Camp Adventures: Get Excited About the Little Things

Well, last week at camp was a light week. Light in the sense that there were not that many campers numbers wise. This was probably due to the fact that it was a holiday week, as the 4th of July was last Wednesday for those that forgot what the date was and what day of the week it is.

So Monday I was really pumped, here it is the second week of day camp, not really feeling tired yet, only for some of the senior staff members to tell me to give it a few more weeks. Wednesday came and I was not really sure what the day was going to look like. The weather was not the most promising looking thing either. Only a handful of campers showed up, as expected since it was after all the Fourth of July.

My fellow counselor and I doubled up on devos, she went first and I followed after her, because you know, always have to do the gentleman thing and let the ladies go first. I shared with the campers about the ultimate freedom that we have in this life. The freedom that we have to carry Bibles wherever we want, have worship services whenever we want, and how God gave his only Son, to die on a cross for our sins and the sins of this entire world so that we have a relationship with God.

Overall, it was a relatively normal day at day camp. Shortly after all the campers left, something struck me, throughout the day I had been struggling to be excited about the various day’s events. I blamed it on the lack of campers that we had that day. Ironically, had there been an overwhelming number of campers, I probably would have made the comment that I can’t wait until they all go home. Then the Lord struck me with something that was convicting and encouraging.

In Matthew 14:15-21, we see the well-known passage and the account of Jesus feeding 5,000 people. That’s the end of the story. I know you usually tell stories from the beginning, but I wanted to change things up here. The beginning of the story, Jesus only had 5 loaves and 2 fish to work with. Yet, the Bible said Christ blessed and gave thanks for what was provided to him. Now, if I had been there I may have laughed to cover up the frustrating feeling that I would have been having. You’re out all day, in the heat probably, getting hungry and 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish are all is what is being offered for dinner. A valiant effort and innocence of the willing young man that brought these things may have made me laugh, but I would have all sorts of things to say. Yet Christ blessed the gift. The hymn says, “little is much when God is in it.” What seemed like little numbers wise, became much and everyone ate, was filled, and there was even plenty of leftovers.

Sometimes as Christians I think we get so caught up in how much, numbers wise, is in the basket, that we forget about the quality of what is in the basket. The Bible didn’t say that the fish were too small, or old, or an uneditable type of fish, just that there was only two of them. It didn’t say that the bread was a small loaf or a gluten-free loaf, or that some liked the bread and others didn’t, just that there were only 5 loaves amongst thousands. I lost track what was in my basket, and just looked at the numbers. Only had 2 campers, yet I could have invested and built a strong lasting foundation of a friendship with these 2 campers instead of wondering what do I do with them today. What I needed to do was to be thankful and bless what was provided and let God provide the increase. In the Christian life, there are going to be things that maybe we plan, or try to plan, or and the attendance numbers can become discouraging. Yet, whether thousands come to church or 5, we can be excited. Where two or three are gathered God is in the midst of them, as we are promised in Scripture. But also, those that attend could be the most faithful, dependable, and the most committed believers that we know and God can and will use them. Whether there are many are or just a few, it isn’t all just about numbers. No matter what the numbers, God can and will continue to do great and mighty things with whomever and however many, as long as we are willing to follow after Him.

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Camp Adventures: Getting Hooked

I love the woods and nature, just the ability to be completely surrounded by God’s magnificence is truly wonderful and such a blessing.

Here at camp you don’t have to look too far to realize there are life lessons and sermon illustrations that can be found everywhere.

Fishing, what a great way to spend time. The other day the kids were fishing and I was helping out. I was told, “they really never need help, you’ll be fine.” The irony of that statement. All was well, then suddenly yells and all kinds of chaos broke out, as one kid thought that he caught the “big one”. What we soon realized was, he caught a big one alright, but not a fish. He caught a turtle. I thought, well so much for them never needing help.

The turtle obviously was not too thrilled about the hook that was deep into his upper lip. When I tried to wiggle and get the hook out, he tried to pull away from me and go back into his shell and kept fighting me. What he didn’t realize was, that I was only trying to help him and he was making it worse.

Then it hit me, this was me at one point. Sin had taken a hold of me and everyone that was trying to help I resisted. The more that I pulled away and fought with the ones trying to help, the deeper into trouble I got.

Back to the turtle, the turtle finally wore himself out and at that point I was able to wiggle and maneuver the hook out of his mouth. I then dropped him back off in the pond and off he went. But, here’s the thing, there is the chance that very turtle can get caught again. Or, because he has been severely wounded, something else may come along and take advantage of his injuried state and he could be the dinner special on someone’s menu.

