Friday, December 14, 2012

Divine Detour

“Lord, why did you let me do that?” I gripped the steering wheel a little tighter and felt my shoulders tense as frustration began to grow in me. It was late at night and I was finally on my way home when I realized I needed to turn back because I’d forgotten something. Instead of making an easy u-turn, I had steered into a tiny side street which provided no room to turn my truck around. I knew this dark road eventually wound its way back to the main thoroughfare, but as I navigated my way through the inky blackness, I began to wonder what God was up to. I just wanted to get home.

Then I saw her—an older woman stumbling through the darkness, nervously squinting into the bright headlights of my truck. The look of distress in her eyes compelled me to stop. When she explained that she’d run out of gas and needed help, I felt a strange mix of compassion and caution. I grew up in a city where car-jackings were commonplace and wondered if I was being set up. Then the Lord spoke to my spirit, This is why I had you turn onto this road. When I agreed to give the woman a ride, she lit up with excitement. “Oh, thank you, thank you!” she exclaimed. “You’re a Christian, aren’t you? I knew you were because I was just praying, ‘Lord please send me some help,’ and there was nobody on this road. And then you came out of nowhere!” A few minutes later, I walked into the gas station with the woman and bought her a gas can and some fuel. When I was sure she had everything she needed to get home, I continued on my way. It was still late, but the tension was gone because once again I had seen God’s hand at work.

This is yet another instance of that same prodding of the Holy Spirit that drives everything we do here at South Mountain Christian Camp. Sometimes we don’t understand what God is up to—especially when things seem to be going wrong. But we know that He causes everything to work together for good (Romans 8:28), and, when we trust Him, He accomplishes miraculous things.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas 2012

As Christmas approaches, so does the noise. The sales, ads, specials, events, and productions all bombard us with a view of what the world thinks Christmas is supposed to be. The noise seems to get louder each year. It’s good to know, however, that even with all that noise, we can still find the heart of Christ in seclusion and solitude.

Isn’t that what happened at the first Christmas? The census was creating all sorts of chaos in Bethlehem. Yet it was into the midst of that mess that God chose to begin the total transformation of human history. He didn’t do it with fanfare and a flourish. Instead He chose a quiet place with just a few witnesses. That’s the beauty of the nativity scene. He showed us that the important things are not found in the noise, but they are found in quietness and isolation.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry we find numerous accounts of how He withdrew to a secluded place to spend time alone with the Father or His disciples. Today we live in a world with amazing technology that enables us to connect with people all around the globe, but sometimes we need to unplug and disconnect from the technology in order to reconnect with God. That’s a big part of what South Mountain Christian Camp is all about. We want this to be a place where people can get away from the noise of life and spend time alone with God. When that happens, hearts are touched, and lives are changed.

This is accomplished in so many different ways. There are hundreds of children and youth who attend our Summer Camp programs. Hundreds more experience creation through our SEEDS programs for school groups. Even more learn valuable lessons on life and relationships through our Ropes Course programs. Then there are thousands of others who experience God in their own way through weekend retreats here.

In addition to all this, we added several new events this year to draw even more people. We hosted several disc golf tournaments including a youth group team tournament, a skill shot challenge, and the Dale Sollars Autumn Classic. Then, in November, we held the first annual South of the Mountain Trail Run. This was a 5k race held right here on the camp that included participants of all ages and abilities. In each case, people had a great time experiencing God and His creation through wholesome fellowship and healthy physical activities.

We give thanks and praise to God for all that he accomplished through the ministry of South Mountain Christian Camp this year. Once again, He has proven himself faithful, enabling us to continue to operate debt-free despite some large, unexpected expenses. This is possible because of the faithfulness and generosity of supporters like you.

We look forward to more growth and productivity through God’s guidance in 2013. We are still working toward building a new cafeteria which has been needed for quite some time. Please pray with us that God will provide the direction and funding for this project. We also have plans to renovate some older buildings which will enable us to continue to expand into all that God would have us to be.
The coming year promises to be a busy one at South Mountain, but even in all the busyness, we want to follow the example of the nativity. We want to find seclusion and stillness with God, so that we can be sure that we don’t miss all that He has for us. This Christmas let’s all take time to do the same.