Thought for the month

Thought for the month – September 2017

Now we have reached September we have left summer behind. Camp for this year is finished and the field is cleared. We look forward to meeting up with you all at Hebron Chapel in Costessey on September 16. Do make an effort to come.
For our summer camps we had 70 campers and 60 leaders and workers. We had a very happy time on each camp.

All have been affected by camp. All have thought about Jesus in a different way.
Some have responded to Jesus as Saviour; one girl was baptised in the sea; questions were asked and many felt closer to God during the different weeks or weekend.
Even those of us who have been Christians for a long time came away encouraged and challenged.

If you became a Christian it is important you make the effort to meet with other Christians at a church and regularly read your Bible so you can grow.
Perhaps you left camp not prepared to make this step – perhaps you still do not feel you believe – continue to question.
Perhaps you feel you should be baptised – speak to your church leaders and let your camp leader know.
Whatever your position, keep in touch with your camp leaders.

The Bible makes the statement, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’. (John 3 v 16)

On junior camp we learned the words of Jesus in John 14 v 1 – 6. Jesus said to those who trusted Him, ‘I go to prepare a place for you’. What is heaven like? It is where Jesus IS and where sin ISN’T – what a wonderful place. Jesus then goes on to say, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father but by me’.
He claims to be the only way to God. That could sound presumptious but He has shown His authority and power by His death and resurrection! No-one else has made claims like that because no-one else has died and risen again!

Have YOU trusted Him as Saviour so you know the certainty of sins forgiven and a place in heaven?

John Leftley (Commie Junior camp)

Thought for the month – August 2017

Finally CAMP 2017 has arrived and lots of you will have already been on Camp this year – I hope you all had a good time, and perhaps have been challenged or encouraged by the studies in the Bible. This is the reason why we hold Camp each year, so that all of us might hear something from God, as well as enjoying all that Camp has to offer (treks up the Bump, Ultimate Frisbee on the beach, and of course Camp porridge!).

Many characters in the Bible started their experience of God in a similar way. Think about Samuel in the Old Testament. You can read about his emergence to become a prophet of God in 1 Samuel chapters 1-3. But although he started his “work” with Eli the priest at a very young age, we read in 1 Samuel 3 v 7 that “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.” Before he could truly serve God, he had to come to know Him personally, to be able to recognise the Lord’s voice and follow Him.

God called Samuel three times but he assumed it was Eli speaking! Eventually Eli explained to Samuel that it was the Lord – how to recognise and respond to His voice. This was a significant milestone in Samuel’s story. Similarly, God calls all of us to respond to the message of the gospel (that Jesus died for our sins so that we might have eternal life), and part of the work of Camp is to explain that “call” so that we can each respond individually. How many times have you heard God’s call?

Most likely when you read this, Camp will be a recent memory. What have you heard this year? No doubt you’ll have read the Bible on Camp, but have you heard God calling you? Samuel’s reply to God’s call was “speak, for your servant hears.” So far, he had been Eli’s servant, but now he is prepared to report to God direct.

Samuel was still a young man at this stage, but his youth did not mean he could not serve God or that God could not speak to him. But notice ch 3 v 19 “and Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him” – there was progress in his life with God, and more than that v20 “and all Israel… knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord.” Samuel’s progress was evident to God, but there was also no doubt from the people either.

Just like a walk from Camp up the Bump, we shouldn’t be content with staying on the Camp site but to achieve higher ground – making progress in knowing God, the higher we go, the better the view! Just like a couple walking on the beach, we should come to recognise the Lord walking with us – and realising that one set of footprints from time to time means not that He had left us, but that He carried us. And just like the lifeguard hut at West Runton needs a solid foundation rather than the collapsing sandy cliffs, so we can establish our lives upon Christ’s teaching.

Here’s the point:- what will you do with what you’ve heard at Camp 2017? Will you respond to God’s “call” and put your faith in Jesus Christ and become a Christian? Perhaps you’ve already done this – in which case what progress have you made? Are you “growing” as a Christian, and can others see this progress? God had much work to do through Samuel, and He has lots to do through you as well.

Jon (Young Christians’ Camp Leader)

Thought for the month – June 2017

Making your Choice

The month of June has now started. At the end of next month, Camp 2017 starts with the Senior Camp for the 15-18 year olds. After this, there is the Young Christians’ Camp for the 14-20 age group. The Junior Camp for 9-11’s and then the Teen Camp for 12-14’s follow. You need to decide which Camp you will attend and submit your application with an appropriate payment. There are currently plenty of places available, but places are limited. So the earlier you apply, the better.

