The book of Deuteronomy finds Moses and the Israelites on the brink of something huge. The land that God promised to them generations ago stands just over the Jordan river. Instead of rushing to the other side, however, Moses calls for his people to stop and remember the works of the Lord in their lives. Moses knows that these are people who will forget, time and again, what they have been called out of and where they are called to go.
Like the Israelites, we forget the magnitude of what we have been given. We forget the power of our God, His holiness, His majesty, His mercy, and His grace. But by studying the Word of God, we remember this truth: no matter where we have come from or what we have done, we are a people Wanted by a good and powerful God. You are Wanted by a God who loves you and has made a way to be with you!
We arrived at camp twenty minutes after pulling off the highway, and the excitement was mounting to a fever pitch…
Everybody who’s been to Camp Eagle knows what it’s like once we turn onto Hackberry Road. The famous “8 mile driveway” gets less bumpy year after year, but the campers eyes go wide after each bend in the road, wondering if it’s the same as they remember. First timers’ eyes go wide for a different reason. Is this the Camp? After this turn will we see it??
After parking and disembarking the rental van, we unloaded our luggage and met this year’s counsellor, Amanda. She gave us all wristbands and our cabin assignments and we were off!
The Llano cabin is one of the best, both because it is right next to the dining hall, and because it offers spectacular views of the Nueces river. We stowed our gear and got right into it, playing group development games, ‘contracting’ (where we set ground rules for how we are to treat each other while at camp), and then supper — sausage, beans, corn on the cobb, and cornbread cake — before beginning the week with Outlaw Fest games, then heading to the pavilion for opening worship, and ending with an introduction to the story of the Exodus, which is our focus this year.
How has God demonstrated His presence in your life?
We started with breakfast of waffles and bacon and then headed off to opening worship. Today’s topic was based on Exodus 3:1-22 and the focus was on who God is and how He makes himself known to us. At our Ten for Ten question we were asked “What does it mean when God says “I am who I am?”
After getting the day started off right, we headed out for our first group development activity, known as Shipwrecked. This activity is a perpetual challenge for our church, and any group that achieves the objective becomes legendary.
Then we got to do the number one requested activity at Camp Eagle: the Zip 3k! Billed as the longest gravity fed zip line in North America, you can reach incredible speeds, and the view from the wire is amazing … all of which makes it worth the long, steep hike to the top!
What does it mean to love God completely?
Today we got into the swing of things, quite literally. Beginning our study with the shema out of Deuteronomy 5, we explored what it means to love God above all, and what kinds of gods we make out of all sorts of things, like fears, worldly distractions and attractions, etc. Confronting our idolatry, we confess our sins and return to the only true God there is — He who made us and saved us.
Our first activity of the day was kayaking. The water was so clear Jace saw a perch … and went in after it! After that it was a perennial favorite: team arrow games! (think tag but with bows and arrows, where the arrows have a soft, marshmallowy tip) Then we wound each other up and set each other swinging on the human-powered Super Swing before heading to our evening experience along a stretch of dry riverbed called the bathtubs, where we worshipped God under the stars.
The cost of forgiveness: What does God require?
This morning began with a quick breakfast outdoors and then a half hour trek uphill to the Tabernacle. It’s a full-scale replica of what the ancient Israelites had to bring with them after they left Egypt for the Promised Land. There, Pastor Ikki walked us through the layout and meaning of the religious ‘furniture’, and after worship we toured the space up close, spending the day mulling over the consequences of sin, and the fact that forgiveness comes with a cost — paid by Jesus, who gives us an all-access pass to the Throne Room of God!
We spent the hottest part of the day in the coolest place to be at camp: the Waterfront! Then we clambered over to The Claw, and completed the challenge using our wits, lots of teamwork, and a little bit of elbow-grease!
At dinner we had to do a funishment, which was to sing Jesus Loves Me This I Know while dancing Gungam Style!
The greatest in the Kingdom … is the servant of all.
For our last full day, God pulled out all the stops! Kristen got up early to enjoy the aroma of Roy’s specialty brew for the last time. Pastor Ikki joined our group for breakfast this morning, telling us stories of his experiences as NBA chaplain, trading apologetics techniques with Ryan, and sharing sports tips with Kristen. Our bellies full of French toast and cereal, we got over to the Pavilion for worship and then dug into the Bible to study Mark 12:29-31.
Daily activity number one was called “The Luau”, and we found out how refreshing upriver can be compared to downriver. There was a mini-blob, monkey bars, a water slide, and plenty of cold, clear water! After a picnic lunch on the quad, we did rock climbing. Everybody had a great time finding a foothold and took turns spotting each other. Then we went to The Nest to buy water bottles, t-shirts, frappuccinos, and smoothies. The gang took advantage of the air conditioning and played a few rounds of Mafia.
Before evening worship we spent some time packing for our return trip tomorrow and then ate chicken tenders and mashed potatoes. Roy even shared the secret camp Eagle chicken sauce recipe!
A challenge to grow by walking in faith
We are wanted by God — the God who sees you and knows what you are going through. God draws us closer to Himself as we get to know him, and we grow in our knowledge of God by walking in faith.
Weeks like this go fast. It was hard to believe today was the last one! We got up, breakfasted, and joined in for closing worship. Pastor Ikki challenged us to get closer to God — not just by learning stuff about God, but also by getting to know him personally, walking with him in prayer, devotion, and faith.
After closing worship, we took some group photos with Amanda, said our goodbyes, gave some hugs, packed up and headed down the road, stopping for some caffeine and a final debrief before getting home. Can’t wait ’til next year!