Sunday, December 18, 2011

Prophets...who knew they still had something good to say?

Wow, I can’t believe it’s already Christmas break! It’s crazy to see that a semester has already flown by and I’m halfway done with the Institute. Looking back over the past semester, I can’t even begin to describe how much I’ve learned. Compared to what I’ve learned so far, I feel like I knew NOTHING about the Bible before, even growing up in church. I guess what I mean by that is, yes, I knew the stories, the facts, and the head knowledge, but never before have I understood it like THIS. I feel like I have a better “big picture” understanding and belief in the Bible and, as a result, increased faith and excitement about who God is.

For the past two weeks, we studied the Old Testaments prophets. We spent one week focusing on Daniel and the next week looking at an overview of all of the prophetical books of the Old Testament and the Messianic prophesies found in them. Blew my mind! Never before had I learned about any of those things in that way, to the point where I could see the purpose behind the prophets. All of them point to Christ and all of them have a meaning that is applicable even today!

If I had to pick one thing that I took away from the past two weeks, it would have to be the overview of the prophets as a whole. Like I said, I had never before looked at it in that way, where the information was so concise and straightforward. As I was in class that week, I made a chart of the different points that our teacher was making about each of the prophets, including the audience, date, purpose, key image, and a practical application for our world today. I was so surprised at how applicable each book actually is! They apply to real issues in a real world that, even though it has changed a lot over the last 2000 some-odd years, is essentially still the same. We deal with the same sin and life issues that the people of the Bible did, just in a different way. How cool would it be to be able to study how God responded to each of those issues through the prophets and what came as a result of it!

For example, living in America, especially in the churches, many people are living in complacency in their faith. That’s the state of America right now. To me, it seems like there are three distinctions among the “Christian population” in out nation: either you really don’t believe in God even though you say you do, you claim to be a Christian but don’t really walk it out, or you are a believer who is seeking the Lord and living it out on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many of us in America (especially in the Bible belt where I have lived the majority of my life) fall into the second category. We are familiar with the ideas of Christianity and many of us have been to church at least a few times and may have even “accepted Christ into our hearts” at one point. Somewhere along the way, though, we lost it. We became apathetic in our faith and turned to gluttony, idolatry, materialism, and isolation as our new “gods”. This is exactly what the book of Amos is addressing!  It was written to the kingdom of Israel before they were conquered by the Assyrians. The Lord was working through Amos to wake Israel out of her complacency and to warn her of her coming judgment. In essence, you can take the message from Amos and use it to see God’s truth for this issue today.

                The book of Haggai is also very applicable today. Haggai was addressed to Judah after they returned from the exile in Babylon, to encourage those who returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. It called for the people to check their priorities and make WOSHIP their priority over everything else. Before they could rebuild the walls, their homes, or anything else, the Lord wanted them to rebuild the Temple. He wanted Him and His worship to be the central part of their lives, the source of their strength and livelihood, before homes and protection. He wanted the people to realize that HE was to be their source of strength and safety above anything else. This message from Haggai is applicable to us as well! How many times do we look to other things to satisfy us and fulfill our needs when, in reality, Christ is the only one who can?  I know that this is a challenge for me as well; both of these things are. I am guilty of being complacent in my faith and putting other things before Christ. Who knew that you could find such truth and conviction in the prophets today? My view of the prophetical books has definitely changed and I’m excited to see how the Lord continues to open my eyes to His truth in them. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why would we not share?

                Wow, friends and family, what an incredible week! Coming back from Thanksgiving break, it was such a strange feeling having been in such a bubble, then out in the real world, then back in the bubble. As for class, it was an unusual week in that almost half of our class was gone. They are the students who are enrolled in graduate classes at John Brown University. Every now and then, they have to actually go to the JBU campus and this was one of those weeks. At first, it was a little strange missing half of our friends, but it ended up being SUCH an amazing week. Since so many of us were gone, we did something a little different than normal class that week.  

