Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Last week, high school students came from different youth groups across eastern NC to Roanoke Christian Camp for senior week. The theme-Humility. For those who have been on a CCF retreat, camp looked something like that. Morning worship, workshop, lunch, rec time, free time, dinner, quality time, worship, and small group time essentially with some other stuff along the way.

Our aim for the week was to teach students about humility, and also to bring them closer to God.

Monday morning during quality time, a bunch of students gathered over in a far corner of the field to just chill until worship came around. We had asked students to get about 10 feet away from each other and to make an effort to talk to God during this time. Now we knew this was hard and unusual to ask of students who have never done this before. Seeing the students over by their selves, I set off.

When I got over there, I chalked up a conversation. Some of the students initially thought they were in trouble. I just sat down and started talking with them, and explained why I liked quiet time. How I felt God spoke to me through different things. Then one student asked if it might just be all a coincidence.

So then I shared my testimony. I won’t share it here because it would take up more space, but clearly how I came to know Christ was no mere coincidence.

Then we talked about whether Christ was the only way. I could have shared John 14:6 but with skeptical minds of the Bible anyway, I went a different route.

‘Heaven sounds great and all, but I can’t really wrap my mind around that. And most people believe in a religion to explain the world around them. They prefer to believe what they believe. Myself, the more I’ve learned of God, and how Jesus lived, the more I see that He is the way to live. I’ve lived a happier life since choosing Him.’

And for the rest of the week, I set out to be as real, and honest as possible with the students. They were seeking answers they could believe in and understand.

From Deep Within

I led a workshop on prayer each day, to show student how prayer brings us into intimacy with God by talking and listening, and how we need a prayer centered life. We set up a prayer room in one of the upstairs room at the gym, using the prayer wall from a week of prayer at East Carolina in April as inspiration.

The first day I had 2 guys. Then Tue, I had 7 guys. Then Wed, 3 girls. Then Thur, one girl. Small numbers that at first disappointed me. But as we got into what God’s word says about prayer and men like David who found intimacy with God through prayer, having small numbers became a huge blessing! I was able to speak with each in where they were at with their relationship with God.

I shared from my own life about prayer walking, and praying with firefighters in Detroit (funny, and amazing story here). Then about how sometimes I ramble on trying to find the right magic set of words to get a prayer answered before finally pouring out my heart to God who knows it better than I do. Small numbers in each workshop indeed created a close setting which gave my words more truth and credibility. And to start it all off, I explained the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Eternal life after all is knowing God here (John 17:3), personally, in a real and intimate way.

Tuesday morning. Two guys came, seeking advice because of some drama that was affecting friendships. I listened, we talked, then we prayed over the matter. And later that day by early afternoon, God had answered prayer! Another student almost left camp Monday morning homesick. He also had been making himself throw up to head home. I prayed with him when we couldn’t give him any more pepto. And by Tuesday afternoon, he was looking forward to staying the rest of the week!

Unless you be born of water...

Monday night I think it was, why chillin with the guys in the room back in the dorm, we were up talking usually guy stuff, and Paco was up to his tricks (see next post). In the middle of that, I got a prompting in my mind to ask the guys if they had been baptized. Jeff Jones (from Beargrass) it turns out hadn’t. He’d been thinking about it lately however and wanted to. So I asked him. We could baptize you this week if you want. We’ve got a pool and a river.

So on Tuesday I sat down with him, and went over scripture, showing him what it means to be baptized and hearing his testimony about coming to know Christ. Glen Crocker then met with him on Thursday to also gauge where Jeff was on this, and if he was genuine. Jeff was ready, and so Thursday evening after calling his parents, I baptized him in the pool about 10:30 at night.

Oh for that inexpressible joy! All throughout the week, I spent praying for God to work on hearts and to transform lives. And in a flood, he answered Thursday night when Jeff got baptized and others came forward for prayer that broke my heart and brought me to tears.

Lessons in Humility

Ok. So the theme for the week was humility. Over in my room, I bunked with 4 guys, one nicknamed Paco. Paco (who looks like the friend in Ferris Bueller’s day off only shorter and still undergoing puberty) continued to push the boundary every night with his sleep attire, or lack there of. He also made a game of this, threatening to sleep in other people’s beds. So Thursday afternoon during second rec time me and Jeff moved his mattress and sleeping arrangements outside and put them on the roof of a small utility building nearby. People started coming outside and gathering to see why at which point I explained what I just shared with you.

Then came Paco a short time later. When he realized it was me, he came charging and tried to wrestle and regain his dignity. He locked on to my left wrist. Then I moved. I spun, reach down, and grabbed his ankles with my right hand, flipped him, then pinned him on the ground. Honestly, I think the Holy Spirit came over me, because the move was the perfect way to effectively disarm him without causing injury.

