Only What Is Needed! #213

Most DL counselors arrive with all they will need for the summer in a back pack, duffle bag or equivalent. Support staff may bring a bit more due to their storage area in the Hutch Cabin, but not much.

Everything they need for 11 weeks: Bible, notebook, a couple pens, a flashlight, tooth brush… and clothes for rain, cold, and hot, and what’s needed for swimming, hiking trips, canoe trips, banquet night and Sunday morning.

What people wear or have is not a matter of concern, though it is fun to see some new piece of camping technology someone brought. Nothing extra. Time is not spent on deciding what to wear, nor is it spent on taking care of very much. It seems the more weeks young men spend at DL, the less they bring. After 10 summers, they don’t arrive with much.

Jesus and His disciples had fewer physical things than did DL counselors.

Because the disciples and the DL staff did not have much stuff, the staff was able to focus on caring for people and their spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Time was not spent on deciding what to wear, or watching TV or on the phone or at the computer or reading the newspaper.

As Jesus and His disciples, and the DL staff and campers, fished in the calm of early morning, or hiked on the trail for many hours, there were many hours to talk, to think, to pray…and laugh and, perhaps, cry together.

As for me, I have a canoe – and we also have a house with furniture, and windows that need washing, and a deck and a porch, a yard with grass and flowers, a vegetable garden, and blueberry bushes (10 gallons frozen last summer), and raspberries and rhubarb. And we also have a mower, weed whacker and small rototiller, and garden hoses and 2 shovels, 2 hoes, a dandelion digger, and a snow blower…and clothes – multiples of everything. Plus a desk top computer and two printers, and a notebook computer, cell phone, and now a Kindle.

Who has more time for people…Jesus and His disciples, the DL staff members, or me? Who has more time to think and read and pray? Who has more time to respond to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit?

Sometimes I get it right: Tuesday lunch at Wendy’s with Sam, who has Alzheimer’s. A call to Sal’s wife: “How did the surgery go?” Fixing breakfast for a friend on Thursday. How often would God like to use me like this?

I doubt I sense the still small voice of God when pushing to get the lawn mowed, the garden weeded, new seeds planted, a table from the porch repaired, and the trim on the front door painted. The more we have, the more we must care for. Perhaps the more we have, the less I can focus on Living In Partnership with God.

Should we move to a condo, thus greatly reducing what we have, and what we need to care for, seeking to keep in mind that we are making this move significantly because we want to be more available to God? That is a scary thought, and the answer is not easy!

We had 23 here for Easter dinner, 12 were children (we hid over 200 eggs!). People frequently come here for a meal, a day, an overnight, a week. Is this why we live where and as we do? The yard and gardens require considerable physical work! I am sure we would not work as hard or as faithfully if we got our exercise at the “Y”. Nor would we have the fresh organic fruits and vegetables and fresh air to enjoy.

What is rationalization? What is God’s will? I really do want to live “In Partnership With God”.

Where God Dwells #214

Over the piano, seen by everyone who walks into the dinning hall, are the words: This is His Place.

Deerfoot Lodge is God’s place when the staff meeting begins promptly at 7:00 on Founder’s Lodge porch – as the mist comes off the lake and the sun comes up over the Dugs. DL is God’s place while the details of the day’s schedule are reviewed by the Director, a staff member brings a brief devotional focused on the truths of the Bible as they relate to DL, and as the staff stands at the railing to sing a hymn to the campers who are waking up to a “Beautiful Day at The Lodge.”

DL is His place when the campers are having quiet time. It’s His place when the campers have finished their breakfast of cereal, pancakes and sausage, and are singing the same choruses with the piano and five guitars that have been sung since… before the counselors were born. Deerfoot Lodge is His Place during the 10 – 12 minute After Breakfast Bible Study and when the campers head out to their instructional area.

Deerfoot is God’s place during flex time when campers play soccer, tether ball, go to the camp store, swim, canoe, sail, fish, play foos ball, floor hockey – or sit on the grass on the hill in front of the dining hall, looking at the lake.

Throughout the summer I encouraged the staff, and the campers, to “Do What is Right, Every Time”. Our challenge is to Live In Partnership With God in such a way that we are able to recognize the needs of the people around us – and then to care for them through the enabling power of God’s spirit. Doing what is right for others is not easy, for it often costs us something: time, pride, strength – yes, and sometimes money. Doing what is right before the Lord is not easy for it goes contrary to our sinful nature. Doing what is right often begins with self-control – calming down to consciously ask God for help. Having likeminded people around us is a tremendous encouragement.

Doing what was right caused the staff to push themselves to love the campers as themselves – some times more than they loved themselves at a particular moment. Doing what is right before the Lord, day after day, rain or shine, great camper or struggling camper – the circumstance does not matter. What matters is that the counselors have a God-given responsibility. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:10.

While Deerfoot Counselors are directly involved with the campers, no one is thinking “I have to show the Fruit of the Spirit”. The counselors focus is not on the Fruit of the Spirit, but on the needs of the campers, and those needs are met as the counselors ask for, and receive, the needed Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control – the work of the Holy Spirit within them.

Foundational to doing what is right before the Lord is reading our Bibles, spending time in prayer, and being part of a Christian community. As we maintain our relationship with God, we do become aware of people in need – sometimes great need! At such moments we can reach out to help the person, be they our children, or our husband/wife, the person we sit next to on the bus, work with every day, or the person at church who is often alone, or a visitor, or a close friend. And we reach out with the humble recognition that we need God’s help: “Lord Jesus, I need your love, your wisdom, your strength. Guaranteed: God is concerned about your heart’s desire, not the words you use! Often we do not know the Fruit of the Spirit for we do little that requires them.

Ask the DL counselors at the end of the summer if God has enabled them to be loving, joyful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. They will tell you of miracles – God has used them to impact camper’s lives for His glory.

We too can have this privilege of usefulness to God. This is what Living In Partnership With God is all about.

I Encourage You to Post the Following #213

I Encourage You to post the following:

Live love with a smile…the smile of the abundant life Jesus came to give us!
Live the Fruit of the Spirit – others will notice!

Ask Deerfoot campers if being this way pretty well describes their counselors.

Love is patient
Love is kind
it does not envy
it does not boast
it is not proud
it is not rude
it is not self-seeking
it is not easily angered
it keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
it always protects
it always trusts
it always hopes
it always perseveres
Love never fails
— I Corinthians 13:4-8

The Fruit of the Spirit:

— Ephesians 5:22-23

I encourage you to live like a DL counselor this week!

Be a fun person who is serious about life!

Live In Partnership With God