                Our focus for the week was evangelism, so instead of sitting in class on Thursday, those of us who were left on campus were to use that time to go into the community and evangelize to those who we came in contact with. I knew this going into the week and, honestly, was really nervous about it. Let’s just say that when I take those little spiritual gifts tests, evangelism is NOT my strong suit. I’m more of a shepherder and encourager. I thrive on relationships. So, the idea of just walking up to a random person and beginning a conversation about the most deeply controversial subject was a little intimidating.

                As I was driving to work on Tuesday afternoon, I was expressing my concerns to God and asking Him to open my eyes to an opportunity to share my faith in a way that I felt comfortable and natural. Although I know that the Lord does not often let us operate in our comfort zones, He was so faithful to answer this prayer! During dinner at work that day, I sat down across the table from one of my co-workers. We struck up a conversation and somehow, the topic of church came up. And when I say somehow, I mean through the power of the Holy Spirit. We had a great conversation, but I kept thinking that what she was telling me seemed a little sketchy and I was interested to learn more about her faith and beliefs. As we got up, she said that we should get coffee sometime soon. Bingo! There it was! Needless to say, we ended up having coffee Thursday morning during the time of our scheduled “class evangelism”. What an incredible time! We talked for hours about church, faith, and life and it was so good. From the impression that I got that day, I think that she knows the Lord, but I am excited to continue this relationship with her and encourage her as she grows in her faith with the Lord.

                Leaving my coffee meeting, I was so pumped! The Lord had been so evident in the conversation and it was such an encouragement for me. The Lord showed me that evangelizing to those around me and sharing the most wonderful news that has ever come to the world was not only more natural than I thought it was, but so NECESSARY. How can I say that I love and care about people, but NOT tell them about Christ and His salvation that He has to offer all those who believe? 

                Not only did I have an incredible meeting with my co-worker, but the Lord continued to work throughout the day. Work that afternoon was incredible. I direct an afterschool program at one of the local middle schools and help out with the elementary program as well. Many of the students in our program come from broken homes or families who are struggling financially. There are three siblings in particular who I have really enjoyed getting to know and you can tell need a lot of love right now. It has been fun to interact with their mom as she comes to pick them up every day as well. Anyway, as I was leaving work that day, I noticed that this family was walking home from the school. Take note that it was already dark at this point and very cold. Boom! Another moment! What an incredible, divinely-appointed moment to minister to this family. This is a family that I know and felt completely comfortable offering them a ride home. Especially as a girl, offering a ride home to people is rarely a safe option. What a blessing this was! Getting to pack those kids into the back of my car, ask them about their day, and talk to the mom as we drove the few minutes to their house was one of my favorite experiences all week. The route that we took would have been really dangerous for those kids to walk on and it would have taken them at least thirty minutes at the pace that they would have had to take. Our conversation was great and, as I dropped them off, my heart just went out to them. That family has been on my mind ever since and I am praying for an opportunity for further encounters and opportunities to minister to them. So, if you want to join me in that prayer, than that would be much appreciated. 

                As if I didn’t have enough of an incredible day already, the Lord continued to blow me away! That night, as I was finding suggestions to add to my Christmas list online, I came across a question on a website where I needed to ask one of their “on-line” experts. So, I ended up chatting with one of their representatives about the product. As we were talking, a thought crossed my mind: “I wonder if this guy will cut me off if I bring up Jesus?” I was nervous at first but, then the Lord just spoke to my heart. Why would I not? Why would I miss this opportunity just out of fear of rejection? So, through a lovely segway of Christmas in the conversation, I brought up Jesus. We ended up talking for over an hour! It was awesome to be able to talk about Jesus in such a real way with someone I didn’t even know and then, at the end, be able to ask him how I could be praying for him. So cool! 

                When it was all said and done, my heart was on fire and so excited about what the Lord had done that day! I couldn’t sleep at first because my heart was so burdened for each of these people that I had encountered that day and their stories. I had so many prayers on my heart: for my co-worker and her faith, for this family and their situation, and my helpful online expert and his prayer request. What a wonderful day! The Lord is so faithful. He is so faithful to answer our prayers. When we are willing to listen and have our eyes open to what He is doing, we get to see some incredible things! That was the biggest lesson that I walked away from that day with: that when I am in prayer and expectantly waiting for a response, the Lord will work and show us what He has prepared for us to do.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Who knew Church History could be so convicting?

