I Cor 4:20 says, “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”
This past week, I spent a few days with the students of Bridgeway Church, the family I have the honor to Pastor. Our student pastors, Joseph and Paige Helms, decided to take our students up into the mountains to connect with God and each other. When we planned this camp, we spent some time listening to God on what He wanted for these few days together. We kept hearing the word “Fire” as we prayed about the week. I had no idea it could be as intense as it ended up being.
Sunday came and around 90 people loaded up and carpooled up into the mountains expecting to experience God in a real way. All 90 of us left feeling completely overwhelmed and grateful by the love of our Father.
What scares me is that it’s easy to have a successful church in America and not focus on what Jesus focused on in His ministry. All you have to do is hire a great musician, a competent communicator and cater to specific needs that people have in their lives. Host a few classes for young adults, those going through divorce, young marrieds, students, etc…you get the point. Yet, when you look at Jesus in the gospels, you notice that He focused on three things:
- He taught the Kingdom
- He healed the sick
- He delivered people of the enemy.
All too often, the American church and what Jesus focused on do not line up… at all.
For this particular camp, we decided to focus on what Jesus focused on. The result was literally life changing. I have been a part of camp ministry since I was 19 years old. I have preached at so many youth camps that I can’t even begin to add them all up. Not a single one of them has ever impacted me the way this camp did.
The reason is that I felt like I was living in the book of Acts. We saw so many students and adults touched by God all week long. Healing and deliverance was normal. Receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and praying in tongues was normal. Major encounters with God in the worship sessions were normal. A wind started blowing while I was preaching one night. Then a wind started swirling around the room. We did not glorify the experiences. We sincerely loved on Jesus and gave Him our worship. We saw students give their lives to Jesus Christ for salvation which is a miracle in itself. We literally experienced God.
I’ve noticed that people who chase experiences in the Kingdom tend to get sidetracked and burn out. Yet those who keep their eyes on Jesus and are completely open to what He wants to do tend to have a much better chance at going the distance with Him.
I am excited about this youth group being an engine of passion for Bridgeway. The adults here have a lot to learn from these young people. I want to learn from them. This was a week I will never forget. Jesus was on center stage and we were not afraid to focus on the things that matter to Him. We want more Lord.
What do you need to change today to start to focus on the things that Jesus focused on?