Prayer

19Jun

What Adults Can Learn from Kids Camp

My three oldest kids leave tomorrow for kids camp. Jack (9) went last year and had an incredible time. Elliott (7) and Lillie (7) will venture into the woods for a week away from Mom and Dad, studying the bible, playing games, fishing, worshipping and so much more. Jack has been so enthusiastic about camp the past month, you’d think he was in training to the be the camp director. Just the other day he told Elliott, “Now Elliott, you need to be prepared to be a little sad on the last day. Its pretty sad when you have to leave.”  All my life growing up though, camp was always a highlight. I remember when I was in middle school not wanting to leave church camp to go to little league all-stars. Simply put, church camp is EPIC!

I actually think we adults can learn a thing or two from our kids who go to kids camp. Here are three things adults can learn from kids camp:

Hobbies are helpful. Many of us as adults have become workaholics. We are way too stressed out by all the demands of life. In extreme cases, we become grumpy and angry and it spills out onto those we love the most. Most of us know we need healthier rhythms if we are going really flourish in life. Is it possible a hobby could be helpful to you? My kids at camp this week will participate in fishing, archery, arts and crafts, and competitive games and will love every minute of it. These activities are part of what makes camp so awesome. Hobbies are helpful to adults as well. They keep us active, distracted from the stress and help us maintain healthy rhythms in life. Hobbies give our brains a break from the grind. Have you found yourself a little stressed out lately? Have you been a little on edge. The solution could be as easy as taking up a hobby. The options are endless.

Community is hard but worth it. Imagine sleeping on a single mattress in a wood cabin with no running water in the middle of the woods for 5 days. In this setting, you learn things about people and people learn things about you that could never be known in any other way. But these living conditions are hard. Walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night down a little trail in the woods does not fill most people’s definition of fun. There is something about this experience that forges lifelong friendships with these kids. Community begins early and their experience in community runs deep. Am I going to now suggest that adults need to go rough it for a week with another group of adults to forge “community”? Not necessarily, though I wouldn’t discourage it. Simply put, we all need community. We all need to be fully known and fully loved. It may be that your first step is inviting someone to lunch and trading life stories. It may be that you invite some friends over for dinner and enjoy a time of extended prayer together. Either way, at camp people get to know you in a very personal way, and this is what God wants for all of us, even us adults.

Slow down. Be still. Seek God. This is exactly what our kids will be doing this week. And this is exactly what God wants all of us to regularly do. The scriptures have several compelling examples of Jesus slowing down and being still to seek the Father (Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23) and the Psalmist actually commands us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Why would we send our kids off for a week to slow down and hear the voice of God and then neglect habits or rhythms like this ourselves? Tomorrow night, all the kids will gather at camp and they’ll review the schedule together. There are specific times on the schedule mapped out for bible study and worship. This week of camp was calendared almost a year ago. That is how it will get done in your life too. Schedule it. Calendar a Saturday morning away at the lake for no other purpose than seeking God. Sign up for that next discipleship retreat you hear promoted at your church. Find a good marriage conference to go to, register for it and mark your calendar. Get away. Slow down. Be still. Seek God.

For all those adults that are going to camp this week to make these EPIC experiences come to life for my kiddos and dozens of others, THANK YOU. We’re praying for an amazing week!

4Feb

Continual Repentance

O God of grace,

Though has imputed my sin to my substitute,

and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul,

clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,

decking me with jewels of holiness.

But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;

my best prayers are stained with sin;

my penitential tears are so much impurity;

my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;

my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

 

I need to repent of my repentance;

I need my tears to be washed;

I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,

no loom to weave my own righteousness;

I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,

and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,

for thou dost always justify the ungodly;

I am always going into the far country,

and always returning home as a prodigal,

always saying, Father, forgive me,

and thou art always bringing forth

the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it,

every evening return in it,

go out to the day’s work in it,

be married in it,

be wound in death in it,

stand before the great white throne in it,

enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of

the exceeding sinfulness of sin,

the exceeding righteousness of salvation,

the exceeding glory of Christ,

the exceeding beauty of holiness,

the exceeding wonder of grace.

 

(This prayer was taken from The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Edited by Arthur Bennett. Published by The Banner of Truth Trust.)

7Jul

GLOBAL LITTLE MINDS.

I’m amazed at the global perspective that living in NYC for 5 years gave my little 7 year old, Jack. So many of his friends from school were from different countries or visited family in other countries during breaks. We often had people from other countries eating holiday meals at our apartment. Jack has maps of the world and different countries all over the walls in his bedroom. The other night we decided we’d begin praying for a different country every night, finding it on his map. Tonight was our first night and he chose Cyprus because a little girl from his class in NYC, Anna, was moving to Cyprus for four years. So I googled a quick prayer search for Cyprus and this was the first video that Jack and I watched. It was truly a priceless moment with my little man tonight that left me in tears.

I’m so grateful that at 7 years old, Jack sees the world. It is my hope and prayer for Jack, that he’ll go anywhere, at anytime, to do anything for Jesus. Is that your prayer for your children? Begin praying it now and watch God change your heart. Another pray you can pray for your children is “God save them, send them where you want them to go, and spend them out for your glory.” If you pray it for 20 years, then when your 20 year old daughter comes home and tells you she’s moving to Afghanistan to love the people there and share Jesus with them, your heart will be prepared to send her.

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