Hello dear friends,

                It seems like it’s been a long time since I last posted, but it’s been a whirlwind the past couple of weeks! Now, we’ve hit Thanksgiving break and, before you know it, it will be Christmas and the end of our first semester here at the Institute. It’s crazy how time has flown! It feels like we’ve been here awhile, but it makes me sad to think that we will be leaving so soon.

                This week in class, Chad Hampsch, who, by the way, is an incredible teacher, taught on Church History. Despite the busyness of life this week as we worked on our Bible Overview Projects (that is another blog altogether!), this week of class was probably one of my favorites! I don’t know if it was the way that Chad presented the material, the fact that I enjoy history, or the change that has occurred in my heart even over the past couple of months so that Church History is actually relevant and important in my life as a believer now. One of the first classes that I took in undergrad at Baylor was Christian Heritage. I remember studying Church History during that class, but I honestly couldn’t tell you a thing that I learned from it. This week, however, was incredible!

                One thing that stuck out to me this week was how quickly the Gospel spread and how many lives were changed early on in Church History, only a few hundred years after Christ’s death. After Pentecost, as Acts tells us, Jews from all over the world could now hear the Gospel in their own language! An amazing amount of Jews began to convert to Christianity. By 300 AD, there were 300,000 of these Christians living in Rome alone! After Stephen’s stoning in Acts 8, the Church moved its center from Jerusalem to Antioch. From there, the Gospel begins to spread West, first to Rome. Paul even attempts to go to Asia at one point, but it prevented. So, instead of the Gospel spreading in both directions, it began in the Middle East and started going west. Be the 4th and 5th century, the Gospel began to penetrate into England, Scotland, Ireland, North Africa, and Egypt. In the 1400s, the Gospel came to North America through Spanish missionaries and eventually the Pilgrims, Puritans, and others that came to settle in the New World. 

                Today, there are revivals beginning in the Church in Korea, China, and Russia. The Gospel is coming full circle! I had never thought before how, since the beginning of time, the Gospel literally has been taking the world by storm! Even in the Old Testament, everything pointed towards Christ; in the Gospels our God came to this Earth to tell the world about Him. After Christ’s ascension, the Church is established and begins its feverish spread throughout the world! Now, we are seeing the Gospel come full circle. It started in Israel, to Rome, Europe, and North Africa, to the Americas, now to Asia, and it’s on its way back to the Middle East! Even though so many Jewish people do not believe that the Messiah has come, His story is coming to them now and the Gospel is heading their way! 

                The Gospel spread quickly early on, but that fire seems to have died down in many parts of the world, especially in America. So, the question that we have to ask ourselves is why did the Gospel spread so quickly in the early Church? For one thing, the apostles and early believers were passionate about the Gospel! They couldn’t stop telling people about it! They had seen Jesus first hand, or had heard stories from those who had, and they were convinced of its transformational power! The Gospel literally changed their lives forever. Unlike other religions and cultures of that day, Christianity brought equality to mankind. In a world of strict government, death, and hurting people, the Church brought answers. They took over the responsibility to help those in need. They took on a lot of the things that we expect our government to do today. The early believers truly cared about the people in their cities and communities. Beyond living well, they died well. Never before had people willingly died for something that they believed in. The early believers set a precedent that we are called to follow as believers today. They were passionate about the Gospel, passionate about loving others, and passionate about their beliefs, even to the point of death. What conviction and inspiration! Live in the Spirit and the heart of our Church fathers today!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Kingdom Era

