Talk about divine encounters! This past week I was able to be a youth counselor at a Church Camp held at Hidden Acres Christian Center in Dayton, Iowa. (Sweet camp – check it out if at all possible). I LOVED IT! I didn’t know the camp was in existence until a few days before it started. The week before camp, I got a fb message from a friend, saying that a friend of hers needed extra counselors at a camp. I heard the word camp and immediately said yes! I LOVE CAMP! God was completely sovereign in it all, and He put in me in a place where I was deeply encouraged and encouraging. Fellowship was amazing!
I want to write to encourage all the camp-goers to press in to what God has for them. While we were at camp, the main theme that kept being repeated was, “more”. God ALWAYS has more for us. We know this, now. We felt God’s presence while we were at camp. We were excited and encouraged and on fire for the Lord. Now we’re back home. Now what? I’ve had this feeling many a time, and I want to encourage you all with what I’ve learned from the past.
1. Don’t doubt what happened. If you felt God’s presence at camp, then you felt God’s presence at camp. If you come back home and don’t feel God’s presence, don’t get discouraged. Just get back in His presence! YOU CAN STILL FEEL GOD’S PRESENCE AT HOME! It’s not just a camp thing! If you came home and felt that nothing changed, it may be because your surroundings and environment at home is still the same; but that doesn’t mean that YOU are still the same. If God changed your heart, THEN HE CHANGED YOUR HEART. I pray, in the name of Jesus, that you know that God is doing a good work in you that will not be completed until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
2. God is everywhere, all the time. GOD IS ACCESSIBLE EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:7 – 12
3. His presence is always available. If you thought that at camp, it was easy to engage with God, then put yourself in the same environment where you were able to engage. If you really encountered God through worship music, then turn on worship music and worship. If you really encountered God through hearing sermons, then turn on sermons and take notes. If you really encountered God through talking to counselors, then talk to sponsors and older people at your youth group. If that’s not possible, then call or skype or message people. People are available all the time! We have access to one another! HOWEVER YOU ENCOUNTERED GOD, KEEP ENCOUNTERING GOD!
4. Write down what you learned. So many times it’s easy to forget how we were impacted. If we record it somewhere, we can look back at it later and see what God did in our lives. I have journals from 4th grade still, and I love looking back to see what God was doing in my life at that point. And you know what? Someday that may even come in handy for people I am mentoring or raising up to be disciples of Christ.
5. Practical ways to engage:
MUSIC. Connect with God through music, because when you are worshipping and singing to God, that’s prayer! That’s why it’s so powerful and emotional. Singing to God is prayer! It’s communicating with God. HE LOVES TO HEAR YOU SING TO HIM! Keep singing! If you feel like you are talking to a wall when you are praying, either in your head or out loud, then try singing. Sing what you’re thinking. Sing what you want Him to give you more of, whether it’s more fellowship with Christians, more of a passion for reading the Bible, more of a passion for prayer – whatever it is, ask Him for it! He’s a good Father, and He’s the richest Being in the Universe, so He will not run out. Just ask!
If you’re having trouble finding Christian music you like I’d suggest…..
Chill/acoustic – Shawn McDonald, Paul Wright,
Techno/Dance/Hip Hop – Michael Ketterer, Har Meggido,
Worship – Will Reagan & United Pursuit, Hillsong, Cory Asbury, Laura Hackett, Sons & Daughters
Soft rock – Tenth Avenue North, Kutless, Brandon Heath,
Gospel – Israel Houghton, Kirk Franklin,
Hip Hop – Souljahz (cd: The Fault is History) turned into Washington Projects, Grits
Pop – Group 1 Crew,
Rap – Trip Lee, Lecrae, J-May,
SERMONS. Check out Mark Driscoll, Francis Chan, and John Piper.
PRAYER. You can pray with others! Check out ongoing live 24/7 prayer and worship from Kansas City’s International House of Prayer.