Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Being affectionately desirous of one another: How English camps work. My talk w/ the Haviřov youth group.

1. Mission - service and gospel
2. Worship
3. Growth - relationship, discipleship

“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8; cf. Acts 17).

TTYN: turn to your neighbor

English Camp: A place/tool to introduce Christ and Christ in our lives to non-Christians through relationships.
English camp does not work if you are only “affectionately desirous” of one another. When your affection extends toward the lost, camp is an incredible place where you see God bringing His kingdom and working in the lives of those who do not know Him yet.

How do we do cultivate this affectionate desire?
It's basically doing for others what Jesus did and is doing for us.
  1. Thank God for them (1:2)
  2. Imitate Jesus and your leaders, and be Christians worth imitating (1:6-7). This does not mean perfect. It means humble, honest, sincere people who point others to Jesus not only with our holiness but with our confession and repentance and joyful reception of His forgiveness BECAUSE it’s all Jesus (1 Cor. 15:10).
  3. Have boldness in our God to declare to [them] the gospel of God [even] in the midst of much conflict (2:2).
  4. Speak to please God, not man - one another or unbelievers. This means without words of flattery or to get something from them - money, honor, approval, popularity, worldly acceptance, glory, etc. (2:4-6). Do not be “charlatans or false prophets in order to gratify [our] own vanity, line [our] own pockets, or gain (even legitimate) honor (vv. 5–6).
  5. Be gentle and selfless (2:7). Also see 1 Peter 3:13-17, esp. v. 15).
    1. Is there anyone who is a mom that will be with us or anyone who is a father? It would be great to have the mom or dad or both talk about the gentleness and selflessness in a mother nursing and taking care of her children. We could also ask the students to share what kind of gentleness and selflessness they see in a mother’s care of her children. I think it would be worth it to ask, “Why? Why does a mother care of her children, and why does she do it this way - gently and selflessly?” How can we go and do likewise with a) one another and (b) our lost friends and family?
  6. Share the gospel. Share your life (2:8).
    1. Are you doing this with one another? Are you trusting God and each other with who you really are? Are you sharing the gospel with each other?
    2. Confess your sins and joys to one another. Repent with another. Share the gospel with one another. Forgive one another. Pray for and with one another.
  7. Work hard. Have holy, righteous, and blameless conduct (2:9-10).
  8. Encourage and exhort one another (2:11-12).
  9. Thank God for when they receive the word of God as the word of God (2:13).
  10. TTYN: What are you most looking forward to doing? Why? What are you least looking forward to doing? Why? What looks like the easiest or most natural for you? What do you think is/will be the hardest? Why? What will require the most faith for you? Why?
How can this happen?
  1. Remember and remind each other of God's affectionate desire for us:
    1. Loved by God (1:4).
    2. Chosen by God (1:4).
    3. Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction (1:5). “Power (miraculous power, or power in preaching, or both), the Holy Spirit (manifestations of the Spirit’s approving presence), and full conviction (transparent sincerity and integrity, bringing certainty to the hearers’ minds).”
    4. Received the gospel with joy (1:6)
    5. Left old desires and gained new desires (1:9-10).
    6. Delivered.
    7. Approved by God (2:4).
    8. Entrusted with God’s gospel (2:4).
    9. The word of God is at work in you (2:13)
    10. Called into His kingdom and glory (2:13).
  2. TTYN: What excited you most on this list? Why? What is hardest for you to believe/accept? Why? What barriers are between these truths and your belief/acceptance of them? How will God and His body - the church - help you overcome them?
“Abide in me - make your home in me - and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing...I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me...I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 15:4-5; 17:23, 26).
Abide in me means to continue in a daily, personal relationship with Jesus, characterized by trust, prayer, obedience (see v. 10), and joy. Be at home in Jesus.

How do we do this at camp?

Every part of camp is designed to create community, which gives non-Christians a direct experience of Christ in us, and, we hope and pray, Christ Himself. All of it is experiencing and sharing life with others. Through this we are able to build relationships and share the gospel with our words and actions. In all these areas we hope and pray the students will see someONE different than the world. That someone not being ourselves but Jesus.

English groups: This is our main act of service. We create an environment where we teach and learn and build each other up with a Christ-like attitude - accepted as they are, whatever their English level and we help them improve.

Sports: We create an environment where we intentionally bring others into equal participation regardless of skill. The goal is not to win or to beat the other teams but to build stronger friendships through the activity of sports. This is a main place others will see Christ in us.

Evening Program: Having fun together. We have games, camp songs, the camp dance, a testimony, and a story from God’s word. More opportunities to reach outward and express your "affectionate desire" for them. Stand by someone new or different. Don't just participate in camp with your friends from Mladez.

Conversation groups: Creating an environment where students can be heard, their voice and presence can be affirmed and appreciated. We communicate who they are is worthwhile regardless of their mistaken beliefs. We want those beliefs to change, but in the meantime that does not make them as a person any less created by God in His image whom He desires to come to repentance and life.

Camp is...
A mid-year event. It is not the finish line, and it is not the beginning. Camp starts six month before - in the six months before camp it is your relationships, love, and boldness in reaching out to your friends and schoolmates that makes camp possible. You have to invite your friends and communicate your genuine desire for them to be there.

The six months after camp is continuing to live life in relationship with your friends and peers from camp. Your youth group vision must be lived before, during, and after camp:
1. Mission - service and gospel
2. Worship
3. Growth - relationship, discipleship

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

A tool in the greater picture of Christ’s commission. It is one week in one year in a whole life and community lived with this purpose: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

A spiritual undertaking. English camp is not just an event. It is a place of spiritual battle. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:10-12). Satan hates us and does not want us to succeed. Nothing can stop God’s purposes, but Satan will do whatever he can to quench our witness through temptation, division, fear, sickness, and spiritual attack. We must fight the battle. Jesus has already won the war, so as His church we put on His armor and fight His way: 2 Cor. 10:3-6.

A response to Christ’s love for us and an act of love toward others. Remember, this is not in a vacuum. Camp isn’t happening on its own. Let camp be another response to Christ’s love for you and an act of love toward others. Are you responding to Christ’s love now? Start remembering and believing and responding to His love for you now!