Again, this is us to some extent. We fight and fight and finally we get to a point where we can’t fight anymore and we accept help because we no other choice. Sin will wound us and leave us exposed. The damage that is done we aren’t really aware of, but we aren’t the same.

Now, there is hope in the midst of all this. Galatians 6:1 tells us that,”those that are over taken in fault, ye which are spiritual restore such one in a spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Those that are spiritual does not mean that if you think that you are a super Christian you have the right to bash and kick people while they are down. It means that when you see others fallen into whatever has them hooked, that we encourage them. Most importantly we pray and pray and do what we can to restore that individual with the tools and resources that God has given us.

So if you are the turtle fighting those that are trying to help, may I encourage you that those who are trying to help mean no harm, but truly do want what is best for you. But don’t fight so hard, especially God, and create for yourself a situation where you have no where to go but to God. Because rock bottom is never a pretty place to be. Accept the help while it is being offered. If you are the one trying to get the hook out, understand that helping someone takes patience, gentleness, and most importantly love. May we all help restore one other to better serve and run our race that God has set before us.

So Much Time, So Many Different Bible Versions to Choose From

I was recently reflecting back to a time when I was in Africa, (last summer to be exact) and a friend and I were in a discussion about Bible versions. I had explained that in Tanzania, where I particularly was, they had the Good News Bible because that was what could be translated into Swahili because the King James Version could not be translated into their language very well.

Now, that got me thinking, there are many that are so baffled that people wouldn’t use the KJV Bible and only the King James Bible. I for one, prefer the KJV. If I am going to read scripture in a service or teach or preach it’s going to be from the KJV. I wouldn’t, however, say that I am KJV only person, I think a better way to say it is, I am a KJV preferred person.

Now some of you reading are already mad at me for stating what I just did, and that’s okay, I appreciate all opinions and input and this is just my personal conclusion that I have recently come to.

I can’t understand why people would say that other versions of the Bible are simply “not the word of God”. Who are we to say, well that’s not the KJV, therefore, you cannot learn and grow, so here, here’s the ‘right Bible’. I have many versions of the Bible and often times in my personal studies I will use different versions. One, for the different study notes. Secondly, to compare translations, because I do enjoy seeing the differences. Thirdly, because sometimes the different versions of the Bible help me to understand a particular passage better.

When I see others that have a Bible that maybe isn’t the Bible that I favor, I am not going to tell them their Bible is corrupted and inusable. Rather, it’s a blessing to see someone with a Bible, and by that I mean a paper one, (I don’t have a Bible on my phone, which is an entirely different post for another day). Rather than argue and bicker amongst ourselves, why not use what we have. Why not disciple someone using what they have, whether that be an ESV, NKJV, NLT, or NIV. I have run into many people and when I have asked them why they use the KJV only, they really had no idea. Which I can admit for a while I was the same way. I really didn’t know why I liked the KJV or thought that was the only Bible that there was to use.

There are many countries where the KJV Bible cannot be translated very well, and other Bible versions are used. And guess what, those Bibles are reaching, teaching, and impacting people’s lives. Why would that not be the case here in the USA. I almost feel that if we say that the KJV Bible is the only Bible that we are to use as Christians, then we are putting God in a box. We are almost saying that we cannot walk someone down the Romans with an ESV Bible, or that John 3:16 has no impact to anyone if it is the NIV version.

Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it.”  It is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. The Bible doesn’t say God’s word will go out void if you are using an ESV Bible. God can, and he will use any version of the Bible. There is no limit to what God can use to touch the hearts and lives of the unsaved.

Think we need to be careful and draw a clear line in saying, ‘well son if you are going to teach, preach, read scripture here at this church we prefer the KJV.’ Rather than, “you use a Bible other than the KJV so you cannot preach, teach, or do anything at this church.” There are people in other countries that would die to have a Bible or pamphlet with Scripture on it. We have such wonderful freedom here in America, we can purchase Bibles anywhere and carry them anywhere we please. So why limit it to just one Bible.

I love God’s Word. I love that I get to teach, and preach, and read, and learn, and grow from it. I love when I am given any Bible of any version. They have all been a great blessing to me. So I challenge whoever may be reading, search out why you believe in what you believe. Don’t believe in something or hold hard to an opinion just because that is how you were

So I challenge whoever may be reading, search out why you believe in what you believe. Don’t believe in something or hold hard to an opinion just because that is how you were raised, rather search out and make your own conclusions. Be able to defend your views, whether it is Bible versions, or doctrinal issues or whatever it may be.