English Camp Message Transcript/Outline: Day 6

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Friday: ONE CHURCH                  

Thanks for making my birthday awesome! I felt so loved! I think this is the best birthday I’ve ever had! I’m serious! The only other one that might compare was when I turned nine and I got a “teddy bear hamster” for my birthday…but then I remembered it escaped a few months later and when we moved I found it’s skeleton in the basement…and that was traumatic…so…I’d say this is DEFINITELY the best birthday ever!! But seriously, you guys have been so loving and encouraging this week-I’m really thankful for you!

  • The whole Bible agrees, our God is the ONLY GOD and our God is an AWESOME GOD.
  • Our ONE PASSION should be the same as GOD’S and that is for his GLORY.
  • Out of his great LOVE for us, God mercifully sent JESUS CHRIST to be our ONE SAVIOR.
  • The ONE DECISION to be part of God’s FAMILY changes our entire IDENTITY.
  • To glorify God with our ONE LIFE, we must DISCIPLINE ourselves for GODLINESS.
  • To serve the ONE CHURCH-both universal and local-introduce people to Jesus and help them follow Him.

Tonight I am going to talk to you a little bit about ONE CHURCH, and then I am going to give you my final words of advice.

  1. Introduction- In scripture the word “church” used to describe 2 different things. There are times where it is talking about the “Universal Church” meaning all believers in Jesus Christ ever–or the “local church” meaning an organized group of believers at a specific time and place who meet together regularly.
  2. First let’s talk about the “local church”-you need to both attend and serving a local church
    1. If you saw an eye on the sidewalk out here…AHH! That’s gross! It belongs on a body!
    2. What if I wore an eye patch all the time? Look like I should be in the Pirates of the Caribbean! And said, I just don’t feel like using my right eye.
      1. That’s stupid!
      2. Even if it’s not the prettiest, or perfect vision…it still works-use it!
    3. God’s word says the same things about being part of a local church.
      1. If you are a believer you are part of the “body of believers” and you NOT being in a church is GROSS!
      2. AND you not serving the body with the gifts and abilities God has given you because “you’re not the best” or “you don’t feel like it” are super lame and dumb reasons!
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 14-20 “14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[b] yet one body.”
  1. God chose to create local churches for us here on earth. He wants you to be a part of one. To serve and to build relationships with them and to learn about Jesus.
    1. You should be serving in a local church-
      1. Take leadership and start a new ministry within your church!
        1. Use the gifts God gave you!
        2. Be creative!
      2. and if you’re church for some reason will not allow you—you should be serving the universal Church
    2. Both the universal church and the local church: The point of Church is Jesus
      1. The church is not a building that we retreat from the world…it is where we suit up with armor to go into a broken world to bring people to Jesus!
      2. 1 Colossians 1:15-18 “He is the image ofthe invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”
        1. Jesus is the head of the church-He is to be #1 things church is about!
        2. You need to be in a church that helps you follow Jesus. You have to put forth the work!
          1. Ask your pastor if he can help you find a mentor- to help you love Jesus more
          2. Serve ANYWHERE YOU can! To be a servant LIKE Jesus was!
  • Doesn’t have to have the best music or coolest youth group-they just have to genuinely love Jesus
  1. If you find a church, but it does not preach Jesus…that is not a church. Leave and find one that does love him.
  2. The church is people introducing people to Jesus and helping them follow him
  1. We are all part of God’s universal church: and it WILL NOT fail.
    1. I know many of you get discouraged explain or convince your unbelieving friends or family of God.
    2. Don’t be! Keep praying! Keep sharing truth! Don’t give up!
  • Because we have a great and powerful God!
  1. Matthew 16:18
    1. Simon says Jesus is the son of God. Jesus responds, “And Jesus answered him,“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock2 I will build my church, and the gates of lhell3 shall not prevail against it.”
  2. You don’t have to be afraid. God’s word says the Father in Heaven opens peoples eyes to who Jesus is-and people WILL become believers!
    1. Just be faithful
      1. Share the gospel!
      2. Evangelism! Invite to church
      3. YOU are the one with the power of the Holy Spirit in you! NOT THEM! What do they have? Nothing!
    2. So in review…
      1. Use your gifts in a local church that loves Jesus. Remember that the universal church is created and sustained by our good heavenly father, and do not be discouraged in sharing your faith.
        1. To serve the ONE CHURCH-both universal and local-introduce people to Jesus and help them follow Him.
      2. Challenge: FIND A JESUS LOVING CHURCH: SERVE IN THE JESUS LOVING CHURCH, and don’t be afraid to STORM the gates of hell for the growth of the universal church (meaning all believers).

