Monday, July 27, 2009
Youth Camp and Other Things
Last week was a great week for those of us who went to Youth Camp. We were at Tall Timbers Baptist Encampment just below Alexandria; it was officially called "Clear Camp." All of our youth had a great time, as did the adults who went with them. It was not only fun, but also spiritually enriching for all. I want to say thank you to those adults who went: David and Annette, Cindy and my wife Anita. A special thank you goes to Jessie who is our Youth Minister at Dunn Baptist Church. All of you did a fantastic job. Plans are already in the making for camp next year. Stay tuned for details on that.
Youth camp is always and exciting time, especially for the youth. It is a time to get away from home and parents, even though those are certainly missed. They get to meet new people, some of whom become life-long friends. During times of recreation they get to play ballgames of various kinds, and in our case, got to get muddy several times.
The worship services for youth are unique or at least different for most of our youth and adults. For those of us who come from a church which worships in a "traditional" style, it is an opportunity for our youth to get a little hyper, to say the least. Worship services at Youth Camp and at any Youth meeting in general, is loud. Most of the kids like that, but as I get older my tolerance for loud music has, shall we say, diminished. I have been know to leave the room a time or two when it got just a little too much for me. I did find out that they will provide ear plugs for anyone who asks. That ought to tell you something about the noise level in the services. But, all in all, worship at youth camp is a good experience and generally very moving for our youth. Several decisions were made to receive Christ as Lord and Savior this year; not by any of our youth, but by other churches. We did have some re-dedications as we call them made by some of our youth. I look forward to seeing the fruit of those decisions.
Last night our youth led our evening Worship service at church. Again, they did a very good job of it. We saw the camp video and some pictures of our youth as they enjoyed camp together. Then they gave some testimonies of their experiences at camp, which we all enjoyed. Our youth also performed a skit, which they themselves had written. It was fantastic with a great message. We look forward to seeing more of those. That was actually the second one they had done.
The hightlight of the night for me was to baptize two of those youth. They had made professions of faith during Vacation Bible School, but we baptized them on this Youth Celebration Night. It was amazing. We look forward to assisting and watching Taylor and Audrey grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Pursuit of God
On another note, I have been reading and teaching one of my favorite books of all times; a classic in my estimation: "The Pursuit of God" by author A.W. Tozer. I have always suggested this book to any of our church members or anyone esle for the that matter. I'm going to post of what are to me hightlights of the book.
Following Hard After God
This is the title of the first chapter of the book and also the theme of the book. Psalm 63:8 says, "My soul followeth hard after thee; they right hand upholdeth me." (KJV) Tozer, first of all, rightly points out that before a person can seek God, God must first have sought the person. The bible teaches us in Romans 3:11 that "no one seeks after God." Tozer says, "We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit." John 6:44 teaches us "No one can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him." In this working out of our salvation, God has set us on a path which not only leads to heaven, but even more importantly to a life long pursuit of the One who was first of all pursuing us. It is a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ which becomes the most important relationship in our lives. If it is not the most important relationship, then something is wrong. Christianity should not be "mechanical and spiritless," as Tozer says. It should be vibrant and alive.
Tozer says, "The moment the Spirit has quickened us to life in regeneration our whole being senses its kinship to God and leaps up in joyous recognition." We have been "born again" by the Spirit of God, but that is not the end of it; it is only the beginning or and "inception" as Tozer puts it. Now begins the glorious pursuit, the heart's happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead."
There are two quotes that am going to end with today. The first is from St. Bernard, an ancient theologian quoted by Tozer. The second is Tozer's prayer at the close of the first chapter.
"We taste Thee, O Thous Living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drind of Thee, the Fountainhead
And thirst our sould from thee to fill."
O God, I have tasted They goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me They glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow thee up from this misty lowland where i have wandered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen.