This is the tagline underneath the Life Action Ministries Camp sign. We were able to have the last week of our summer vacation there and for that we are thankful. They call their Family Camp “vacation with a purpose.” And it isn’t your typical relaxing time together. You do get a chance to relax, but that is found in the midst of challenging teaching, whole-hearted worship, and earnest prayer times.
We had spent one night there last summer when we dropped off Walter for his month of training before going on the road to minister with one of their teams to local churches throughout the south and mid-Atlantic areas. In the midst of saying “Goodbye” to our firstborn, we had seen the beautiful lake and the Lodge, but hadn’t time to enjoy any of it. This year we did. Their large meeting hall is up the hill and called the Tabernacle, “Tab” for short. There are sessions held for all the families twice a day. After dynamic singing led by one of the praise bands, children and youth are dismissed to their own time of teaching, crafts, etc. The adults are treated to some intense teaching themselves, focusing on personal holiness in our various relationships—with God, with our spouses, with our children, and with our neighbors/nation.
The overall theme this summer was “Commissioned” and they focused on the truth that the world needs the Good News and God has commissioned us (individually and as a family) to spread the Gospel near and far! Two speakers addressed us every day. Laine Johnson powerfully probed Scripture to examine discipleship, marriage, and parenting. He concluded the week with an impassioned plea for us to see clearly the need for repentance and revival in America. Dan Jarvis gave six “Global Challenges” to the families, including multiple practical ideas to help us be intentional in our everyday lives about why we’re here. His premise was this: “Every family has been called by God to accomplish His mission. That is the reason we are on earth, together!”
What a good reminder that God has providentially put us together—in our little family—for a greater purpose than just surviving the daily grind until the kids make it out on their own and we can finally retire and focus on ourselves and our grandkids. I hope that most days I don’t exactly think like that, but it’s tempting sometimes! We were reminded again and again of what Walter said was the biggest lesson he learned from his year on the road: “It’s not about me!” That truth is driven home over and over. It really is all about God and His glory! And it’s good to be reminded of that frequently.
The messages were challenging and convicting. God worked in our family’s hearts that week. Please pray that the ground that was plowed up and the seeds that were planted would continue to be nourished and watered and, by God’s grace and for His glory, that we would bear much fruit.
In our busy, noisy culture it is important to take time to “Pause. Reconnect. Engage.” So I would encourage you to look at your vacation as a providential time to do that with a Godward focus. I would commend looking into a Christian Camp or Retreat Center as you have opportunity and pray that God might bless you as He has us. We came away with much more than just a tee shirt, but we did get those too! The purchase was intentional to remind us of what we learned and the direction we’re going. The front references the Great Commission and on the back is a quote from the Scottish pioneer medical missionary and explorer of Africa, David Livingstone: “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission from a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?”
May God keep the Greatest Commandment and the Great Commission in front of us all and give us hearts which are eager to obey.
Perhaps we don’t need to wait until next summer to be intentional about time off from our regular work week. Maybe we could see every Sunday as a chance to pause, reconnect, and engage with our church family in the great business of God’s Kingdom advance!
May it be so by God’s grace and for His glory!