So, Camp Ablaze is over. What’s next?
I am sure a lot of you misses camp. The squad, the Ablaze Encounter sessions, the worship times, the bonding moments with just about everyone who are there, the warm smiles, the encouraging prayers and the whole security it gives you as it takes you away from the realities of your life. Somehow it created comfort for all of us – yes, we, the YPC, is not exempted. We all miss it and we want to go back again! Because truth is, it is so much easier to worship, pray, love and desire to know the Lord more when we’re closer to each other. But you know, the good news is, it should not stop in camp.
Yes, once you step out of the bus, upon arriving in church and as you start to bid goodbye to your squad mates, you go home and go back to the normal life you have when you left 3 days ago. You still might have to face the same situations, problems or temptations because the camp’s intention is not to change your situation, it’s intention is to give you something new that can change you from the inside out.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-20 NIV)
After the camp, you have been given the option to choose what is right, you have the ability to pick who’s side are you on and you have now the strength to say no to the things that does not help you glorify the Lord. You are a changed person and the grace of the Lord is available to you as you stand for His truth.
So now the question is, when the worship and preaching sessions, squad devotions and prayer times are no longer there, what should you do to take care of what you have received from camp? When the music fades and you now have to fight for your own salvation, what should you do?
I do not know all, because I, too, fight every single day for the things that I believe in and for the freedom I have received through Jesus but allow me (by the grace of God) to share to you three practical steps that I have learned throughout my years of being a camper. This helped me grow in the Lord and are basically the reason why I am where I am today in my walk with Jesus.
1. You are now part of a family. Each and every person who attended the camp has already become a part of the family. Your squad/smallgroup and the whole Youth Ablaze, is your family. We will pray together, fight together, weep together, worship together and grow in Jesus together. You are part of the bond that was sealed in camp, do not waste your camp experience by being detached. Show up and engage in Hotrock, continue to talk to your squad leaders and approach any of the YPC. Feel free to open up and be accountable because we want to pray for you and we want to walk with you. Stay connected, stay with the family.
2. You have to decide to take care of your relationship with the Lord. Just like any other living thing, the life span and depth of your relationship with the Lord depends on how much you are willing to take care of it. No matter how many times your squad leader or pastor shares and preaches to you, if you don’t water the seed that was planted in you during camp, any time soon, you will wither and fall. So I am encouraging you to continue reading the Word, continue having your own worship and devotion time and most of all, surround yourself with people who runs the same race with you. Keep the fire blazing!
3. Do not just be a receiver, do something. Some of you might be saying, I am not yet equipped and I do not deserve to serve Jesus. You are wrong. It is not us who determines whose deserving or not, the Lord does not operate and define people the way humans do. As what our preacher, Pastor Mark Rosacay, said this morning, Christianity is not a spectator’s sport. You cannot just go to a Sunday service after camp and expect yourself to grow. You have to engage and walk hand-in-hand with people who has the same desire as you do. As young as you are, join a ministry and let yourself be used by the Lord. It will teach you more about the heart of God and through that, you will get to know Him more and overflow. [And based on my experience, I have learned a looooooot of things as a servant of Jesus than when I was who sitting at Hotrock, and just listening to the preaching.]
You see, you accepting the Lord as your personal Savior is just the beginning. Loving the Lord and living for Him is an everyday decision that you have to make. You have to stay connected, decide to have that desire to take care of your relationship with the Lord and commit to walk with people who understands and speaks the same language that you do. It won’t be easy, I tell you, but remember, you’re with family and families look after one another. 😉 👊
As what our Pastor Josh Hernandez reminded us last Hotrock, camp may be a yearly thing but the presence of God is available daily.
Camp may have ended but the Lord has given you enough to overcome what life throws at you. Continue to fan the flame for God has not given you a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT)
[Love note: I am and will forever be grateful to my small group leader, Ate Andy Pampolina, and my ministry mentor, Ate Arlene Cruz, for all their patience, effort and commitment that they had poured out in my life. And of course, to my Pastor Brian Kairuz, who listened to me always and prayed for me when I needed serious shepherding in my life. I won’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them. And I thank them for not giving up on me.]
This blog is intended to reach those who attended the Ablaze Camp 2016 but can somehow also be applicable to those who just recently attended a youth camp in their church.
Photos are the official posters of Lighthouse Youth Ablaze’s Ablaze Camp 2016 🔥