TAWG After Camp: You are Loved

It’s now been over a week since we were all at camp together. School is about to start back up again for many of us. Others have work. Our old routines are beginning to settle back in, and what we learned at camp may be feeling a bit foggy by now.

So much can change even in a week. You know what doesn’t change? God loves you, and He is with you.

He wants to see you succeed.

He wants to help you grow.

He never gives up on you.

He is walking with you through every situation, no matter how difficult.

 

Have you ever felt abandoned or alone? Have you ever felt like someone who is very close to you had pulled away from or forgotten you? Even our most cherished human relationships can include pain and difficulty. But let’s look at Isaiah 49:15-16 and consider how our relationship with God goes even deeper.

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

There is no other human relationship quite like that of a mother and a child. Yet even that relationship does not compare to the love and tenderness of God. Look at the verses again. God tells us that He will never forget us. Never, no matter what we do.

Take comfort in that today. As you seek to move forward and continue in the things you learned at camp, be aware that you might slip up. But God still loves you. As you go back to school, friendships and circumstances may change. But God hasn’t forgotten you. As you live with and love your family, there may be bumps along the road. But God is always with you.

You are loved. You are cherished. You matter. God has not forgotten you, and he never will.

Want More?

  • Romans 8:38-39
  • Psalm 27:9-14
  • Jeremiah 29:11-13
  • 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
  • Psalm 34:8
  • Psalm 31:19

Revolution Series: The Thief on the Cross

Is it ever too late to change? Is there ever a point where you are too far for God to work a revolution in your life? We’ve all sinned. We’ve all done things that are wrong. But nothing – no combination or level of wrongs – is too much for God to change. Read today’s section and see for yourself.

Read Luke 23:39-43

Two men hung on crosses beside Jesus when he was crucified. One cursed him and sarcastically asked Jesus to save them all. But the other realized who Jesus was. In that moment, just seconds away from death, this man recognized Jesus as the King of Kings. With no sarcasm in his voice, he asked Jesus a simple request.

“Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.”

No matter what you’ve done, Jesus loves you. He wants to know you and He wants to have a relationship with you. To begin that relationship, all it takes is the same simple step that the thief on the cross took.

Acknowledge Him. Recognize Jesus for who He is – the Son of God.

But that is only the beginning. The thief on the cross was not able to experience the joy of life with Christ until his final moments. But we have the opportunity to experience that joy each day.

God wants a relationship with us. Think about how amazing that is! No matter what we’ve done, He wants to walk with us. Consider that today as you go about your life.

Acknowledge God, and start walking with Him in a revolution of love today.

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Revolution Series – Josiah

Just because you are young does not mean you can’t make an impact. A boy named Josiah became king when he was only eight years old, and he led Judah through an extremely important change.

Read 2 Kings 22 and 2 Kings 23:21-25

Josiah was only eight years old. EIGHT YEARS OLD! During his time as king, the Book of the Law was found. This was the Word of God to Judah. When they read it, they realized that they had not been following God’s Law for years.

Have you ever done something and realized later that it was wrong? How did you react?

Josiah leads Judah through a revolution of coming back to the Law of God. His heart was so tender that he tore his robes when he heard about how the previous leaders had forsaken God’s commandments.

Ask God if there are areas in your own life where you need to turn back to Him.

You’ll notice also that God does not withhold judgment upon Judah even though Josiah leads them through this revolution. There are still consequences for the earlier sins. But it was because of Josiah that Judah turned back to God. His impact was great, and it was because he had a relationship with God at a young age.

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Revolution Series – Naaman

This year at camp, we unpacked the word “revolution.” We looked at how God offers a revolution of love. We often hear about revolutions of power or influence. But God is love. For our new TAWG Blog series, we’re going to look at people in the Bible who experienced revolution. We’re excited to have you journey with us!


It’s often easy to see areas where we need to change. Many times, we think we know how and when that change should occur. But our TAWG session today focuses on a man who found out that God’s plan, even though it looked different than his own, is always right.

Read 2 Kings 5:1-14

Naaman wanted a big event. He thought that change meant something big had to happen. He surely didn’t think it involved the dirty river outside of town.

God’s plan may not always look like our own. We may have a different idea of how things should go. But God wants to work a revolutionary change in us through His love. It is on us to submit to His plan – even if it looks different than what we had in mind.

Spend some time in prayer this week asking God to reveal areas in your life that He wants to change and heal. Then give those areas to Him. We will be praying for you as you start a new school year and seek to follow God with your life!

