As Prince Harry has recently found out, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas, especially when camera phones are involved. I have never been to Vegas, but somewhere I have been a lot over the past few years is Bible camp, as I have spent the past 4 summers helping out and working at Beaver Cross.
And one thing I have noticed is that often, what happens at Bible camp, stays at Bible camp (NB feel free to replace Bible Camp with Church retreat/youth festival/missions conference/your personal equivalent). You get to camp, you start connecting with God, you engage in praise and prayer, you hear the Holy Spirit convict you through the messages, and you make some new Christian friends who inspire you to be more like Christ in your day to day life. And then you go back home, out of the Christian bubble and into the real world. And then the rubber hits the road and your life goes back to the way it was before. The habits you formed at camp don’t make it home. The resolution you made to read the Bible every day is swiftly forgotten when you get back to being able to sit in front of endless hours of sport or comedy re-runs or ‘reality’ TV shows. Taking time to pray was ok at camp, but now twitter and Facebook provide a more appealing distraction. And so the growth which got kick-started at camp begins to stall and stagnate and eventually fades away.And by the time you get back to school/college/university/work there is nothing left to show of the spiritual impact camp had on you. You don’t live any differently. You aren’t filled with more joy or hope or love or mercy or peace. You don’t shine any brighter for Jesus. What happened at camp, stays at camp. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When Moses spent time with God on Mount Sinai God ordered him to go back down to the people. And when he went down his face shone bright and it was clear to all that he had spent time with God. “When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him.” Exodus 34:29-30
What happened on the mountain top didn’t stay on the mountain top. God wants us to move out from camp, out from the retreat, out from the festival and into the world shining bright with Christ’s love so that all can see. We need to be bold in our faith and not cover it. We need to be like cities on hills that can not be hidden.
So how do we do it? How do we ensure that what happens at Bible Camp doesn’t stay at Bible Camp? How do we take the passion from the retreats onto the streets? It all starts with prayer. We can’t do it in our own strength. But we don’t have to. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is now living in us. Ask God to help you through the Holy Spirit to live out your faith. Ask and it will be given unto you. “The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one” 2 Thessalonians 3:3. And don’t ride solo. Find at least one good Christian friend who will keep you accountable. Who will ask how you are doing at living it out at home. Who will check up on you and encourage you to keep doing what you did at camp. Make sacrifices. Get up five minutes earlier to pray. Incorporate worship to your day to day life – listen to a worship album in the car rather than the radio. Get a Bible reading plan and follow it.
“…live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12
Don’t let what happens at Bible camp stay at Bible camp. Bring it home and make it headline news that will shine forth God’s glory into the lives of your family, friends, work colleagues, classmates and anyone else you come into contact with.
(NB if anyone from TMZ is reading, if the price is right I can give you all sorts of exclusives on the kinds of antics that really happen at Bible camp when the campers go home for the weekend. Beaver Cross staff be afraid…)