Church Camp (Part Two)

Church Camp (Part 2)

Why do the services at church camp seem better than the ones back home? Have you ever given this thought? Let me make several observations:

1. Church camp is designed as a week set apart strictly for spiritual emphasis. All activities, events and services are focused on spiritual renewal. Life as we know it, is suspended. Hearts are tendered before the Lord. Expectations are high. Faith levels soar. God provides an open heaven over the camp. Prayer, fasting, worship, and preaching are emphasized without interruption. Spiritual intensity runs off the chart. These times are best described as “heaven on earth.”

2. Then, it’s back to life as usual. Routine is both our best friend and our greatest challenge. Afterall, life must go on. We must work, tend to our families, pay the bills, mow the yard, grocery shop, get back to school and see to a myriad of other responsibilities. This does not make us unspiritual, but rather responsible. Living on a high plain of spiritual response is commendable but not always achievable. When will we learn that the Christian life is an event (salvation) that is worked out in process (sanctification)?

3. Camp is designed to be an oasis. It brings refreshment and restoration. In my case, it brought salvation and a call to preach. Since then, however, I’ve learned that the Christian life is best worked out in balance. Some perhaps view balance as compromise. Allow me to challenge this perception. The Christian life is full of highs, lows, and everything in between.  No one lives on spiritual mountaintops 7-24-365. To strive toward this is to experience frustration. Christian living is both experiential and practical. Only in the tough times, the difficult times of life do we mature and grow. Emotions are most welcome any time. However, emotional responses are not the tell-tale proof that God is present. We walk by faith and not by sight.

4. I grew up and later pastored in a movement that emphasized the presence of the Lord. Emotional responses during worship were always welcome. And this is fine. However, if our worship expectations boil down to song selection, outward worship postures, loud versus quiet, demonstrative or more sedate expressions, lights on or off, guitars or keyboards, dancing or sitting still, then we may need to re-examine our heart before the Lord. We cannot “work it up.” God, who dwells in our praises, is sovereign and accomplishes His plan and purpose through surrendered vessels. The outcomes of surrender are God’s decision. 

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