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Revolution Series – Paul

This year at camp, we unpacked the word “revolution.” We looked at how God offers a revolution of love. We often hear about revolutions of power or influence. But God is love. For our new TAWG Blog series, we’re going to look at people in the Bible who experienced revolution. We’re excited to have you journey with us!


When talking about Bible characters who underwent some kind of change, Paul is probably one of the first that comes to mind. Now we know him as the writer of most of the New Testament, and one of history’s greatest missionaries. But he wasn’t always that person. Before He met Jesus, he was a drastically different man.

Read Acts 9:1-19

Paul’s revolution was so great that everything about him changed – even his name! Before, he was Saul the murderous hater of Christians. Then he encountered Jesus, and his life was changed.

God’s love can change even the worst sinner. There is no one who has strayed too far or done too much for God to love them. That kind of love is hard for us to fathom. Thankfully, God doesn’t ask us to understand it. All He asks us to do is believe and follow.

You may not have ever had God appear to you in a light from heaven. But think about a time when you did hear God “speak.” It may not have been an audible voice, but He got through to you. How did it happen? Was it through a Bible verse, or maybe the encouragement of another person?

God wants to meet with us every day and invite us deeper and deeper into his revolution of love. We must listen for Him. When we hear Him, we must believe and follow. If God can take a murderer and turn him into the greatest missionary who ever lived, just think what He can do with you.

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After Camp

You wake up. You look around you. No cabin. No bunk beds. No counselor gathering your group for the next event. You walk outside expecting to see the Teen Tent, but it isn’t there. Everyone has gone home. You are home.

But the days after camp don’t have to be sad. This week at camp, we talked about a Revolution of Love – God’s love. He wants you to live a joy-filled life. That’s easy to see when we’re out at camp, but it becomes a little tougher when we come home.

So how do we transition?

That is the question that we must answer as we come home from camp. How do we take what we learned and experienced and bring it home from camp? Well, do what you did at camp. Spend some time with God.

Take the next five minutes and ask God to reveal the lessons He was teaching you at camp.

On Friday night, Kory talked about how we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to bring ourselves to God. You made decisions this week at camp. That’s great! But don’t think that you’ll be perfect in sticking to them. None of us are. The only way we can continue in the decisions we made at camp is by giving God control. Saying to God, “Here I am, imperfections and all. Use me as I am.”

Read 1 Samuel 3. Notice Samuel’s age – he was a boy. Also, notice how God continued to help Samuel even after he had this amazing experience (1 Samuel 3:19). Talk to God about what you experienced at camp, and ask Him for guidance as you go home.

You are loved. God loves you so much. He spoke to you at camp, and He wants to continue to speak to you as you transition back to life at home. Spend time with Him, just like you did at camp. And please know that the Teen Camp Staff, along with your counselors, are praying for you. We are so glad you were at camp this year, and we pray that you continue in what God is teaching you!

 


Want More?

  • Isaiah 6:8
  • 1 Samuel 16:1-13
  • Matthew 9:9-13
  • Psalm 23

Rule of Life Series: Study

Proverbs 9:9-10

I know, I know – you see the word study and instantly your eyes dart away. I remember being in high school. It wasn’t THAT long ago for me. I didn’t always want to study, either. But today we’re talking about how the discipline of studying can help us in our relationship with God. And it is just that – a discipline. It’s not always easy, but it is vitally important.

If you’re anything like me, one of the reasons you don’t particularly enjoy studying for school is because everyone tells you that you have to. Your teachers, your parents, even sometimes your classmates.

God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t tell us that we have to study. That’s right, we could freely choose not to. But God does tell us what happens if we choose to study His Word. In our passage for today, He says that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

God lets us know what will happen if we choose to submit ourselves to Him and learn from His Word. As Christians, it’s that closeness of relationship that we should crave. We should WANT to know more about God and grow closer to Him.

Now, I’ll be honest, have I always wanted to read my Bible when I wake up in the morning? No, sometimes it just seems so early and my eyes are feeling groggy. But I’ve made it a habit. Now, one of the first things I do every morning is read my Bible and talk to God. I crave it. I need it. But you have to start somewhere.

If studying God’s Word is difficult for you, here’s an idea. Try reading through the book of Proverbs. There are 31 chapters, so it fits easily into any month. Whatever day you start on, just go find that same numbered chapter in Proverbs and start there. Then read one chapter every day. That’s it. It’s a great way to get started with daily Bible reading if you’ve never done it before or you’ve taken a long break.

Remember, God doesn’t give us homework. He just wants to know us and He wants us to know Him. For that relationship to thrive, we have to make consistent Bible study a part of our regular routine.

 

Want More?

