I'm looking forward to this coming weekend's youth leadership camp run by CCM: it is always a joy to work with kids, and camps are inevitably tremendously enjoyable, rewarding, exhausting, and challenging! This camp will be my fourth one this summer, I think, with two more to go!
Allen, on the ball as usual, many months ago set the overall theme ("Missing Pieces") and the focus for my evening talks ("integrity"). But I needed to set aside some time to focus and prepare spiritually for the weekend, so here I am on the banks of the Fraser, in the cool shade of the willows, praying through my devotions in Genesis15.
It's interesting to analyze my sermon-preparation methodology, and how it has changed over the years. I am still tempted to jump right into the task of the talk, the obligatory three-point outline and PowerPoint bulleted lists. I can easily get distracted with slick animated transitions and pretty clipart -- it's a bottomless time-sink.
But the preparation I really need is to make sure my heart is in line with God's -- to confess my struggles to Him, to cast my cares upon Him, and to lift my eyes to the heavens, to the Saviour who calls me to His service according to His purpose and power. When my spirit is attentive to the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, then the message, outline, anecdotes, and everything else fall into place very naturally! The times I get into trouble are when my own agenda and pride get in the way of God's working. :) My reflections carry me to God's covenant promise to Abram, when he was a sojourner in a foreign land, and still childless:
[God] took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars -- if indeed you can count them."Then He said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
To behold the natural beauty of creation, whether the brilliant stars in the inky night sky or the soft breeze now whispering against my cheek, is to behold a testimony of the glory of the Creator. The same God who made each star and calls them by name also calls me by name and cares for me, small and insignificant though I may be. He provided a son and a legacy for Abram; and if it is His will, He will provide a family for me, too -- in His timing. I just need to continue in the faith that Abram had: simply to take God at His word.
Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.