So then I was thinking about how this is my last chance to talk to you! I with this last opportunity to speak what else do I say?

This word: FIGHT.

Our enemy, the devil, would love to defeat you with these temptations and bring you down, but FIGHT my FRIENDS! Fight because you have the power of the Holy Spirit in you, and in 1 Corinthians 10:13 God’s word says that “God is faithful, he will not tempt you beyond what you can bear, but…he will provide a way out”

Life is hard. Temptations are strong, and the devil is cunning. BUT PLEASE, DO NOT GIVE UP OR GIVE IN. Find a local church to help you, be disciplined in your time with God and as Paul tells us in 1st and 2nd Timothy, FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT of the faith.

When you are tempted to give in to sin of pornography or sex: FIGHT FOR PURITY.

When you are tempted to wallow in self-loathing, depression, or anxiety: FIGHT FOR JOY.

When you are discouraged by unbelief, and don’t know if you can trust the Bible: FIGHT FOR FAITH.

When you are tempted to be lazy, ignore God, and turn to this world for comfort…FIGHT FOR LOVE.

I think we all have things in our life that we have to fight. Each person’s is different, but everyone has something. I have to FIGHT hard against some things. I have failed and continue to fail so much. But I FIGHT. I will never give in. I will never let the devil have the last punch. I will ALWAYS FIGHT. Because I know my relationship to God is worth fighting for.

Think about what your struggle, your sin, or your temptation will be when you go back home. Know that CHRIST has already paid for that sin. There is NO condemnation for it for those who are part of God’s family. You don’t have to drown in shame or guilt-he loves you, he’s forgiven you-but he deeply doesn’t want you to hold onto that painful sin. Christ brings freedom from those emotions. And the Holy Spirit brings STRENGTH. The Holy Spirit is who is convicting you of this struggle right now. He is the one telling you to fight, and who will continue to tell you to fight.

We have a cross here in the center of the hall. A cross that reminds us that Christ is ENOUGH for us. That his blood on the cross means we are FORGIVEN and LOVED by God. The cross tells us that our sin is paid for-not just some of it-ALL OF IT. And for that we PRAISE THE LORD. And with that praise-filled, thankful heart-we know that we don’t want to hold on to the sin that keeps us from loving God well. We want to fight it. We want to kill it. So we are going to sing worship songs and I invite each of you to go to the cross, and write down on the paper provided the sin or temptation or struggle that you are holding onto-that you want to fight and kill. And then we have hammers and nails and we want you to take that paper and, just like I savior was, nail it to the cross. Nail it to the cross to remind yourself that HE BORE the punishment for that sin, and that God has COMPLETELY forgiven you for it. And nail it to the cross to remind you that THAT is where your sin can stay-not in your life. You don’t have to carry it, the Holy Spirit can give you strength to fight it. And when it comes into your life, trying to temp you to take it back again, remember the pounding of the nail, and know that CHRIST died for that sin so that you will live in RIGHTEOUSNESS (verse).

[campers go]

Christ is enough for us.

Campers, I am so thankful to have been here this week with you. Thank you for listening so well to me, and for all of your encouragement. I will be praying for you this year! On your way out tonight you are going to receive a sticker to remind you of the truths you learned this week about ONE God, one passion, one savior, one decision, one life, and one church. And I will be praying that is a constant reminder of what you left behind here, on the cross, and the truths that you are taking with you.

