Thursday, July 28, 2011

Church Camp 2011 - Forgetting the Past

Hey everyone! :)

This year was wonderful! I had a great time. I don't know if this was my last year or not. I would like to think it wasn't, but you never know about the future. What if I get busy with a job and cannot get away. Well, I went 8 years in a row. I have the memories, pictures, and videos. I rededicated my life this year and promised to have my "quiet time" each day with God. What is quiet time? One could define it as, "Prayer to God, meditating and self-reflection, and study of His Word.

This year's camp theme was about forgiveness. In the Bible, Peter asked Jesus how often he should forgive his neighbor. Seven times? Jesus said, "70 x 7." Okay, let's see, do that math....that comes to 490 times. Is that what Jesus meant? No! He meant we should not keep count of how many times we forgive one another. If we keep count we are really not forgiving anyway, because we are holding something against them.

I remember thinking, when the week started, that I would make a decision of some kind. You see, at church camp we have the absence of TVs, cell phones, and other distractions, but most of all the influence of the world. It is a lot easier to make decisions for Christ. However, it is a lot harder to keep those commitments when campers get back home. We live in a Utopian World at camp. We have morning and evening worship services, and classes right before noon. There are also devotionals in the morning and night. There are several opportunities to hear God's Word proclaimed.

I'm honored to have been a part of it. My dad asked me Tuesday night if I would give the following morning's devotional. At first I hesitated, but after giving it some thought and looking through the book of James, I accepted. I had felt this tugging in my heart to do it. And I can't remember exactly when, but I remember when the week started God spoke to my heart, You need to be ready to give a devotional. I thought at first it was just my own imagination, but when my dad asked me I was like, Whoa, that was God talking and not me.

I chose James 1: 12-15. This is a summary of what I said.
We live in a world where everybody is blaming others for their mistakes. The devil made me do it, God tempted me, my environment is the problem. Our environment does influence us, but it's not responsible for our bad choices, nor can Satan or God make us do anything. Of course, God does not tempt anyone because He cannot be tempted to do evil. Satan can dangle sin in front of us, but it's our choice what we do. We are drawn away by our own lusts. It is ultimately our fault. When you are being tempted, don't say, "Well, I'll think about it." Resist immediately while you are strong. If you think about it and do not resist you are more likely to give in than resist. We had a theme back in 2009 that said to resist the devil and he will flee from you. It may not seem worth it to resist the temptations and stand the trials that come our way, but one day it will be worth it. We will receive a crown of life.
Eternity will make this life be worth it all the more. I have to remind myself of this often. I'm not saying it makes life any easier, but it does help you keep in mind why we are keeping the faith.

I can feel God using me more and more, little by little. I started out being an usher when I was little. Years later I joined the choir. Next, I became a song leader. I was called on to pray for my first time, in public at church camp, a few years ago. Then I became the assistant Sunday School teacher for the teenage class (which is usually only my little brother as of late). I'm currently doing all of these things in my local church. Who knows? What if God calls me to preach one day? Who can say, but God in Heaven? Only He knows. Even if He doesn't call me to preach ever in my life, I know He has lots for me to do. I remember as a young teen I would daydream about being a teacher and have a fire inside of my spirit. I truly believe God has given me a heart for His ministry.

At the end of Thursday's class, my camp teacher of the 19-21 year-olds asked for a show of hands of who would make a promise to him and God that we would have our "quiet time" each day with God. A lot of hands went up, but I hesitated. I said, "I know one thing - I made that commitment last year and I didn't keep it." Without missing a beat, my wise, middle-aged teacher said, "That's the past. Don't ever let the devil hold your past against you." I think that has been my problem. I have let Satan make me feel bad about my past. You failed once before. What makes you think you are going to succeed this time? You know you can't do it. You're stuck forever in this continual loop. That has been Satan's argument for the longest time, and I listened to him. But thank God I'm back on the right track. That's what rededication is all about. I remember how happy I felt Thursday night. I don't remember exactly when, but I guess it was just that eventually my heart agreed with what my mind knew what I should do. A commitment is a commitment. I will keep my promise, so help me God. Pumping my fist, I told my teacher, "I'll do it."

I went to church camp with two digital cameras. One is a Fujifilm 12.2 megapixel for normal shots, and the other is an Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 for underwater shots. It is fully waterproof and shockproof. It is waterproof to 10 feet for 1 hour, and shockproof from a 5 foot drop. Shockproof means if it is dropped it won't malfunction. It doesn't have an optical lens that sticks out, unlike my Fujifilm. I made a music video of my footage and pictures and put it on YouTube. It is unlisted video, but since you are reading my blog I will give you the link to my production. I uploaded it in HD quality. The videos are not HD, but the pictures are. My little brother also did his own production using his Nikon Coolpix L20. We both used the professional editing software called Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10. If you want to see the video I made from last year, feel free to watch. It is a compilation of both my little brother's stuff and my stuff. Back then I could only use Windows Movie Maker.

At camp I made new friends, saw old friends again I had not talked with since the previous year, and missed the ones who did not come back. So many of them are busy with jobs, and who knows what else. You never know what the future holds. That is why I looked at this year as my last year. I soaked it all in just in case.

I witnessed several campers make decisions for the LORD. I know there must have been others who made private decisions as I did. I don't mind telling people I rededicated my life, but I didn't want to go forward to make it public. I know that coming forward is not so you can show off, but in my mind it would feel like it. And no, it's wrong to come forward. That's just the way I personally felt at the time. I wouldn't feel right. Perhaps it's my doubts of keeping it. I think of Mark chapter 9 where the man told Jesus that he believed the LORD could heal his son, but he had his doubts. He asked the LORD to help him in his unbelief. That is what I experience at times. That is what we all experience at times. But God is so good. He helps us.

My desire is to please God with my life. I write songs for Him and always give Him the glory and the credit. It feels so great to praise Him for the help given to me. Without Him I would be nothing.

Friends, I hope that whatever you are struggling with you will bring to our Creator.

Keep in mind Philippians 3:13-14. Forget the past. Focus on what lies ahead and run the race before you. You have a prize awaiting you.

God Bless You,
Brandon Burch

1 comment:

  1. Great job on your first devotional, Brandon. I am proud of you! :)