Monday, December 20, 2010

The Unexpected Savior

A new star appeared in the sky, but only a few magi noticed. An angelic host proclaimed the arrival of the Messiah, but only a handful of shepherds heard the news. The Savior of the world was born, but the event was witnessed by just a few animals. For centuries the prophets had foretold of the promised Messiah, but when he came, most of the world missed his arrival.

It wasn’t because they weren’t looking, but it was because they were looking for the wrong thing. Many in Jesus’ day were eagerly anticipating the Messiah because it was their hope that he would end the Roman occupation of their land. But Jesus came for a greater purpose. That purpose was whispered to Joseph in a dream, “…you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

So while the rest of the nation was focused on politics, the census and taxes (Lk 2:1-3), God fulfilled His greatest promise—he sent Jesus who would forever change the relationship between God and people.

But nobody noticed.

When we get ideas in our minds as to what the promises of God will look like when they arrive, we often miss the fulfillment of that promise. We imagine our financial trouble disappearing if we could win the big sweepstakes. We imagine our work problems going away if we could get that promotion. We imagine that our issues with the neighbor will be over if we could move to a new home. It is true that God will meet our every need (Phil. 4:19), but we must also remember that He often meets those needs in unexpected ways (Ecc. 11:5).

This year has brought many unexpected things to us at South Mountain Christian Camp. One of our golf carts was stolen in the middle of the night. Two of our year-round staff members had to step down due to illness and injury. And we lost our single greatest source for camper scholarship funds. But in every situation, God had a solution worked out before we even became aware of the problem. Things which are unexpected to us are anticipated by our Father, and He always meets the need.

This year has also been a busy one for us. We had another strong Summer Camp season in which 78 of our campers received salvation. We had our busiest SEEDS season ever with over 1,200 students participating in the nature program. We also have continued the development and preparation for constructing a new cafeteria as God provides the funds for this project. In all of this, God has been our constant source and supply. We give Him praise for the work He has accomplished here this year, and we look forward with great anticipation to what He will bring our way in 2011.

Have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the unexpected Savior!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Promises, Promises!

Making promises can get you into trouble. I experienced this first-hand last week when I returned home from a four-day trip. The day I had been preparing to leave, my 13-year-old son (who is about as big as me now) wanted to wrestle in the living room. I was busy, but promised that we could wrestle when I got back from my trip.

Well, by the time I returned home, I was completely exhausted from traveling, but my son held me to my promise. We spent the next half-hour tangled up in a rowdy, sweaty jumble of arms and legs on the living room floor. When it was over, I sat down to catch my breath and began nursing my rug burns.

My relief was short-lived, however, as my 11-year-old daughter then seized the opportunity to jump into the fray. The rowdiness continued again (with a little more caution on my part) until finally I collapsed onto the floor and gave up. My energy was completely spent. My kids had mercy on me then and headed to the kitchen for a snack, content that I had made good on my promise.

You know, we have a Father in heaven who has made some promises to us as well. The difference is, we don’t have to hold Him to his promises. He is eager to fulfill them in us. Here are some examples:
  • “My God shall supply all your need…” (Phil. 4:9)
  • “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good…” (Rom 8:28)
  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
  • “This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.” (1 John 2:25)
  • “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My love will not be removed from you…” (Isaiah 54:10)
The list could go on and on, but you get the point. Our Father loves us, and is eager to provide for us.

That’s what we rely upon here at South Mountain Christian Camp. Over and over again, God has proven himself to be faithful, to fulfill every promise and meet every need. We depend upon Him fully, even when we don’t know what to expect.

So many times, God uses people like you to answer our prayers and meet our needs in miraculous ways. It may be a donation of a chainsaw or air-compressor. It may be a financial contribution. It may be volunteers who show up, willing to help out in any way that they can.

We are so grateful to our Father who knows every need that we have and works through His people to meet those needs. There is a rest and peace that comes from knowing that Daddy has everything under control.