Monday, June 29, 2009

Camp Life (#2) - First Love

Our desire and ability to worship is rooted in love. Our love for God and our love for others overflows from God’s love for us… that is the First Love.

First love is an unconditional love. A love that is not based on who we are or what we do but on who God is and what He has done. We are not only un-deserving but ill-deserving of His love. We are His enemies… but still, He has loved us FIRST!

READ: John 18:38 – 20:18

Beautiful Scandalous Night - Lyrics

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified
Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that pours
From our blessed Savior's side

Mark 10:13-16

In the midst of teaching, Jesus allows children to approach…

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Following Jesus is like being a little child – with no power, no position, nothing to show or be proud of. They had nothing to offer Jesus. Jesus simply wanted to love them.

This is difficult for us because we live and operate by trying to deserve the love God offers. But first love is the love of the cross. We have done nothing. We have earned nothing. We have nothing to offer God that that would cause Him to love us accordingly. The exact opposite is true… and so Jesus went to the cross. God loved us first!

First love is what causes us to love others. Your love for the campers must flow from this first love. Uniquely though, the campers you serve here at Arrowhead will lead you to this first love… if you allow them. Their purity and vulnerability, their peace and humility, their desire to freely give and receive love is an open invitation to experience God’s love for you as you love them. This love from our campers is a gift.

In our campers, most people will see a disabled person who is a burden to their family, to their community and to the world. If not for God’s love you might see them that way too. To do so, is to hide the truth… the truth that our campers are a gift and the gift not received, is the gift not given.

Like our campers, like little children, we must hear and listen to that quiet loving voice that says, “I love you whether you are rich or poor, whether you are married or not, whether you are handsome or unattractive, whether you are successful or not. No matter what… I love you!” (Day Break 194-195).

Our Prayer: May Arrowhead by a place where the first love of God is revealed to people anxious to prove they deserve love.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thank You!

Just last week I sent out a message telling you about one of our campers who was not going to be able to make it to camp this summer because of financial problems.

A big "THANK YOU" to everyone who has stopped by camp, called or sent a card by mail. We have received all the money necessary for that camper to attend a two-week session this summer. What a blessing! What an impact! Thank you so much for investing in Arrowhead, in Shepherds Camp, in our staff AND in the lives of our campers... especially this ONE camper who will be able to come to camp this summer.

Each summer we have a few campers that need financial assistance to come to camp. If you were thinking/planning on sending in an investment to help this particular camper - I encourage you to still make that investment as the summer continues and looking ahead to next summer. Your investment will give the gift of camp.

Thanks again!

Bocce Bash 2009

Our first 2-week session of Shepherds Camp has come to a close. Even though it has only been two weeks it feels like it has been a whole month already. Thinking back to previous summers the same was true for the beginning of each. It is the first time we as a staff are serving together. For our counselors, it is their first time caring for and living with teenagers and adults with developmental disabilities. For some of our campers it is their first time at camp... which can make for a interesting start to the program. In the past two weeks we have also had a ton of rain. The nice part about it was that it did not rain the whole time. We also had some hot days with lots of sunshine. Another new experience (well kind of new) was the Bocce Bash.

This is the third year in a row that we have partnered with our friends at the Special Olympics. The first year we hosted a bocce ball tournament - two Arrowhead teams and two Special Olympics teams played bocce ball games as our campers and visitors spectated from the sidelines. Last year we had an open invitation to play bocce ball at our FREE Picnic & Open House. However, this year we had a huge response from our friends at the Special Olympics who wanted to come out to camp for a big BOCCE BASH!

Earlier this week on Tuesday we had our first Bocce Bash of 2009. We assembled two camper teams from Arrowhead and the Special Olympics came with eight teams comprised of local athletes. We had five bocce ball courts running simultaneously for the evening as our campers, staff, parents and friends from the community cheered from the sidelines. In attendance we had 50 campers, 30 staff members and 50 guests from the community (including athletes, parents and friends). That is 130 people enjoying a great evening of Bocce Ball here at Arrowhead. For us it was a great opportunity to share camp with our friends and for our campers it was an exciting program event. The whole evening was a success.

Check it out:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Camp Life (#1) - Worship

It's Worship

We were created to worship. We always have and always will worship something or someone. We put that thing or that person in the place of glory. We dedicate ourselves and sacrifice our time, energy, and money for that thing or that person. It all comes down to WORSHIP.

Exodus 20

1 “Then God spoke all these words, saying, 2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.” (NAS)

The Israelites are hearing these words on the heels of experiencing God’s goodness and grace in amazing ways. Remember, they had just been removed from generations of slavery. It was who they had become. All of a sudden the God that they heard so much about from the days of Abraham, Joseph and Jacob had delivered them. Fresh in their minds were the plagues, the angel of death passing over their homes and the red sea.

It is crucial not to breeze over verses one and two. God is not setting forth a condition for His people. He’s not saying, “You do this and then I will do that.” God is giving them a confirmation. A confirmation of His goodness and His grace. He proclaims, “I am the LORD your God.” Before they were obedient, before they followed Him, He initiated the relationship.

It is also crucial to recognize the first two commandments which are different from the others. “You shall have no other gods before Me” and “You shall not make for yourself an idol” are the foundation of WORSHIPPING God. If we obey the first two commandments… we will obey the rest.

“The opposite of Christianity is not Atheism, but Idolatry.”

- Peter Krefft

Romans 11-12

36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Through Jesus – God gives us that same confirmation. It was nothing we have done or ever could do. It is because of God’s goodness and grace that Jesus lived our life, died our death… and through His resurrection offers new life. Worship is still the foundation. It is because of Jesus (vs. 36) that we are called to present or dedicate ourselves to God AND sacrifice our all.

Worship at Camp

Because you are dedicating yourself to the ministry here at Arrowhead AND because you are sacrificing your time and energy to sing songs, play games, clean toilets, talk about Jesus, set tables, swim in the lake, give a hug and share meals together… you are worshipping God.

As you serve here at camp our ultimate goal, our mission and passion is to WORSHIP God. Anything short of worshipping God is sin… the root of which is Idolatry. First and foremost you are a kingdom builder. As for now, you find yourself building the kingdom in the context of camp. You will have great opportunities to serve and love others. Much of what you do will revolve around physically caring for individuals. Each day will be a great opportunity for WORSHIP.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The New Dock

A few years ago we purchased a brand new floating dock system. The new dock has the same shape as the old dock with a few additions - a massive sliding board (with water pump), two ladders and a bench. Two years ago we built a two-stage jump tower and last year we purchased a new fleet of paddle boats.

This year we have purchased another brand new section of the floating dock system. We replaced the old auxiliary floating dock which is used to create the deep end of our swimming area. The new section is a huge octagon with a ladder.

We are thrilled to see this new addition to the dock which really completes the safety and excitement of the waterfront. We are also excited because many of the James Project groups coming in this summer will be investing together to help fund this new dock section.