This month includes the date set for the UK general election. This provides eligible people with the opportunity to vote for a member of parliament. The outcome nationally leads to a new government being formed to rule over us for a period.

We might not be eligible to vote in a general election regarding our temporary secular government. However, we can each make a decision that will affect permanently our spiritual government and eternal destiny. When we repent and trust Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are forgiven and transferred into His kingdom. “[God the Father] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:13-14)

With our concern for young people, the recent atrocities in Manchester, where young people were targeted, were particularly painful. These were a reminder of the brevity and fragility of life. We all, younger people included, have to be ready for eternity now. “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured [helped] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

The application for Camp requires a payment. The required payment for salvation is a redemption price. That has already been paid “[Christ Jesus] gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).

The children of Israel were presented with two options many years ago. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19). The Lord Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). What choice have we made?

Michael Sparkes
Committee Member and Support Leader on Junior Camp

Thought for the month – April 2017

The clocks have changed, the daffodils are out and it’s getting just a little warmer. Spring is definitely here and just a signal that summer is not too far away. And with summer, comes another year of Young People’s Bible camp. Are you planning to be there this year?

Whilst the changing seasons give us things to look forward to, they also remind us that time passes by quickly and things in life don’t last forever.

The Bible reminds us of this in 1 Peter 1:24-25:

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

It is good to remember that God’s word is lasting, sure and reliable. But the greatest thing to remember is that God’s word reveals the gospel, the good news of forgiveness, peace with God and eternal life. God has declared it and the Lord Jesus died on the cross to make it all possible.

This great message will be preached at Young People’s Bible Camp this year. But you don’t have to wait until camp. You can call on the Lord Jesus for salvation right now.

Andrew Dutton

Thought for the month – March 2017

At the end of this month, we have the privilege of celebrating “Mothering Sunday” or should it be “Mother’s Day”?

“Mothering Sunday” originated in the United Kingdom as a Christian Festival. It occurs on the 4th Sunday in Lent and has been celebrated since the 16th Century. When children were in Service, it was a day that was allowed for them to return home to see their Mothers and to spend time sharing a meal with them and the rest of the family.

“Mother’s Day” is an American term and occurs on the 2nd Sunday in May and is celebrated in the same way, with gifts and cards for Mothers.

Whichever you like to call it (and the phrases are often used interchangeably in the United Kingdom), it is a time to remember and to thank our Mothers. We thank them for all that they have done throughout the previous year for us. This is often done with cards, gifts and visits.

This reminds me of another time that is important to us. The greatest gift that we could be given, was the Lord Jesus dying on the cross. Not long ago, we remembered His birth at Christmas, and next month we will remember His dying on the cross at Easter.

Because of our sinful and rebellious nature, we are unable to communicate with God. This was not what God had envisioned in the beginning of the World. He wanted to be able to commune with man (Genesis 3v18), but because Adam had disobeyed God, sin was in the way.

When Adam sinned, Genesis records the beginning of a series of promises about a coming deliverer. That person is revealed to us in the New Testament as The Lord Jesus. He is presented to us as God’s gift to this world and as the only one who can take away our sin. We discover that he was a perfect Man. He was unable to sin, He didn’t have sinful thoughts, do sinful deeds, or speak wrong or hurtful words. He didn’t lie, speak in anger, or plot against those who wanted Him dead (1 Pet 2v22).

He gave His life at Calvary so that our sins can be taken away and we can have a close relationship with God. This can be achieved by asking for His forgiveness and asking Him to be our Saviour. We can, therefore, be assured that when we die, we will go to be with Him and not face a life in Hell, a place of eternal judgement.

This is the Gift that is freely given for us. We didn’t deserve it, in contrast to our Mothers who make many sacrifices for us.

What will you do with this Gift?

David & Mary Honeyball
Junior Camp 2

Thought for the month – February 2017

I wonder how many of you have made New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of this new year. The beginning of a week/month/year can be a convenient starting point for something different or new. However, if we place too much emphasis on the timing we are going to be disappointed because nine times out of ten we fail with our efforts but there is someone who never fails us and doesn’t wait for the beginning of a year, week, etc.

