Friday, January 25, 2013

"Nek Minit. . . I was at camp again!"

  One week I was at camp and then. .. "nek minit" . . I found myself at camp again!  (E-mail me for full disclosure on the "nek minit" Kiwi phenomenon.)

You may have seen my last post regarding Rock Solid Breakaway Camp and thought that 6 days in the bush with 100 teenagers was quite ambitious.  If  you thought Breakaway camp was crazy, then this week's Nazarene District youth camp was "EPIC"! 

Hosted by our fearless leaders Jesse and Jenna Briles, the theme for our Nazarene District Youth Camp 2013 was "E.P.I.C" (Eternal Prize in Christ) and was chock full of games, water wars, great food, and challenging messages by speaker Kenny Wade. It was a truly cross-cultural experience with teens representing nearly every nation in the Pacific, as well as the Caribbean, UK, and North America.

We rejoice that one young man made the choice to give his life to Jesus Christ!  Woo hoo! He has now stepped into this global cosmic family called the family of God and beginning his walk with his new Lord Jesus. Other young people were challenged to consider how the decisions that they are facing now can make God famous.

Thank you for praying for the leadership and campers of these last two camps.  We are now thoroughly exhausted, but also thoroughly aware of God's presence and divine action in the lives of many young people.

Thanks to Kenny Wade for sharing a few of the photos with me, since my battery died out at the beginning of camp!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The cave was black. . .camp craziness 2013

     Breakaway Camp 2013 may be done and dusted, but the lessons learned and relationships built we pray will last a lifetime.  Below I have included a few photos from our week of camp craziness in the great outdoors of Kauri Mountain, near Whangarei Heads. 
The last 6 days were filled with adventures of all sorts: kayaking, hiking, cave exploring, dirt biking, swimming, jumping off bridges (into deep water of course), games, competitions, creativity, and meaningful discussions about God's love and creative nature.

On Thursday, we found ourselves waist deep in the cold murky water of the heart of Abbey Caves.  Without a strong torch ("flashlight"), one would be utterly hopeless at surviving, as there is no source of outside light to guide your path or prevent you from knocking yourself out on the rocky protrusions ever present in the cave. The inside of the cave is black.
 The only sign of hope that one might encounter is the occasional lumination of the glow worms that appear like a canopy of stars on the ceiling of the cave. 

At one point of our journey through the inky blackness, the camp director instructed everyone to turn off their torches and engage in 60 seconds of silence and darkness.  True, it is nearly impossible to get teenagers to be quiet for even a second, but for the rare moments that we did experience silence it was quite remarkable.  As usual, my pastoral brain began to turn and I considered how completely dark and without light a life is without Christ.  Without the love of Christ and the illumination of his Holy Spirit, it is quite impossible to navigate the hazards of life and avoid the deadly traps of sin that seek to swallow each unsuspecting climber and cast them into a bottomless pit.  Without the Light of Jesus Christ . . . one will ultimately remain lost. 

   Something very supernatural happens when we place our trust in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin and self.  Lostness can no longer describe us, because we have been found by the One who never wanted us to be lost in the first place! And what's more, God places within us his Holy Spirit to guide and equip us for the rest of the journey.  As long as we stay connected to him through faith (and the disciplines that embody our faith like prayer, Bible Study, and community with others who have been "found") our ability to really "see" grows increasingly stronger.   Life doesn't feel as scary anymore when we have the Light.  In fact, we find that we can now begin to help others make their way through the caverns of existence here on earth and bring them out into the bright light and steady ground on the other side.

More pics to follow. . .. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Breakaway Summer Youth Camp Begins!

In less than 24 hours, 100+ teenagers and many  dedicated adults will be venturing to Kauri Mt for the 2013 Rock Solid -Breakaway Summer Youth Camp.  This is the 2nd year I will be involved in this camp and I look forward to heaps of fun, lots of laughs (and no doubt some sleepless nights)!

Would you please join me in praying for all in attendance?  We ask for the Lord to really bless this experience with his presence and draw heaps of young people to himself, and for safety and protection for all the activities (hiking, kayaking, caving, swimming, games, etc. . .)

I will be away from the office and cell reception Jan 7-12, but hope to update this blog as soon as we arrive back. . .Lord willing with all kinds of wonderful stories and photos!

Thank you!