Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Youth Camp

Admittedly, the way to go about preparing for youth camp seminars is not to meet up with partnersincrime and surround crabs staring forlornly out of their vermicelli hot-tubs or slathered with a steaming creamy chilli sauce and have a FIFA World Cup match on the big screen.
Vermicelli CrabChilli Crab
But lacking sleep and exhausted almost to the point of swayingonmyfeet incoherence, I was reluctant to shoulder yet another camp so soon after the ARPC church camp.

Yet, thankfully, any thought of moping or whinging was nipped in the bud by the ever-cutting, ever-convicting, ever-refining Spirit within, so that the thoughtpattern went something like this:
the fact is that the judgement of Christ is surely coming, and we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10). Therefore, these are urgent times and there is little time for self-pity. Knowing the fear of the Lord, we must persuade others to avoid the fate that awaits those who do not acknowledge God as God.

God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We must implore those unbelievers, on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20)

And though our current earthly minds and bodies and persons are but tents that frustrate us by rebelling against God as we struggle to stay in right relationship with him and to obey him; temporal shelters which are to be destroyed, and though we groan in them, waiting eagerly for heavenly bodies that will relate to God perfectly, and even as a call goes out for help and prayers, please*, we are always to be of good courage, for God has already given us the Holy Spirit who dwells within us as a guarantee that all he promised will take place. (2 Corinthians 5:1-9)
And because the Creator made us to find joy in obeying him, and so there is innate joy in obeying God's words and fulfilling the tasks for which we have been designed, in the midst of youth camp, the heart fairly burst with the wonder-fullness of God's Godness, clear as a beautiful white church against the bluest sky on a sunny Icelandic plain. There was the beauty of starting the day with God and members of God's family. There were men and boys down at the tennis courts, swatting away and joking around. Old and young, sporty and dorky, in easy conviviality, joined by the blood of Christ. There were scampering bushy-tailed squirrels and singing birds hidden in trees. There was the kind hospitality of brothers, the lingering perfume of the vast raintree canopies of secondary forests and the comfort of confidently depending on God together. There were brutal basketball games, the absolute joy of having the opportunity to proclaim the gospel to people from many nations, ages and backgrounds and participate in enthusiastic conversations with people creakingly starting to examine their worldviews.

And later later later, as we cleared the campsite, I wanted to say to the other leaders: God's great innit? Isn't it wonderful that his word is true not just on historical evidence but also in our personal experience? And I love y'all because you love the God I love (and there is no other) and I'm glad we're partners in the gospel and pals for eternity. But after we'd loaded the bags, rackets, basketballs, soccer balls, frisbees, cameras, notes, mats, board games, Bibles, laptops, cafetières, cups, uneaten snacks, scores, CD players, CDs, books, utensils, pots, guitars into the cars, there was supper nearby where someone who had to shell his own prawns and there was communal picking at barbecued stingray and stabbing at rojak and swirling of Tsingtao in ice and laughing at silly stories.

And we returned home rejoicing because no matter what greenhornness and fumbling there was at the camp, the salvation of all rested not precariously in our incompetent hands, but securely in our God, the Lord over all the earth. And we were infinitely honoured that he even allowed us to take some part in his work.
How Excellent Your Name
O Lord our God
How excellent Your name is
How excellent Your name in all the earth

Your glory fills the heavens
Beyond the farthest stars
How excellent Your name in all the earth.

When I think about the heavens
The moon and all the stars
I wonder what You ever saw in me
But You took me and You loved me
And You've given me a crown
And now I'll praise Your name eternally.
Text & Music: P. Jacobs
How Great is Your Love
No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
No mind has ever conceived
The glorious things that You have prepared
For everyone who has believed
You brought us near and You called us Your own
And made us joint heirs with Your Son.

How high and how wide,
How deep and how long,
How sweet and how strong is Your love.
How lavish Your grace,
How faithful Your ways,
How great is Your love, oh Lord.

Objects of mercy who should have known wrath
We're filled with unspeakable joy.
Riches of wisdom, unsearchable wealth,
And the wonder of knowing Your voice.
You are our treasure and our great reward,
Our hope and our glorious King.
CCLI# 1360011
Mark Altrogge, ©1991 Integrity’s Praise! Music/PDI Praise
* Thank God for Dave and his notes (will mail you more details about how the seminar went, bro!) and the Chocolate Cow, the Hiding Hamsters, BH&probWH, the ever-patient DG and all their love, encouragement and prayers! :-)

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At June 15, 2006 5:31 pm , Blogger The Hedonese said...

My pleasure, bro... decided to make the notes available here


At June 15, 2006 9:08 pm , Anonymous Mejlina Tjoa said...

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound unto us, even so our comfort also aboundeth through Christ” — 2 Corinthians 1:5

At June 16, 2006 12:02 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

can i e-mail u my contact n u keep me informed of future youth camps?

At June 16, 2006 5:54 pm , Blogger shadow said...

I do apologise! That was one barely coherent post. But let's leave it as it is.

Dave: good thinking!

Mejlina Tjoa: indeed. :-)

anonymous: of course! It's themailboxofshadow@gmail.com


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