Have you ever had to visit a hospital? I hope not too often as a patient, but maybe you went to visit some friends or family? I recently had to visit my mother-in-law in hospital, and as we found our way through the maze of long corridors, we made it to the entrance doors of the ward. Greeting us in large letters on the floor in front of the door were these words:
* STOP * you are entering a clinical area
CLEAN YOUR HANDS
There to help us on the wall was a dispenser containing some potent solution no doubt able to kill off every bug known to man. Every time we entered or left we had to repeat this process of hand washing, to prevent the spread of infection. We can take some spiritual lessons from this, that teach us about how we relate to God.
In the Old Testament, God’s people used to meet Him in the tabernacle, and later, in the temple. Before the priest could enter to worship, he had to make sure he was “clean”. Exodus 30 v 17-21 gives us the background. The reason was for them to appreciate that God was holy, and that they must purify themselves before coming into His presence.
In Psalm 24, King David understood this when he said “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” We could say that the heart symbolises our inward desire (that we want to please God), and that our hands symbolise our outward action (that we do please God).
In the New Testament, the principle is much the same. The Christian who desires to meet with God must have a lifestyle that is consistent with God’s character. James puts it like this in 4 v 8 “cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” If you meet with Christians in your local church, and remember the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread, you might be familiar with 1 Corinthians 11 v 28 “let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”
Jesus taught His disciples that physical hand washing was not important. He knew the difference between what was outward and what was inward, and He had a discussion with the Pharisees about this in Matthew 15. The Jewish custom of hand washing had become a tradition that had lost its spiritual meaning: they looked clean, but inwardly they were far from God.
Maybe we need a reminder about this ourselves. If you are a Christian, is your life consistent with God’s character? You may need to make some adjustments! If you are not yet a Christian, remember that God looks for an internal change, not an externally or superficially correct behaviour. 1 Samuel 16 v 7 says “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
So next time you visit the hospital, don’t forget to kill off the superbugs, and remember what the signs teach about your spiritual life! See you soon.
(Young Christians Camp Leader)
Last week I was watching a water vole that lives beside the stream near our house. He has a short brown coat, black beady eyes, a snub nose and twitching whiskers. He was sitting in the entrance of his burrow dug into the steep bank just above the waterline, staring back at me. After a while there was a loud plop as he launched into the water and headed off upstream, leaving a rippling bow-wave behind him. He has very little fear of humans, or anything else for that matter!
Dave, our neighbour’s big black cat sits silently for hours on the wooden footbridge over the stream, waiting to pounce. I suppose he wants to vary his diet – baby rabbits, mice, blackbirds, water voles………… they all taste good. I wish he could just be content with a saucer-full of cat-food each day, but obviously he can’t. Why is a water vole so fearless? They are an “endangered species”, and you can see why! Perhaps they think they are safe, because cats are too fat to squeeze into their burrow – and no-one has ever seen a cat swimming up a stream have they? But I think that’s a doubtful argument. After all, cats are a lot more common than water voles!
If you think water voles are blind to danger, what about people? For instance don’t you know some young people who were warned about drugs or alcohol or some other dangerous things, but tried them out just the same? And the problem is they have soon ended up trapped in a place where there is no way back. We might love our family of water voles at Mill Farm, but they are hard to protect from predators – you can’t sit on the stream bank every day and night to scare off their enemies. Each one of us lives in a dangerous world, and we are responsible, in the end, for our own safety. Peter, a disciple of the Lord Jesus, warns us from his own experience, writing in his letter (1 Peter 5:8) : “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”.
Why are so many young people so blind to danger? The apostle Paul says (2 Corinthians 4:4): “The god of this age has blinded the minds of those that will not believe so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”. There is only one way to be safe from danger. Salvation – which makes you safe for ever – is only to be found by asking the Lord Jesus to save you. I can’t do it for you even though I would like to. You must ask Him yourself.
See you at the Gorleston Camp Rally on June 21st, and stay safe on the beach. If you have found salvation in the meantime be sure to tell your friends from Camp!
(Young Christians Camp Leader)
There was a story told of a clockmaker who noticed that every morning a man would stop by the window, take out his watch and set it.
One day he went out to talk to him, “My watch does not keep good time, so as I am responsible for sounding the hooter at the factory, I set my watch by the grandfather clock in the window”.
Rather sheepishly the clockmaker said, “That clock does not keep very good time, so I set it each evening by the factory hooter”.
There are times when we think we are following the right way and find ourselves lost. Taking our lead from other people or standards of society will not lead to a life pleasing to God unless these are reflecting what God wants.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Reading God’s word and speaking to the Lord Jesus will guide our behaviour.
In Romans 12 v 2 Paul urges us to not be conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of our mind. We won’t then set our watches by unreliable values.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Stowmarket rally on March 22,
(Junior Camp 1 leader)
Have you ever been lost? It is not a very nice feeling!! It is no secret that my sense of direction is pretty hopeless and I am thankful that we have a ‘SAT NAV’ that enables us to plug it in and follow the directions to my destination.
