Updated: Jul 2, 2018
In the summer of 1994, I had just begun my journey into full-time ministry. I had the privilege of serving as the Youth Minister at a wonderful church. I was only twenty years old and quite naturally, inexperienced in the world of church ministry.
I will never forget my week of leading youth camp that first summer. We had a great week, and I was blessed to serve with a great team of adult sponsors as we ministered to some incredible students. I must admit, though, that what I most remember about that week is not the times of worship, fellowship, or building relationships (although all of those things took place!).
What I most remember is what it was like late at night in the guys' dorm. The lights were off, and it was time to go to sleep. And that is when it all started. Pieces of candy were hurled towards some unsuspecting victim…shoes being flung around the room…laughing and screaming replacing what should have been sleeping and dreaming…and who knows what else was sent flying as a near war zone erupted.
I remember lying in bed, feeling overwhelmed at the situation, and thinking to myself…”I sure wish someone in charge would put an end to this craziness!” Then, I remembered, “Oh yeah, I’M the one in charge.” I was frustrated at the situation, the disregard for the rules, but most of all, I was irritated with myself for not changing what was happening. The circumstances just seemed to be more than I could control.
I went home after camp and began to immediately go to work on thinking through what needed to be done differently to make the end of each day of youth camp better for the next year. There would be better preparation, rules would be more clearly defined, but more than anything, I was resolute to lead better. The biggest change needed to be me! By God’s grace, the next year (and the years after that) went much better. Some of my favorite memories in ministry are weeks spent at youth camp.
Can you relate? Have you ever looked around at your marriage, or your children, maybe your job, or perhaps your spiritual life, and felt frustrated and agitated at what you see? Maybe, like me that summer so many years ago, you find yourself wishing things would change, only to realize that YOU are the one who needs to lead the change.
-- Is your marriage not all you desire it to be? Why not begin today implementing changes that would improve communication and remove stress?
-- Do you wish your children obeyed more quickly, were better trained in their behavior, or more knowledgeable about God’s Word? Start today by being more involved in the lives of your children. Spend time with them, play with them, and sit down and read the Bible together.
-- Do you feel frustrated at the condition of your walk with Christ? Rather than merely feeling disappointed and discouraged, be the one to make the necessary changes. See to it that this very day you spend time in Bible reading and take time to pray (if you need help finding a daily Bible reading plan, click here). Do not simply go through life feeling disgruntled. There is a better way. Evaluate, make changes, and grow.
James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” It may be that you have spent time wishing things were different, but you have not actually been doing what God’s Word says. Let this be a call to action for you. Today is your opportunity to learn from the past and move forward. The difference between the one who is growing spiritually and one who is stagnant and dry is often merely a matter of obedience.
So, if you have been like I was in the summer of 1994, and you are metaphorically pulling the covers over your head and just wanting things to get better, begin changing what you can. Start today by refusing to only think about things being different and instead, start putting into action the truths and principles found in God’s Word.
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