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A Bible Study Here, A Bible Study There…

Posted by on April 26, 2019

A Bible Study Here, A Bible Study There…

By Craig Higgins, Resident Theologian

Sometimes it seems as if there are Bible studies everywhere at camp. On several occasions, I have been asked to write these studies for the counselors to use in their cabins at Brookwoods, Deer Run, and MRO. I enjoy doing it because I love teaching. I have to admit, though, it can be challenging to find the best way to communicate sometimes complicated theology to campers of different ages and faith backgrounds. Let me tell you what I mean.

What all goes into these studies? These studies are taught by the cabin counselors to their respective campers. We want to both communicate biblical teaching to the campers and show them how to read and study the Bible. I just finished writing two sets of seven studies; the study sets alternate each camp session. Each study begins with a running commentary—written for the counselors—on the biblical passage being studied, followed by some inspirational quotes. After a summary of the “big idea” of the study and a key verse or two, the counselors are given a series of questions that they can use to guide the campers into the text, and a few “wrap up” questions as well. (Sometimes, these questions are divided up into “junior unit” and “senior unit”.) At the end, there’s suggestions for how to close in prayer—sometimes with a hymn or a song.

A lot of effort goes into these Bible studies—not just in writing them, but more importantly, in the preparation, discussion, and teaching time that goes on at camp itself. It should be obvious that we think Bible study is very important! Why?

First, because the Bible tells God’s story. Following biblical scholars, I like to say that the whole Bible teaches one big story in six acts: Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus, the Church, & the End. The story is all about God’s loving redemption of the world, and its center is Jesus—his life, death, and resurrection. The Bible is God’s love letter to the whole world.
Second, because the Bible is God’s written Word. God’s Word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), and studying Scripture leaves no one unchanged. We want to see campers’ lives transformed as they experience God’s written Word—which always points to God’s Incarnate Word, Jesus (John 1:1-14).

This summer, the first set of Bible studies are on “God’s Welcoming Kingdom,” where we look at Luke’s Gospel and how Jesus is the King who came to welcome everyone into his kingdom, into his family. These studies look carefully at the Good News! The other set is “Men & Women of Faith from the Old Testament,” where we look at people ranging from Abraham to Esther. We see that these men and women are not always perfect, but they all point to Jesus—the true Prophet, Priest, and King.

Many of you may already be praying for camp this summer. That’s a good thing! But will you please pray specifically for the Bible studies? Pray that the counselors will have wisdom and insight into the text and where their campers are spiritually so that they can guide the studies well. Pray also that the campers will be interested and open to learning. And that, through reading and studying God’s Word, we will all be drawn closer to the One of which the Scriptures speak, our Savior Jesus Christ.

From the Book of Common Prayer:

Blessed Lord, who caused all the Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen. (a prayer from the English Reformation)

Dr. Craig Higgins is the founding and senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in the Westchester suburbs of New York City. Whenever possible, however, he is at camp, where his nametag reads “Resident Theologian.” His wife, Ann, serves year-round as camp’s Director of Development. They have three young adult children, all of whom were campers, and all have been either LDPs, on staff, or both. You can email Craig here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ’s Desire on Good Friday

Posted by on April 19, 2019

Christ’s Desire on Good Friday

By Zane Kang, Brookwoods Alumnus

“With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”

That’s what Jesus told his disciples over dinner, right before he was betrayed. And though it may sound a bit funny, that isn’t a typo – that’s a literal translation of Luke 22:15 from the Greek. For obvious reasons it’s usually rendered “I have eagerly desired” (NIV) or “earnestly desired” (ESV). But “desire” in the Greek is a fairly strong word; if the context were different, it could even be translated as “covet” or “crave” —it’s a profound longing. All this to say: Jesus really did earnestly desire to have this meal with his disciples.

Why? Why did this meal mean so much to Jesus?

