To do that we must reject the way of the world. As we live on this earth we must go through each day asking others, “How can I wash your feet? How can I serve you?”

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Beachin’ it up!

Program Manager Phil Harman photo-bombed some campers in The Beach House today!free block 2014-06-19

The SHADE

The afternoon is off to a fun start! Campers are busy playing the shade, painting by the lakefront, tubing, swimming, and more!

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Having a Clear Vision

It is so great to begin the day worshipping our awesome God!

Our friend Pastor Chris Stahlman of Monticello 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.

Chris told the story of Florence Chadwick, a woman who attempted to swim 26 miles from Catalina Island to the California shoreline in 1952. Florence faced many kinds of dangers, like sharks, rough waters and fatigue. However, the one obstacle that caused her to quit before reaching the shoreline was fog – she quit because she was no longer able to see her goal.

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 looking at.

We closed this morning’s session by meditating on how sweet it is to follow, respond to, grow in and live for our loving God. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” - Psalm 119:103

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Last Day of Camp!

I am Moving

God is so great! We love to see Him transform lives here at camp. Tonight Matt spoke to the campers about moving forward in our lives as Christians. As we continue to wrestle with this “Now what?” question, remaining Kingdom-minded and focused on the Lord is key.

Matt’s message had three main points:

  1. God’s presence is everywhere. We see this in Isaiah 6:3: “And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’” We learned tonight that glory in Hebrew is the word “kavod,” which means “weight” or “heavy.” This verse in Isaiah is literally saying that the whole earth is filled with God’s weight – it is drenched in God.
  2. God’s truth is everywhere. We looked at two instances in the Bible when Paul declares true statements made by pagans and non-Christians. Even though the words were not spoken by Christians, Paul still claimed them as true. Matt shared a quote with us that reinforce this idea: “All truth is God’s truth – there is no other kind.” If it is true, it’s of God and it’s of the Holy Spirit.
  3. God’s work is everywhere. Because Christ died on the cross for our sins, we were brought into a personal and all consuming relationship with God. There is no longer a need to separate our spiritual lives and our worldly lives. We no longer have to follow the law Paul, as a Jew, was required to follow in order to please God. Now our lives themselves are our offering to the Lord (Romans 12:1).

These three truths allow us to get rid of the “Christian boxes” that we put ourselves in. Because of these truths, we are free to live without fear and without labels. We no longer have to work the “Christian” job or only talk to our “Christian” friends.

Campers learned tonight that this mentality of truly following the Lord is less about being in a box and more about looking through a window. Because we are filled up with the Holy Spirit and with God’s everlasting love, we can go out into the world ready to see God’s presence and to feel Him moving, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. We can see the world in a way where God is always, always present.

Wherever we are, God is present. Whatever we learn, God’s truth is there. Whatever we do, God is always working.

Our prayer tonight is that the Lord would allow these students to be the kind of people who can see God move, the kind of people who don’t need labels and boxes, but who are continuously aware of our God’s presence.

We are Chosen. #ThatThing2014

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ULTIMATE!!

We got to sneak in a few games of ultimate frisbee before the rain hit this afternoon. Don’t forget to check out more photos from this week HERE.free block 2014-06-18

Faux Yoga

Campers enjoyed some hilariously ridiculous Faux Yoga with Sensei Max and Sensei Alex this morning…

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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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Wednesday Preview:

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I Am Kind and Loving

It is amazing to see these campers grow each day here at camp! Worship tonight was so loud with shouts of praise tonight as we sang:

Matt spoke with campers about the ways in which we, as Christians in today’s world, react to adversity. Many lessons that are of the world tell us to fight back – to fight fire with fire – but as followers of Christ, we are told to respond with love. We see many examples of this in the way Jesus lived on the earth. He was beaten, tortured and crucified on the cross, yet still He died asking God to forgive those who had wronged him (1 Peter 2:20-23). In the face of attack, Christ teaches us to respond with love and kindness. By disarming attacks with love, we render them useless. We are to step forward in love without lowering to the world’s standards of what it means to “fight back” in the face of adversity. Jesus’ response to all people and all circumstances is love, and His posture toward the world is persistence, passion and love. As Christians, our posture toward the world should be the same, even toward those attacking us.

Capture the Flag, Epworth Style

Check out the winners of today’s capture the flag game all across site!

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Close call…

You know the 3-on-3 basketball tournament got intense when the photographer is nailed in the face with a ball! Luckily the camera wasn’t harmed and we all lived to enjoy another afternoon at Epworth. free block 2014-06-17

Paintball time!

Campers are practicing teamwork and communication out on the paintball field this afternoon. paintball 2014-06-17

Love is persistent

It’s a windy (but beautiful!) morning here at That Thing 2014, and we just finished our first session of the day in the auditorium. Sing Love LOVES to start us out each morning with a little game or dance to get our blood flowing. Check it out: This morning we learned a new song written by Sing Love, called Heartbeat, and praised the Lord with some worship.

