This summer was the first year that I was the speaker at youth camp more than I was the worship leader. Two of the camps I taught had the theme, “Be Still and Know That I Am God.” I definitely questioned God on the wisdom of His choice of speakers on this particular topic. I felt extremely unqualified. But God led me through some really awesome stuff while I was preparing for camp, so I thought I would share it with you all in a series of blogs. I prefer to teach exegetically, helping people understand what the Bible actually says verse by verse and what it means for their lives. But for the morning sessions of these camps, God had me teaching much more application. It was hard, but good for me.

We talked about spiritual disciplines. Growing up I was not fond of this topic. It sounded like work. And as I understood it, if I worked correctly and worked hard enough, God would meet with me. That may sound like good news, but it actually wasn’t. Because I knew that I probably wouldn’t do it correctly and definitely wouldn’t work hard enough. It turns out that’s not really how it works at all. Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases” (ESV). In other words, He does exactly what He wants and only what He wants. I cannot force Him to meet me by going through some ritual. So does that mean all our rituals are meaningless? No, not at all. It just means they work in a different direction than I thought. The ritual doesn’t force God to meet me; it prepares me to meet Him. Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and spiritual disciplines guru for this generation, describes it like this: “The spiritual disciplines place us before God so that God can transform us.” So through this series of blogs, we are going to look at the idea of engaging God, not forcing His hand, but making ourselves available to His presence, His will and His power.

And for all your campers, this will be a good review, with something new at the end. Looking forward to it.