…If you think about it, we actually put a good amount of time into thinking about who we want to eat with. We pore over our calendars and text up a storm trying to make meet-ups happen. We do this, intuitively knowing that meals are significant, and we tend to remember our meals with people—whether it’s with a loving friend who can make us laugh and lift our spirits, or someone who’s a bit of a wildcard who sometimes makes it hard to keep the food down because you’re never quite sure what they’ll do next. And when it’s to celebrate a special event like a wedding or a holiday, all the more so we find that we remember those; whether we want it or not, our minds have already hit the ‘record’ button and the memories are etched into our minds forever, whether good or bad.

For Jesus, this is His final meal signaling his stepping into Good Friday—the day He changed history. The day the curtain was torn, and the new covenant in His blood inaugurated. Multitudes now with their sin forgiven could run and fall before the throne of the living God and actually call Him “Abba”…Father. And the Father would lovingly forgive and accept them; the world would be restored to loving fellowship with Him once again. These disciples here at the table were the ones who were with Him the entire time He unwaveringly made his way toward this mission; they would soon finally understand what He had really come to do, and see the full extent of His love for them. Certainly, a meal commemorating that was worthy of some anticipation!

But, also ask yourself…how well would the food be going down your throat and settling in your stomach, when you knew that in a matter of hours, you would be betrayed by one of your own, falsely accused, spit on, beaten up, the flesh of your back torn into a bloody mess with a brutal torture whip, have a ring of spikes shoved onto your head as a cruel joke until you bled, made to carry a 100lb log to which you were literally to be nailed, through your hands and feet, those nails being the only things holding up the entire weight of your body, the very weight which will cause you to suffocate to death while you listen to everyone who hates you glare and yell insults at you, your life escaping you breath by laborious breath, blood-drop by blood-drop. And you deserved none of it; this was a sacrifice on their behalf—but an incredible darkness would begin to encroach upon your soul as the Father Himself turned His face from you, and everyone who had promised to be by your side to the very end will also have completely abandoned you….the very people, in fact…who are sitting at the table with you, right now, having dinner!

In the very final hours of Jesus’ life…these were the folks that He earnestly desired to have a meal with?

…In these sacred last moments of Jesus’ life—at the Last Supper, and then at the cross—we see a picture of that paradoxical truth of Hebrews 12:2 captured right before our eyes: “for the joy set before Him, [He] endured the cross…” Such a height and depth exist in those few words, a height and depth we could never know, a height and depth that only Jesus Himself could traverse. But on this Good Friday, may we ask the Lord to help us step into it, if even just a little bit. Because our God is one who desires to be with us and is not diminished in the least-even though we were the very reason for His suffering on the cross.

Zane Kang served as Camp Pastor to Brookwoods and Deer Run in the summers of 2014-2016, his wife Elisse joining him in 2016 to help the office staff. Zane has been working as the Director of Small Groups and Young Adults at Park Street Church in Boston; he and Elisse are preparing to be sent as long-term missionaries to Japan in the near future. zkang1008@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Join Us for Man Camp!

Posted by on April 12, 2019

Join Us for MAN CAMP 2019!

by Greg Sporko, Conference Staff

It’s that time of the year again! Day by day it is getting warmer, the snow and ice are melting, and before you know it, summer will be here! In the meantime, we are all looking forward to what is approaching beforehand, Man Camp! This weekend will be an incredible chance to give back to Brookwoods and Deer Run by preparing for the upcoming summer, including our 75thAnniversary celebration! It will be a fun weekend to come together as a group of men, to work hard, and enjoy God’s creation. (Not to mention there will be amazing food!)

We couldn’t be more excited to host a new face this year, Morgan McCray, as our guest speaker. Morgan and his wife, Megan, run a year-long discipleship program at Sandy Cove Ministries in North East, MD called “Converge.” Our weekend theme is “Unstoppable,” focusing on Romans 8:11, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” When we truly strive to deepen our understanding of Christ, it is at those moments when we begin to know our own identity. If we are sons of the King and He is for us no matter what happens, then we can walk boldly with confidence towards anything that we encounter. Some might say we will be truly “Unstoppable.” Our hope for the weekend is that we will come together as brothers in Christ and will encourage one another in this undeniable way of life. We hope that you can join us at Camp, a place that God uses to shape and mold lives, including our own!

