Warrior Camp Team,
Hey! I hope this Warrior Camp Update finds you having a great weekend. If you're receiving this update, it's either because you're on our Warrior Camp Team, you've given me advice, or because you're one of my friends or family who I thought would like to hear what's new with our camping ministry.
Here's a quick snapshot of what's in this August update:
1. Warrior Camp Facebook Profile
2. Warrior Camp in Washington State
3. Tyson's Warrior Camp Sword Fest in Massachussets
4. Stephen Lawhead writes back
5. A 2nd Warrior Camp Land Opportunity in Lynchburg
6. Big Praise: Interest in Partnering with Warrior Camp
7. Website Facelift
8. Spreading the Word
9. Coming Up: Discipleship Renovatio
10. Big Question: What is the Biblical Basis for Warrior Camp?
1. I forgot to mention this in the July update, however Warrior Camp is now set up as a group on Facebook! As Warrior Camp continues to gain momentum, this will serve as a social network where Warrior Campers can find each other, talk, interact with other Warriors and Warrior Camp leaders, post pictures, videos, post game records, and keep in touch between camps, even with Warrior Campers from other youth groups or other states whom they've never met in person. Posting prayer requests, praises, spiritual milestones, and Warrior Camp highlights are also new opportunities. If you'd like to check out the Warrior Camp facebook group, type "Warrior Camp" in a groups search.
2. Since the July update: My cousin John Bartlow, who was my right hand man at our first ever Warrior Camp, served as the paintball gaming boss at a Christian youth camp outside of Spokane, Washington this last summer. One day he shared his testimony during Camp church, and mentioned the Warrior Camp ministry he was involved in. A youth pastor from the tri-cities area in Washington heard his testimony, and, as I learned later from John's call, wanted to know if Warrior Camp was mobile and can travel to put on a Warrior Camp for their youth group. This got us pretty excited, because the portable Warrior camp blitz is exactly where we're starting from, and eager to minister through. So stay tuned, and praise God for an opportunity like this one!
3. In the last update, I shared about Tyson's upcoming customized Warrior Camp Sword Fest with his home church youth group in Attelboro Massachussetts. I got off the phone with him a few minutes ago, and it was pretty much a blast for the students (aka "Warriors"). The Warriors were a group of mostly highschool students who were taken through the Weapon Workshop in which they got to make their own padded sword. On Wednesdays and Fridays for 3 weeks, they showed up to play team slayer against each other, with Ty and the youth pastor also in the frenzy. Thanks for praying for Ty. It went great!
4. In the last update, I mentioned the letter I recently sent to British Author Stephen Lawhead, whose Christian faith and epic tales of adventure sowed the seeds that originally inspired Warrior Camp. Well, since then...he's written back! His reply is now posted on our Warrior Camp starter website. If you'd like to check it out, click on the left-margin link at: http://warriorcamp1.googlepages.com
5. Some of you might remember how God already opened a great door to an awesome land location for us in Lynchburg. This past Thursday night (8-21-08), it seems as if another door could be opening. I was out with some friends and my sister for her birthday, and one of the gentleman in our group (who will remain anonymous) started asking me about my future plans. Naturally, Warrior Camp came up! As the conversation continued, he shared about some great camping property he had purchased and how he and his wife would love us to check it out, and even go 4-wheeling with them on the property. They're an awesome couple, and another exciting and humbling reminder that God is a Provider. More to come...
6. More people have expressed interest in supporting Warrior Camp = a big praise.
7. Our starter website continues to improve with each new "facelift." To check out the latest changes, go to http://warriorcamp1.googlepages.com
8. Since the last update, two additional area churches know about Warrior Camp and our sincere desire to partner with them in helping them fulfill their goals for their youth. Pray for the youth pastors of Lynchburg. They're on the front lines.
9. Over the last few days, God has been stirring me to pour myself into growing the discipleship aspects of our camp ministry. Some of these fresh themes include adopting a strong creed that you live by, guarding your heart, and growing first into a man after God's own heart who then is a man whom godly girls can be excited about. Over the last several days, one of my friends who is a mature, godly girl allowed me to interview her on some of the biggest questions we men want to know the answer to. It was a gold mine of admonition and encouragement, and will soon comprise a valuable part of our discipleship, which is genuinely the beating heart of Warrior Camp. While we want to sculpt and paint the most unforgettable games we can, the superior triumph is when a student repents and places his faith in Christ, or when a believing student establishes another great spiritual milestone in his walk. This additional surge on discipleship is where I believe God is leading our ministry. Praise God for a crystallized direction, and pray for His anointing upon it. More to come...
