Now that December is here, the Christmas spirit is filling the FUGE Camps office. Here are some of our favorite holiday traditions.
AJ Chamber has a very rewarding history with FUGE. He has worked 9 summers in various roles, such as track leader, actor, and video producer. He currently lives in a suburb of Charleston, SC and serves as a high school broadcast journalism and film production teacher. In his free time, AJ is a Zumba instructor and movie addict.
As a FUGE Camps video producer, I get to be a fly on the wall; I see everything as an observer. In these moments, God teaches me so much about our relationship with Him and other believers.
I could be out visiting MFUGE sites trying to fight traffic and the clock in order to capture as many campers as possible, yet gain endless joy from what I see. It can be as simple as a little girl’s smile as she totally tangles the hair of a camper (who unbeknownst to her is about to spend all evening trying to get it back to normal for worship), or an elderly woman with dementia smiling from ear to ear playing balloon volleyball. In these moments, I see God’s love for us. My heart and mind are opened to the reality of how simple life is when you focus on serving God with everything. These moments fill me welling with emotions.
More importantly, I see that same impact in the lives of those being served and the campers and staffers serving. It is life-changing and truly inspiring. I am reminded of what Jesus called us to do in John13:12-14 “When Jesus had washed their feet and put on His robe, He reclined again and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” It is beautiful, inspiring, and joyous to see this action in practice working with FUGE.
This week’s Ministry Tip comes from Jonathan Espy. He is studying student ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has worked with student ministries in different capacities for several years. In 2012/2013, he served as the interim leader for the high school student ministry at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. This post is a prayer experience that he led with the group.
During my time at Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, I led high school students through a series on Wednesday nights about renewing our minds. We focused on different aspects including students’ perspectives of who God is, not conforming to the world, and what to focus our minds on. The last week of the series, I set up a prayer experience for the students to help recap what we had covered and to give a way to practice renewing our minds through scripture and different actions of prayer. I used six stations. To set this up, I printed the instructions for each station (in large print), posted them each on a piece of butcher paper, and laid them around the room. We opened the night with a few songs of worship. Then, I led them into the time of prayer. We took about 30-40 minutes for this part of the night.
Supplies: Bibles for those without (I didn’t want them using their phones for this, but that was just my preference), markers, pens, note cards, scraps of paper, butcher paper/poster board
Prayer Experience (Renewing your Mind)
Instructions: Use this time to renew your mind through prayer and meditation. Don’t talk to one another as we do this but spend it talking with God. Go from station to station (no particular order), read the instructions and pray as guided. You will need a Bible for every station so grab one here if you don’t have one. You don’t have to stay at the station once you read the instructions so feel free to move about the room. Take this seriously and do what is asked at each station, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable. Really use this time to focus your mind on Christ.
- How Great is our God: Renewing your mind starts with your idea of God; who God is to you. It is important to make sure your view of God matches with that of Scripture. Read Psalm 97 and take some time to meditate on who God is to you. Then write down words that describe the greatness of God.
- Living Sacrifices: When we recognize who God is, our desire becomes to worship and serve Him. Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our lives as “living sacrifices” to God as an act of worship. Where you are, kneel before God as a sign of surrender and worship. Pray and ask God to show you how to be a living sacrifice to Him. Tell God specific parts of your life that you desire to use for His glory.
- Things of the World: Romans 12:2 says to not conform any longer to the patterns of this world. Take a note card (or use the back of the one from the “Think on these things” station) and write out “Things of the world” at the top. Then make a list of some patterns of the world. Read over your list and pray that God will help you recognize these patterns as worldly, that you may no longer conform to these things. Keep this with you as a reminder to not conform to the world.
- Think on these things: Read Philippians 4:8. This gives us a list of things that should guide our thoughts. Take a note card (or use the back of the one from the “Things of the world” station) and write “Think on these things” at the top. Write out the characteristics of what to think on from this scripture (Whatever is true, noble, etc…). Think about what guides your thoughts. Do your thoughts fall into these characteristics? Pray that God will help your mind and your thoughts to be glorifying to Him. Keep this with you as a reminder to let these things guide your thoughts.
- Give us Clean Hands: As we renew our minds, we realize God’s greatness. We also recognize our sin. Read Psalm 24. This reminds us of God’s authority over all things and points out that God is holy and above all things. Our sin keeps us from God. We know that through Christ our sins have been washed clean and we have been given the opportunity to have a relationship with God. As seen in verses 3-6, when we recognize the greatness of this gift through Christ, we should desire to live with “clean hands and pure hearts.” Thank God for the great gift of salvation. As you pray, hold out your hands in front of you. This symbolizes having clean hands. Think about the things in your life that make your hands and heart unclean (sin). Ask God to help you live out your faith with clean hands and a pure heart.
