Miscellaneous Thoughts After Preaching my 16th Sermon in as Many Days at Two Campmeetings in New England
Miscellaneous thoughts after preaching my 16th sermon in as many days at two campmeetings in New England:
· I am weak, but He is strong. Camp is exhausting, but God never sleeps.
· Campmeetings are sweet and wonderful and used by the Lord in unique ways, yet are no substitute for local churches through which God is carrying His mission forward in this world.
· God still works through the old-fashioned preaching of His Word – dead hearts are made alive, cold hearts are confronted and warmed, weary souls find rest. God’s Word is sufficient.
· No longer in full-time pastoral ministry, I miss the rhythm and grind of preaching on a weekly basis – especially the way God uses it to reveal my weakness and to make me press in further to His promises.
· Different people in different places of different ages and in different seasons of their spiritual journey need the same precious truths and promises of God explained and applied.
· God is at work in our lives through a billion small moments and influences and circumstances and sermons and words of encouragement and camp counselors and aunts/uncles/grandparents and books and conversations. There’s never a time when He’s not tilling soil, picking rocks, planting seeds, pulling weeds, fertilizing, or bringing growth. Who knows how He might use you in someone’s life! Who knows how He’s already been at work in someone’s life when we meet them!
· In campgrounds and in churches, there are tons of people with lots of gray hair who run circles around people with far less gray hair (or none at all) when it comes to their desire and capacity to serve in thankless ways and through menial tasks. Practically speaking, campgrounds won’t exist much longer unless my generation learns to serve like them. More importantly, imagine what Kingdom work could be accomplished if more of us served so tirelessly and without fanfare!
· There’s a lot of heartache in this world. Teens especially are carrying heavy burdens that are unimaginable to me but not unknown to God. Thankfully, He binds up the brokenhearted. A bruised reed He will not break. Lord, have mercy.
· Oh, how desperately we need a fresh movement of God in our region! Oh, that He would work so powerfully and decisively that the deluge of startling spiritual statistics (e.g. New England cities topping lists of post-Christian and least churched) would be a distant memory for my children! Lord, do it again!
· In the seats at these campmeetings I have seen future pastors, future church leaders, future teachers, future Christian parents, future gospel-witnesses-in-the-workplace, and future missionaries. How will we come alongside them to shepherd, equip, and send them into the world? Who am I investing in to that end?
· It’s a profound joy to experience deep unity with brothers and sisters in Christ that we’d never met and hardly know. The same blood runs through our veins.
· God has a lot of work to do in our lives the other 51 weeks of the year. And He’s going to do it through the ordinary means of grace – the proclamation of His Word by faithful, local church leaders; participation in the Lord’s Supper and sweet fellowship with a local church family; and regular, devoted prayer, individual and corporate. Campmeeting is great, but the local church is better.
· What a day it will be when we gather in the Kingdom! The things we love most about our campmeetings – corporate worship, rest, reunions, singing, good food and good fellowship – are a foretaste of an eternity encamped in the presence of God on the new earth.
· To God be the glory…great things He has done!