English Camp Message Transcript: Day 4

Actually…it’s more of an outline today…

Wednesday: One Decision

  • Intro and review sentences for each day
    • The whole Bible agrees, our God is the ONLY GOD and our God is an AWESOME GOD.
    • Our ONE PASSION should be the same as GOD’S and that is for his GLORY.
    • Out of his great LOVE for us, God mercifully sent JESUS CHRIST to be our ONE SAVIOR.
    • The sentence for today is: The ONE DECISION to be part of God’s FAMILY changes our entire IDENTITY.
  • Adoption Story
    • What I was like before-not the prettiest, smartest, most athletic, best at anything. I had a lisp.
      • People suggested: kids like her, don’t turn out good-let the state own them
    • Reasons why Karen and Bob adopted me-not because I’m good, but out of love. They promised not to leave me bc I am bad, or love me more when I am good
    • I was so excited! …:D
    • What I had to do-accept it
    • What changed
      • A WHOLE new family; sister; cousins; grandparents
      • Safety for birth mother can’t steal me; Kathy can do NOTHING without Karen and Bob’s approval-I was their’s now
      • My birth certificate/last name changed-my IDENTIY is in the POMPELLs. I lived with them. Depended on them. They provided for me and loved me

The Bible talks about God’s grace of giving us our ONE SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST being just like being adopted. Let’s read about that Spiritual Adoption in- Ephesians 1:5-6 God destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ; according to the good pleasure of his will to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved.

  • Through believing in Jesus Christ you are adopted into God’s family! This is what God wanted to do and it brings him GREAT JOY.
  • So what does that mean for YOU? Just like it my adoption changed so much…
    • Your identity is in CHRIST- God did not chose you to be his child because you are the best looking, or the smartest, or anything! JUST OUT OF LOVE. Says in Scripture!
      • That TRUTH should free you from struggling how to love youself-GOD LOVES YOU. Struggling with your self-worth: GOD THINKS YOU ARE WORTHY. Struggling, “what if God leaves me because I am bad!” No! He didn’t choose you because you were good in the first place-he made you his child out of LOVE.
    • A new family!
    • Nothing can happen to you outside of the Father’s will
  • THAT ONE DECISION OF BEING ADOPTED CHANGED MY LIFE…what if I didn’t act like it?
    • It wasn’t just “oh thanks for the inheritance money when you die” that’d be AWFUL
    • It was just “oh thanks for not making me not stay in the slums with Kathy”
    • IT is MY WHOLE LIFE.
  • Same with those of you who decided to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved-
    • It would be HEARTBREAKING to Him who adopted you, if all you cared about was the “inheritance” you’ll receive of eternal life in heaven one day
    • It would be heartbreaking if all you cared about that you are escaping hell.
    • Those are GREAT THINGS: but MAN. You are missing out on so much more!
    • Making the decision for Jesus changes your WHOLE LIFE.
      • Being adopted by God gives you hope, faith, love, wisdom, and guidance.

 

