Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye

As the buses pull out every week, we stand on the shuffle board courts and we sing a song as they drive up the driveway.

Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye….

We repeat it until they’ve left.  Then the dust settles, and we realize what’s ahead as we prepare for our next week.

Well, that’s happened again today, except that today is the busiest day of the season, as we prepare for Family Camp Week 1, which starts in just a few hours.  Our staff are moving out of wherever they were staying, cleaning their accommodation, and moving into their new one.  The kitchen is being mopped, scrubbed, and cleaned, while the dining hall chairs are switched out for new ones.

Kids camp is over.

Summit was great!  I heard lots of kids telling each other to add them on Facebook, and sharing numbers and email addresses so they can stay in touch with the friends they’ve made here.  There were many hugs as everyone prepared to say goodbye to those they wouldn’t see again for a while.

Now as we scramble to get ready for our first of four weeks of family camp, I’m sitting in the tuck shop writing to you, ready to share yesterday’s pictures and the last memories from kids camp for this season.  We’ll be back to kids camp at the end of August for Bravo, Aspire, and Zenith of course!

But here are yesterday’s highlights!  Apparently I should have gone in the boat for water sports as Emma was able to drop a ski and slalom for quite some time, but since I spent most of the day Thursday in the boat (and have a tan line from my glasses to show for it 😛 ) I decided to stay firmly planted on land.

Here are your cabin photos for Summit 2015!

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On the last day of the canoeing major, the participants played a game where they have to try to splash water into the other canoe, and each is trying to finish the game with less water in their canoe than the other.

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At the beach, I saw people relaxing, kids having fun building castles, and many splashing around in the water throwing a ball around.

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At Crafts, Shelley brought up a bunch of old pictures of camp and let the kids look through them and choose some to make scrapbook pages out of.

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At Beauty Inside and Out, I caught up with the girls as they were doing their nails, getting ready for banquet night, where those who want to get dressed up for dinner.

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At the kayaking major, the participants had gotten to a point where they were ready to practice tipping their own kayaks so that they knew what it felt like and what to do should it ever happen accidentally.  Here they are, tipping over!

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Throughout this week, Hope, Noah, and Jordan led a Triathlon boot camp activity, where 6 kids practiced swimming, bike riding, and running leading up to a triathlon yesterday.  We have extensive coverage of it since I sent Hope across the road with my phone while I stayed on the main campus here.  It’s my understanding that this was a big week for Chris, who learned not only how to water ski, but also how to ride a bike!  Way to champ it!  Donny ended up winning the triathlon, but all six of them did an incredible job persevering.  I know I wouldn’t have been able to do it for sure!

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Here are the Outdoor Pursuits kids heading out on paddle boards, canoes, and kayaks.  I’m not sure if they were just heading out for a paddle, or working on skills.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to them.  From where I was perched watching the Triathlon, it looked like they were working on water skills because I looked at one moment, and when I looked up the next, a canoe was tipped and there was no one in it!

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Check out our awesome kitchen staff!  Heather’s back as our cook, Shanon’s back as our assistant cook, and Emma is spending another year as kitchen assistant this summer.  A special thanks to Annette, who came up for the week as a volunteer to help out in the kitchen as well.

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Here is a Crew group photo!


And here is an LIT Group photo!

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And lastly, to finish off our last week’s blog, here are a couple great sunset shots from the other night.

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Our God is an Awesome God

When we look at the story in Acts 9 of Saul’s conversion to Christ, and becoming Paul, it’s really hard, for me anyway, to not acknowledge how awesome God is.  Just like God gave Abram a new identity by renaming him Abraham, He completely turned the life of Saul around on its heel, and sent him in the opposite direction.

In Acts 9, we can see that Saul has begun to destroy the brand new church.  He was dragging men and women off and putting them in prison for following the teachings of Jesus.  Saul was present at the stoning of the first martyr, Steven, and after watching him be stoned Saul felt a passion for destroying Christianity.