  • Happy Day - Tim Hughes
  • Light of the World – Jesus Culture
  • Heartbeat – Sing Love
  • One Thing Remains – Jesus Culture
  • We Will Run – Jesus Culture

Our Program Director, Phil Harman, challenged students this morning to define “love” with one word, and we were all reminded that God himself IS love.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  - 1 John 4:7-8

Love is persistent. Love does not give up easily. It is a chase. It is a fight. We were reminded this morning that God’s very nature is love, and that the Holy Trinity is so overflowing with love that we cannot determine where the Spirit ends and the Father begins. The story of Jonah is a great example of our God’s persistent love. God had a plan for Jonah, but instead of obeying, Jonah was afraid and ran away. Many of us remember how the story goes – Jonah is swallowed by a huge fish – but the important idea here is that God continued to pursue Jonah, even as he fled. God never gave up on Jonah. God had a purpose for Jonah to fulfill, and he chased after him until it was completed. We all remember this story with Jonah as the main character, but the passage is more about God than it is about Jonah. It is a story that shows love cannot be separated from persistence. It reminds us that our God is a persistent lover, and that he loves us in the same way that he loved Jonah. Jonah ran away from the Lord because he was afraid. As we’ve talked about this week, many of us have different fears that hold us back from living life the way God intended us to live. As we wrapped up this morning’s session, Matt asked the students to consider this question today: In what ways am I running from God’s love? worship 2014-06-17 (1)

Happy Tie-Dye Tuesday!

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Jesus Paid it All

What an incredible night of worship. We are so thankful to see God already moving in these campers’ lives, and it’s only night two! We began and ended with some great worship! Tonight we sang:

Our keynote speaker, Matt Laidlaw, began the evening sermon by sharing his heart with us. We were reminded that each of us have things in our past that we’re not proud of, and we all know that we fall short of the glory of God. We know that we aren’t pure. In Genesis 3:6-7, we see that Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to this impurity when the disobeyed the Lord. But the most important thing to remember is that God did not abandon them in in their sin. He saw their brokenness and their sin and he chose to clothe them (Gen 3:21). Just as He did with Adam and Eve, God is continually clothing our sins, too. As Matt explained, that is grace. Grace is that God covers our stains and our brokenness. He doesn’t see us for our sins but as the people he created us to be. Matt asked the campers to consider another word: repentance. Repentance is the idea that we are supposed to try and become the person God created us to be. It is when we willingly turn away from our sins and our brokenness and turn instead to the Lord. The campers were called to action tonight as we ended the session, and Matt asked them to consider where each one of them stands in their journey with God. There were three things the campers were asked to consider: first, that God covers all their sins and sees them as his beloved children; second, that God is calling them to make a conscious change in the way they’re living their lives; and third, to simply be reminded that God has covered their sin and that they’ve been made clean. Campers spent time in prayer with their youth leaders, and we are sure that God is still moving in their hearts as we settle in for the night here at Epworth.

Tug O War Mania

These campers just DOMINATED in some four-way Tug O War!

And they’re off!

Campers are out and about taking full advantage of this beautiful first day of That Thing 2014. They’re making candles, swimming, tubing, playing soccer, and testing out our new paddle boards! We’ve got a few more activities planned this afternoon, including driveway basketball games and Tug O War. Don’t forget to look for more photos in our online gallery HERE.

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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. worship 2014-06-16

I am Holy and Loved

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We are Chosen!

What an amazing night of worship to kick off That Thing 2014! We know this is going to be a time of life changing experiences here at Epworth. This week we are learning all about how we are the chosen and holy people of God, just as it says in Colossians 3:12-14,

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 

We began our session tonight with some worship songs led by our friends, Sing Love Worship.

Tonight our keynote speaker for the week, Matt Laidlaw, spoke with us about what it means to be chosen by God. He reminded us that we are all integral parts of God’s plan, which is a plan that begins and ends with His goodness. It goes a little something like this:

  • Creation: our story begins with a good God who created a good world, and gave authority on earth to humans
  • Fall: Adam and Eve took that authority and used it to rebel against God, which begin’s the earth’s spiral into darkness. BUT – God does not give up on His story or His people (us!)
  • Israel: God calls Israel to be the chosen people, to restore the earth to the way He intended it to be
  • Jesus: Jesus is sent to the earth to suffer and to show us what it looks like to live the way God intended us to. He defeats sin and death once and for all
  • Church: This is our place in the story, our opportunity to be the church of Christ and to spread the Good News
  • New Creation: It all ends with more goodness when our King will return and the earth will be free from its pain

We can see that, clearly, God is in the business of choosing people. He chose Adam and Eve, He chose Jesus, and He is choosing us now to be His hands and feet to our broken world. The important thing to remember is that the Lord is choosing us, in spite of our sins and all our baggage, to fulfill His purposes.

We are chosen for a purpose, blessed to be a blessing, and changed to bring change. God is choosing us and inviting us to be part of his great rescue plan for this universe, and we are called to serve Him, the Great Creator, to help complete His great story.

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We’ve got campers!

Some of our campers are still checking in while others have already begun catching up with old friends and playing games, like nine square in the air! Don’t forget to check out this weeks photo gallery HERE for the latest updates. A password for the gallery was provided to youth leaders in their cabins, so check with your camper if you need the password! If you still can’t locate it, please call our front office here at Epworth at (574) 834 – 2212. check in  2014-06-15check in  2014-06-15 (3)check in  2014-06-15 (2)check in  2014-06-15 (1)

Here we go, #ThatThing2014!

Greeting

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