                Well, friends, we’re at the end of another long and exciting week at the Institute. We began the week with Ministry Mondays, where we host of speaker who specializes in a specific area of ministry and comes to share their knowledge and experience with us. This week, Mike Haley came to speak to us about homosexuality. It was an incredibly eye-opening and interesting morning! Mike has an incredible testimony of having been a part of the homosexual community for over ten years and then being loved out of it and brought to where he is now. The Lord has done an incredible work in his life and he is now able to minister to those who are struggling with homosexuality and those who are working in ministry and may encounter that. In reality, though, as my boss at the YMCA reminded me of yesterday, we are all in ministry as believers, no matter what our occupation may be. After learning from Mike, I now have an understanding of a Biblical worldview of homosexuality and feel more equipped to deal with the issue as I encounter it.
                For the rest of the week, our topic of focus was the Kingdom Era, as taught by Charles Stolfus from Denton Bible Church. After coming off of two weeks of teaching on a general Bible overview, it was interesting to focus on just one era. We basically spent three days plowing our way through the Samuels and the Kings. It was so interesting to look at the progression of it all, but also overwhelming, especially when you realize that all of what you’re reading took place over 520 years of history, 120 years of the United Kingdom and then 400 years of the Divided Kingdom.

                Looking back on the week, there were a couple things that stood out to me. I really enjoyed studying the specific kings. It was interesting to see what the Bible said about each of them and how they were described. Typically, there was similar information that was given for each king. The Bible records how old they were when they assumed the throne, who they succeeded (or who was king in the other Kingdom if it was in the Divided era), how long they reigned, whether or not they had a heart for the Lord, and certain things that they accomplished during their reign, such as whether or not they maintained alternate places of worship or if they removed the idols form their kingdom.
                Manasseh was one king that I had never heard of before. He was the son of King Hezekiah, a good king who made some stupid mistakes towards the end of his life. Even though he was the son of a so-called “good” king who followed the Lord, Manasseh actually became one of the most evil kings the Kingdom of Judah ever had. He assumed the throne when he was twelve years old and reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem. The Bible says that “He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel.” (2 Kings 21:2)
                Among the evil things that he did, “he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed…” This means that he reinstated alternate places of worship in the kingdom that were not honoring to the Lord. He also built altars to Baal, made an Asherah pole, worshipped the powers of heaven, sacrificed his child in the fire, built altars in the house of the Lord, practiced witchcraft, used divination, and “consulted with mediums and psychics.” (2 Kings 21:6) Manasseh convinced the people to “do evil more that the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.”  (2 Kings 21:9) Because of the evil that was done in the land while Manasseh reigned, the Lord sent prophets to warn them of the judgment that was to come. The people did not listen, though, and the Lord brought Assyria against them.
                When Manasseh was in captivity in Babylon, though, he returned to the Lord and humbled himself before Him. “When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.” (2 Chronicles 33:13) The Lord brought him back to Jerusalem and he rebuilt the outer wall, removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, threw the altars out of the city, and instead set up an altar of the Lord.

                Although Manasseh is described as a king who did evil in the sight of the Lord, it is so cool to see how Lord worked in his life to bring him back to Himself. Manasseh was the epitome of evil and the Lord brought judgment upon Him out of love, to discipline his and remind him of the Lord’s goodness. How often do we do the same thing? We forget how good the Lord is and the evil of the world look so enticing, so we begin to stray away. But, because He loves us, God disciplines us to bring us back. He is a good Father, who loves despite our tendency to run towards the world.
One of my favorite kings that we studied was Josiah. Josiah was the grandson of Manasseh. His father, Amon, was even more corrupt than his father, Manasseh, and Amon’s servants conspired against him and killed him. After his father died, Josiah became king at eight years old and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. Unlike his father, “he did right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Chronicles 34:2) When he was sixteen, he began to seek God and, when he was twenty, he began to get rid of the high places in Jerusalem and Judah, as well as the Asherim, idols, and the altars to Baal. He went throughout the entire land, purging it of these things.

During Josiah’s reign, he directed Hilkiah the high priest to repair the temple. While they were repairing the temple, Hilkiah found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord. After reading it, Josiah realized that the people had violated God’s law a led the people back to the worship of God. Even though Josiah worked to bring the people back to the Lord, they were still taken into exile shortly after. As Jeremiah 3:10 tells us, the people did not truly return to the Lord “with all her heart, but rather in deception.”

