Friday, June 17, 2011

We are a Kingdom people.

What do you get when you have hundreds of teens + a handful of youth sponsors + a secluded spot in the country + worship + a powerful Word?


To describe my experience in a few words I would have to say I was stretched to the brink of myself, but also that I found a new humility and a new found appreciation for anyone who leads a youth ministry.  

To be placed in a position of authority is a huge step for me, to be in charge of 14 people takes a lot of strength of which the only way I was going to have any was to rely on God one day at a time. I found myself thrown into a group of teens that I didn't know, dealing with boy crazy girls and girl crazy boys, unorganized chaos of a youth camp and I suffered hours upon hours of burning hot Texas weather. 

However I also found myself being filled up by Christ in the morning through quiet times, receiving an awesome Word from Jay McPherson, encouraging teens and seeing them transform and open up about their lives/hardships/dreams/prayers, had an amazing time of truly abandoned praise and worship with a band called Everfound, took a lot of pictures with my camera and I got to have a lot of interesting conversations that inspire me to keep pursuing my calling as well.

Jay McPherson really brought the Word to the teens this week.  His main message was about being a Kingdom Worker.  That how we live our lives, how we carry ourselves shows who we are as a people in Christ.  He brought in some staggering information like:
"Out of 1,000 non-Christians asked to choose one word to describe Christians the top three answers were: 1. Hypocritical, 2. Judgmental, and 3. Anti-Gay."
And so he questioned the silent crowd: I wonder if we asked people what they thought about Jesus if they would say those same things? No, they wouldn't. They'd say that he was sinless, honest and true.  That he had compassion and forgiveness abounding, and that he loved all people no matter what.  And he challenged us to take what we'd learned and show those in our sphere of influence who Jesus really is and what it means to be a follower of Christ.

And so in this one of the main themes this week was edification of fellow believers.  We are constantly as a people tearing each other down and as the body of Christ we should be building each other up, leaning on each other when we need help and we should be able to be vulnerable enough to ask for prayer when we need it. I shared this passage with my small group ( TEAM PINK!) one morning as it seemed like they needed a glimpse of what the kingdom of God should look like:
[Acts 2:42-47]
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This is a radical idea.  They fellowshipped together, broke bread together, they had everything in common.  This is what I imagine the kingdom of God should be like if it were established on earth with sincere and glad hearts we would serve one another and devote ourselves to the teachings of God and live our lives as living sacrifices[Romans 12:1-2].

Jay often left us with a question to respond to or a statement that really impressed upon my heart, here are just a few:
  • God loves and calls all people unto himself and desires all people to actively respond to that love through the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • The kingdom of God is the way of the SERVANT.
  • What does it mean to be citizens of Gods kingdom?
  • Jesus is more interested in the interior of a persons heart(the internal condition) than the exterior appearance.
  • God doesn't say to us, "I'm content with 60% of your heart/life." He wants it all.
  • God uses broken people to do the work of the church.
These are just a handful, but I really feel as if I let God use me in a way to inspire some teens at this camp.  I saw many transformations even in some young people that weren't from my church, to see it was phenomenal and I am so blessed to have been able to witness something so heart changing. This small glimpse gives me hope for the next generation that will rise up and take their place as world changers.  I am filled with joy.

Another interesting thing about this years camp was the band.  Everfound is made up of four brothers from Russia who's family was forced to leave because of religious and political persecution.  I am going to see if I can perhaps get one of them to do an email Q&A to enlighten us about their testimony and also about the state of the church and about persecution of Christians in Russia currently.  I talked to a few of the band members and it was just so amazing to see how God has brought them through so much and how they use their gifts to glorify God.

© A. Quinn Photography
I took a ton of pictures and they will be posted after I sort through them on my facebook page.

Prayer Requests:
1. Everfound left late last night to travel for more than 12 hours to their next show and have to be on the road again for another camp starting on Monday. Please pray for rest and strength as they keep using their gifts and talents for God.
2. Pray for the teens from CRAVE Camp 2011, that the fire they experienced on the camp grounds would continue and not die out as the summer goes on.
3. Pray for all the youth leaders and Pastors that volunteered their week for these teens, they need rest and rejuvenation after this amazing yet long week.

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