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: Serving with Compassion

1 John 4:19-21

1 Peter 4:10-11

Matthew 20:26-28

Galatians 5:13-14

John 13:1-20

Matthew 25:31-46

Romans 12:9-13

Luke 10:25-37

Serving others is a major part of following Christ.  If you study and analyze the life of Christ you will begin to recognize that he served others with his life.  Christ demonstrated and spoke about the importance of serving others with compassion.  It should be obvious that those who say they are following Christ should also be serving others.  They must not just be serving them, but serving them with a type of love that desires nothing in return. This type of love is not about what will happen to me, but what will happen to others.  It is a love that focuses not on our glory, but God’s alone.

This week take some time to read through each of these passages and spend time reflecting on each one.  Spend time praying each day asking him how you can better serve those around you.  Listen and obey.  Serving other with compassion, with a love that has no conditions, can be extremely challenging.  It is hard not to want something in return, even if that something is as small as a good work, or thank you.  This type of service is about expecting nothing except for God to be glorified.  Be still and know that he is God of all.

Rest in God’s presence this week and allow the Spirit to restore you.  As we bring this series to a close think about all of the commitments and changes you have decided to make in your life.  How are you doing?  What is changing?  What still needs to change?  Allow God to move.  Be present, accepting grace, and be transformed.

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: Silence

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.” 

-Mother Teresa

There is a lot that could be said about silence but it seems that it would make sense for us just to experience it, and learn from it.  Silence is hard to come by with so many distractions pulsating through our minds, but it is necessary.  It should be a daily practice because it causes us to become vulnerable.  It is precisely because of this that silence is so hard to practice, but it is also what makes it so powerful.

Find time for silence today, and every day this week.  One day this week set aside a large portion of time that you will dedicate to silence.  No phone. No music. No distractions.  Just you and God.  Let your mind rest in his presence and listen.

“Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” Zechariah 2:13

Pray through Psalm 121 to guide you into a time of silence.

Psalm 121

I lift my eyes to the hills

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;

He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, he who keeps Israel

Will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is you keeper;

The Lord is your shade on your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day,

Nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you form all evil;

He will keep your life.

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in

From this time forth and forevermore.

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: Worship

Romans 12:1-2, Psalm 150

Worship is a lifetime’s worth of exploration.  We worship the name of Jesus, offering our souls and bodies to be transformed that our whole beings may be filled with His presence as we are living temples of the Holy Spirit.

When you hear the word worship, what comes to mind?

Many of us think about singing in a church service, or bowing down to someone or something.  Worship is more than these acts; worship is life.  We are all worshiping something with our life whether we know it or not.  Some worship money, others worship self.  There are a number of things that people worship, but how many of us are truly worshipping God with our lives?  What exactly does this look like?

Whatever your main focus is in life is what you are worshiping.  If you are more concerned about money than anything else that means that you are most likely worshiping money.  If you love sports and are constantly watching Sports Center, checking updates, and watching games, you may be worshiping sports.  It all comes down to how we spend our time and what is most valuable to us in life.  Sometimes we may be spending our time doing good things, but if we are not living for God’s glory then we are not worshiping God.  It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your actions.  If you are doing things for your glory then you are not allowing God to receive the glory.  This is a tough reality for Christians to be faced with but it is necessary.

Too often Christians aren’t allowing God to be God.  Instead, we make ourselves to be God without really recognizing it.  We don’t intend to do this, but sometimes this just occurs.  Let God be God.  Live for his glory and not your own.  Worship God with your life, rather than focusing so much on your own desires.  This is not an easy task, but this is what God desires from us.

Take some time this week to reflect on your life.

  • What are you spending a majority of your time doing?
  • How do we find time for God in our crazy schedules?
  • What can this look like for you from day to day?
  • How do you allow God to be God?
  • What needs to change in your life today?

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”

-St. Augustine

“That is what worship is all about. It is the glad shout of praise that arises to God the creator and God the rescuer from the creation that recognizes its maker, the creation that acknowledges the triumph of Jesus the Lamb. That is the worship that is going on in heaven, in God’s dimension, all the time. The question we ought to be asking is how best we might join in.”

-N.T. Wright