  • HOW can you tell you are living like an adopted child?
    • Bible says before God is your father, your family is the devil. So when, instead of obeying God, you obey your old father-the devil-you are NOT acting like an adopted child.
    • If you are not spending time with the family (CHURCH) or pretending they don’t exist/are ashamed-you are NOT acting like an adopted child
    • Your spiritual adoption is a MUCH BIGGER deal than my earthly adoption. You’re spiritual adoption is like you were a thief and a pauper living on the streets, and the richest King in all the land adopted you.
      • If you were in the market, years after being adopted by the King, buying bread that you use to have to STEAL, and you heard someone say bad things about the King, “He is so selfish or evil, I hate that King!” or even worst, “I’ve never even SEEN the King, he isn’t real! Anyone who believes in the King is an idiot”
        • What would you do? You’ve met the king! More than that, he took you in, and cleaned you up and made you his son!
        • An adoptive child has 3 options, 1.) you can pretend you don’t hear them, and quietly pay for your bread and rush home to the king, just hoping he doesn’t ask about your day in town. 2.) you can begin to doubt, to think, “Wait…am I crazy?” Maybe my Father isn’t good…maybe he didn’t really rescue me. Or 3.) you can defend your king and Father. He is good! And he IS REAL. You WERE ADOPTED! He changed your life. You can tell them in absolute confidence that he is real and he is good-you have met him! And them, not believing in him, does NOT make him LESS real.
          • I beg you guys! Don’t run away from it, and don’t doubt your adoption. Know that your God is real and defend his honor, because you know and love him!
        • So…obeying God, spending time with Him and the family, telling others about how good He is-that is how you really act like an adopted son or daughter of Christ.
      • Romans 8:14-16 –For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

Let’s review our sentence for today: The ONE DECISION to be part of God’s FAMILY changes our entire IDENTITY.

If you made the ONE DECISION for Christ already, are you really living like you are his adopted son or daughter?  If not, I want you to talk in your small groups tonight about WHAT you should change and HOW.

If you have not made the ONE DECISION to believe in Christ for salvation, I want to invite you to please do tonight! God wants to adopt you. He wants to rescue you from an empty life of purposelessness. He wants to be your FATHER!

If you want to want to make that DECISION for Christ tonight, if you want to be adopted by our good Heavenly father, and be his child would you come up front here? I want you to come up here and I want everyone who is already a believer to stand. Okay, so new deciders come up here and I want to pray with and for you, and all of you who already in the family-stand. If you have already, maybe years ago even, made a decision for Jesus, and you are his son or daughter, I want you stand up-staff and students. Because you are their brother and you are their sister. The whole family, I want to talk to you.

Those of you who are coming up front to make the ONE DECISION for Jesus and “be adopted into the family of God”, and want you to turn around and see everyone standing. You are not alone in this faith journey. When you accept Christ as your savior, and God as your Father-you join a whole family of believers, here and all around the world. We are ONE.

We are children of God. God lives in us. He loves us. He is our good heavenly Father. I implore you, let’s live like it. Let’s honor our father, and try to remember that we are his children! We are united in Christ. We are strong. Maybe some staff come up here with the new adopted children of God, just come around them. Campers too, if you want to especially encourage one of your new brothers or sisters, come up here.

Maxi lead new believers in salvation prayer?

Afterwards I’ll (?) give a prayer of thanks, and for the whole family, and for all who are not ready to accept this gift.

Camp Update: Thankful, Prayerful, & Learning

Wow! I never would have guessed that God was going to be SO GRACIOUS in TEACHING ME so much during this week at camp. With me being the speaker, I thought God’s primary desire was for me to be the vessel for him to speak to OTHERS (the campers and the staff). Though, I know He deeply wants that, and is accomplishing that through this unlikely and very imperfect vessel, it has been encouraging to see all the refining work he is doing inside of me as well.

I am learning so much about communication, teaching, and prayerful preparation. I am learning about trusting the Holy Spirit, the importance of pleasing God primarily, and how to fight the fear of man.

Yesterdays message on the day’s theme: ONE PASSION was a difficult truth for me to explain.I walked away from the stage asking God, “Did I let you down? Did I explain your character to the campers in a way that was accurate? Were you pleased with my words? Did I confuse them? Did I make you too complex?” Etc. etc. etc.

And in the hours that followed-God was SO gracious to use various circumstances to remind me of truths that I knew, but needed to hear out loud, nonetheless! He used a conversation with my translator about fear to speak truth. He used the next morning’s devotion and a conversation that followed, to deeply encourage me to the point of tears with words like “so clear” and “orthodox”.  Words that I begged God would allow my message to be! God used His word, and his children to dispel the doubt that was creeping into my heart. Thanks be to God!

