I was thinking the other day asking myself am I running into the arms of God or am I running away from the arms of God? Do I want to embrace or shrug off the embrace of the Lord’s love?
For a number of people, I imagine there are lots of fond memories of Summer Camp. The summer for some begins the annual pilgrimage to their chosen Camp. A place where you would meet up with friends, and also make new friends, and experience the great outdoors. I had not experienced this in my life, Camp was not a family tradition for me in Scotland. My first experience of this great tradition, was when I was a camp counselor through an organization called Camp America, through their program. I had an interview in Edinburgh Scotland, fulfilled the requirements, and before I knew it, I was on my way to America. They organize flights, paperwork, and give a little pocket money, and after Camp, some time was allowed for the individual to travel and explore the US.
It has come to my attention that 20 years have passed since my first encounter with camping ministry. I was a camp counselor at Camp Asbury in the East Ohio Conference, with the United Methodist Church.
It certainly was a summer to remember, and a lot of first-time experiences. A week before the campers come to camp the staff for the summer goes through their training, experiencing everything, that you as a camp counselor have to allow the kids to experience. These were camping outside under a tarp, and the rest of the time a basic cabin, or if older out in the woods all week. In Rustic there we would fend for ourselves, by building a campfire and this time would require us to cook over it, for every meal. There was a lot of hiking on the various trails, wade through the creek, go down a mud slide, swim in a pond with fish, leeches, and goose poo, and an occasional snake.
There were Bible studies called vespers, it was mostly a time of quiet out in the beauty of creation, under the canopy, or in the cathedral of the forest.
I wrote my first poem during this time:
Liberty and Freedom In the peace of God’s creation, under the canopy of the beauty of a forest. I hear the bird’s sing their worship to the one who made them, God. I hear the wind blow, it reminds me that God blew into us the breath of life. And the Spirit is like the wind, a liberty and freedom as the wind has no limitation. Mark Condy 1997.
All these experiences, such as around the campfire, working together, doing the high and low rope challenge courses. (The photos below are me ready to do the Powerpole and having accomplished the challenge) These were times as a group that was rewarding and life shaping, making lasting friends, or just for the summer, but memories were formed.
H – hour, a time when all had to be quiet in a horizontal position, when you could read or sleep but was also a given time to relax and recharge. There were also opportunities to go to the Camp store and buy your keepsakes, such as a T-shirt, hat, or the favorite soft toy, and got your free pencil or pen if I remember correctly. The merchandise took a change after a few years and had a different logo, the one I will always remember is the cross and tree.
We made the journey to Camp Asbury for the 50th Anniversary and hope to do the same for the 60th Anniversary. This time we plan to stay overnight and allow our sons have a taste of Camp Asbury, with the hope they would desire to go also one day. Let all who are able to come, make the decision to enjoy this reunion and build further memories by catch up with each other.
A lot has happened in 20 years, let’s use this time to learn how life has been, and to share the paths that we have taken in our spiritual journeys. How have we been “touched by the light”?…
I hope this post floods you with memories, of how your life was impacted for the good by Summer Camp and for the good you experienced. Also, may it remind you of the impact you made when contributing, by being there, having had an impact on a person, touching with your presence, if they were younger or older.
I know Camp changed the course of my life forever taking a turn I would never have expected changing the trajectory of my life. I met Susan my wife-to-be at Camp. One of the many reasons why I live in the USA, with my family.
Anam Cara: I’m taking this in a different direction, but to the same end.
A journal is the journey of a person’s heart toward knowing their soul, to know thyself. But it is more than this, it is to know your God, and God’s plan. Can you imagine you have walked and talked with God in heaven agreeing on your role to play, and that it was recorded in your book of life? Is it possible that every moment was laid out before us before a single day had passed, we agreed on this journey together, and now it is our quest to remember, we get glimpses given by the Lord, God knows the outcome? These glimpses we record in our journal, to remember, as we can so easily forget, and forget to believe, have faith, and remind ourselves what we believe and what we are believing for!
We take confidence, in the knowledge that, we can say. You Lord go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head, you know my thoughts, familiar with all my ways, you discern my every action, we can’t flee from the Lord. Look further into Psalm 139.