To Paco’s credit, he was a good sport. He crawled on the roof and wrapped up, and let others take pictures for a little while, before taking his stuff back inside. The girls rather loved this.
Then I made a bet with another guy over a game of 1-1 basketball. If I won, Tony (we’ll call him) would have to go and say 3 kind things to Glen Crocker. (‘Tony’ had been terrorizing him all week with playful banter). After 5 min, we stood tied at 1-1.Then we played 1 min of OT which I came out on top 2-1. 'Tony' headed off to speak kindly of Glen. After all we are to build up those around us.

Cat and Mouse

Ok, here in as much detail as I can remember is what went down Thursday night. Got a lot of requests for this so here we go. Thursday night is prank night during senior week. Now being on staff, we knew full well that the guys would attempt to prank Kellar. And so we joined Kellar’s side in exposing them.

We knew they intended to hit the dean house where Kellar stayed. After conferring, we sent him into the house, then he crawled out the window rather stealthily then snuck over to the shadows of the bank and hid.

First we patrolled around and caught two guys trying to sneak out of the cafeteria with ice and eggs. They quickly retreated when they saw us on the golf cart. We found two more guys hiding in the rafters of a shelter next to the dining hall. They hung upside down for 15 minutes until we met up with them. Then me, Jeremy Jones, and Joe Cartwright along with Josh Morgan allied ourselves with the guys, to aid them in getting Kellar.

Complicated I know, but essentially we were playing both sides of the field, staying one step ahead, and intending to see that both got pranked. Best entertainment I’ve had in a while.

So we got the guys outside and they started working. Then kellar came out of the shadows. “What are you guys up to?” They split, 5 guys taking off, the rest heading inside the dorm. We then played jail cell and locked the doors and rounded up all but the 5 guys inside. Oh, and while Kellar buffalowed them, Chris Woolard and Glen Crocker stole all their stuff and hid it in an unused room.

The girls staff sat outside by the vball court for most of the evening, and witnessed play by play everything going down. They provided valuable intel that helped us stay one step ahead of everyone. And ladies, the reason I was shirtless, was because I had just come from the pool before all this craziness started.

So now we had 5 guys left. We started patrolling around. Kellar made use of Bonners tricycle to cover the terrain. Me, Joe, and Jeremy headed off on the golf cart. We found them in the woods over by archery. They had jumped fence, and made home in the trees and bushes, hiding in the shadows. They also relieved themselves, using leaves to clean theirselves. We got them to stay hunkered down, while we kept Kellar on a goose chase. Finally he started growing suspicious of me, Joe and Jeremy, and headed to his house, locking himself inside. He then turned his light on and off randomly for the next hour to scare people away from coming.

By this point, Josh Morgan had let the guys out of the dorm, those who were still awake. They took off down the river and rendezvoused with the 5 man vs wild group who took the long route through the shadows to come up on the other side of camp. After a few more fake searches to throw off Kellar, me and the staff turned in, and let the guys do what they may. It was 4:30am by this point, and Kellar finally went to bed.

By next morning, they tied both of kellar’s doors together with rope and teepeed his house with toilet paper. But they never figure out that he crawled out of the window the night before. So he escaped again my morning.
That essentially is what went down. I heard one unconfirmed report that while the guys were locked inside, one dude went naked cowboy from the streets of NY with just a hat and a guitar. Glad I wasn’t around for that one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My uncle passing

Thank you to those who prayed recently for my family as our uncle passed away. Let me share some of the things your prayers have brought me through

Breaking the news to my grandpa that my uncle, his son was dying, knowing how fragil my grandpas life still exists here.

Driving my grandparents, brother, and aunt all up to greenville in the middle of one of the worst storms I have ever driven through, knowing we're headed up there to see my uncle one last time.

Giving strength to my dad and grandpa, both heartbroken, and barely able to contain the tears that continue to flow.

Seeing my grandpa offering through tears to give every drop of his blood if it would keep my uncle here on earth. Knowing Jesus did offer every drop will bring me to tears later when I drop my guard, but those will be tears of praise.

Keeping my mourning in check to be able to think cleary to help everyone make better decisions with clarity.

Resisting sleep, to help around the house, and gives others who need the rest more than I the chance to catch theirselves. 2 hours got me through today, and I'll get more tonight.

My uncle's passing came as a suprise and wasn't considered a looming reality until a few days ago. I had intended to go camping with him this summer if possible, and learn to fish. But I know God has plans, and they far better than my own.