As he’s walking down the road to Damascus, Saul sees a bright flash of light and hears a voice that calls out “Saul! Saul!  Why are you persecuting me?!”  Saul responds, “Who are you, Lord?”  (Lord in this case probably more like ‘sir’ than that Saul would have immediately recognized the Lordship here.)  Jesus answers, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”  The men traveling with Saul saw the flash of light, but they didn’t hear the voice.  Jesus was speaking only to Saul.  Saul stands up after this encounter, and he’s blind.  He can’t see anything.  Matt made the excellent point that there wouldn’t be much that would limit your power like suddenly becoming blind and having to rely on people around you even to hold your hands while you walk into town.  Saul would have felt helpless.

Saul spent three days not eating or drinking ~ which I can kind of understand.  I’d be so anxious about how different my life was about to become if I didn’t regain my sight that I don’t think I’d be able to eat or drink anything either.

Ananaias, one of the new disciples sent out after Jesus’ death, received a really specific vision, telling him to go to the house of Judas on Straight Street in Damascus, and ask for Saul of Tarsus who has been praying.  Ananaias is shocked.  “The one who’s been persecuting us??”

At the same time, Saul has a vision of a man named Ananaias coming to lay hands on him and restore his sight.  God assures Ananaias that Saul is an instrument ~ the perfect fit ~ for what He needs to do.  He needs Saul.  So Ananaias does what God asks, despite his apprehension.  He lays hands on Saul, and scales fall off of his eyes.  Saul is immediately baptized, he eats, and regains his strength.  He uses his renewed strength to immediately start preaching in the Synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

People would have known Saul.  They would have known he was famous for persecuting those who believed, and they would have known he was a man to be careful of.  But imagine the Glory to God when a man like Saul can have an encounter with Him and be changed, and instead of persecuting those who believe, can set his life on a path where he convinces many of the truth.  Our God is an awesome God.

If God used Saul, God can use me for His glory, and it doesn’t matter what I’ve done.  God can use me when I’m willing.

Our God is an awesome God.



I spent all day yesterday on the water.  If your kids were in water sports, tubing, or the Boot Camp activity, they’ll be in here.  The first two activity periods gave us rough waters again, so we loaded the kids and the gear onto the Pontoon Boat and took them into the bay where it was much calmer, and had excellent water sports water.  By the time tubing rolled around, it had calmed down and we were able to stay at the ski dock.  Many of the kids see me in the boat and start to make sure that they’re giving thumbs up or waving to the camera.  I love it.  This is why I come out!  It’s also really great to see the progression both in skill level and in confidence of the kids who’ve gone through several years of kids camp, doing water sports each year, and learning so many more skills as they’ve gone.  They’re at a point now where Paige was trying to drop a ski and slalom, Bridgely was doing jumps with the wake board, and Emma was cutting in and out of the wake on her skis like she was born for that.  It was awesome.

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Also check out our canoe majors….

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Our Outdoor Pursuits kids who were snorkeling for fishing bait (supervised of course by Lifeguard Uncle Ben, director Uncle Randy, and marked off by a kayak and a flag showing that there were snorkelers in the water courtesy of Aunt Lynn.  We’ve made sure they stay safe while they’re in the water!

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Lastly, check out our Boot Camp activity participants, who were practicing the swimming aspect of their training.  I imagine today they’ll be doing their triathlon, so I will do my best to get some pictures of that, as well.  Their leaders ~ Hope, Noah, and Jordan, have been showing them many of the skills necessary to continue with fitness when they get home!  It’s really nice to see such a big group interested in this as well.

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By Grace I’m Free, You’ve Rescued Me, Now All I Am is Yours

I’d never heard this song before.  It’s called “I’ve Found a Love.”  But what a beautiful set of lyrics that Laura led us in this morning.  She asked the kids in the middle of her set if anyone knew why we tend to do the same songs over and over again sometimes ~ and then told them it’s so that we can let the words sink deep into our hearts.  It’s like when we tell ourselves over and over again something that we hope can make it true.

