Read Proverbs 22:6
The first thing that I am going to do is to put this proverb into the plural for application. Train up our children in the way they should go and later they will not depart from it.
The verb leads the proverb in modern translation. It does not in the original text, but I think the translators did a fantastic job putting the verb first. Train up is the verb used most often. Point, teach, start, bring up are others that we find in our modern translations.
The original word is חָנַך - chanak (khaw-nak') - and it means to dedicate, and also to train up. So the first meaning is to dedicate our children much like we would dedicate a building. Many here remember that on 11 July 2004, we held an evening service to dedicate this new church building. It was no longer a grocery store. Not only had the outward and inward appearance been changed, but so too had its purpose. It was dedicated to the Lord.
I chose this proverb to compliment what has transpired in our youth testimonies and the camp experience from which they came.
Camp is a big part of bringing up our children in the way they should go in this modern world. Many of our children and youth work hard at many fundraisers to get to camp. Many look forward to camp all year long, but camp is not life.
Camp is not life.
Why not? Why do you accept that statement so easily?
Let’s answer a question. Who loves camp?
Now here’s another question. Who loves Jesus?
Does Jesus live only at camp? Is Jesus confined to a few acres once a year?
Can the King of kings and Lord of Lords only connect with us once a year?
For many of you, camp is fun and that’s about it, but truly, camp is training for life as a disciple. That thing that we might call a camper’s high can live year-round if you chose to draw closer and closer to your Lord and Savior every day.
Camp should always be a special time but it must not be the only time when you draw closer to God. It must not be the only place where you want to practice God’s love.
There are many things on your near horizon where you can claim that special relationship with God and your fellow believers.
One is the Walk A Block for Jesus. Is the good news that you have received, really good news? If it is, then you must share it.
The Christian that is apathetic or ambivalent about good news worships the god of this world and not the God of all creation.
Do I expect to see you at the Walk A Block for Jesus?
No! I expect to see you with 3 or 4 of your friends that did not go to camp with you but that you have invited with a passion to come and walk with us.
The Walk A Block will come and go, but your passion must remain. We will pass out many gospels and wrist bands on that Saturday, but I charge you to pass them out all year round.
Our love for Jesus and our witness to the world is not confined to a week at camp or a Saturday morning in the summer. It is a way of life.
I challenge you this morning to follow Jesus as a way of life and not just be a Christian tourist that once a year takes a week to get a little taste of the Kingdom of God.
The choice is yours: Tourist or Disciple?
The proverb charges parents to bring up a child in the way he should go. This sets the stage for leading an abundant life. The younger you are when you accept this counsel, the easier it is.
Some who are in their teens already know how hard it is to change a habit.
You don’t get up and come to worship on Sundays.
You don’t read your Bible on a regular basis.
You don’t pray until you are in trouble.
You don’t know your God-give purpose.
Why can’t you keep that camp feeling all year? You chose not to. You choose not to, but you can choose to change that.
You can choose to pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus. That’s too broad and metaphorical for most, so let’s try these simple things:
· Read your Bible every day. Start with the Gospel of John. Then read the other gospels. Then start working in the first few books of the Old Testament. Get a reading plan if you need something to keep you on track.
· Get yourself here on Sunday mornings by 10:00 a.m. and learn. Stay for worship.
· Be a part of one or two ministries.
· Pray every day. Give 90% of your prayer time to listening.
· Live the God given purpose that you know: Love God and Love One Another! You may be called to more later, but loving one another is for everyone.
· Fulfill the commission that Jesus gave you: Take the good news to the world. You can start with your friends and classmates. You can dive into the Walk A Block for Jesus.
Do you want that camper’s high all year round? The choice is yours.
The choice is yours!