Galatians 4 v 4 says that when the time was right Christ was born. We don’t know the date – but in all likelihood not 25 December. The purpose of His coming was to draw people in true repentance to Himself and back into a right relationship with God the Father. When this happens 2 Corinthians 5 v 17 tells us we are a new creation in Christ. Forget your resolutions and attempts to do things in your own strength. This passage also tells us that in Christ ‘the old is gone, all things are made new’ and Philippians 4 v 13 says ‘I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.’

As 2017 begins think about where you stand before God. Whether you’ve been a Christian for many years, just a few years or you’re considering what Christ has done for you, He can and will be with you throughout the year – if you ask. Why not ask Him for it to be a year where you grow closer to Him and more like Him day by day.

Carrie
Committee member and cook, Senior Camp

Thought for the month – November 2016

Several months ago, when visiting a local supermarket, it was clear that they were encouraging you to prepare for Christmas early by displaying a variety of Christmas products.

But I wonder if you have prepared for eternity?
There was a man the Lord Jesus spoke of (Luke 12v16) who had everything he thought he would ever need, but he failed to think upon his soul (the part of us that lives for ever – all eternity). You may feel you have everything you need; a nice house, family, friends, toys, gadgets, education etc. but do you have eternal life?

Jesus Christ, God’s Son went to the cross of Calvary and died for you, bearing the punishment for sin, which He did not deserve. God was satisfied with His Son’s death on the cross, and on the third day, God raised Him from the dead. If we turn from our sin to God, and put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross for us, then we can be saved and have eternal life.

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” Ezekiel 18v20
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” John 10v10

You may be preparing, and looking forward to Christmas, which only lasts for a day, but are you prepared and ready for eternity, which lasts forever.

Andy Meek
Senior Camp leader

Thought for the month – October 2016

We are all back in the normal routine of school or college or work and will be confronted by people who ridicule the idea of God. I read this real life story recently.

A taxi driver discovered he was carrying a Christian minister and thought he would have some fun.

‘I feel sorry for people like you’ he said. ‘There you are with your Bibles and churches,and looking forward to some comfort and reward at the end of all your effort – only to find out at the end there was nothing there at all!’

He had a good laugh and I let him enjoy his joke. Then I had my own laugh.
‘Just suppose you are right and that I am deluded – I still have the advantage over you. I am convinced – in my delusion – that life isn’t a product of chance; believing – in my delusion – that I’m here for a purpose and that a man called Jesus has overcome evil and death and had forgiven my sins and given me eternal life. And then if you are right and I go out like a light I won’t even have the disappointment of knowing I was deluded!’

‘But if I’m right and you are wrong you are the real loser! There you are living trying to make sense of this short life keeping cheerful as possible until your energy gives out and you die. You are in for a dreadful shock as you are confronted by the person you have denied all your life and realise all you have lived for has been wasted!’

‘Supposing these things could make you think!’

We don’t have to suppose as we know there is enough evidence from the life and death of Jesus. He came into our world just because there is a life to prepare for and He is the only one who can open the way to heaven. If you know Jesus as saviour you know your future in heaven is secure. That is better than any ‘just suppose……..’

John wrote this in his first letter (1 John ch5 v13)
‘I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life’.

John Leftley (J1 Commie)

Thought for the month – August 2016

When God Baffles You

I’m writing this with two weeks of camp already over and done with and the third about to start. Sadly there’s not going to be a Young Christians’ camp this year. Sometimes it’s hard to understand why some things happen and it baffles us. The plans were all made for the camp. Speakers were ready and leaders had taken holiday from work. The only people not there were campers. As Christians, and a committee, we know that God is not surprised by anything and He has a purpose for our lives. God knew there would be no final camp this year — and He has a purpose in that.

If you were to ask many Christians, I’m sure they would tell you of things that have happened in their lives that baffle them. Why would God allow it to happen? On the face of it, it doesn’t seem like the best — but God does have a purpose. As people we like things to be going well, but when they are we tend to forget that everything we have comes from God and we need to always rely on Him. Isaiah 55 v 8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” We need to remember that God only wants the best for us and that best is a life following Him; learning more of Him.