Let us trust the journey of journaling, discovering through this process, like an experience of remembering, and untangling all that we had shared, longed for. We now take to our journal, like talking to a faithful friend, always available any time of day. You can write what you are thinking, feeling, longing for, praying for, your hopes and your dreams, add them to the pages of your journal. The Journal takes to its pages everything you want to share, and this friend won’t share your deepest secrets. So, you can be free to be yourself! Make it like a process of prayer, it is a process of continual refocusing, as things do get blurred at times, and vision unclear. So, begin today, if you don’t have this practice in your life, don’t put off until tomorrow; what you can do today!
The journal is like a living Anam Cara, a constant pilgrim by your side, who you can go to and open your heart unto its pages, unraveling those mysteries, entering the labyrinthine mind, working through the twists and turns, through the changes on the path of life, you can come confidently, having a vulnerability to become more transparent, clear and focused, to live or lives to our fullness, to enter all the possibilities and our potential, to overcome our doubt and fears.
This is no substitute for having and Anam Cara, but gives content to share with your Anam Cara, your soul friend, grab your journal and begin to write all the reason we have, to believe in our God, and believe in ourselves, and believe in this world again, as we do get disillusioned and disappointed, but tomorrow bring another day of change and possibilities.
Trust God at all times, pour out your longings before God, for the Lord can help. Psalm 62: 8
I began a practice recently of reading the words of Jesus, found in the bible highlighted in red. A Red letter Bible. These are attributed as being what Jesus taught and said, to some of the crowds, and also to his disciples.
Why start this practice, you may ask? It was out of the feeling that I had been reading a lot of books by men and women, giving their ideas, thought, persuasive talk and insights. But the teacher Jesus, who has the words of eternal life, who is the way and the truth, and the life. I had not been learning from Jesus, and focusing on his sayings and teachings. I had drifted away by listening to other people of influence.
The Jesus prayer is a good preparatory prayer
Access to God is through Jesus, the mediator between humanity and God. Also through Christ, we are made right with God. It is nothing of our doing. Even when we were in our sin, God loved us enough to have Jesus killed on a tree. God first loved us, when we were so far from God’s love because of our sin and not knowing any better. Until that day the scales fell from our eyes and we see for the first time this amazing love.
Listen to this song and let the words envelop you like an embrace as if arms are being wrapped around you, by a community, and by God.
Light a candle or watch the above video of a candle burning. Allow this to center you, to be still, watching and pondering the warmth of the candle, watch the flame dance. The light that it represents, is a light that is in you. This light is in you because Christ dwells in you, or a divine spark of the creator, who is always igniting new ideas and innovation, if we are open to inspiration.
A practice to help the being still process and help with the business of the mind, when you are trying to be still, a lot floods the mind because of the business and activity of our lives we have programmed our self to be active, processing, planning, busy, but just being the human being not doing is difficult.
Repeat this as part of the process of centering yourself on God; this does not have to be at an organized event. But can be part of your day or before you read the bible or at a stressful point of your day.
The peace you experience will create faith to face up to whatever your needing to face.
Do I look forward to the time I have? This is an expression at times I say when I have arranged a time to meet with someone. “I look forward to seeing you” Anticipating the meeting, talking, listening, being with the person! We do have to look forward, excited about, having a vision, or focus, or goal to achieve, to a certain degree. The past is past, the future has not come, and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. The present time, this moment, is what we have, the now, is what we have to work with.
Do I enjoy the moments of time I have been given? Do I look forward with anticipation, with excitement, the time was given, the time we make, as a gift? We found the time, as if it got lost, we have to wait a long time, for that cherished moment and savor the time with a friend. Having arranged a tryst, to have that quality time, not driven, or task orientated, not just another chore to be done on time.
Time is Time, not time is money! We have to place value on our time, and not get irritated, when the time feels wasted, due to the fact, we had an alternative motive. My needs not being met! Those times that we feel rushed, or running out of time, may make you feel like a drill sergeant, shouting your commands. We start pushing your demands, feeling pressured and stressed, feeling that there is not enough time, to have time, rest, recreation. Where you are the busiest, this is probably a good place to begin the needed change. Pausing, asking, pondering, how can I enjoy this moment of time, as a gift that it is. I have been given time, be careful not to get too driven, organizing, get everyone ready, fixing mode. When we are in this frame of mind, the time is no longer a gift, but a commodity to be used and abused.