Psalm 119:15-16

Hebrews 4:12

Joshua 1:8

Proverbs 4:10-13

Acts 17:11

Rule of Life Series: Prayer

Luke 11:1-13

I was on my lunch break the other day, when I came upon a park. This park actually used to be a landfill. Now it serves as a preservation area. The only reason I knew about it was that I had gone there with my mom a few months earlier. She loves birding, and it is a prime spot for seeing certain species of birds.

I had about 15 minutes left on my lunch break before I needed to head back to the office. It was a beautiful, sunny day. So I stopped to take a walk. The wind was rustling the leaves in the trees that are scattered across the hills and grasslands of the park. It was there I spoke to God.

I talked to Him about all the anxieties that had been plaguing my mind. I thanked Him for his presence. I asked for guidance. I took some time to listen too. When I was done, I couldn’t help but wonder why I don’t do this more often.

In our passage for today, Jesus gives his disciples an example of how to pray. We’ve heard it many times before. For many of us, prayer might seem routine. Granted, we don’t pray enough. But it’s as everyday as waking up and brushing our teeth.

While there’s something to be said for developing good habits and for making prayer a part of our daily life, I wonder when exactly we lost our fascination with prayer. We’re talking to the Creator of the universe for goodness’ sake!

I walked under the sun with the wind at my back and I was amazed at the presence of God. He’s always there. We have these opportunities around us all the time. He wants to meet with us. Talk with us. Listen to us.

But we have to take the time to meet with Him.

 

Want More?

1 John 5:14

1 Chronicles 16:11

James 5:13

Psalm 141:2

Psalm 145:18

Rule of Life Series: Unity

John 17:20-23

Jesus Christ is the perfect picture of unity. He and the Father are one. As followers of Jesus, he offers that same unity to us. It is the mystery discussed in Colossians 1 – Christ in us.

We talk about it in church all the time, but let it sink in – as a follower of Christ, he dwells in you. You are never separated from Him. At first, it might even sound a little weird to say that Christ dwells in you, but that is only because our weak attempts at describing the situation don’t do it justice. As Christians, we are always in unity with Christ.

That begs the question, then – why are there so many divisions in Christianity?

It is true, unity is something that isn’t always clear in the modern Christian faith. But our passage for today shows that wasn’t Jesus’ intent. It seems the common theme of Jesus’ gospel was love. A love that makes unity possible. Jesus’ prayer in today’s passage was that the disciples would live in the same unity with the Father that He did.

There is a great deal of darkness in the world today. Many problems and issues face us, and the temptation is to argue with and ridicule one another. Jesus came to bring people to the Father. By doing so, He brought them together. He calls us to do the same.

Now, it’s very clear that Jesus did not hold back when he saw injustice in the world. Many times, he saved his harshest words for those in religious positions of power. Likewise, we should also not stand idly by as injustice occurs.

Therefore, true unity comes only as we bring people to Jesus. The closer we draw to Him, the closer we are to the Father because Jesus is in complete unity with the Father. Let that be our prayer this week, that we would be one with Christ as we seek to bring others closer to Him.

 

Want More?

Colossians 1:25-27

Ephesians 4:11-13

Psalm 133:1

Romans 12:16

Ephesians 2:14

Rule of Life Series: Community Discipline

Hebrews 12:11-13

Life in community is a common theme in the Bible. “Love your neighbor” and the practices of the church in Acts show us that community is a good thing. We are supposed to live at peace with those around us.

But what happens when our community hurts us?

To live in community is to be vulnerable. We open ourselves up to others. We share life together and help each other through struggles. We encourage and lift up one another. We love each other.

But sometimes communities can be broken by sin. Boundaries must be in place. That’s what today’s passage talks about.

Nobody likes discipline. It isn’t fun. It’s meant to be a deterrent to sinful behavior. But a good community has boundaries in place to protect its members. What’s interesting about our passage is how it distinguishes between the moment of discipline and the after effects.

As we’ve already discussed, the moment of discipline is anything but fun. It hurts. We sometimes feel shame and guilt. Hopefully, it causes us to reconsider whatever action brought on the discipline. But what does our passage have to say about the after effects of discipline?

“Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

True discipline yields peace. Our communities should have boundaries in place that make that possible.

So, what communities are you a part of? Your church, your family and your school are all communities you interact with on a daily or weekly basis. They probably have strong boundaries in place.

But what about your friend group?

Do you and your friends set up boundaries so that you won’t put yourselves in bad situations? You and your friends should be building each other up. That means having rules in place so you won’t fall into temptation.

Pray this week and ask God to help you live in peace with each community you’re a member of.

 

Want more?

Proverbs 19:20

Colossians 3:12-14

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10