Who would have thought 50 years ago that so many people would be using GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to find their way around the planet? But I am much more thankful for God’s GPS – GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION. The Bible says that we are all lost and at a distance from God, but praise God, the Lord Jesus Christ came and He said “I AM COME TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST” (Luke 19 v 10), even though that meant Him going to the cross of Calvary. Through His death on the cross for sins not His own, and His rising from the dead on the third day, by God’s grace, people who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ can have sins forgiven and will arrive in heaven one day.
One place I do know how to get to is the cliff top at Beeston Regis!!! I look forward to seeing some of you there this year for another great time at Camp, God willing. If you have any friends who would also like to come it would be great to see them too!!!!
Andy (Senior Camp Leader)
The start of a new year can bring a mixture of thoughts and feelings. Firstly, we say goodbye to the old year. Maybe 2013 was a good year for you, maybe it was a great year, or perhaps you are pleased that it is over. Whatever your experiences in 2013 we can all say one thing – it is now in our history, it has happened.
If you went to camp in 2013, I hope you still have great memories of the time you had there, I hope you remember what you heard about the Lord, but above all I pray that you are applying what you learnt to your own life.
We can also look forwards. The new year seems to bring new opportunities, a fresh start, a whole year ahead. What do you want 2014 to be for you? I’m reminded of a verse found in Philippians ch 4 v 13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Thinking about a change in the year also makes me think about how we can be changed completely if we trust Jesus Christ. There will be things we have done in our lives that we aren’t proud of, things we know we shouldn’t have done, places we went we were told not to go to, things we said which we regretted saying. The Bible describes all of this as sin and is clear to us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. In other words we are all the same, we all do things we shouldn’t. Just like the old year, these things are in our history, they have happened.
The new opportunities comes to us if we place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we ask him to forgive us for these things we’ve done wrong, if we ask him to come into our life as our Lord and Saviour, he will. Immediately the sin in our life is forgiven and we have a Saviour who will love us forever. We get a fresh start. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians ch 5 v 17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”.
We have many camp related things to look forward to this year. There are the reunions in January, March and June as we build up to camp, then camp itself starting at the end of July and running through August. Application forms for camp are now available. You can download a copy from the website or get a paper copy through your usual contacts.
We would love to see you at camp in 2014 but our prayer as a group of camp leaders is that you would come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Saviour and friend. Yes, the year changes, yes, we can change, but there is one constant “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews ch 13 v 8. May we all know him more and make more of him in our lives in 2014.
Hope to see you soon,
(Junior 2 Camp Leader)
Those summery days of camp seem so long ago now, especially as the nights draw in and Christmas draws near. Even though it’s several months since camp I hope you’ve got lots of good memories from the summer, and you’ve kept up the friendships you made when you were there. More importantly, though, I hope that the things you learnt about God and the Bible have stayed with you and challenged you, encouraged you and helped you in your life as a Christian or made you think about what it means to be a Christian.
The Bible is such an amazing book – like no other book around. It corrects us, encourages us, challenges us and teaches us. Every time you read it there is something new to discover, if you’ll listen to what God is saying to you through it. Sometimes when I read it whole passages jump out at me, sometimes it’s verses, sometimes it’s just a phrase or sentence.
In Luke 24 there’s a beautiful phrase found in the story of the disciples travelling on the road to Emmaus. Verse fifteen says, ‘Jesus, himself, drew near and went with them.’ The disciples must have been so sad and confused as they travelled from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They’d had so much hope resting on Jesus and yet He was dead! As they walked and talked on their journey, the Bible tells us that Jesus came near to them and went with them. I love this. Jesus didn’t just come to them, have a quick chat and go away again. He continued with them until they reached their destination. If we’re Christians Jesus comes near to us and continues with us during our life’s journey and, like He did with the two disciples, He teaches us about Himself as we travel.
As leaders we spend time with you during your week at camp, but we have to leave at the end of the week to go back to what we normally do, just like you do. However, in Hebrews 13 v 5 God says, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ We’re also told in Matthew 1 v 23 that Christ’s birth was prophesied and that one of His names would be ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God with us’! This is truly amazing and should really comfort and encourage us.
The creator of this world
came down to this world
to be the Saviour of this world
to walk with those of us who trust in Him as Lord and Saviour.
Have a lovely Christmas and I look forward to seeing you at the reunion in January.
Cook at Senior and Junior Camp
My wife and I have recently been reading about Joseph (Genesis 37, 39 to 46) in our Quiet Times. This story is relevant to us today.
Joseph’s father favoured him by giving him a special coat (translators vary in their description of it being brightly coloured to having long sleeves); so Joseph was proud of this and as result was treated badly by his brothers.
Having been sold by them and finding himself working for one of Pharaoh’s officials, he was again unfairly treated and found himself in prison.
But God knew all about this – FIRST IMPORTANT POINT. Several times the Bible says, “The Lord was with Joseph”. What a help and comfort Joseph found this to be.
