>The Danger of Christian "Retreats," "Camps" etc…

>As I read the following cartoon this morning I thought of the students/adults with whom I spent this last incredible weekend at the NWTFC Bible Quiz Tournament.Then I again prayed that this first morning back in the “real world” that those who had made commitments to would follow through with them rather than cave to the pressure of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Whether a four-day event, a week of camp, or even a missions trip; the reality is Spirit of God can seize those days away from peers, negative garbage, etc to cause people to truly hear from God. But then it’s back to the war zone…

Much like when I served in Vietnam and “R & R” (Rest and Recreation) came up. One moment I’m riding on the Armored Cavalry Assault Vehicle (ACAV), the next I’m on my way to Sydney, Australia for seven days. Once arriving there I spend all the time focused on partying (long before I got converted!), but in the back of my mind…five days, three days, 36 hours, 7 hours…and the dreadful knowledge that I would soon be back in the Nam.

Thus the burden is on the speaker, staff, counselors etc at such spiritual events to NEVER make it “easy” to make a “decision” for Jesus….to NEVER get into body-counting “decisions” as a way of determining whether the event was “good,” and to tell the attendees that the camp or whatever is NOT real life…it is rather a taste of heaven, and that the most dangerous time of our spiritual lives is the first several days after what is often referred to as a “spiritual high.”

And the burden of the person who MADE a genuine commitment to Christ to deepen their relationship and obedience is to focus on the gospel, and on walking in faith and trust that this time it will work…even as Spirit of God works within us…IF we get out of the way and, duh, ask Him to!

The life of a disciple (which is what the great commission tells us to make, rather than “converts” and/or “decisions”) is, at its root, one HUGE decision to repent and trust the gospel; followed by a gazillion moment-by-moment decisions to obey.

And, when those inevitable stumblings come, we run to my most-needed verse…First John 1.9. Reminds me of an early DC Talk song…Watch the following video and remind yourself that “If we confess (“agree with God”) that we have sinned, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Author: Jack Hager

Jesus invaded my life shortly after my arrest at age 26. I spent the first few years of my new life incarcerated. Went to Bible school after parole; have served with Kansas City Youth For Christ, Headwaters Christian Youth (Rhinelander, Wi), Family Life Ministries (Bath, NY), and now with Midland Ministries (Saint Joseph, Mo). Married with four children, work with youth, adults, inmates. Heavily involved in Bible quizzing for four decades. Narrow minded about Jesus and the gospel; fairly open minded about most other things. Speak in churches, camps (both teen and family), civic groups, public schools, Christian schools and colleges...amazed I get to do what I get to do....favorite verse Romans 15.13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may overflow with hope."

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