Also, God has deeply gifted and equipped my ministry partner, Christina, for the work He has planned for her here. She is developing amazing relationships with the camp staff, both Canadian and German. They turn to her for advice and wisdom, and the Lord continues to give it to her. She has had difficult conversations that left her nearly begging the other parties to trust God’s word, and to not throw it out. And she has been able to delightfully co-teach an English class for beginners with absolute excellence.

I wish you all could interact with the campers and staff here at Neues Leben! It truly is a joy! God is working in so many hearts, in so many different ways. Here are some specific ways, and how you can pray:

  • I talked to one staff who is trying to faithfully serve and seek God, but has been deeply struggling with Him for the past 3 months. We hope to talk more later this week-please pray for her faith to grow!
  • During their small group time, a camper asked, “Do you think God is racist? Since He wiped out all the Egyptian first borns, but not the Israelites?” To which another camper responded, “No! God gave them 10 days of warnings, and signs, and opportunities to repent!” Pray for these students and their Cabin Leaders to know how to respond to so many great questions and answers!
  • I met a french student who does not church, whose parents are humanitarians, who started coming to this camp 8 years ago because her art teacher in an international school was a Christian and told her about it. So she comes every year, and it is the only time she hears about God all year. This is the last year she’ll be young enough to attend this camp. Please pray for her salvation (if she isn’t yet a believer) and for her desire to grow in faith to propel her to find a good church in France to disciple her.

Thanks so much for your prayers. I really believe that God is doing some amazing things here at Camp in Germany. And Christina and I are SO THANKFUL for your support that made it possible for us to experience this and serve the Lord here.

Praise God from whom ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!

(P.S. Sorry if my English “sounds” strange! At English Camp we are immersed in semi-broken German-English all day every day, so sometimes it is hard to speak/type normally! It’ll take a few days back in the states, and it’ll all come back-but for now…Christina, Liz, and I’s English is less than perfect :))

English Camp Evening Message Transcript: Day One

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Sunday: One God

Hello English Camp 2015! I am so excited for you guys to be here and for me to be here and I am THRILLED that I get the chance to speak to you this week! I love getting to know the German and other Americans and talk about our similarities and differences, and ultimately about the MOST important thing in life and that is our God.

As you know, I’ll be speaking to you each night of camp this week, expounding on the theme of the day. During my night sessions this week there are 2 English phrases that I am going to start saying that requires a response that I want YOU to finish. The first one I’ll say after I read a passage of Scripture. I’ll say, “this is the Word of the Lord” and then you respond (in English) “thanks be to God”. He didn’t HAVE to give us this Book-but He did and that’s awesome! Okay? So I’ll read a couple verses and when I’m done I proclaim that what I just read is literally, actually FROM GOD and I’ll say “this is the word of the Lord” and you say “thanks be to God” okay. Let’s try it!

Great! Okay, the other little American phrase thing I like to do is when I finish praying sometimes ,I like to say, “And all God’s people said” and then everyone who is a Christian and who agrees with what I prayed says “AMEN”. Amen actually means “let it be so”. So by saying “Amen” at the end of a prayer you are agreeing and saying that you want what their prayer asked to happen too. So repeat after me

God, thank you so much for being a loving God who wants people to know and love you. Thank you for etc. etc. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. And all God’s people said, AMEN”

Amen, thanks guys! Love that.

The interesting thing is that, you know in the US, we have lots of camps and Christian camps as well-and you know what—it’s the same thing there. Teenagers in the US are the same way. Many don’t believe in him, many don’t really think or care about him, and many love Him and realize he is the MOST important thing in life. So it’s kind of neat, as I interact with you guys—you’re the same as the students I interact with at home, they just so happen to many miles away.

