i am a pastor’s kid and i’ve gone to church all my life. i knew all the stories and stuff but when i was like 7 i somehow got scared of death and told my mom i didn’t want to go to hell. i asked Jesus into my heart. you know the shpiel. later in my life i realized that i was a sinner and that’s why i needed Jesus and that going to church and being a good boy didn’t get you into heaven. so i went through the motions and lived the same i always had. it wasn’t until junior high camp (DLBC highly recommended) that i realized my insurance policy for heaven wasn’t enough and i wanted a relationship with God. i rededicated my life there and i have since been pursuing God and growing more and more. i am now the worship leader at youth group and camp and i long for the presence of God. Probably the biggest influence in my life was Chad Johnson who became our youth pastor in 7th grade. he is my close friend and has since moved to iowa but we still have that tight bond in Jesus. he challenged me every day with what i use to challenge myself and others. WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?
Relationships. relationships. relationships. We may not have state of the art facilities, but we have a lot of creativity and always have a ton of fun!
The DLBC campus is a kind of sanctuary from the busyness of life where the presence of God is easier to experience. The counselors, speakers, and staff are constantly pouring love and truth into campers lives.
t is a place of deep relationships, a place of peace where you can senseGod's presence (lol, at least for the most part). Authentic hearts in worship and action. A love for Jesus and one another that can be explained only by the goodness of HIS love for us. A place where you can be broken and yet become whole all at the same time. A place of love, and a glimpse of heaven someday. A true picture of what community should look like.
Around the time I was a senior in high school, the idea of a revolution coming was floating around. Our youth group ended up doing a 24-7 prayer room and it was in that place that my whole life changed. Up until that time I don't think I really got it. I wasn't doing anything really bad, I wasn't riding the fence. I believed what I said, and said what I believed. Overall though, looking back I would say that it was a pretty selfish time of life. I was doing the right things; reading my Bible, praying, going to church, having fellowship with other believers, etc. But something still felt a little bit off.
I sat in the prayer room for the first time and was a little bit scared. I didn't know what to expect, prayer is so huge. I didn't know what would happen if God actually showed up in that little room. And show up He did. I started off by praying through things that were going on in my own life and in the lives of people I knew. Well, I was supposed to be in this room for two hours and after I was done with that I still had an hour and a half left. I didn't know what to do so I thought it might be a good idea to ask God what He wanted from me being in this room.
It would be really cool to tell you that the room shook with the presence of God, or that I heard a loud audible voice. But peace came in the still, quiet voice of our Lord. It was then that I truly started the Romantic adventure that He has called us to. It was there that I started to truly grasp the fact that He loves me. That He loves me because I exist and nothing that I've done, am doing, or will do will ever change that. It started a journey for me to discover something more; something bigger to this life we've been called to. My passions and dreams started to be more defined, I wanted to know what God had planned for my life. I learned that God's more important about who we are, and our hearts than what we're doing for him. It's about love; love God and love others.
I've learned in the last few years that there really are no formulas, but that life's questions continually will go back to loving God and loving other people. It's not always easy, and sometimes it turns out to be the hardest thing you've done so far, but it's always worth it. The last four years of my life have been some of the most painful, but they have definitely been full of joy and peace.
I'm learning about letting go; about trusting God. I'm learning to remember that life is an adventure, and to savor and enjoy each moment that I get to experience. I've found that nothing good ever comes from me trying to control my life. God is so much bigger, and understands me so much better that when I think about it long enough there really isn't any other answer that makes sense. It's hard though sometimes, I like things to happen my way. As I continue on this journey I want to know, understand and especially experience more of God's love for me and his constant pursuit of my heart. It is in that place that I will understand true humility, all pride will be stripped away. And in that place of humbleness is the only place I am able to accept the gift of grace that is offered to me continually. And through all of that will be able to truly know how to love other people in the way that they were created to be loved.
I know that I'm not perfect, not even close. But I have a Father in heaven who loves me very much. He sees me as being infinitely precious and calls me to view other people the same. Together we are joining in to help restore Shalom; a sense of wholeness and being made complete. This is how God desires his creation to live. To love and be loved. May we be a people who lives the Vision because we know the Love.