By grace I’m free
You’ve rescued me
All I am is Yours

I’ve found a love greater than life itself
I’ve found a hope stronger and nothing compares
I once was lost; now I’m alive in You

That was unrelated, but I had to share.

Matt started out this morning by asking if anyone had seen the movies San Andreas or Twister.  Matt explained that he’s always been in awe of natural disasters because they’re so much bigger than him.

We looked at the story starting in Acts 16:19 of Paul and Silas casting a demon out of a slave woman who could tell the future.  The demon within her giving her such abilities made it so that she could make her owners a lot of money, and so when Paul and Silas cast out the demon, her owners were very angry at the loss.  Paul and Silas were taken to the market place to make a big scandal out of them.  When the masses can get worked up, the slave owners knew that it would be a lot easier to try Roman citizens unfairly and have them thrown in jail.  “These men are Jews, and are throwing our town into an uproar!”

Paul and Silas were stripped and beaten, then thrown into prison.  A jailer was told to guard them carefully, so they were locked in stocks.  They were probably wondering where God was in all of this, but instead of turning their backs on God, they prayed that God would show mercy to those who treated them poorly, and they sang praises to God.

Suddenly, a violent Earthquake shook the foundations of the building.  All the doors swung open, and every prisoner’s chains came loose.  When the jailer woke up and saw all the doors swung open, he drew his sword ready to kill himself out of fear of the consequences for the prisoners escaping, but Paul called out for him not to harm himself because they had all stayed!

The jailer fell trembling before Paul and Silas and asked what he must do to be saved.  His whole life was changed, likely in the course of 2-5 minutes.  The jailer washes Paul and Silas’ wounds, has his entire family baptized, and was filled with joy at his new belief in God.

The next day, seeing how much trouble had come after Paul and Silas were given an unfair trial and jailed unfairly, the Magistrate calls for their release.  They too could sense that they were messing with the power of God and they didn’t want to deal with it.

Matt asked us to think of the name of a person who we know really needs that deep and wild encounter with the power of God that turns them around.  Maybe our steadfastness in our own lives can show them that God is someone they need.  The kids spent some time in prayer for people they know need Jesus.

Matt left them with the thought:  write out a time where we felt God very present in our lives.  If there are any who want to, there will be a time for them to share those moments on Friday during the evening Underground.

What could God be using in our lives to get the attention of others?


Here are your pictures from yesterday.

The Outdoor Pursuit kids had a chance yesterday to do an orienteering game where they had to go on the Hiawatha Trail and try to find Uncle Randy, dressed completely in camouflage.  It’s my understanding that they didn’t find him, though they did come close.

Right after lunch, they headed into the bush across the road to build their own shelters and camp out overnight.  I sent Randy with a camera so that he could capture a few moments from the overnight.  You will see some of them in their shelters, around their fire, and eating the food they cooked in foil packs.  I think they made bannock bread, prepared ahead of time by Heather using an old recipe of Uncle Ernie’s.  They also found a salamander!

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At Sports, the older kids seem to have a much better handle on the concept of 9 Square in the Air, and the game seemed to be moving pretty well.  The goal is to be the server in the middle, and you serve into the air, kind of like a combination of volleyball and Four Square.  It looks like a lot of fun!  There was also some tetherball happening while the Outdoor Pursuits kids waited for their orienteering activity (while Randy hid!)

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At the Beach, the water was pretty choppy, and the wind was cool, so the water wasn’t a very popular place.  There was an epic sandcastle built on the beach, and they worked very hard as a team to build it.  Thanks to Uncle Nate for sending me a picture of the finished product!

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At Archery, Uncle Frank happened to be teaching.  I stuck around just long enough to get a turn myself, and I even hit the target!  Once….   Most of my arrows hit the ground.  A couple of the kids were close to or had beaten Frank’s high score, so in one of the pictures you can see Frank trying to be a distraction so that his score would remain untouched.  Of course this was staged, and that would never happen while the kids were shooting.