So in my few years of coming here, I have met hundreds of campers, and I’ve found that you (just like American campers) usually fall into one of three categories. You either 1.) don’t care about God or the Bible-but want to (or have to!) improve your English, so you come, 2.) You think God is ehh, like you aren’t for OR against Him-he’s not a big deal to you-you just come here because you want to learn English, have fun, and Christians are nice and good people, so why not hang out with them? Or 3.) the third group are those of you who are passionate about Jesus Christ and the Bible and you want to get to know him EVERY chance you get-and it’s THE BEST PART OF YOUR SUMMER to come here and interact with other Christians your age and learn about God and you LOVE IT! So that’s the three groups I think I’m talking to this week. Concering God you either, group 1-Don’t Believe, group 2- Don’t know/don’t care, or group 3-you LOVE him. Take a minute and think about what God you are in group one, group two, or group three…

It doesn’t matter what group you are in. I am so glad that ALL of you are here and I believe that God has a reason for each of you being here. God has a purpose for your week at camp and I am excited to find out what it is.

But I am so glad that I am here talking to you guys. I have been praying, and have many other people praying for my words, and your hearts. These next few nights that I am going to be able to talk with you students are VERY, VERY important and serious to me. And it’s really important to me that ya’ll listen. Each night this week I am going to try my very best to explain to you some very, very important things about life and Christianity, and I want you pay attention because this isn’t just important information to me. It’s not that you have to know these facts to pass a test, or to impress someone with all of your knowledge, or anything like that. The stuff that we will talk and learn about this week are the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE.

Are you guys familiar with the term YOLO. Canadian rapper DRAKE came up with that acronym is 2011 and it is really popular within the American youth culture. Who can tell me what YOLO stands for? Give examples of YOLO…That’s right “you only live once” and it’s this idea that you have ONE life on this earth, and live it up! Now, I think that is very true. Students, you only have ONE life on this earth. ONE. Isn’t it important to figure out what you are supposed to do with your life? Does it have a purpose? A meaning? And even more, does anything happen to me after I die? If you truly only have ONE life to live, don’t you want it to count for something?

We are going to start the week proclaiming the truth that there is a God and that there is ONLY ONE GOD. That’s the theme for today: ONE GOD. And that God, that creator of the galaxies and the mountain rangers, that sustainer of our lives and designer of our personalities is in fact the God of the Christian Bible. We are going to unpack this truth, and hopefully by the power of the Holy Spirit you will see that this truth should change your lives.

If you have your Bibles with you, please turn to 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 and read along with me.

“4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

So we see here that there is ONLY ONE GOD. That makes sense, right? But how do we know WHO this ONE God is, and what he is like, and what his purposes are? Well, fortunately for us-God has revealed himself to mankind in the Bible. The Bible is a book all about God and his relationship with the people he created. It tells us what He is like, His personality, what makes him laugh, what makes him cry, and what lengths He is willing to go to for the people he loves. The Bible is made up of 66 different little books. They were written by various authors-under the influence of the Holy Spirit, spanning about 1,500 hundred years. There is some poetry, some history, some love stories, war stories, and some but they ALL are pieces of one giant, beautiful, PERFECT, puzzle that is God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy are all throughout the pages of the something confusing and complicated old, but perfect and amazing Holy Book.

It really is astounding that all the books coincide as seamlessly as they do. Do you guys have pets over here? We have lots of pets in America. I have friends that own Dogs, Cats, Fish, Ferretts, Hedhogs, Horses, Turtles, Goats, etc. Think about it. I want this half of the room to stand up. That’s probably around 66 people. Now if I told all of them to go, right something about a topic, like…say…Pets! And then I put it all together in a book and published it—it would be CRAZY. Some of you might agree and some things, but there would be so many different opinions like, Dogs Drool and Cats Rule, or horses are the best by far, blah blah blah. But the Bible-remember about 40 different human authors, 1,500 hundred years, 66 different books, and they ALL AGREE on what the ONE TRUE GOD is like.

They say over and over again in each book in different ways that God is WISE, He is

Faithful

Loving

All-knowing

Sovereign

Holy

JUST, GRACIOUS, MERCIFUL and MANY other wonderful things!