Josiah is so inspiring to me because he had the courage and wisdom to return to the Lord once the light had been shed on the Truth. Even though his father and grandfather were evil, he did not let that define him or determine his future. Instead, he was determined to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, to pursue righteousness. He fought for that purity and cleanliness despite what others may have thought about him.

As we were studying the era of the kings, it was so cool to see the character of God in it. Even though Israel and Judah went through a time of great unrighteousness under the majority of their kings, God still loved them and called them His people. There was nothing that they could do to change that. They were His chosen ones, despite their ignorance, their rebellion, their complete disregard. He loved them enough to discipline them and judge them, in order to bring them back to Himself. He had a purpose through everything. Throughout time, what mattered to Him the most was that His people loved Him and sought to glorify Him. He is a jealous God who wants to keep His people for Himself. They are to worship no other gods before Him. They are to do exactly as He commands. Even though we as people are imperfect and prone to mistake, He loves us anyway, and there is nothing that we can do to remove us from His hand.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Marriage and Family Week

                  This week at the Institute, our focus was on relationships, marriage, and family. We had some incredible speakers come visit us who were very passionate about the subject. Not only did they talk about marriage, but they also gave us a broader view of relationships, our own personality, and how those are to fit together. We began the week by hearing from Lamar Trieschmann, who is a pastor in Arkansas. Part of his teaching included time to take a spiritual gifts profile and a personality assessment. I had taken a spiritual gifts test before. If I remember correctly, the results from that test showed that my strongest spiritual gifts were Pastoring/Shepherding and Showing Mercy. This week, the test did not include Pastoring/Shepherding, but my highest results were still in Showing Mercy. This basically means that I am sensitive towards suffering. I tend to be sympathetic or empathetic, and enjoy being there for others. I think that this described me very well!
                  After taking the spiritual gifts profile, we took a personality assessment. When answering the assessment, you were supposed to answer as if we were in a stressful situation. After taking this assessment, you recorded the results on two graphs. One showed the personality that you felt like others expected from you, and the other was the personality that was really you. On the former, my “golden retriever traits” came out. On the latter, I was equally golden retriever and beaver. Basically, I am a combination of a passive/people-oriented person and a passive/task-oriented person.
                  The rest of the week focused on marriage. Looking back on the week, there are five keys things that I learned about marriage that I didn’t necessarily realize before. On Thursday, we had some couples from the community come and talk to us about their relationships and what they have learned from them. It was neat to see the reality of marriage and not just the picture-perfect view that the media often portrays. The next day, Gary Smalley and Joe White came to share with us their wisdom about Biblical relationships and marriage.
1.    If you are single and you have a desire to marry, you need to cover it in prayer. It takes the mystery out of it because God is in control. This was not necessarily a new idea, but just a statement that made me realize the importance of it more fully. I had heard before that it is important to pray for your future husband, but I had never thought of it as a way to give God control in that area. I loved this idea, because I feel like it’s something that I can turn around and directly apply to my life right now. So often when I learn about marriage, it’s hard for me to take the information and feel like I can directly apply it, since marriage seems like such a far-off idea at this point in my life.
2.    If you’re constantly thinking about ways that you can safeguard your marriage, then it’s not going to be as hard in the long run. Provide accountability in your life, especially when interacting with members of the opposite sex. Keep no secrets: all passwords should be known and accessible by both the husband and wife. Bounce your eyes. Yes, there will still be attractive people, even when you’re married, but you can’t focus on that. Immediately move your attention away.
3.    Being an independent woman isn’t everything. If you are constantly doing things for yourself and not allowing your husband to take care of you and your needs, then he won’t feel like he is doing his job as a man. Let him showcase the gifts that God has given him.
4.    Marriage is not for your own good, purpose, pleasure, etc. The purpose is the sanctification of both of you as you seek to become more like Christ.
5.    When a wife is being too dominant in a relationship, they are weakening their husband and his role. Instead, they should work to pull strengths out in their husband and encourage his as he leads the home.
Of the things that I learned this week, I want to apply them all to my future marriage. After seeing the way that the Lord has worked through Godly relationships that I admire, I want to model my relationship after theirs’. I also learned five things that I want to do personally as I walk through my singleness and prepare for my future, if that is what the Lord wills.
1.     In my single state right now, I want to resist the temptation to obsess over marriage. I need to focus on what I’m doing at this point in my life right now, and not what is to come. Marriage is not a better state; it’s just a different state.
2.     In my future marriage, I want there to be an open sense of communication. I want my husband to feel comfortable sharing with me anything that he needs to, good and bad, and I want to feel comfortable doing the same. I don’t want to sugar coat situations, but face them head-on together.
3.     As I prepare for marriage, if that’s what the Lord wills, I want to learn what it means to be a strong woman who is not independent in an unhealthy way. I know that I can be too independent sometimes. I want to work on this not only for my relationship with my future husband, but also in my relationship with the Lord right now.
4.     When approaching marriage, I want my husband and I to realize together that it’s not going to be a fairy tale and it’s not going to be perfect. Rather, it is a process of sanctification. The Lord will refine us through the relationship, through good and bad.
5.     Ultimately, I want my husband and I to realize the reality and magnitude of marriage as a covenant. It is a binding agreement and divorce is not an option. We are making the covenant before God, each other, and our future children to stand firm, not matter the trials that come.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A New Chapter of My Life: KI

