relevant workshops, wisdom-filled activities, and fun kwentuhan (bonding) sessions with dozens of old and new friends.
The theme of the camp was "iTune with God." I honestly thought it would be a very corny camp where I'd get nothing out of it. But no. To my surprise, God has used this camp mightily to knock at the hearts of many young professionals (including me). I'll be sharing with you the gist of the learning below. If you were able to join the camp, read on and be reminded of the lessons you've gained once upon a time in 2010.
Our speaker was Rev. Harg Ang, a very dynamic, animated pastor from United Evangelical Church of Malabon who was able to keep the people (who slept for only 4 to 6 hours) wide awake in all his five speaking hours.
Message # 1: EXPERIENCING THE TRUTH
What I learned here was that we should chew our own food! We cannot always depend on the pastor in the Sunday Services, the Bible Study group leader every Wednesday or the Daily Bread to chew the Word for us. What they do is that they prepare the food by chewing and taking most of the nourishment, and giving us the processed food. This is what Rev. Harg termed as Fast Food. Even the sermons you watch on Youtube is Fast Food. We should chew our own food... and experience God personally. Others may help us understand, but we should go and learn it on our own.
Knowing the truth will affect our direction, our behavior and our life. In order to know more, we should expand our capacity for truth. I forgot his illustration, but from own experience, time and time again, God would speak to me when I am ready to listen. I know it's weird, but it's true. I remember when my grandpa was about to die four years ago, I asked God, "Lord, what should I do? I'm the youngest in the family and I don't know how I can be a blessing and a light to them. I want them to know you." He then led me to Gideon's story. Faith indeed grows when we experience more and more of Him. And we experience Him when we Know Him.
Message 2: (STOP) PLAYING OFF-KEY NOTES
There are three way that make us sound off-key, when our: ears are blocked, eyes are blinded and hearts are hardened. Sin can become the earwax that blocks our ears. Distraction of life also keeps us from listening and remembering God's message. When we are most busy, that's when Satan can just come in and tempt us. This is the time that we must find a quiet place early in the morning, listen to the Lord and come with an expectant heart. Oh, he also said, we should not talk too much. God speaks in a still, small voice. Rev. Harg demonstrated to that voice in a funny manner, and we got the point instantly. He whispered in front of the stage, and all of us became silent and focused 100% on him.
Eyes are blinded when we are disobedient. To see is not to believe, rather, to see is to know, and to know is to believe. He asked "Do you believe that I have a Donald Duck card in my wallet?" Nobody of us said yes, until he showed it to us. But not that we've seen it, we KNOW that it is there. The more that we know this person is trustworthy, the more we believe. The more we believe, the more we see. With God however, the cycle starts with believing. If we do not believe what He says and choose to disobey Him, then, we cannot see.
Hardened heart is like a calloused heart. Callousness is caused by pressure applied on the surface again and again. This is not a one time ordeal, but a slow and subtle drift away from the Lord, from fellowship with believers. Sin repeated again and again slowly pulls you away until you become calloused.
If you are standing firm, if you are a leader of a church, be all the more careful. Satan will try to make you fall so that others who know you may also fall.
Message 3: ENJOYING REAL HARMONY
Once we become in-tune with God, there are three relationships that are restored. First is the relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ which is the vertical relationship. Prayer is the primary way of communicating to God. This is not a means to change Him, but to change us, not to tell Him what to do but to attune our desire with His desire. We should come and understand God's heart.
Second is the horizontal relationship we have with fellow believers, our community. If we look at the word community, there are two important parts: Communication and Unity. It's so ironic that now that we have plenty of means to communicate (i.e. Instant messaging, SMS, email), the quality of communication is not improving. Odd street talks like "jejemon" sprout once in a while and by no means do they improve the level of communication amongst the people of this generation. In order to have "unity" or a genuine relationship with one another, we should have a genuine relationship with the Father.
Third is witnessing to outsiders. It's hard to tell something if we haven't experienced it. I remember my friend who sells Herbal Life drink. She used it for a few months and testified that she lost 20 pounds, and many of her sicknesses were gone. Because of this, many of her friends bought the same product.
Message 4: SINGING YOUR HEARTS OUT
Do you know that reading the Bible can be addicting? Life can indeed be delightful if we tune it to His sound. And sadly, many times we rob ourselves from that delight as we substitute it with prestige, relationships, work... all of which overshadow the true delight.
For believers, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Why? Because when we die we'll be with Christ! For others, to live is for Jaguar, and to die is to lose it. Or to live is to work, and to die is to leave it. Let's not substitute anything for Christ, for anything and everything else on earth will be lost.
Also, there is joy in walking with God. If you do not have relationship with Him, then obedience becomes legalism. You have to be early, rather than you want to be early in church. You have to head the Sunday School, rather than you becoming excited to serve the Lord. Tasks become easier when you walk with God.
Message 5: CHALLENGE MESSAGE
High Potency + Close Proximity + Clear Communication = Maximum Potency
High Potency: shine as light of the world. You live out what you learned. The more connected you are to the source, the more powerful you would glow.
Close Proximity: get close to those you want to share. Infect them with the song in your heart
Clear Communication: be ready to share anytime. Write your life story. Who you were before Christ and who you are now that you have Christ. Don't worry if you think yours is too normal and not exciting. This means that more normal people would be able to relate to your testimony.
When Jesus said "Go and make disciples..," He did not mean that you should go to Africa or to Zimbabwe or to Timbuktoo to make disciples. You can, if that's really your calling, but most often than not, you don't have to. Go here means "as you go through your life, your daily living," be a witness. Share what you've experienced (seen, heard and tasted) to the people you meet who have not experienced along the way. Woe to you if you if you keep the good news all to yourself. Sometimes good news when given too late become bad news.
1 John 1:1-10
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our joy complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Just a short story board featuring a few photos taken in camp..
Many times, we cannot decipher God's purpose, we cannot see why we have to put our hands up, why we have to kneel down, why we have to face this way and walk that way. Following God may seem unreasonable or illogical, but that's only because we cannot see the fine blueprint.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. You are part of the big and beautiful picture He is currently painting on earth and in the heavenly realms.
Oh, the joy of knowing Jesus...
We can also unite with other brothers and sisters in Christ!
Although a photo speaks a thousand words, I will end this blog with a photo that speaks of only eight words, "God Loves You so get in-tune with Him!"