Below is a message God laid on my heart to give to my church after I went to Centri Kids with my son Crayton and a couple dozen other 4th through 6th grade students last summer. It was a faith impacting experience in my life.
I had never been to a church camp before, even as a kid, so I asked Pastor John if I could share my experience with our church.
I did not know what to expect. If I had to guess I would have said I expected to be doing a lot of chaperone type work making sure kids got to all of their activities and stayed out of trouble (especially working with the boys). Maybe have an opportunity to help one or more of the boys out with questions raised at camp.
What I experienced was more than I could have imagined. What I experienced was…
Have you ever had a really great worship experience at church, where after a few songs you really start to feel God’s presence? Then the message hits home and you leave church feeling like you spent time with God?
Well picture that type of experience as slowly wading into a cold pool. First you get your feet wet, then you move down to your waste, then to your shoulders and finally you put your head under the water.
Centri Kids was more like taking the Nestle Tea plunge. Almost immediately I was completely immersed in worship with God like never before and it was really around the clock through the entire week of camp.
I have often felt guilty about there being more passion (including from myself) at an Aggie football game than passion for Jesus at church. There was more passion for Christ at this camp from the kids, the adults and the staff than I have ever experienced at Kyle field.
You cannot be immersed in worship for a week and not have some deep conversations with God.
So here I am, to tell you what God laid on my heart in one of our conversations this week.
I was on a 3-mile run and since my MP3 player was not working (another story) I had time to think.
After the first mile (which was a lap around the camp) God said why don’t you pray for the camp while you run around it.
Towards the end of my run, I was worn out and I prayed “God what happens to these kids after camp? There is a battle raging and these kids are in the thick of it. God you can protect and keep each child safe for the life you have planned for them. But God, you want the parents to join the battle”.
I immediately realized that those were not my words to God, but God’s Spirit speaking. I also immediately started crying during my last ½ mile.
During the rest of the week I thought about what God had told me. Some verses came to mind to help me think this out and I want to share them with you.
1 Peter 5:7-9 (ESV)
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
God says to resist him by standing firm in the faith? How do we do this?
Ephesians 6:10-11 (ESV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
My kids have access to this same armor. However, what kind of parent am I if I expect them to figure out how to use this armor on their own? I struggle figuring it out for myself.
If a physical war was raging around me I would not expect my kids to figure out for themselves how to protect themselves.
Why do I struggle with the spiritual war? The devil is an adversary much worse than the worst terrorist.
How can I ever be too busy or too tired to pray fervently for and with my kids?
How can I ever be too busy of too tired to read God’s word with my family?
Why would I ever not want my kids with me at my side as I worship my God so they can see that their dad loves their God and they should too?
Why do I not act like I fear that Satan might devour my child?
Why am I not doing all I can do to make sure they are fully dressed in the armor of God?
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (ESV)
4 "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.
7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Because while I know it is true in my head, I fail to believe it in my heart.
What God told me this week is that I better start believing with my heart.
Matthew 18:2-6 (ESV)
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them
3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me,
6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
What judgment awaits me if I neglect my children’s spiritual well being?
Let us believe every little tittle and dot in this Book in our heart.
Let us join the battle.