Not exactly what you think, just to preface this. This, my friends, is the theme of camp.
This year, the NJ Assemblies of God camp for senior [speaker Garland Owensby] and junior high [speaker “Chubbs”] was themed as “ITS THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT”. Honestly, I don’t think we could have had a better theme. In light of the Mayan calendar prediction of the end of the world coming this December, people more and more are thinking about their own lives, pursuing their dreams, or doing everything they always wanted to. A small majority of people actually believe the end of the world will happen as the Mayan’s predicted 1500 years ago. The vast majority of people will continue to live exactly as they are… and that is the point. Though we [Christians] know that at some point life will no longer exist as we know now. But also, as Christians, believe that there is something foundational in our decision to follow Christ. Camp this year was themed around this concept: ending the desires of the world and self within oneself, and allowing for God to work.
So I begin with these thoughts and notes from service one with Garland’s message and my thoughts:
1 John 2:15-17 can be summed up with this: 1) Lust of the flesh 2) Lust of the eyes and 3) Pride of life.
What do you love…really?
“I don’t want Jesus to end up in a box…to end up as a fad.”
Don’t fall in love with things! You weren’t designed to be just a consumer. Your design is not for things because loving things will always disappoint. I mean really- who doesn’t get upset if someone messes with their stuff? But the reality is that we get so caught up and upset if someone touches or messes with our stuff, yet it almost never fazes us if someone messes with God’s stuff.
You are MORE than the world’s [culture’s] cravings and desires in you or for you. The world wants us to be be attracted to things that don’t matter, things that ultimately have no value. Its not bad to have things, but its our attitude towards things, towards people, and towards the thing of God that matter.
“The attractive things about America to outsides is the materialism, not the spirituality. [Eugene Peterson]” The sad thing is how true this statement is. America is a nation, known to the world, as one of extreme greed, selfishness, desire that is never satisfied, and one of a central focus on Number One, oneself. We are a nation that is so selfish yet we seem shocked that the American Dream is not what it used to be. The American Dream used to be something people had to strive after, work hard for, be disciplined for, but above all it was something for the betterment of America, your family, and yourself. Now, it is all about the self. Can it be that the American Dream is not the Jesus Dream? As Christians we need to sync ourselves with the eternal, lasting things- just like if you sync an iPod or something to a laptop. Sometimes we don’t get mad about the things that makes Jesus mad. Yes, he does get mad. He does not like his children, the people he died for, to turn their back on his Word- like justice, holiness, purity, compassion, and the hurting. Sometimes we don’t get sad about the things that make Jesus. We need to see people as God sees them, to love people the way God loves them, and to live the way God wants us to live- in a manner worthy of the love that was crucified.
Lastly, don’t ignore the warning signs. Yes, back to the ancient worlds. You can believe or not that the world will end…whether in December or another era altogether. But realize this- your life will end one day. Don’t live a life thinking that at the end you will have a chance at God’s love. Jesus paid an eternal price for you- for me- that we can live a life of greatness, adventure, love, and beauty. That’s how he created us! But this world- culture- does not want to honor God. There are warning signs all around us of the absence of God within our world, not just American culture. It is our choice how we are going to live. Will you look at the things around you, God’s Word, and live for him in spite of the pressures of our world? Look at the story of the city of Pompeii. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted, it wasn’t a surprise for the city. There were plenty of warning signs that something terrible and disastrous was coming. There were tremors, thunderstorms, smoke…there was enough warning for every person within that city to escape to safety and continue to live a full life. About 20,000 people escaped the city leaving 2,000 people that refused- 2,000 people that chose to ignore the warnings of disaster. 2,000 people that were killed in a violent, painful way. That is exactly what Christ did for us…he died so we could have an escape plan from our selfishness, greed, sin…go back to 1 John 2:15-17. Don’t live your life pretending that disaster cannot touch you. Live your life believing that there is a purpose, that you were created for more than what you’re currently living for, that you could indeed have something bigger, and better ahead for you.