Another Great Day at Camp

Wednesday was another great day here at the Wilds. Joanna spent most of the day videoing our campers. She has some hilarious video of one of our sponsors Meagan Brooks getting blasted by the water cannons while tubing. The campers had a full day of games and activities and also some good preaching. Brother Rich preached last night on The Subtle Enticement of the Serpent of Eden. You can listen to this sermon by following this link.

Yesterday, Pastor Mike and I joined about thirty other sponsors for the annual Wilds Golf Tournament. We played best ball. I played with Darrel LeCroix, Bob Smith, and Jon Bott. Our team started out on fire. We were nine under par after ten holes. We finished with a record score of eleven under par. Our prize was a gift certificate to the pro shop. I bought a nice golf shirt, but still had to add some of my own money. We had a great time.

The Campers are Having a Blast

Yesterday was a great day here at camp. The juniors and teens are on separate sides of the camp and very rarely even see each other. After breakfast yesterday, I went to the sponsor’s prayer meeting. We shared requests for those campers in need of salvation. I then went to the junior high chapel. Following the chapel I went down to the teen game time. They have some photos of our group on the Wilds website. Joanna and I then enjoyed a cookout lunch at the lake with all of the sponsors and the administrative staff. We have enjoyed catching up with old friends while here this week. Yesterday afternoon, I took my fishing pole and walked about a mile down the trails to the shoals. I then walked back up the creek in the water all the way to camp. I caught several little fish and one rainbow trout. I slipped and fell several times over about a fifty yard stretch. I was soaked. I was thinking, “I’m going to die out here and nobody is going to know where I am.” I made it back to camp just in time to see Caleb playing basketball with a bunch of older kids and Bethany about to go on the giant swing. I can’t believe she did it. Last night Joanna and I went to the junior camp service. Brother Ed Dunlop preached on “Satan Hates You.” He addressed the subjects of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Almost every camper made a promise to never touch these things. Joanna and I then got a mocha freeze at Cool Beans, the coffee shop. We then met up with Ken and Beth Renfrow. We saw Ron DeGarde last night. We had lunch earlier in the day with Dale Cunningham. We went to the teen service last night. Brother Rich Tozour preached on “Where are You Going?” You can listen to this sermon by following this link. Several young people were saved last night. Praise the Lord!

It looks like another busy day. Keep praying for us.

Teens and Juniors at the Wilds

Yesterday morning, Caleb and Abby and I left home early so we could be at the DMV at 8:00 a.m. when it opened. Caleb passsed his test yesterday and got his drivers permit. It took about 25 minutes. We then met the rest of our youth group at the church at 8:30. We loaded up the bus (31 of us total) and headed west across the state of NC to the Wilds Christian Camp. We arrived yesterday at about 4:15 p.m. I helped get the junior campers settled and Pastor Mike took the teens. Everyone seems to be settling in just fine. We do have a few first time campers. We have three very young campers. My daughter Abby is in a cabin with another Abby from NC who is the same age and shares the same birthday. Bethany is in teen camp for the first time. Caleb has settled right into the camp spirit also. I’ll try to give some updates as time allows, but our schedule is busy. It is a different kind of busy for me. I’m enjoying hearing the preaching. Rich Tozour is preaching for the teens. Ed Dunlop is preaching for the juniors. Last night Brother Rich preached on “Grounds for Growth and Godliness” from the parable of the sower. You can listen to that message at Sermon Audio. During the morning chapel times, we are all studying the book of Philippians.

This afternoon we have a little bit of free time. Several of the sponsors are going on a hike to the waterfalls. Joanna is following around some of our campers to the land trolley, the superslide, the giant swing, the craft shop, etc. I’m going to try to catch a few fish sometime today.  I may even be able to catch a little nap after I get through studying some for next Sunday.

You can view photos from the week at http://www.wilds.org/gallery2/main.php later on today. They will be updating the photos throughout the week.

“The Queen and I”

This morning at Tabernacle Baptist Church, we began a new sermon series entitled “The Queen and I.” Our goal in this series is for each of us not only to understand the context and historical truths found in the book of Esther, but to make practical application of these truths. What does this book have to say to each of us today? We want to identify with the characters. We want to feel their emotions – fear, anxiety, excitement, jubilation, humiliation, anger, etc.

This morning we were introduced to the theme of God’s providence. We won’t meet the title character until next week. Notice I said the title character, and of course I’m talking about Esther. The main character in this book though is not Esther, but God. That might surprise some of you who know that God isn’t even mentioned in the entire book. But he is definitely there behind the scenes.

