Monday, December 1, 2014

Camp Your Face Off 2014

This weekend is one of my favorites of the whole year!  I get to race one of my favorite races, Bristol Cross, on Saturday morning, then I get to come back to Morristown and camp my face off!  I get to spend the whole weekend outside and doing two of the things I love most:  running and learning about God.
Because of the race, I miss Friday night and Saturday daytime, but I get there in the evening.
The food here is cooked big boy style.
Saturday night we had chicken and steak on the jumbo griddle with all the trimmings, including sauteed peppers and onions from the griddle!  The parents here at CYFO work so hard nonstop all weekend.

Our church is so fortunate to have this beautiful bit of land on the lake at Harrell Park.

From the notes I looked over from my friend who was there for the messages I didn't get to listen to, I found a couple really neat points:
"Religion says, 'I obey, therefore I am accepted.' The gospel says, 'I've been accepted, therefore I will gladly obey.'"
There is a big difference in the heart of true believers and followers of Christ and those who do not possess the deep, heartfelt relationship with Him.  It is an attitude, a lifestyle.
However, if anyone is stuck in a rut, where serving the Lord feels like a chore, bother, or interruption, there is always room for change of heart!  "We are not just temporarily fixed, but eternally transformed."  When Christ takes over your heart and fills you with His desire and love, our blemishes are not only washed away for the day, but life is changed forever!

Dinner time!  I always enjoy spending time with my fellow youth group members.  We are SO different, yet can relate to each other on so many levels.  At this table, we have girls from different schools, family styles, and interests and personalities.  We go through each day with totally different schedules and obligations, yet when we come together, we share and fellowship like no other!  I love hearing about what my friends do and their lives.  They are so interesting!
 If we all did the same things, where would the adventure be?

When it is time for worship, we all head inside the big building where the stage and chairs are set up for the message and music.
Each year Jay Hardwick from North Rock Hill Church in South Carolina comes as the guest speaker for the first two days.  He is a great speaker, very honest and dedicated to the truth of the gospel!

This night he spoke about disciples on mission for Jesus.  The scripture passage used was Acts 8:26-40 about Philip and the Ethiopian.  It is so simple what he did.  God told Philip, "See that man in the wagon?  Go to him and tell him about Me," (paraphrased verse 29) and that's just what he did.  The Bible even says, "Then Philip ran up to the chariot..." (verse 30)
This is a summed-up version of the Christian calling every day!  God says go and we are supposed to go do whatever he wants us to do every day!  Christians are missionaries, ALL Christians.  God's goal for us is to go preach to the lost people of this world, which is not limited to third world countries.  Right here, wherever that may be for you, is the mission field as well.
The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, says "...therefore, go make disciples of all nations..." and Acts 1:8 says, " will be My witnesses in Jerusalem (like our hometown), Judea (like our state), Samaria (like our country), and to the ends of the earth."

A great Christian teacher Charles Spurgeon once said, "Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter."

Next Jay divided this call for us into 3 sections:
1.  God sends us.
2.  God sends us to people (random and day-to-day people we see)
3.  God sends us to people to show them the gospel.
It all starts with us!  Romans 10:13-15 lays out how the lost hear about Christ.  If it doesn't start with us, if we the Christians don't preach, no one will hear!  >>>>>  "How can they preach if they are not sent?..." (verse 15) Point 1
"How, then can they call on the One they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (verse 14) Point 2
"For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (verse 13) Point 3
Therefore, if we don't preach, they won't know, then they can't call upon the Lord if they do not know Him.
Later that night, we had an ice cream bar with tons of flavors and candy toppings!
Good morning!  Cassie and I were halfway ready, but Jenna back there was up super late both nights, as she is an intern and has to go to "meetings" and organize stuff all the time, especially late at night.  This weekend wore her out!

This is Kristen, whom I love!  She is a sweetheart, always hugging me when she sees me.
Breakfast is big boy style, too, of course.  This morning they whipped up pancakes and bacon on the big griddle, and laid out all the left over breakfast and snack foods, so we had a huge buffet!

This is Joy Rogers, one of our most involved youth moms (of Erin and Jenna).  She was here this weekend cooking and working hard, and Sunday was her birthday!

This is one of the youth adults' children, Gretchen.  My mom works with her mom, and her dad used to be my middle school assistant principle.  They are one of the sweetest families, and they're funny, too.  Gretchen and her older sister Claire are two gorgeous little girls with even more gorgeous hearts, even at such a young age.  It cracked me up to see her trying to eat this apple that was almost as big as her head.

Tessa is one hip chick.  She has a lot of awesome photography, art, dance, and more!  She even leads classes and takes big trips (her last one was to Oregon) to work on her stuff!  Her instagram shows a lot of her activities.  She also has a blog that you could check out or follow, too!
I was so glad to get to spend such a long time in quiet time study this morning, as we had a long down time.  I reviewed my notes and went into the quiet time notes they gave us for the mornings.  This leaves with such a great feeling!

One passage that was in Saturday's quiet time was something that I found is part of what I want my life to be:  "Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:21

The last session that we do is always cool!  All the leaders get an opportunity to share what has been laid on their hearts.  These people are so dedicated and care about us, they honestly share their hearts and teach us so much.  This share session was filled with things that directly fit my life!  There are no coincidences in God's plan.  It is all planned!

Kristen, same girl from above, was ready to go this morning!  She jumped right up wanting to share first.  Her words were exactly what was in my heart.  She talked about how she is often selfish, but doesn't want to waste her time worrying about her schedule and all the work she has to do, and me, me, me.  This was exactly my same problems!  I have really struggled with time, schedule, and all that I have to do...and it has been a battle and still is!  I was so thankful to hear this from her, too.  She tied this in with James 1:22-25.  "Do not merely listen to the Word and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says." (verse 22)

Lindsay, our youth pastor's wife, was also on point.  Her phrase was "paultry baubles" that we become so easily distracted with.  I am one easily distracted human!  A passage that I use to encourage my mind away from these worldly distractions is 1 John 2:15-17, and that is what she read as well.  "Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him...The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever."  In all the happenings of life, I have to remember what will last and what will not.  

Camp Your Face Off is always finished off with the Amazing Race.  They split up everyone onto several teams (we had around 7 this year I think), and give us a paper of the name of the stations, tell us the rules and some instructions, give us a few minutes to get the game plan, then off we go!  All the stations must be completed and signed off on by the leader there, and  one member has to wear a diaper that will contain something from each station.  This included baby food, Pepsi, tape balls, eggs, pumpkin innards, and more.  Yummy right?  It is intense!  My team was pretty loaded, but we still didn't win.  We did awesome in my opinion, though!
Here are some action shots from the Amazing Race.

This retreat is such a blessing to my year.  It had stressed me out having so much homework all fall, but I had a little poison oak mishap that put me out of running as much during the week, so I got to catch up on a lot, allowing me to go to CYFO with little worries!  Even serious pain and fear is a blessing, not just sometimes, but ALL times, even when we can't see where the light could be.  It is there.  We just have to look for it, and it will come.