My family and I were incredibly blessed last week to have gone to Camp Yolijwa's annual Family Bible Camp. The theme was "Made," based on Psalm 139:13-14:
"You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful: I know this full well."
Every night at camp we went up to an outdoor chapel in silence, and listened to a message pertaining the main point that day. This year's themes were practical, straight-forward, and easy to remember. (Sidenote: that's how a sermon should be - deep and thought-provoking, but still applicable). They directly and clearly stated every Christ-follower's mission: Know, Grow, Bro, Show, and Go:
Memory verse: Psalm 139:13-14
Day one was about the care that God put into designing us - our bodies, our personalities, our lives, etc. Let alone everything else in creation. God spoke into existence things that our limited minds couldn't have ever imagined. This is how studying science and observing nature's detail give us a tiny glimpse into the mind of the Creator.
As Christians, everything we do should be an act of worship. This happens when we don't just stop at the gift - we look at the Giver. We don't just stop at Creation - we worship the Creator.When we're barely grasping a concept, we can think about the One Who invented that concept - so yes, schoolwork can be worship, too.
Another way to view the verse is this: if God put all that care into every detail of our lives and ourselves, then we must be here for a purpose. You must have been created in that specific way for a purpose. "Imperfections" that you wish you could change about yourself (excluding sin) are not mistakes. God doesn't make mistakes. He intricately crafted, or knitted, you together inside your mother's womb. You are here for a reason, and you are the way you are for a reason.
With all this in mind, we should still grow out of our weaknesses, and not accept the past as our fate or our current personality as our destiny. (when we accept something - our situation, upbringing, etc. as our identity, all it does is entrap us in a cage we created for ourselves).
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2:6-7
Day two was about discipleship - growing closer to God personally, and helping others to grow. There is a vertical and horizontal side to Christianity. The vertical side is between you and God; the horizontal side is about others - Christians and non-Christians. "Vertical" discipleship is our personal relationship with God, which grows through:
- Reading, studying and memorizing God's Word
- Fellowship with other believers...
And, ultimately, continued pursuit of holiness.
"Horizontal" discipleship is God using us for quantity and quality growth of His Kingdom. In other words, there's evangelism - reaching those who don't believe - and then guiding them towards growth once they believe.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
Communion and community. Day three was about two-way, horizontal discipleship - believers gathering together, rejoicing communally in their shared salvation, and helping each other to grow. We encourage each other, pray for and with each other, worship together, and love each other genuinely - or at least we should.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 1 Cor. 12:26
John 13:15 (Jesus speaking after washing the disciple's feet) I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Day four was another "horizontal" command: humbling yourself and serving others. A song from Enchanted comes to mind as I write this - "How does she know (you love her)?." This is a question we need to constantly ask ourselves. How do others know we love them? Love = action. Love is sitting down and listening - actually listening - to someone's problems without judging them. Love is helping those in need even though you're running late for work. Love is giving financially to a cause without caring about social recognition. Love is being willing to sacrifice your reputation for another's needs. It's putting others before yourself, and perfect love expels all fear (1 John 4:18). Even the God of all the universe knelt down to wash the disciples' feet.
This isn't a request. This isn't an extra credit assignment for those gifted with evangelism. It's a command for all of us.
Now, you might not be called to the other side of the world, but you're probably called to your co-workers. Or the person next to you on the bus. How often do you go to the grocery store or out to eat? The opportunities are everywhere, and there is so much need - if you don't believe me, just turn on the news. There are so many unsaved people in the world. If you don't feel ready to share the Gospel, ask God to make you ready. Evangelism doesn't have to be fancy - it can just be your story. No one can argue with that. And remember - if they disagree or say something mean, they're not rejecting you - they're rejecting God.
Which of these five things are hardest for you to follow? What about them is hard? I'd love to hear from you in the comment section! Remember - we are here for each other, so we can help each other grow in the areas we're weak in.