It is so neat! God’s faithfulness is seen in Joseph’s life in Exodus, in Solomon’s life in Ecclesiasts, and in Peter’s life in 1 and 2 Peter. Moses talks about God’s love in Exodus, and then David describes that same love in Psalms and then Paul says the SAME thing in Romans. Then God’s sovereigny is perfectly displayed in Esther one way, perfectly displayed in Acts another way, and yet another perfect example of God’s sovereignty is seen in Revelation.

If you only remember ONE THING from tonight’s lessons….I want it to be this phrase: “The whole Bible agrees, our God is the ONLY GOD, and our God is an AWESOME GOD”.

(Repeat and have them fill in the blank of bolded words)

The Bible is our source to KNOW who this ONE God is. It is a trustworthy source, that has been scrutinized thoroughly time and time again since it’s origin and has ALWAYS come out the other side being proved trustworthy.

So, for those of you who, like I said in the beginning, LOVE God and are excited about camp to get to know him-Group 3, I say to you-KEEP that excitement. Keep that focus-you are in a great place. You are right. God is the key to EVERYTHING. He is the giver of peace, and joy, and clarity, and direction. Not only does He give us life eternal, but he also offers you the most, what he calls in John *( “abundant” life possible! Seeking Him is the BEST thing for you to do, so keep it up. My prayer for you this week is that you are strengthed by what you learn to continue serving this ONE God with your whole heart and life, and that because of WHO OUR ONE GOD IS your life is changed.

For those of you in the second category-you’re here, you’re kind of interested in God-but not really, Group 2 I say to you- He’s not just a good teacher or someone who give you a ticket out of hell or someone to talk about at Christmas and Easter-God is SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT. He can give your life PURPOSE and MEANING. He can give you HOPE when you are HOPELESS and COMFORT when you are LONELY and He wants to be wonderfully, intamently involved in every detail of your life.—not just your salvation.

And for the last group, group 1-those of you don’t care about God-don’t believe in God-or maybe straight up hate God-this is my prayer for you. That, in His grace, God will open your eyes to see that there is NO WAY that there is not a God. That you guys will see that there MUST be a God and that your heart will be opened to the fact that that God has revealed who He is the pages of the Bible. I pray that when you tell yourself the lie “there is no heaven. There is no hell. There is no god.” That you won’t be able to even sleep at night because you’ll be wondering “What if I’m wrong”. “What if I’m wrong?” “What if I’m wrong?” I pray that that doubt that this is all there is-draws you to the Bible and that you will believe that He is who He says He is.

Friends, I don’t tell you there is ONE GOD to try to get you to simply follow a list of dos or don’t. I don’t tell you there is ONE GOD so that I can scare you into heaven by telling you about hell. I tell you there is ONE God because He is the most amazing, incredible person I have ever encountered and knowing Him has absolutely changed my life for the better.  And I am SO THANKFUL to have Him in my life!

Here’s a little bit about me…there are a lot of really wonderful things in my life, but there are also some very difficult things: I grew up in a neglectful home. I remember my step dad beating my mother, I was sexually abused by half-brother. Thanks be to God, I was removed from that home when I was 6 and adopted into a Christian family who loved Jesus and loved me. But years later, the mom who adopted me drifted away from church and the Bible and became an alcoholic. I struggle with obeying God, and constantly fail Him. For the past 4 years, I was deeply in love with a young man, and we ended things just a few months ago because he couldn’t decide to commit to me in marriage. In all of these things, what do I do? How do I cope with alcoholism, abuse, and heartbreak? I’ll tell you how: I look to the ONE GOD. The God of the Bible and he tells me in James to “Count it all joy when I fall into trials of various kinds” and in Romans that “ALL THINGS work together for good” and in Psalms that “in him we are MORE than conquerors”. With this ONE GOD in my life, though it is still difficult, I have PEACE-I know he is trustworthy. I have JOY-through Jesus Christ I have salvation! I have HOPE-he CAN and WILL work out all things together for my good and his glory. And I have assurance that though I “only live once”-once is all I need to accept Christ’s gift of salvation and spend eternity together with Him in heaven. And I want that for each and every one of you. “The whole Bible agrees, our God is the ONLY GOD, and our God is an AWESOME GOD”. And that’s why I’m here.

