"In the still quiet place we meet Him."

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Things I learned at Camp...

KIDS TODAY AND CAMP

WHY CAMP???

CAMP HAS:

• Transformed lives – At camp, young people have the mental room to consider some of the most important issues of life. This break from the craziness of their regular routine allows campers to think about their future, to evaluate unhealthy patterns, and to discover the truth that God loves them and has an amazing plan for their lives.

• Adult mentors – According to researchers, kids spend on average 3.5 minutes in meaningful conversation with their parents each week. At camp, caring adults, counselors and mentors come alongside campers, helping them think through decisions and experiences in a way that will prepare them for their future. Many campers point back to a positive role model they met at camp as one who helped shape the direction of their lives.

• Nature and adventure – CCCA member camps are set in some of the most beautiful spots on the continent.
Campers explore nature, participate in new adventures and test their limits in a healthy environment surrounded by the grandeur of God’s creation.

• Lifelong friendships – Good friends who exert positive peer pressure can make all the difference in a kid’s life. Friendships with caring adults and other campers, forged through shared experience and the compressed time at camp, can last a lifetime and provide a connection that helps young people navigate the challenges of life.

• Temporary Community – In a setting separate from their daily routine, with an opportunity to shed the expectations and pressures of others, campers are freed up to truly be themselves, to live above artificial limitations and blossom into who they were created to be.

Little Sins

Little Sins!

A while back I quit doing something I thoroughly enjoy. I quit snacking. I only ate when I absolutely had to. Why? The joy of eating had been replaced with pain. Every time I took a bite…ouch! I couldn’t figure out what was causing the pain, I only knew that snacking would no longer be an option. This went on for a couple weeks until the problem surfaced. A small, otherwise insignificant collection of cells known as a popcorn kernel worked it’s way to the surface of my gums in between two molars. Aha! That little thing had unbeknownst to me entered my gums while enjoying a bowl of popcorn a few weeks before. Only, it didn’t belong there. My body knew it. Only I couldn’t pinpoint what was causing the problem.

Don’t you know sin is like that popcorn kernel? If sin is allowed to enter your life, it will zap you of your joy. Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (John 15:11).” Is there a “small, insignificant” sin you have allowed to creep in to your life? Or maybe a more obvious sin the Lord has been convicting you about? If so, repent! And receive again the joy Jesus intends you to have! By the way, I am enjoying snacking again! Won’t you (joy)n me?

The Power of Camping

Person, Place or Thing?

Recently I re-read the story of Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. About three months after God miraculously brought them out of Egypt they came to Mt. Sinai. This was a special place; this is where God gave the first Ten Commandments and many other supernatural things happened. But before God gave the Commandments He sent a message to the people. In part it said, "You have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself." (Ex. 19:4)

As you study the Bible, learn to look for what is not said as well as what is said. Many times what is not said can be very important and insightful. Like in this verse notice that God did not say, 'I brought you to this special place.' He could have said that, Sinai was indeed a special place. But God said, "I brought you to myself." That's what God really wants; for us to come to Him! Sure there are special places where we can meet with God. Every week we go to a building called the church (or we should), that's a good place to meet with God.

We have a Church Camp called Pinecrest up in the mountains near Ozone, AR. It's a great place to get away and meet God. And there are other times and places like retreats that can be special. But let's remember what God really wants is not just that we go to some place to think about Him, He wants us to be with Him. From Genesis to Revelation we hear God saying, 'I love you.' 'I want you close to me.' 'I want to share intimacy with you.' THAT IS WHAT YOU AND I WERE CREATED FOR - TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!

If that's not happening in your life - it probably explains the emptiness you feel. And, the closer you are to Him, the more completed and fulfilled you will feel. You might say, 'I'm not good enough to get close to God. I'm too sinful.' And I would say, 'you're r right. But Jesus is good enough, He is God's son. And He's the one inviting you into the family.' In Revelation 3: 20 Jesus said, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in" Have you ever heard Him knocking? Have you ever opened the door of your life to Jesus? You could do that today!

A Pinecrest Morning in the Mist

A Pinecrest Night

Nature Gallery

Check out the new Nature Gallery photos! Those are some great shots Nick!

Who Do You Work For?

Celebrating Christmas was not easy for many Americans in 2009. Thousands lost jobs and homes because of the current economic crisis. Recently, Chaplain Paul Northcut met a family in Russellville, Arkansas, with nothing left but their trust in God.

My family was about to sit down to eat supper when the phone rang. It was a man named Billy. He, his wife, and two small children—a three-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl—were at the Main Street Mission in Russellville. By this time, about 6 p.m., the mission was closed, but several families live there temporarily, and one of those folks told Billy, “All I know to do is call the chaplain,” and gave him my number. So I went to the mission to meet Billy and his family and to see what we could do.

Fully Relying on God
Billy said that they had come from Colorado, trying to get somewhere, anywhere, that might be better. He and his wife had lost their jobs and then their home. They had some contacts in southern Arkansas and thought that by coming south, it would at least be warmer than Colorado.

Billy told me that he and his wife were both Christians and had been praying that, somehow, God would help them take care of their family. He told me that they had taught the kids to pray and that all along the way, his little girl would pray, “Jesus, please take care of us.”

A Compassionate Mission
Billy and his family needed food, gas, a place to spend the night, and maybe most importantly, some encouragement. I called Gary and Marilyn, the mission directors, and explained the situation—one that we have heard over and over again. Marilyn said the mission would fill their gas tank, so I led the family to a local convenience store and took care of that.

Next, I talked to my good friend, Al, at Brown’s Catfish Restaurant. When I explained the circumstances, Al said, “Let’s get these folks fed. Don’t worry about cost.¬ I’ll take care of it.” So while they feasted on the best catfish in the state, I went down to a motel and arranged for a room.

After taking care of the lodging, I went back to the restaurant to tell the family where they would be staying. I prayed with them at their table and put a couple of bills in Billy’s shirt pocket.

As I was about to leave, the little girl looked up and, with the sincerity that only a four-year-old could have, asked, “Mister, are you Jesus?”

I just stood there for a couple seconds, pondering her question and how to answer it. Then I said, “No, honey. I just work for Him.”

To tell you the truth, sometimes I get tired of ministry; it’s called “compassion fatigue.” But every now and then, everything gets put back into perspective, and I remember who I work for. I am most blessed!