The Camp High

I always have a hard time leaving California. Leaving usually means saying goodbye to two very dear things – family and warm weather. I was in that sad situation a couple weeks ago after a week long trip to attend my mom’s retirement party and a family ministry conference in Orange County.

This time, however, I was even more tied to my beloved Golden State due to feelings I hadn’t really experienced since high school. I was on a camp high – that heady feeling you get from really encountering the Living God, having an intimate, life-altering experience. I was scared that a flight back to Idaho would deflate the camp high I had been soaring on since the first session of The Gathering (the conference with the fantastic worship I wrote about last week).

On the Mountain Top

Surrounded by the Spirit and separated from the duties of real life for a couple of days, it was hard not to start soaring. We were fed, equipped, and encouraged in ministry and in life. I felt energized re-inspired. Maybe I was particularly in need of refreshment, but I climbed to the top of that spiritual mountain peak with the agility of a billy goat.

As our departure grew closer, I became nervous. I didn’t want to lose that energy and excitement. I didn’t want to forget what Albert, Michelle, Erik, and Megan had to say:

  • The dangerous side of ministry is that you can learn how to do it. It’s possible to have great content but for the wrong assignment. 
  • Truth is the epicenter of freedom. When we live in view of God’s mercy, we are free to call out truth with no fear of condemnation.
  • In our brokenness, we can see how God and the Gospel puts us back together.
  • Stop running. Start receiving. Now live! Work out of a place of rest; don’t take rest from the work.

I didn’t want to go back to what seemed like my ordinary spiritual life.

I could feel myself begin to idolize what I was leaving and become judgmental about what I was coming back to. Instead of being thankful for a weekend of refreshment and inspiration, I was bitter that it was over so quickly.

Tim and I moved into our new house a couple days after returning to Idaho so I didn’t have much time to dwell in my bitterness (thank the Lord!). In between unpacking boxes and cleaning, I finished the book I started on that California trip and couldn’t help but smile at God’s not-so-subtle way of showing me just what to do with the exhilaration from my camp high – enjoy it while it lasts and keep moving!

God will restore us and refresh us along the way. He will provide moments of nourishment and rest, but he wants me, he wants you, to continue to run, to be available to do any good work. We need to keep going – even in the rain, no matter how dark it gets – and finish this race.

Gary Thomas | Every Body Matters | 207

 

As if that wasn’t enough, I ran into this video:

Though I still want to cling to the hope and freedom I experienced at The Gathering (and hopefully go again next year!), I need to realize that hope and freedom are found in Christ not a conference. God is the source of transformation, not a dynamic speaker or skilled worship leader. Those things are refreshing, and I can pause to be thankful when I encounter them, but if I want to finish the race, I can’t linger very long at the water stations along the way.

Worship at The Gathering

Chairs filled the room in a tight formation. The large room began to shrink as hundreds of people started taking their seats. Even though we sat on the aisle of a row near the front, I could feel my neighbors sit and settle in.

Spoken word proclaims the greatness of God. The room is dark as we see the enormity of God’s creation splashed on the screen above. We are insignificant, but God gives us value. We are fallen, but God redeems. We need and God gives.

There is a stirring as we pray – a current of hope and excitement makes its way around the room. God is here. At the leader’s invitation, we rise. Our jostling adds a melody to his strumming guitar. As drums and bass fill out the chorus, our voices swell as a collective act of praise to the One who paid it all.

Worship at The Gathering

There’s nothing like a large group worshipping together as the Church.  This past week, Tim and I attended The Gathering, a family ministry conference in Costa Mesa. One of the {many} highlights for me was the worship.

Standing in that room, eyes closed and arms high, I felt so near to Jesus – like we were the only ones in the room. He was there in my head and in my heart. The darkness felt like a refuge. The music was enveloping.

At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel the heat from those around me. Sleeves brushed sleeves, arms bumped arms as we worshipped our God as one. I was aware of the other souls crying out to Jesus just as much as I was solely focused on Him alone.

Beautiful.

Beautiful because it gave form to the  individual and corporate aspects of life in the body of Christ. We get to have a personal relationship with our Savior {individual} as well as walk alongside other believers, serving God and others {corporate}.

I was worshipping. We were worshipping.

One God.