Where are you the busiest? This is probably a good place to begin the needed change. Pausing, asking, pondering, how can I enjoy this moment of time, as a gift, recognizing time as just this as a precious gift. I have been given time, be careful not to get too driven, organizing everyone, demanding everyone to get ready, being in the fix it mode. When we are in this frame of mind, the time is no longer a gift, but a commodity to be used and abused.
A small extract from my book that I’m working on, it is still a work in process.
“Had you asked me a year ago, I never would have thought that I’d be perfectly happy sitting in a room with an old man, listening to a clock tick on the mantle, and hearing the weather change, as the wind howled. I looked up from the book in my hands when a branch scraped the window.” pg 11.
Time, what a luxury! Time to sit and read a book, not too busy, what a luxury you may think. Possibly feeling like you have no time for yourself, being mostly in a rush. Like the rabbit in Alice in wonderland, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.” Not having enough time. Time stops for no man, this little phrase feels so true, not enough time in a day to get everything accomplished. We try to manage out time, and question where did the time go. We are being busy at nothing, or spending our time in pleasurable activities, in recreational activities, spending time with family around the dinner table. The time you have been given is a precious commodity, we are given moments of time, to appreciate as a gift to be used wisely. Do we give ourselves the time to re – create, allow the time to re- generate, and re-new our lives, do we give time to the things we love?
There could be a danger, not making time for new things, stuck in the ordinary status quo of life. We make time for what we want to do, and we only do what we want to do. We make time for the things we like and love to do! Do I only do what is right in my own eyes? Not using the time I have been given wisely, we all have seven days a week and 24hrs to work with, granted we do sleep some of those hours. How to use time wisely?
“The time spent in discovering and refining our craft is not a waste of time. It is called creos time. Like kairos time creos is time of a spiritual nature, a time of probing, of discovering the nature of our gifts, of testing the potential and scope of their application, of considering the ramifications of the long haul. Creos is a time of peaks and valleys, of undulating movement that we must learn to read, just as we read the hands of a clock in Chrono’s time, creos has a different rhythm that is measured by heartbeats and soul beats that tick at their own rubato pace – sometimes fast, sometimes slow, often in unmetered rhythms until we are aesthetically and spiritually satisfied. Ignorance of creos time is injurious to our spirits.” Pg 35 Seeing in the dark: A vision of creativity and Spirituality – Beverly J. Shamana.
Redeem the time, Ephesians 5: 16. – Berean Literal Bible
15 Therefore carefully take heed how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 redeeming the time because the days are evil. 17 Because of this, do not be foolish, but understand what is the Lord’s will, 18 and not to be drunk with wine in which is debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,19 speaking to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks at all times for all things in the name our Lord Jesus Christ to the God and Father.
We have to be careful that we do not treat people as if they are not worthy of giving attention, some people view people as not valuable enough to give a moment of their time. Time is a gift to be shared.
A friend who did this for me personally, I will feature at my new website. Motivation and Inspiration, the person I’m featuring is my friend Curtis Kneblik. He has shown love, by giving of his time, by listening and being available. This can be a sacrifice, but God does want our time to be spent in some worthwhile endeavor. Let us redeem the time, making the most our appointed time, by buying back the wasted years. We are stewards of our time, let us give of our time generously, wisely, cautiously, discerningly, and in a way that is honoring to God.
5-6 Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
Doing this fundraiser again this year, help us make a difference,
Please contribute what you can.
Because we all can make a difference! This is the write up I wrote last year about the fundraiser. We are doing it again this year. Please help us make a difference.
There are a number of kids who have dreams in America and in the U.K. and other affluent nations and are pressing on toward attaining them. There are kids with dreams in Africa, India, Mexico, and many other deprived countries who have a desire to better themselves and get out of poverty. A pair of shoes can make a difference.
You may think what can a pair of shoes do to help?
This can make a difference between getting an education or not! Kids with no shoes can’t enter the school system that is offered and receive the needed education to better their prospects, no education no hope for a better future. Thus trapped in a vicious cycle…
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