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At Low Ropes and Wall Climbing, kids appear to be having a good time all around!

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I haven’t made it into the boat for water sports pictures yet because the water’s been too choppy to take pictures.  Yesterday, because the water in our part of the lake was fairly choppy still, our tubers and water sports participants were taken on the pontoon boat out into the bay by Crown Island, where the water was MUCH calmer, and they still got to have safe rides.


At Crafts, the girls were modge podging old hymnal pages onto a box, with the top painted in chalkboard paint.  Aunt Shelley finds the coolest ideas to bring to the kids each week!  I want one, but there weren’t enough, and I showed up in the middle and wouldn’t have had time anyway.  I’ll have to make my own, I guess!

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Right before dinner, we paused to honour our very first picnic table plaque dedication.  Jim and Kim Wideman bought 40 picnic tables in the off season in January for a dramatically reduced price, and throughout this week they’ve been stained and prepared to have plaques added to them.  For 100.00 per table, plaques could be engraved and fastened to the table.  The revenue from picnic table dedications not only completely covered the cost of the tables, but also made it so that our wash house, very popular during family camp, now houses four washing machines and three dryers!  So awesome!  The first dedication was made to Uncle Ivan, who has spent 41 years cabin leading at Camp, and countless hours working on building projects, up to and including the most recent one where we’re finishing up two brand new chalets!

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Here are a few pictures of our Crew working hard.  Today, they’re off on their solos where they had to find a spot all to themselves and spend some really focused time with God, listening to what He has to say to them.  I outfitted them with bottles of water this morning so that they’d stay hydrated, and sent them on their way.  We’ll miss their presence around the camp through the day today for sure, because they work VERY hard, but from what I understand this is usually a very rewarding experience for them.

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And lastly, enjoy some of our kids monkeying around in order to get their mail for the night 🙂

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I’ve Got a River of Life

This morning in Underground, right before Matt came to give his message, Laura did a song that was a request from Hope to finish off the Worship time.  “I’ve got a river of life.”  You’ve probably heard it.  And to do it Camp style, there are actions and sound effects that make it super catchy and hard to shake out of your head.  I’m not sure if Hope requested it knowing what Matt was about to speak on, or if it was a work of the Holy Spirit making things work together, but it was very fitting.

Matt started by asking the kids if there was anything great going on this week that they wanted to praise God for.  One camper said she ran 4.6 km this week!  One climbed the wall with the weighted backpack on, and yet another was excited because he got to run as fast as he wanted during the camp-wide games.

Matt then looked at John 4 with the kids ~ the story of the Samaritan Woman meeting Jesus at the Well.  Matt told the kids that he loves this passage because there are so many hidden things throughout the passage that if you’re looking for them can really shed more light on the topic, and I thought that was interesting.  Apparently “Easter Eggs” is a video game term, so I hadn’t heard it before, but it’s great that it can relate to some of our campers as well.

There are a few things about Jesus talking to the woman at the well that just ordinarily would not have happened in that time.  Jesus, a man, was talking to a woman.  But not only that, a Jewish man was talking to a Samaritan woman, and that just didn’t happen.  Jesus asks the woman at the well for a drink, and she comments that he has nothing to go get the water with.  He has no bucket, and no rope, which would have been common place in that time.  He tells her “if you knew who was asking for a drink, you would be asking ME for living water instead.”  Living Water would have meant different things to Jesus though than it did for the Samaritan Woman.  She would have interpreted that as clean, pure water that wasn’t standing still or sitting in a swamp.  It wouldn’t have been brackish or salty, and it would have tasted good.  Jesus meant it as the Holy Spirit coming to live within us.  The water Jesus was offering was a metaphor for being cleansed, refreshed, and given a new start by the Holy Spirit living within us.

It would give her Abundant Life!  Just like the song “River of Life.”