Let’s pray.

God,

I am so very glad that you are real. That you exist, that you are the ONLY God, and that you choose to let humans know who you are through the Bible. I pray for the campers and the staff here tonight—some who know you and some who don’t-I pray that you help them to feel the weight of truth heavy on their hearts that there IS a God. And that you THE ONLY GOD have revealed yourself in the Bible, and that you WANT people to know you, and that you want them to have a relationship with you, and ultimmtietly have a relationship with you eternally after death. Please give me clarity as I speak that you are seen as AMAZING and GLORIOUS that you really are-that I won’t get in the way of your awesomeness, but that everyone will be delighted by the truth of what you’re like. Thank you for being so loving, and gracious, and showing us who you are. You didn’t have to do that. I love you, thanks for loving me first. Amen. And all God’s people said “Amen”

A Little Update on My Summer Plans

A few months ago, I was approached with the opportunity to travel to Spain with a team from Lancaster Bible College for the summer. Unfortunately, we had a late start on fundraising and didn’t meet our pre-set financial goals. Because of this, the trip was canceled, and I was questioning why God chooses to shut some doors-though they would lead to really great places. I told my team that we must trust God and know that He has plans for every yes and every no.

Just 4 days after the trip’s official cancellation I received a Facebook message from the coordinator of the English Camp in Germany I’ve worked at the past 2 summers. Even though I had already told her I wouldn’t be able to come, my name “just so happened” to have just come up in a recent conversation with the Camp Director. So she asked, “Could you come for one week and teach the main session for 5 nights at the Camp?”

Me?  Return to Germany?  Speak at the night sessions?

What a gift from God! I was floored by the timing and my the opportunity! After some prayer, I joyfully concluded that I’ll be returning back to the junior high/high school students that I love to speak to them about the Gospel! The camp’s theme this year is ONE and each day has a specific theme as well: One God, One Passion, One Savior, One Decision, One Life, and One Church. I have the terrifying, wonderful privilege to speak on each subject. I’ll be preparing the lessons in the coming weeks leading up to the trip and would VERY MUCH appreciate your prayers in my preparation and in the student’s reception of truths from Scripture.

The Lord also has graciously provided a traveling companion in the form of my dear friend, and missionary-to-be, Christina McLaughlin. She will be helping at the camp in whatever ways they need her and then also blessing me by recording my lessons each night! I can put the videos up online and perhaps reach even more German/Americans if God chooses to use me in that way.

The cost is very minimal. Flights and a few travel expenses only totalled about $1,260 each. If you would like to support financially, that’d be great! I’d be happy to show you my spreadsheet! 😉 If you would like to support us through prayers-that’d be even better! You can follow my blog bettycatherine.wordpress.com and Christina’s betweentheleatherbindings.blogspot.com for updates throughout our time in Germany.

I am beyond excited for this opportunity to share God’s truths with the youth of Germany. Join with me in praying that through the power of the Holy Spirit, young lives are changed to love God’s words more deeply, cling to His promises more closely, and share His truths more boldly.

You know, there are things in our lives that are GREAT things, that God chooses to cut out for reasons only He knows of. Our job is to trust Him with that circumstance, and praise Him whether He shows us why or not. God cut the Spain trip out of my summer, and He graciously provided something else 4 days later! It doesn’t always (or even often!) work out like that-but I’m thankful it did! I trust that He has PLENTY of reasons why (though a good thing) Spain is not where I was supposed to travel this summer, and Germany definitely is. Maybe He’ll reveal more of the answers to my “why questions” and maybe He won’t. Either way-He is to be praised for orchestrating all these details of my life, and for always doing what is best for my life to bring Him glory!

As always, thanks for reading! 🙂