Way back in 1867, Walter Chalmers Smith, a Scottish preacher and poet penned the words that have become the lyrics to of the great hymns of the church:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

God is invisible. You can’t see Him. I can’t see Him. But He is there. He is God and He is in control. If you come to God with just simple reason, you will often find yourself at a loss to understand God. The Bible says His ways are not our ways. If you simply try to humanly figure out what is going on, many times you will be lost, without any understanding. However, if you approach God with simple faith, you will find that He is waiting with open arms. He is there all of the time.

You may listen to this sermon by following this link: Preparations for Protection or visit our sermons page.

Primetimer Trip to Shenandoah

The Primetimers from Tabernacle Baptist Church had a wonderful time last Thursday through Saturday as we traveled to the Shenandoah region of Virginia. We left early Thursday morning for the journey to Charlottesville, VA. The weatherman said there would be a 30% chance of rain. It actually turned out to be 100%. We arrived at Monticello in time for a boxed lunch which we ended up eating on the bus because of the rain. We enjoyed our tour of Thomas Jefferson’s home and gardens. This was the first time for me to visit this area of the country. Even with the clouds and rain, it was a absolutely gorgeous. Thomas Jefferson was our nation’s third President and he is the person most responsible for our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. While touring the house, Hannah looked up at our guide and asked, “Was he saved?” Our guide replied that he didn’t think so, but that Jefferson would have answered something like this, “that is between my God and me.” No, I don’t believe Jefferson was a believer, but I believe that he was a God fearing man. He was a true renaissance man: a farmer, an architect, an inventor, a statesman.

We then traveled over the mountain on the serpentine road leading us to Luray Caverns. I have been in caves before, but never something like this. The caverns are enormous. Our guide did a great job of leading us through the winding tunnels. She was careful not to say that the caverns were millions of years old. When we got to the bottom there was an organ that played by striking hammers on the stalactites. The song played was “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Just outside the Caverns was the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. This was an amazing journey through classic automobiles.

We then left for Raphine, VA, where we stayed at the Day’s Inn. We stopped and grabbed a fast food supper and arrived at the hotel somewhere around 8:30 p.m. Abby and Hannah wanted to go swimming so I went down to the pool with them. The temperature all day was in the low 60’s. It was now dark and still rainy, so you can imagine how cold it was. Abby and Hannah both jumped in the water and splashed around for about ten minutes. That was enough time for me to get soaked, not from the pool, but from the misty rain, so we went inside and had a good night’s rest.

On Friday, we drove to Lexington, VA, where we met up with our step-on guide. She took us to the Stonewall Jackson House, the only house Jackson ever owned. We learned a lot of history about the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression as my dad calls it). We then took the bus to the Virginia Military Institute. This school is an impressive place. We also walked around the Cadet Museum and were even able to see Stonewall Jackson’s horse. We then went to lunch at the Sheraton Livery. Everybody loved the delicious lunch. We then toured Washington and Lee University and visited the Lee Chapel. Our last stop was the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery where Jackson was buried. After a quick rest stop at the visitor center we drove a few miles south of Lexington to the Natural Bridge. If you have never visited the Natural Bridge I encourage you to visit. Pictures do not do justice to this impressive wonder of God’s creation (notice I didn’t say nature). While there, Caleb looked at me and said, “This is the best thing we have seen yet.” Abigail wanted to buy something in the gift shop so one of our ladies gave the kids some money. She bought an Indian headdress. Hannah bought a bow and arrow. When we left that night we stopped at the Country Cookin’ Restaurant. If you are ever in the Lexington area, this is the place to eat. The prices were very reasonable and the food was delicious.

Saturday morning we started back to Wilson, but on our way we stopped at the Appomattox Court House. We all really enjoyed the living history characters. We were able to walk through several of the old buildings, the tavern and printing press, the courthouse, the General Store, and the McLean House where Lee surrendered to Grant. As I stood overlooking the village and the fields I tried to close out everything around me and just meditate on what it must have been like almost 150 years ago. It was a solemn time.

We then made our way back to Wilson, enjoying the ride. The Lord gave us a great time of fellowship. Be sure to go by our church page and view the pictures of our Primetimer Trip to Shenandoah.

The Blessing of Fathers

dad-shoulders.jpgWe had a wonderful Father’s Day yesterday. What a joy it was to have my parents with me yesterday in our services. We looked yesterday morning at the Old Testament blessing. We saw several practical ways that fathers can bless their children. I have been blessed with wonderful parents. I’m striving to be a blessing to my children. Listen to yesterday morning’s message by following this link: The Blessing of Fathers or you can visit our sermons page.