Part 1 (hours 67-50)
In the beginning, God spoke everything into existence. Except for you.
He spoke, and he filled the world with light. He spoke, and the heavens, the waters, and land appeared. God spoke, and vegetation sprouted into place, stars boomed into existence, the moon whirled around and around. He said a word, and the earth was filled with fish and birds and bears and everything in between.
God spoke everything into existence, except for you.
Take a look at Genesis 2:
“…then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (verse 2)
“So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” (verse 21-22)
God did not speak man into existence; he crafted him by hand. God did not speak woman into existence; he formed her carefully.
God spoke everything into existence, except for you. He crafted you.
Imagine being a middle schooler—scared, insecure, unsure—and hearing this. These are the words that some of our middle school girls heard today during one of our rotation games from a JH Ranch staffer named Michael.
After a game of passing 15 girls through a web made of rope hanging in the air, Michael sat us down and asked, “Would you have been able to complete that challenge if you were all the same size?” We all answered with a “no.” He proceeded to say, “There is immense pressure on women in our society to all look the same and be the same. But God formed you, to be just the way you are, and to be that way for a reason.”
He spoke to us about Galatians 5:1, how Christ has set us free for the sake of freedom; he set us free to be free in him. He asked us,
“What would it look like if you fell into freedom? If you understood that you were crafted and formed by the God of the universe, who sees you, cherishes you and loves you? What if you took hold of your identity as a daughter of the King, and lived boldly and confidently in that freedom? People would want what you have. How do I know that? Because I was once a 15 year old kid who was looking for that freedom, and I was looking for someone to tell me that it could be found in Christ alone. You can be free, and you can invite others into that freedom.”
We proceeded to do “trust falls” (because what else would you do at a Christian camp?), falling into the freedom that was spoken of. Only a few kids stepped up, but that’s a few more than yesterday. Kids are starting to understand who they are—created and cared for by God Almighty—and responding by falling into their identities—free in the freedom of the gospel.
Part 2 (hours 49-43)
As I was walking to dinner tonight, I saw one of our high schoolers chasing after a snake in the grass saying, “Look! A snake!” If I’m being honest, I pretended not to hear her for fear of looking like a 6th grade girl who cries upon seeing a snake (because honestly that is still my reaction to this day).
Ironically enough, snakes ended up being the theme of the night. As Connor got up to speak tonight, he shared John 3:14-16:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
He explained that the Israelites weren’t looking to God for their need, so he resolved to get their attention. How? With snakes. God sent the snakes, but he also sent the solution. He commanded Moses to make a fiery serpent out of bronze and raise it up on a stick, so that anyone who looked upon the serpent would be spared from the death of the snake bite and live.
Sound familiar? Connor continued to explain how Jesus became the snake for us; God make him who knew no sin to become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). And just as the snake was raised up for the Israelites to look upon and live, so Jesus was raised up for us to look upon and be spared from the death we deserved. Why? Because God so loved the world that he gave himself to get them back. Tonight, the gospel was proclaimed and kids were invited to be freed from the bite of the serpent, from the sting of sin, and turn to look upon the crucified Son crucified live.
Day by day, we are seeing kids being raised to life because they are seeing that the Son died and was raised to life for them. This personal resurrection looks different for every kid: some are having dead parts of their hearts revived; some are experiencing new freedoms they didn’t even know were available to them; some are seeing the glory of the Son for the first time. This camp is seeing the Son, and with that, are seeing what a life raised with Christ looks like.