A recent Barna survey reports that teens “regularly strive to be connected to a substantial number of other people and yet possess a nagging sense of loneliness, isolation and restlessness. The constant involvement with social networking via the Internet, text messaging and phone calls via mobile devices are manifestations of the investment in relationships and connections that are important but somehow not as fulfilling as desired….”
Some of the most significant desires that teens have today are to be loved, to have a close friend, to be accepted by their peers and to be affirmed by their parents. Yet even in our Facebook and texting generation, many still struggle with loneliness and the lack of real personal connection. The Bible talks about how we as believers are to relate with each other and calls it fellowship. Chrisitan fellowship is described as being so real, so genuine and sacrificial, that even the world would see it and take note. Our teens also deal with a sense of isolation and loneliness at times – even when socially networked with many friends and even when surrounded by Christian peers. Something is missing!
If we are going to understand biblical fellowship, we need to see it in its proper context. Only then can we truly “get” our need for each other and the commitment we are commanded to make towards each other. That context is that we are in a war; there is a battle going on around us, and we are on a mission together, as a team. If we understand this, we can no longer love at a distance but by necessity.
At summer camp this year, we will be using the backdrop of the military where the mission determines the relationship and creates what is called a “band of brothers.” Soldiers intuitively know why they need each other, why they are committed to “have each others backs,” “to carry one another’s burdens,” to “leave no man behind.” to “fight shoulder to shoulder.” That is the vision of fellowship that we want our teens to taste and to experience.
At camp we will also be doing a number of things to help us grow in our mission and in coming together as a team. In the beautiful Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, our teens will have the opportunity to ride the white water of the New River and to rappel down the rock walls that border it. They can tube on Lake Stevens, battle it out in a paintball game, take on the high ropes course, hike the woods, take in a round of golf, or work on as a group on team building challenges. Our hope is that this WILL be the best week of their summer!
Our prayer is that God would begin to change each of us during this time in the way we love each other in the youth ministry, in the way we to unconditionally care for our friends in the world, and in the way we sincerely love our family at home. When we choose to engage in the mission God has given us together, we will more clearly see how we need to love one another, exhort one another, and bear each other’s burdens. May it be said by others, that we are devoted to one another and may they see the love of God that is the reason we do.
We are looking for a few young men and women who want to join us on ONE MISSION, and become ONE TEAM. You can get all the information about camp and register at www.restonbible.org/summercamp
Praise the Lord for His great blessing this year with Spring Clean 2010. Spring Clean is one of the major ways that RBC youth raise funds each year for summer mission trips. The Spring Clean 2010 was Saturday, April 24th, and we had 190 volunteers come out to work on 57 jobs doing everything from spreading mulch, mowing grass, raking leaves, repairing fences, hauling wood, planting flowers, washing windows, staining decks, cleaning out garages, and even some interior painting. Together, the teams raised $20,000 for their mission trips to Brazil, Croatia, Chicago, and East Asia. Despite a wet forecast, the Lord also provided cover from the sun and held off the rain until after the teams were back.
We are so thankful for the Lord’s perfect provision and for the many volunteers who were used to bless both families in our area and the 71 team members going on mission trips this summer. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
Earlier this month, the Jr. High held one event “to rule the them all”: Friday Night Live – Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings. At this epic event, we enjoyed Yoda Soda and Eye of Sauron Cookies, played games with light sabers and Legolas’ bow, thought we were in the “Cantina” with our cool Star Wars Band (Pollock), reviewed lots of trivia from the movie, and watched a few exciting scenes from the movies, all in crazy costumes.
As part of the evening, we also looked at some Biblical truth we can clearly see in the movies. First, sin promises to solve all of our problems, but in the end just destroys us. Just like Adam and Eve were seduced to eat the fruit by the temptation to become like God (Genesis 3:5) which led to our spiritual and physical death, Anakin was drawn to the Dark Side by his lust for power and the promise to save his beloved Padme, but in the end he burns in lava and becomes the more machine than man (Vader). Similarly, the Ring leaves in its wake a path of deception and destruction, as Smeagol is drawn by the beauty of the Ring and the identity he finds in “my precious”, and Boromir desires the power of the Ring to defend Gondor. However, in the end, the seduction of the Ring leads to both of their deaths. We see this same truth in the world around us and in our own lives. We must be keenly aware that sin is constantly lying to us and promising solutions while really bringing destruction. The wages of sin is truly death (Romans 6:23).
Second, we looked at how sin corrupts and tempts us all. We read in the Bible, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and clearly see this truth with the Ring. All characters who come in contact with the Ring are drawn to and seduced by its power. The whole “Fellowship” starts because they each know that they cannot be trusted with sole possession of the Ring; however, it breaks up because they each know their behaviors are not safe around the Ring. Even Gandalf turns away in fear when he is offered the Ring because he knows he cannot handle its temptation. As we look into our own lives, it is clear that sin is something we each face daily and will continue to face until eternity.
Finally, while the first two truths are kind of depressing, we have seen the end of the movies and know that a Savior always comes. When it looks like Vader will blow up Luke’s X-Wing, in comes Han Solo in the Millennial Falcon. When the Battle of Helm’s Deep seems lost, Gandalf comes in with the Riders of Rohan. After Obi-wan and Anakin have been defeated by Count Dooku, Yoda pulls out his light saber. And even though Sam can’t carry the Ring, he can carry Frodo. In the same way, “just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8) Especially as we reflect on Easter, praise be to God for sending His Son, because without Him we would be hopeless.
At the end of the evening, we voted which series was more epic. In a vote even closer than the 2000 Presidential election, Star Wars won by two votes, even after a full recount. So if you are ever in a debate as to which is better, the decision has been made.
Many thanks to Pollock (Jesse Trask’s Band), Jason VanDorsten, Aaron Reed, Catherine Wilson, Sarah Jarvis, Elizabeth Johnstone, Kelly Hack, Mason Nalle, John Lyver, Denna Zimmerman, and the many others who helped. Please be in prayer for the six Jr. Highers who indicated decisions for Christ that night.