Alive and Free

Summer youth camp was awesome.

I can’t say enough goodness about the week the students of Awaken, as well as the four adults that went, had last week. If you do not have a student within Awaken please ask one who went how camp was. If you do have a student within Awaken, I hope they are STILL talking about it. For me it was a true blessing to see our students praise God, grow closer to God, and just dance around with no abandon. It is a week that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

But, like most getaways…they end. We come back to reality and the real world to pick up where we left off. The high felt during camp starts to fade slowly. This doesn’t just happen with youth camps. It can happen with any type of retreat that you go on for a weekend or week. You get away from real life to reconnect with God. You’re feeling uplifted, blessed, encouraged, renewed, or maybe even alive for the first time. How do you keep that energy going when life picks back up? Why do people fall away so quickly when the pressure of life falls back on their shoulders?

A life with Jesus Christ at the center has to be just that. It isn’t a one-time thing that you do and then forget. You pursue Him. You talk to Him. You love Him. You want to spend time with Him. You simply want HIM. You have to be intentional or you will just find yourself falling back into old habits. The high you felt when you went on that retreat or camp will disappear along with the memories.

The theme for Centrifuge this year was Alive and Free. It was a more in-depth look into the book of James with four key insights each day. Though meant for students this theme and these insights can be applied to anyone. Because they were so incredibly awesome I am sharing them with you:

  1. Act Now – Put your faith into action. Don’t just say you believe…SHOW that you do! Do for others even if it’s hard. Serve within the church instead of just showing up when you remember too. James 2:24 says, “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” Also, James 2:26 states, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” Don’t wait for someone else or for the perfect time to act now.
  2. Speak Life – Spoken words can breathe life into the most troubled circumstance. Words can also destroy someone in mere seconds. The words we speak to and about someone can be extremely powerful. James tells us that everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19). How often do your words speak life into those around you?
  3. Bow Down – One of the most difficult things to do is to be humble. It can be an act of war to put your needs/wishes to the side so that someone else can be first. The thing is…we are to be last. It isn’t about us if we are followers of Christ. We must bow down and let go of our pride.
    1. “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6b)
    2. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)
  4. Stay True – The retreat/camp is over. You are thrust back into real life. Now what? Now you use everything you are, everything you have, to give of your time and yourself to God. You dive into the Word. You surround yourself with others who are likeminded. You pray. You think of Him. You let Him transform you. Staying true to God means keeping what you learned and keeping that spark you discovered when you first met Him. Temptations and trials will come, but as James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under the trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

We can all follow these principles in our walks with Christ. You don’t have to be a teenager. You also don’t have to attend a camp or retreat. You just have to…do. You have to put the effort into your personal walk with our Creator. He is waiting for you.

Act Now. Speak Life. Bow Down. Stay True.

Be Alive and Free.

Stephanie Henderson
Student Pastor

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