>Reflections on Christian Youth Camp

>As the calendar races to the first of several weeks of teen camp at which I’ll be speaking this summer, I again reflect that youth camp is like R & R (Rest and Recreation) when I was in Vietnam.

One moment you are in a warzone, the next you are (in my case) in Australia enjoying seven days of relaxation. But, from the first moment, in the back of your mind, in ever increasing volume, is the tick-tock of the clock…four days, three days, 73 hours…and, boom, back to the war zone.

Students who come to Christian camps are, in varying degrees, leaving the war zone of “real life” and coming to what, prayerfully, will be a taste, a nibble, of heaven. Surrounded by staff/counselors/speakers who love Jesus, away from the all negative media and so forth…enjoying life, laughter, and being challenged by the Word of God.

Oh yeah, and exhausted!

But, in many of their minds, the reality of time slipping away thunders in their heads…three more days, two more, 27 hours…and, boom, back to the war zone.

So our goal should be to equip and arm them to fight the good fight when they get back to the real world. Obviously we want to declare the gospel to those outside the family of the redeemed; and we want to challenge and encourage Christians to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” and give them tools and ideas to accomplish that growth; but we dare not get so “numbers” oriented that we think it is all about “decisions” and “going forward.”

After all, profession of faith is not the same as possession of faith.

But too often the emphasis is on “decisions”. Obviously some wonderful transformations take place when God’s Word is preached; but by the middle of the week the students are so tired and emotional that a careless or impurely solely emotional “altar call” will get plenty of “results,” but not often Spirit-prompted commitments.

And we must emphasize that Ephesians 2.10 is just as inspired as Ephesians 2.8,9; salvation works! And we must combat the sloppy agape stuff that indicates it is all about us, and emphasize that the life of a Christian is one of sacrifice,inconvenience, and great joy.

The battle is the Lords, yes, but we are participants in the battle. Lock and Load!

>"Against" What? or "Against" Who?

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Forty years ago I was in Vietnam, attached to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Forty? Good grief! What is such a young guy doing in such an old body???

I was not a follower of Christ. I was into a lot of garbage. Vietnam was a lot like my subsequent years in prison – I learned a lot there, but I don’t wanna go back.

And though it was a different war against a different enemy, it gives empathy to our troops serving in warzones today.

And I am thankful – once again – that the people who are “against” the current wars are, in large part, not “against” the warriors.

It’s not unlike being “against” sin, but not “against” sinners.

And I encourage you to ponder that last sentence, examine what (who?) you are “against,” and leave some thoughts in the comment section.

And…of course…even as we celebrate memorial day…let us never cease to wonder at the memory of the One who loved us so much He would rather die than be without us…