You would have thought he had been through enough trouble, but then, when he asked a fellow prisoner who was being released to remind Pharaoh he was still in prison, the man forgot.
But God did not forget – He arranged for Joseph to be freed – SECOND IMPORTANT POINT. It is worth trusting in God, rather than men, and waiting God’s timing.
After 20 years of separation, Joseph was reunited with his father and brothers.
He was the means of providing for them during seven years of famine! THIRD IMPORTANT POINT – He did not take the credit, but told them, “It was not you who sent me here, but God.”
Gen 45 v 8.
It is a story worth reading for yourself!
Junior week 1
A Cook’s Eye View
As I write this, I’m in the middle of buying and preparing the food for Senior Camp and Junior Two. Possibly, by the time you read this, you will have sampled some of that food – hopefully with enjoyment. As I said to my daughter yesterday, when we walked out of Asda with over 400 packets of Walker’s crisps in our trolley, “Now it feels like camp is on its way”. Yorkshire puddings are being made and final tweaks are being done to my menus. We’re eagerly looking forward to cooking for you with our new ovens and kitchen interior.
As cooks we may not get to experience the sharp end, like your tent leaders – sleeping in a tent, disturbed nights from blustery wind and rain and worries about the tent blowing away, campers who won’t sleep, open air showers. We have to make do with a caravan, electricity and visiting the shower block! A cook’s eye view is different from most of the other leaders, but we still feel very much part of camp. Our view from the cookhouse is almost panoramic and you’d be surprised what we can see from our vantage point at the top of the field. Beware! We enjoy the singing from the marquee, the fun of the wide games, big games or whatever games you’re playing and, of course, we get to serve you your breakfast, lunch and tea.
I could bore you with the number of croissant I’ve ordered, the number of delicious sausages I’ve ordered from our butcher in Sheringham or how many pounds of strawberries I need to make Eton Mess. However, as important as these amounts are (we don’t want you to go home hungry after all), it’s important to remember that the Lord Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” and that when He was being tempted by the devil He also said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”. I hope that as you attend camp you will be fed by listening to all that is said. If you are a Christian my prayer is that you will grow in your faith and go home stronger. If you are not a Christian, I hope that you will think about what you hear about the Lord Jesus and all He has done for you and remember that there is more to life than food and drink and possessions.
As leaders we come to camp to serve the Lord and to give you a memorable holiday. Quite often we receive a blessing from the Lord, sometimes as an encouragement or a challenge. Please listen to what the Lord has to say to you at camp this year.
Thought for the month
In the long days of summer we enjoy the daylight. In early morning and in the evening we can enjoy outdoor activities if it isn’t raining!
I want to share with you some ideas I heard last week about Jesus – Light of the World. It was suggested that Jesus gives light on difficult questions through His Word, the Bible.
- Where did the world come from? – Ask the person who was there – "In the beginning, God created …" Genesis 1
- Why do people do what they do? – We don’t become sinners by doing wrong; we do wrong because we are sinners. – Genesis 3
- How do we get salvation? – "Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4 v 12
- How do we get to heaven? – "Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me’." John 14 v 6
No philosophy or religion gives answers to these questions. We should trust the person who gives the answers – Jesus. Are you sure? Do you want to learn more?
Come along to camp this year and enjoy yourself as you learn more. Put in your application if you haven’t done so and encourage friends to come as well.
Look forward to seeing you at Gorleston (Saturday 16 June) and at camp. Only 6 weeks to go!
John Leftley (Commie J1)
Are you Ready?
As I write this it has been raining for what feels like a very long time! That’s made me think about camp! Of course, this year July and August are going to be filled with endless sunshine…
Let me introduce myself. For those that don’t know me, my name is Nick and this year I shall be taking over the running of Junior Week 2 with my wife, Kerry. I’ve been coming to camp as a helper for 9 years now and I’m really looking forward to this year’s camp. For Junior 2, we have a very full, fun packed programme planned, with lots of activities, games and some trips out.
I know that the leaders of the other weeks are also getting ready and have lots of good things planned too.
Are you planning on coming to camp this year? If you are and you haven’t got your form in yet, please get it in quick (download a form if you need one). It will be great to see you this Summer.
So… are you ready? There’s lots to do in the run up to camp. For you campers, you will need to pack all your kit and make sure Mum or Dad, or whoever you live with are going to be ok looking after themselves for the week!
For us who run camp we have to think about things like building the cookhouse, putting up the tents and the sports equipment and doing lots of shopping for all the food you’ll be eating. There seems to be so much to do to get ready.
Then I think about whether we are ready for Heaven. We do camp to be able to tell you about the Lord Jesus, of how much he loves you and wants to be a part of your life. Of how he is preparing a place for you in Heaven and how you can be ready to receive it one day. It says in the Bible ‘the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6 v 23). It’s a free gift on offer to you right now through putting your trust in the Lord Jesus.
Don’t forget the Camp Reunion at Gorleston on 16th June from 3pm. We’ll see you on the beach.
If you ever have any questions or comments about camp you can get in touch via the website.
Remember to pray for each other and pray for camp.