- By Him and For Him: Turn to Colossians 1. In this passage, the Supremacy of Christ is shown. Read verses 15-23. We see that Christ holds all things together. Verse 16 says that all things were created “by Him and for Him.” As we renew our minds and present ourselves as living sacrifices, we must remember that our lives are for Christ. Think for a moment from God’s perspective. How do you think He would have us live our lives? Take a piece of paper and write a short mission statement you think God would give His people. This should be a sentence or two that tells what guides your life and decisions. Write the statement for the purpose of letting ALL THINGS in your life point to Christ. Read and pray over what you have written and ask God to let this mission (His mission) be evident in the way you live.
Maybe you celebrate it every year, or maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it, but get ready friends, because this Sunday is National Tongue Twister Day!
We’re celebrating a little early here in the office by practicing some tongue twisters ourselves.
Check out our attempts…
What’s YOUR favorite tongue twister? Share in the comment section!
Andy Buckwalter served as a FUGE Bible study leader at Ridgecrest last summer. He currently serves as the Director of Youth Ministry at Crux Youth Ministry. Andy and his wife, Leann, reside in York, Pennsylvania. He has a degree in Youth ministry from Messiah College. Interesting fact about Andy: He once punched a fish underwater because it bit him!
Some of us have lived it. All of us have dreaded it. I’m talking about an all too familiar scenario. You are in Bible study, or youth group, and a teenager in the back raises his hand and asks “that” question. The question you went to great lengths to avoid during this Bible study, the one you have been avoiding like the plague for one simple reason. You don’t know the answer.
Now, as the room temperature steadily increases, you have several options. Option one, you can come up with some weak “Sunday school” answer and try to fake your way around it, without actually answering the question and get back to what you wanted to talk about. Option two, disregard their question by saying it is off topic, and say, “we can talk about that another time,” with no intention of doing so. Option three, you throw a bunch of big words at them that you are sure they do not know what they mean (and neither do you). Or option four, fake a heart attack.
But there is another option, and it is one we often forget: Just be real with them. It is ok to say, “I don’t know”. Believe it or not, not knowing everything there is to know about God will not cause you to lose their respect. In fact, being so open with them will gain more respect from them. A technique I have used in the past is to say, “That is a great question. I don’t have an answer for it. What do you guys think?” Turn the question back to the group. Let them discuss it. Feel free to say what you think, but listen first. Be real with them. Some of my best evenings with youth have started with a question that I could not answer, and ended with them dialoguing together about our Lord. Isn’t that what we want?
So the next time this happens, let’s not worry about our pride and how intelligent we look, but rather look to the opportunity God has presented us with.
When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say – Luke 12:11-12
Rachel Patton served as a FUGE Bible study leader for two years: 2010 at Carson-Newman and 2013 at North Greenville. She is currently working on master’s degree in Christian Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rachel loves the Phoenix desert, Sonic diet coke w/vanilla, and being spontaneous.
Watching God work through my life is by far my favorite part of working camp. As a Bible study leader for two summers, I saw God use my story and my past experiences to impact the lives of students, relate to students, and open doors for great conversation. When I was ten years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It has been a struggle over the last 15 years but has taught me so much about relying on God and his provision. I always knew that I had been diagnosed for a purpose. God has a bigger plan than my own and it has been so cool to see that unfold.
While working FUGE in 2010, we had a diabetic student one week and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her. Throughout the lunch, it became apparent that she had blamed God for her diagnosis and was angry with Him. I was humbled by the opportunity to talk with her about God’s plan and purpose for her life, the truth that He knows what is best and that trusting Him will far exceed our expectations. I got to listen to her, share life with her, and pray with her. Later that week, her youth pastor approached me and said that she opened up and shared her struggles with her youth group that night.
I was able to have similar experiences my second summer working FUGE in 2013. Students with diabetes in my Bible study, having one on one conversations, speaking with adults and parents of kids with diabetes, and simply sitting down to check my blood sugar with a student so they wouldn’t feel so alone. God had a plan when I was diagnosed with diabetes all those years ago, and it has far exceeded my expectations. I am so grateful for the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of these other diabetics and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Isn’t it good to serve a God who knows what He’s doing?!