Hello friends and family!

It’s that time again; the blog is up and running! It’s a new season of life for me and I’m excited to keep everyone up to date this way. Thank you all for the encouragement and support that you have already given me as I prepared to come this summer and as I have been living life here over the past three weeks. It has been quite an experience so far: meeting a lot of new people (there are 71 in our class!), acclimating to a new town, getting used to a new schedule, and learning incredible Biblical truths from some amazing teachers. It’s crazy to think that it’s only been three weeks so far and that we have over seven months left to experience!

Our first teacher this week, David Lawson, taught us about inductively Bible study and specifically the Precept Upon Precept Bible studies. This guy is legit. First of all, his boss is Kay Arthur. Secondly, this guy knows Truth. His story is one of redemption, as it is for all of us, and it’s so cool to see how the Lord has used it for His good and glory. Now Mr. Lawson is traveling all over the world, sharing the Word of God and teaching others how to study it in a way that is intentional, purposeful, and meaningful.

Kanakuk incorporates Inductive Bible Study into a lot of what they teach at kamp, so it was already a technique that I was familiar with, however, it was still extremely helpful to have Mr. Lawson go through it piece by piece and really guide our steps. I also learned more details and specifics of Inductive Bible Study, so it began to make more sense as to why certain methods were used. I feel much more comfortable and capable now tackling this on my own.

One of the new concepts that I learned this week was the three major areas of Inductive Bible Study: observation, interpretation, and application. These are the three steps to use when approaching a new text. First, you should begin by observing and examining the text. As Mr. Lawson likes to say, this is a “bird’s eye view” of what you’re reading. As a detail-oriented person, I had to stop myself from wanting to go too deep, too quickly. It’s funny to say, but you really just get to sit back, relax, and enjoy reading Scripture! You should read it through several times. The first time you should read to get an overall view of the text. Look for the five W’s and H: Who (wrote the letter, to whom, other people who were mention), What (is going on, what is the letter mainly about), When, Where (was the author, were the recipients), Why (did the author write the letter), and How. Next, you begin to focus in more on the text by identifying specific people, places, events, and key words that occur in the passage and marking them with distinct symbols. After marking each of these key things, the next step is to make a list of what the text has to say about the key words.

After observing the text, the next step is interpretation. This is where “context rules”. Context is crucial to understanding the entirety of the text and leads to proper interpretation. This step is also where you can use a concordance for cross-references and word studies. I would have to say that, out of the three, this is my favorite step! Word studies and cross references fascinate me. I think they’re so fun! The final step in studying the Bible inductively is application. This simply means taking the Truth that is communicated in the text and applying it to your life! Essentially, it means translating what you believe to your behavior, and, on the other hand, making sure that your behavior lines up with what you believe. Honestly, this is probably the hardest of the three for me and something that I have to consciously work on. It is much more natural for me to look at the Bible as an academic pursuit; I have to remind myself that the Word is living and active and applies to my life here and now.