WHO: Men: brothers, sons, uncles, grandfathers, who love Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run and MRO that are ages 12 and up.

BRING: Bedding (sleeping bag, sheets, blanket, pillow), Bible, journal, layers of clothing (i.e. keep an eye on the weather), toiletries, and any specialty tools that can be used for projects.

WHEN: Friday, May 3, 2019 through Sunday, May 5, 2019. Please plan on arriving between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. A formal welcome and worship time will follow dinner. However, if you would like to come early and get a head start on projects, please let us know, we’d love to have you!

You can register for Man Camp 2019 here!

P.S.  If you’d also like to go to Maine, MRO Work Weekend is May 31-June 2. Contact Adam here for details.

 

Greg Sporko is currently serving on our Conference Staff team and will be on Brookwoods Trip Staff this summer. If you have questions about Man Camp, please email him greg@christiancamps.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MRO Tripping Adventure

Posted by on April 5, 2019

MRO Tripping Adventure

by Jason Weyer, Moose River Outpost Trip Director

I can’t remember how many hours we took to climb the 1800ft of elevation to get to the top of Boundary Bald Mountain. I can remember my anticipation growing as we neared the summit. It was a clear day with a blue bird sky and I knew the view was going to be amazing. We had worked hard to climb this mountain. Every step we took was one more further away from the incredible amenities of MRO, from the camp store, and from bathrooms. In fact, from the summit of Bald Mountain we were so far away from camp that we were able to cover up all that we had left behind with just our thumbs. Heald Pond and all 7,000 acres of Moose River Outpost. Mount Kineo to the east looked like a giant misty blue turtle swimming in Moose Head Lake. And to the North, Canada as far as the eye could see. It is dizzying to have such a view and my eyes needed time to adjust to the absolute grandeur. What an experience.

Experiences like these only happen because of an immense amount of effort made by many people. It takes a lot of effort from the campers to challenge themselves physically and emotionally. It takes a lot of effort from Trip Staff to plan routes, know safety procedures, prepare the necessary food and equipment, and to make sure each camper’s needs are being met. All of the effort from everyone is ultimately worth it. Just as Jesus doesn’t call us into a life of comfort, we are challenging our campers to give up their comforts for something better. Jesus also challenges us to love our neighbor and tells us it will be a lot of effort. He wants a life of dependence on Him, who loves us and cares for us. This is what our Tripping Staff strives to mirror & teach on the trails, daily with our campers.

James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…”

Being a part of a group on the trail in a remote wilderness environment provides our campers with unique authentic challenges that allow opportunities for real, long lasting growth. Our highly trained staff and counselors ensure that our campers are given the support they need to meet those challenges. A sojourn in the wilderness produces a sense of community where we can talk to one another about things that really matter. Cultivating a Christ-centered community. We all have experienced the harshness and effort it takes in being a Christian in today’s culture, especially when you find it difficult to articulate the basic principles of our faith. Building a community and a safe environment to learn and practice articulating the basic principles of our faith is the type of relationship we try to achieve with each camper.

 

P.S. For you Brookwoods and Deer Run campers, Boundary Bald is MRO’s Mt. Major, but with a view of camp!

Jason and Amy Weyer have been serving MRO since 2015. This will be Jason’s third summer as Trip Director and Amy will continue to fill roles wherever she is needed in camp life. They have four children: Samantha (12), William (8), Vaughn (6), and Marcus (5). This will be Samantha’s second summer at Deer Run, and the three boys are looking forward to going on hikes, skipping rocks, carpet ball, Polish ping pong, and the GaGa Pit. You can email Jason here.