Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is Heaven worth it?

Something has been eating away at me all week and I finally decided I have to talk about it and get it out of my system! I'm not sure it will help but it's worth a try. I tried rounding up some kids from our church to go to camp. I found 9 who wanted to go and I thought, "Great! Now I just need to find another vehicle and driver willing to help bring them." Not a problem, if I couldn't find someone, Jason and I would've driven two vehicles to make sure they could all go. Than all-stars picked their players. That knocked out 6 of the kids who could go. Okay, we still had three, that was all right. Than one had to work, one had summer school and the third one didn't want to come by himself. Especially after calling all the other kids he knew from another state and finding that none of them were going either, due to jobs or sports. I really don't blame that last one, I probably wouldn't have wanted to go by myself either to a different state when no one else I knew was going. We had to wait until Sunday Evening to leave since Jason is the minister and Sundays are his busiest work day. I had packed the car and was all ready to take off after church when we got a call from the camp manager saying that only 8 kids had shown up so there really wasn't a good reason for us to drive 1000 miles to come help out. That was truly a discouraging thing for me to hear. I know there were various reasons why kids didn't show up but I'll bet you anything the biggest reasons were jobs and sports. What I want to know is, why are "things" more important than Bible Camps? I want to saturate my kids with all things to do with Christ and surround them with other christian peers as much as possible so they know they're not alone out there, struggling to do whats right! In the world we live in today, it is tough to survive being a Christian for teenagers!!! They need as much help as they can get. Even for myself, if I had grown up only going to Sunday morning church and maybe one Bible camp a year I highly doubt I would be the Christian I am today. I remember the thoughts I had as a teenager, wanting to do what I knew wasn't right, but those sermons I heard, over and over, would pop into my head, and those memory verses we were forced to learn at camp would be there telling me no, that's not right! And I would be scared of going to hell and it kept me out of a lot of trouble. I don't think hell is real to our kids today. We don't have the hell, fire and brimstone messages we had back then. It's good that kids are taught the love and the grace of God because that is so important to know as well and I wish I had known more of that growing up, but the fear of hell is so important to a teenager. Sunday morning sermons are great but those aren't the ones I remember the most. I remember the ones we heard at camp, maybe because they were geared more for our age, I don't know, but whatever the reason they played an important part in my life. Our God is a jealous God and he says "there shall be no other god's before me." I truly believe that when you put anything; hobbies, sports, jobs, cars, etc. before opportunities to learn more about God, then you are making that your god. You can make all the excuses you want but at the end of the day, what's really going to matter? You go before the judgment seat and you chose...let's say.... sports instead of God do you think God's going to say, "Oh good, you made every practice and every game and are excellent at what you do, enter in, my child, for I need a good player on my team? I do like sports, and I do believe they are good for character development, but there is a time and a place for everything and when it comes down to sports or learning more about God, sports should always take back seat. Sports aren't the only thing to come before God, you can fill in the blank with whatever you like, but it's all the same. Where are our priorities? Aren't you scared about your child's salvation? You should be, because Satan wants them on his team and he's playing every card he's got. A lot of his cards look harmless but when played in the right hand, are deadly. What's Heaven worth to you?

7 comments:

The Rhoderick Family said...

Well said Michelle!

Abbi said...

That is sad that Bible camps are taking such a back seat to everything else. I think a lot of it can be blamed on the parents but I am not sure how to go about changing the current trend (besides doing it differently in my home). I think we need to be doing a lot of praying about this because Satan surely is using every thing he can think of to make sure that people are to busy to have time to focus on God and following Him.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Venessa said...

Amen to that! It is so frustrating when everything else seems to take priority over anything to do with the "church functions". I think many places are having difficulties with this. I agree with Abbi that we do need to pray about it! So sorry that you didn't get to go. Did I see that you are going to Combined week?

Jalaina said...

Michelle I am very much in agreement with you. I want my kids to go to church camp be heavily involved with the youth group, be surrounded by Godly friends and family. But I do have one bone to pick............church camps need to adapt to the changing times. I'm not saying get rid of modesty rules or add instruments (in my Accapella world) I just think they need to stay young. Even you have to admit that we didn't go to SB for the preaching or even all the activities. We went because our best friends were there. People we hardly saw and why that is a good motive............it doesn't say much for the camp or its leaders. If camp were more fun do you think kids would still choose to stay home and work? or play sports? What is a week? At that age I was one of the most busy kids I knew. Working, playing sports, traveling...........I still made time for Bible camp. Maybe that is just who I am, perhaps my parents would have made me anyway, I don't know, but if it hadn't been for all my wonderful friends at SB, you wouldn't have caught me dead going to camp. Just my thoughts.

jessicalolene said...

I agree with all of you. I'll put in my two cents as a parent of two very-heavily-involved-with-sports boys. I think that we (SB) need to take a look at all the different camps around that are doing well, and in fact, thriving. What makes them thrive while SB is dying? Jalaina hit it on the head, I think. SB is in an area where things are just not staying relevant and with the times. I want my boys to not only go to camp and be refreshed, but to go and no that what they learn they can bring back and put to good use. I want them to be able to go into the world and be the influence that they need to be to their friends. I want them to surround themselves and be saturated with godly influences for the week so that they can live it throughout the rest of the year. Unfortunately, they aren't getting that at SB anymore. It's sad. .......Are my boys skipping out on a weeks worth of sports to go to SB? You bet. I want them to be there for all the others that are coming in. I want to make sure that they know what a priority it is for J and I as their parents for them to go to camps. Several camps, in fact.

Kim said...

Michelle: You wrote an excellent piece. Here is my take on this (for anyone who cares). My "kids" are 24 (girl), 22 (boy), an 20 (very athletic boy). Our view has always been "will this be important in 100 years?" So with that in mind, our kids were at camp. And yes, my son missed a tournament game. But, GASP!! Life continued here in Indiana. And the kids went to a Christian school. My youngest was pretty good in basketball and baseball, but God was put first. We did NOT pull him and put him in public school to play, but let him shine and enjoy himself in a Christian environment. Each summer he played baseball and each Sunday service, Wednesday service, he was in church. His last 3 years of baseball, he was invited to play with the boys from the public school baseball team that put together a summer team. He still went to church services and missed games because of camp and life in Indiana still went on.
As for the jobs, each kid got a job and told the boss from the start that they could not work during church and they never did. Because of the stand, God truly blessed them with good jobs and good paying jobs throughout high school. I agree, baseball is fun, but camp is a lifetime. And trust me, the state of Louisiana will not shut down if kids miss a game to go to camp. And what IS important in 100 years? Not a lot of 108 year old men play baseball. sorry this is long--have a great day!! Keep up the work for Christ.
Kim Cooper

Jalaina said...

I had one additional thought. Our minister, who had spent the previous week at camp, was reporting to us what had gone on and how many kids had become Christians. He also wanted us to know that they had had 215 campers. This was the first year our camp had a pool and I'm fairly certain it isn't crazy fancy. But 215 campers!!! That is awesome! They must be doing something right. The Bible camp my in-laws church is associated with is also popular. They do not have a pool and from what I understand it is pretty rustic. I think it all boils down to leadership. Parents should encourage, but the camp needs to attract kids. It shouldn't be a chore for a child to go to camp.