Something else that baffles many people is the gift of the Lord Jesus as a sacrifice for their sin. Why would God the Father send God the Son to do that? A very well-known verse gives us the answer to that question. John 3 v 16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” There is a division between us and God; the division of sin, but John 3 v 16 tells us what’s at the heart of God’s dealings with us — LOVE. Just like parents who love their children and want the best for their children, God’s love means that He doesn’t give us what we want but what we need. Everyone needs to be reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus. For those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus as Saviour they need to live a life that is pleasing and honouring to God. Baffling circumstances can bring us to God for the first time or draw us closer to Him in our Christian life. If you have difficulties in your life, ask the Lord to help you. Keep trusting in Him no matter how hard. He loves you. Remember, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5 v 6-7

Carrie

Thought for the month – July 2016

Camp 2016 is scheduled to start this month (July) and is for set for four consecutive separate weeks. We hope many of you reading this will enjoy the experience of one of those weeks, or facilitate the attendance. We know that some young people are unable to come this year because of other commitments, but we trust you will still think of us and pray for us, and maybe have the opportunity to attend another year.

Repercussions. Life is full of decisions. Some seem relatively minor and appear to have few (if any) long-term consequences. What shall I wear today? What should I eat for my next meal? Other decisions clearly have significant implications for the future. How much shall I study for my exams? Whether to marry, and to whom? To which University (if any) do I apply? There is a decision that has the most far-reaching implications. That centres on the question: “Where will I spend eternity?” The alternatives are often summed up in the posed question: “Heaven or Hell?”

Restrictions. By now, decisions should have been made about whether to attend Camp this year. At the time of writing, there is still opportunity for some to enrol for this year’s Camp, but time is running out. With the best will in the world, you would not be able to attend Camp this year if you left the decision until the end of August. The opportunity will have passed. The ‘by-default’ decision would have been not to attend. Many of our decisions are similarly time-restricted. The decision regarding our eternal destination and current spiritual welfare is time-limited as the Bible says, “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). We dare not leave the decision too late. To delay at all is a danger. “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1)

Regime. Many decisions have an effect on the way we live. The decision to attend a particular school or place of employment may affect what we should wear. A uniform may be required, and we have to obey the establishment’s regulations. If we chose to live in another country, we have to keep the laws of that land. The overall decision of the recent Referendum was that the UK should leave the European Union. One of the main arguments put forward to leave the EU was regarding sovereignty. Who should determine the way we live? A similar choice is made regarding our spiritual lives. Under what regime will I live? Those who are destined for heaven are described as heavenly citizens: “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20 NKJV). For the true Christian, there has been a change of rulership. “[God the Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13 NKJV). The decision for the UK to leave the EU has been made by majority of the voters, but the actual change has to be effected by those in power. It will also take two years to put into effect. The decision to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is an individual personal decision. The change effected is by the power of God, but is done instantaneously.

Requirements. Apart from time restrictions, there are often particular requirements to be satisfied regarding decisions we make. Acceptance at a certain university may require achieving a particular level or grade of exam. School placements may depend on where you live. The requirement for the Kingdom of God is the New Birth “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This comes about through repentance and faith. Repent: “[God] now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). Believe: “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: … through faith in his blood” and “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Review. To quote from a song, “We’re reviewing the situation”. “Remain or Leave?” is a frequent choice. Maybe it is “Do I remain in my job, or do I leave for employment elsewhere?” For my holiday, “Do I remain in the UK or leave for a foreign location?” Recently the political choice has been “Remain in the EU or Leave”. Despite the warnings given, that choice is not the most important in a lifetime. The most important decision you will make is “Do I remain in the jurisdiction of darkness in my sin, or leave for the kingdom of God’s Son?” The consequences are not just for life; they are for eternity.

Barry Stoller composed the well-recognised “Match Of The Day” theme tune. A song that was sung to its first part for many years (with variations in lyrics) asked a very important personal question.

Why don’t you put your trust in Jesus
And ask Him to come in?
He saw your need from up in heaven
And came to die for sin.
So ask Him now to be Your Saviour;
Invite Him in today:
He will strengthen, guide and keep you
As you walk the narrow way;-
He will strengthen, guide and keep you
As you walk the narrow way.

Why don’t you put your trust in Jesus?
He’s more than just a friend,
For He will guide you and protect you
And will keep you to the end.
Why don’t you put your trust in Jesus
And let him take control?
He’s the Son of God who loves you
And He died to save your soul;
He’s the Son of God who loves you
And He died to save your soul.

(ANONYMOUS – COPYRIGHT CONTROL)

Michael Sparkes
Committee Member and Support Leader on Junior Camp (Week 1)