Spring up O well
Within my Soul
Spring up O Well
and make me whole
Spring up O Well
and give to me
That life abundantly

Jesus says “Whoever drinks this will become a spring of water welling up into eternal life.”  He also tells her that a time is coming where it won’t matter who she is, who anyone is, or where they are for them to Worship.  They’ll be able to praise God and Worship wherever they are.  For us, that means that at School, at Home, at Camp ~ wherever!  We can talk to God, pray, and praise Him for all He does for us.

She tells Jesus that she knows a Messiah is coming.  He blows her mind by telling her it’s Him.  She drops everything she had and runs into town, telling everyone she encounters to come and see a man who knew everything she had ever done.  Could this be the Christ?  Could this be the Messiah?  Many believed in Jesus because of her testimony, and then after coming to Jesus and hearing Him speak, even more believed because of who He was.

Why should this appeal to us?  God is not distant, and not far off.  He’s ever present, and knows us.  Knows all about us.  And yet still chooses to love us and chase after us.  It sure makes me smile!  The kids were sent to their small groups asked to think about and discuss why this should appeal to them, and why it would have appealed to the Samaritan woman.

Could it be for the same reason?


As yesterday was my day off, there were no pictures taken yesterday.  BUT since I didn’t write a blog yesterday, I have plenty of pictures leftover from Monday to share, so please enjoy your kids’ first day of Summit/Outdoor Pursuits!  The Outdoor Pursuits kids are headed across the road for a camp-out in the bush tonight.  I’ll try to make my way into the bush this afternoon to get some shots of them building their shelters and their fire, setting up their camp.


Here’s Hope, who sees me with a camera and yells “PUT ME IN THE BLOG!” So she’s in the blog with her sister this time 🙂


Because these are Monday’s pictures, the Rock Climbing Major pictures are of the kids learning to tie their knots and properly secure their harnesses.  They would have spent their first day on the climbing wall yesterday, and will be headed up there again today.

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Gaga Ball has become a beloved Kahquah sport!

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The Outdoor Pursuits kids caught a few fish first thing Monday morning, and they wanted to show off their catch.  I didn’t want to get anywhere near the fish, but I suppose that’s why I never would have signed up for an outdoorsy type camp!  These kids look like they’re very much enjoying showing off their catch!

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The kayaking majors had to start Monday morning by learning the proper way to complete their strokes so that once they were out in the water, they knew how to steer.  The best way to teach those skills is to try them out on land first, so that you know what you’re doing before you get into a boat.  Here’s Kenny instructing on proper stroke technique.  He was teaching the C Stroke here.

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At the Beach, there’s always sand buildings, and kids playing in the water.  With the addition of the older kids though, it’s nice to see friends just relaxing on the beach, and one even drawing while she chats with her friends.

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At Crafts, kids spent some time making bracelets.  The Craft activity in the afternoon was to sew on a felt owl and monster appliqué to a burlap bag with darning needles.  The girls were all getting the hang of it quite nicely, and I’m sure some of your kids will have nifty craft creations to bring home with them.

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At Beauty Inside and Out, they focused on hair on Monday.  This activity goes through a devotional, helping girls to see what God really thinks of them and to discover their inner beauty, and then they do hair, makeup, nails, and other fun beauty activities to go along with it.  I’m supposed to assure you that the pot is there to amplify the sound of the worship music coming from Brooklyn’s phone.  At first I thought maybe Taylor wasn’t feeling well, but I was assured that that’s not the case.  Apparently if you put the phone in a pot, the sound comes out much louder!

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At Water Sports, even though it was the first day, many of these kids have been here in years prior, so they know a lot of the skills they need to be successful without spending their whole first day learning skills on the dock.  The second group managed to spend most of the activity period in the water, which is great!

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At Boot Camp, kids who are interested in fitness are going through a week of fitness activities.  It’s likely that the girl who was thrilled that she ran 4.6 km was part of the group!  Here they are running up the stairs and hill toward the lodge with all their might!  Good for them!