One of my favorite techniques that I learned to use this week was the marking of key words and the creation of lists. Marking key words seems like such a simple task at first, but when you are down drawing purple triangles and yellow boxes around everything and you actually look up to see the culmination of it all, it is actually really eye-opening! It makes it so much easier to go back through the text and really notice each time that the word is referenced. Then, it is simple to make a list about each thing that you learned about each key word. I was amazed at the list that came from one key word! For example, in a passage of six verses, I learned three things about God: that His word should not be dishonored, His doctrine is adorned when bond-slaves are subject to their own masters (showing good faith), and His grace brings salvation to all men. (Titus 2:5-11)

In a nutshell, those are some of the fun things that I’ve been learning this week. I am excited to continue to update my blog with things that I learn, friends that I meet, and adventures that occur. Thanks for being such faithful friends, supporters, and encouragers. As always, I don’t know what I would do without you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some highlights as of late...

As kamp is nearing the end, I'm reminded of some of the wonderful things that have happened as of late. I was hoping to include a ton of pictures with this, but my computer keeps giving me trouble. Here are a couple, and I'll just have to explain the rest.

Emily, Kyle, and I (my fellow KPDs) went with Spook (our Women's Director who is absolutely hilarious and fun) to try out the new BMX track at K-2. We had a BLAST riding over the hills and attempting to get some air on the jumps. I loved getting to spend that time with them and Spook as well. It's moment like that at kamp, where I just get to release and be myself, that I'm reminded how much I love it. On that note, after our last picnic for a new term of kampers, we had a kitchen staff/support staff (I'm included here)/leadership softball game. It was SO MUCH FUN. Softball is one of my favorite things to do anyway and getting to play with people that I enjoy being with, it was an absolte blast. I don't think anyone knew I could play, so that made it fun, too.

Kyle, Emily, Ali, Ashley, and I (again the KPDs and Ropes girls) always feel so blessed by our women's leadership team, so we wanted to think of way to bless them. This was definitely hard since there's not many options that they haven't already done for someone else and we couldn't let them find out what we were doing. With some help from the dock daddies and a couple of other friends, we were able to plan a great afternoon for them. We placed invitations in their boxes, with an RSVP requested to the box of a guy who was on a 24 that day. We eventually lead them to the dock, where we surprised them with a bubble wand (cheesy I know!) and a boat ride out to a secret location. It was fun to drive women who have been at kamp for a long time and for them to have no idea where they were going! We ended up taking them to a restuarant on the lake about 15 minutes away, where we treated them to appetizers, drinks, and dessert. We then gave them notes of appreciation and encouragement. I think they enjoyed it!

Below is a picture of some of my best friends at kamp. We were at a party for all of the "lifers" at kamp, the people who serve all summer. It was a blast to be able to spend time with them and celebrate the summer!

Each day, two counselors, one boy and one girl, are assigned as "Officers of the Day". They create a theme for the day and run the meals and morning and evening flag. One day this week was "Disney World". Kyle and I were a part of the skit: me, as Sleeping Beauty and Kyle as Pocahontas (sp?). We were in the skit that morning (I just slept the whole time), and then we had to wear our costumes the rest of the day, signing autographs and taking pictures with the kampers. It was quite amusing to climb up on the lifeguard stand in a HUGE pink dress. It was hot, but worth it! So much fun!

To say that it's been hot at kamp lately is an understatement....the other day it was 112. We've been going on with our normal days, but definitely taking precautions. One of my counselors did get dehydrated the other day and her co got sick as well, so I got to step in as a counselor for a day. It was so much fun! It was good to be reminded of the joys and struggles a counselor faces. It was also interesting being a counselor with a KPD brain. It was kind of weird balancing it, but overall I'm so thankful to have gotten to spend more time with those kampers.

Prayers right now are strength and energy to finish the summer strong and RAIN to reduce the heat. Even the lake isn't refreshing anymore. But here we go...LTAS!! (Last Time All Summer)