Camp at Church
June 9, 2019
Hey everyone! I’m jessie, and I’m so glad to be out here with you this morning. A lot of us are usually at a church building on Sunday mornings, so it feels extra special to be in the sunshine together, playing and learning. I love games, I love kids, and I love talking about Jesus, so this is my favorite kind of day.
Well, if you weren’t at camp this week, let’s get a quick refresher on what we talked about each night. Our sports and arts camp is called “Made For This” because we believe that all people are created with a unique and wonderful purpose for their life. So every summer we like to give kids a chance to try lots of different things, like gymnastics and photography and dance and soccer, so they can explore all the amazing things their bodies and minds are capable of learning and doing. And each night at camp before we eat our popsicles, we talk about what else we’re made for- not just to be good at sports or smart in school or to make enough money to survive someday- we know in the deepest part of ourselves that there must be more to life. We don’t want a life of just surviving or getting by, we want a life of goodness, and abundance.
We know that we’re made for more.
Let me ask you a question. What is something really beautiful that you’ve seen or experienced before? Something that took your breath away, or made you so so happy, or maybe even something so beautiful that it made you cry? Can you share your answers with the friends and families around you for a minute? Maybe it was something in nature, or something a friend did for you, or a baby you love, or a song that made you dance, or a dance that made you laugh- something beautiful that made you light up inside.
Ok, now let me ask you another question. Can you think of a time that something happened to you or someone you love, and it made you really sad? Or maybe it made you really mad. Think of something you’ve seen or experienced that didn’t seem right, and made you feel bad inside. You don’t have share this one unless you want to, and let’s be careful with our answers if there are little people sitting around us, ok? Take a minute to think about it, and maybe share with your family if you want to say what you’re remembering.
Here’s my last question:
Can you see or touch those feelings that you just thought about and shared? Can you touch or see the feeling of knowing something is beautiful? Can you hold that in your hand and say, Look! Look at how I feel inside! No, not really, right? And can you somehow show me what you mean when you tell me that something isn’t right or show me how you feel bad inside?
We know when things are good. And we know when things are bad. We know these things because we were created by a Good Father, our God, and inside each of us is the knowledge that there is more to this world than what we can see.
There’s more to life than jobs, school, sports, arts, our homes and our stuff, or even our family and friends; we know that there are big things that matter, even if we can’t actually see them.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Who can tell me what temporary means?
Yeah, it’s something that won’t last. Most of the things we can see aren’t going to last forever, right? What can you see around you right now that is temporary?
All of these things are going to pass away. Buildings will fall down or be knocked down, grass will grow and get mowed and blow away on the wind. Even our bodies aren’t forever. We get old and we die, right? But what about the other word in that verse, eternal? Who can tell me what eternal means?
Eternal mean boundless, never ending, indestructible, forever and ever and ever. And that verse says that what is unseen is eternal. Can you do something for me right now? Touch your heart. Press your hand to your chest, that part of you that seems to hold those feelings that tell you what is good and lovely and what is wrong and bad. We call that your soul. That’s the part of you that is unseen and eternal, unique and beautiful and worthwhile.
That’s what makes you, you.
And those feelings are what make me wonder what my life means, what I’m made to do or be. Because I don’t want to bring more bad stuff or hurt feelings or sin into the world around me. I want to bring beauty, and I want to make things good. I want to make good things. So I have to ask myself, how can I know what to do, or how to grow? Who can show me what is good and what I am made for when I’m confused about why I can’t change and I feel a little lost?
And the answer is, I need to ask the one who made me. I believe that there is a good creator who made all of this incredible world around us, who made kids and games and mountains and dolphins and dogs and strawberries and the ocean. And I believe that there is evil, bad stuff, in this good world that God made, and that the things I know aren’t right- they aren’t from a good God. They aren’t part of the life that was meant for us. I’m going to read you something that Jesus said, talking about the kind of friend he is to us and the kind of life he dreams of for you, ok?
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay my life down for the sheep.”
Did you catch this part? “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” What does abundantly mean?
Yeah, it means generous, huge, overflowing goodness for you and for me and for our lives.
Does your life feel this way? Does it feel like it’s overflowing with the goodness of a loving shepherd who loves you so much that he laid down his life for you? Or does it feel mostly confusing, or painful, or boring, or useless?
We are made for more. We are made for a beautiful, abundant life with Jesus as our guide, showing us a better way to be a human and loving us in a way that changes us, and changes how we treat each other. There is so much inside me that brings pain and destruction to the people around me. I lie, I’m selfish, I don’t do what I say that I’ll do, I speak without thinking, I act without considering the consequences. But how can I ever change? Remember we talked at camp about how, no matter how many times I wake up in the morning and say, I’m gonna do better today, I’m going to be a patient, nice mom who doesn’t yell at her kids, and I’m going to keep my promises, and I’m going to put others first, and I’m not going to eat so many cookies- no matter how bad I want that, I can’t change myself. Not for long, anyways. I have tried, so many times and in so many ways.
But God wants to help me change. God sees me as whole, and lovely, and worthwhile. He sees me as the Jessie I was always meant to be. He wants me to help make this world right, make it good. And so each day I spend some time learning about Jesus. I read my Bible and see what he said, how he treated people. I pray and ask God to help me do what is right. I ask what my life should look like, and what God needs to change my mind about so that I can be transformed.
I have seen lots of beauty, and I have known lots of pain. And in all my wanderings and wonderings, I have only ever known Jesus to change me and give me a life worth living- an abundant life- a life made for more. More beauty, more fun, more friendships and connections and pain, yes- there will always be pain on this planet- but it is a pain that doesn’t destroy me, because I know what’s eternal, and I know what will pass away.
We are so, so glad that you guys got to come to camp this week, or even just today, and look at me, ok? Look at my face. I don’t even know you, and I love you. I love you more than you’ll ever know. That’s God’s love in me, making me love you. Now imagine God’s love for you. Imagine his face when he looks at you and your heart, and how he feels when you’re living the life that you’re made for and being the best version of you, the one you want so badly to be. You were made for so much more! And I can’t wait to see who you are becoming.