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Here we have a couple of girls at Archery.

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At Rock Climbing, there were only two participants signed up, which would be great for them!  It means they don’t have to take turns or wait, they can just keep climbing.  Paige scales quickly to the top.  I remember her from last year and how speedy she is on the wall.  She rapidly made her way to the top, scaled down, and then asked for the weighted backpack.  Ben also made it to the top quite happily 🙂

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At Low Ropes, here we can see kids working together and supporting each other, as well as patiently waiting while the others finished up the activity.  Since I arrived near the end of the period, a few of the girls were already finished.  But they seemed to be enjoying getting to know each other better while they hung out on the tire swings.

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At the Summit ~ Mount Everest

Welcome to Mount Everest, our final week of Base Camp with kids’ camps.  On site this week we have our Summit campers, and our Outdoor Pursuits.  Many of the Outdoor Pursuit enthusiasts have chosen to stay on an extra week after their Algonquin Park canoe trip last week, and we’re glad to have them back!

The kids all arrived safely yesterday and right on time.  I thought briefly yesterday afternoon that we were going to break our streak of unloading buses in the rain.  Around 4 pm, it was cloudy and windy, and there were big, dark clouds over the lake.  The lake was choppy, and I thought for sure that we were in for it.

But it didn’t!  It cleared up, and the wind calmed down, and the sun shone through, and it turned into a beautiful evening!  Swim tests went off without a hitch, and everyone enjoyed their evening.

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We have Matt Lockhart here for the week as our Camp pastor.  This morning in Underground he’s been talking about the story of Abram.  Going with the theme “Where is God in my life?” Matt reminded us that God is everywhere.  But even though we know that, sometimes we pray for God to show up as if we’ve forgotten that He’s always with us.  Sometimes He’s more recognizable than others, so we’re asking Him to show Himself.

In the life of Abram, God asks Abram to leave and go to another country, to leave his father’s household, and to get away from the things that are holding him back.  God told Abram He would make him into a great nation and make his name great.  I can’t really wrap my mind around that ~ and I’m sure Abram had a hard time with it too.  He was getting pretty old, and his wife was barren, and God was telling him that a great nation would be made from him!  Cool, but hard to believe I’m quite sure.

God can remake our identities, no matter what they are.  Some of us may be known as “that girl” or “that guy” in our circles at home, whether that’s “the bully” or “the gossip” or something else… or whether we know those kinds of people.  God gives us the chance to start over, and that’s what He does with Abram when he later changes his name to Abraham.

Abram was obedient and he left.  He was 75 years old, and had taken a lot of his stuff and his family with him, and they walked for a very long time.

We skipped ahead a couple chapters this morning, and Matt reminded us that while it may seem like skipping three chapters ahead may not be a ton of time, in Abram’s case, quite a bit of time had passed.  Abram’s starting to feel by this point that those promises God made are not going to play out, so God comes to him in a vision.  Abram tells God “You’ve given me no children!”  It was like Abram was a child reminding his parent of the promise that was made to him and never delivered upon.  God tells Abram to look at the stars, and that if he can count them, so great will be the size of the nation that comes from him ~ not from a servant, but from him.

Here are some takeaways from this morning’s talk:

  1. God is in the business of giving us new identities.  He can take whatever we’re known as, change us from the inside out, and make us into new creations, but it requires action from us.  God never says “kick back, relax, I got this” when He’s asking us to change.
  2. Comfort and old habits can hold us back.
  3. God is there in Abram’s fears, worries, and heartaches; He’ll be there in ours as well.  He’s got big enough shoulders that He can take our heartaches and our cries out to Him as well.

Tonight, Matt asked the kids to get excited about a moving story of God moving in the live of a police officer, and another answer to the “where is God” question.


Tomorrow is my day off, so there will be no blog post on Tuesday.  Coverage will resume on Wednesday 😉