10. Since the last update, I came across a question that really stuck with me, and truthfully cuts to the chase of Warrior Camp's significance. The question actually came in the form of a challenge, and said something to the effect of, "Don't give people your own plans and your own vision. Rather, give them a transcendent, greater calling. One that comes to them from God Himself. One found in His Word." That challenge rings of truth, and raised in my mind the question of Warrior Camp's Biblical Basis, which is a pretty important (and healthy) question to wrestle with!
So what is the Biblical basis for Warrior Camp? What a great question, and one that we must thoroughly answer if we'll be properly grounded. For starters, ever since the fall, there's been evil in this world, and evil opens the door and creates a huge, gaping need for there to also be courage and bravery, which can combat it. Take courage, valor and bravery away, and what do you have left? David would have been a coward. The Phillistines would have won. Israel would have been enslaved again. Daniel would have stopped praying. Darius would never have known of Daniel's God. Daniel's friends would have bowed to the statue. Nebuchadnezzer would never have banned idolatry and insisted on worship of the true God. Peter and Paul would have finally abandoned the gospel to save their necks. Most of the Gentile world would have remained in the darkness of paganism. And on a different continent and different time, the Nazi panzer divisions would have stormed across American soil. Ever since the advent of evil, God has encouraged us to be strong, brave and courageous. This is why God was always telling the Israelites and their leaders to "Be strong and courageous" - cause evil demands a fight, and a victorious one that preserves good and vanquishes evil and darkness. But that's not just for way back then. Today, there's still a place for those who will stand up and be the man, men who are strong, brave, good and courageous. Eldredge points out that God is a Warrior. Look at this:
The Lord Is a Warrior!
I think even a quick read of the Old Testament would be enough to convince you that war is a central theme of God’s activity. There is the Exodus, where God goes to war to set his captive people free. Blood. Hail. Locusts. Darkness. Death. Plague after plague descends on Egypt like a boxer’s one-two punch, like the blows of some great ax. Pharaoh releases his grip, but only for a moment. The fleeing slaves are pinned against the Red Sea when Egypt makes a last charge, hurtling down on them in chariots. God drowns those soldiers in the sea, every last one of them. Standing in shock and joy on the opposite shore, the Hebrews proclaim, “The LORD is a warrior!” (Ex. 15:3). Yahweh is a warrior. Then it’s war to get to the Promised Land. Moses and company have to do battle against the Amalekites; again God comes through, and Moses shouts, “The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation” (Ex.17:16). Yahweh will be at war. Indeed.. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Then it’s war to get into the Promised Land—Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and all that. After the Jews gain the Promised Land, it’s war after war to keep it. Israel battles the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Midianites, the Egyptians again, the Babylonians—and on and on it goes. Deborah goes to war; Gideon goes to war; King David goes to war. Elijah wars against the prophets of Baal; Jehoshaphat battles the Edomites. Are you getting the picture?
Many people think the theme of war ends with the Old Testament. Not at all. Jesus says, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). In fact, his birth involved another battle in heaven (Rev. 12:1–5, 7–8, 17). The birth of Christ was an act of war, an invasion. The Enemy knew it and tried to kill him as a babe (Matt. 2:13). The whole life of Christ is marked by battle and confrontation.. He kicks out demons with a stern command. He rebukes a fever and it leaves Peter’s mother-in-law. He rebukes a storm and it subsides. He confronts the Pharisees time and again to set God’s people free from legalism. In a loud voice he wakes Lazarus from the dead. He descends to hell, wrestles the keys of hell and death from Satan, and leads a train of captives free (Eph. 4:8–9; Rev. 1:18). And when he returns, I might point out, Jesus will come mounted on a steed of war, with his robe dipped in blood, armed for battle (Rev. 19:11–15). War is not just one among many themes in the Bible. It is the backdrop for the whole Story, the context for everything else. God is at war. He is trampling out the vineyards where the grapes of wrath are stored. And what is he fighting for? Our freedom and restoration. The glory of God is man fully alive. In the meantime, Paul says, arm yourselves, and the first piece of equipment he urges us to don is the belt of truth (Eph. 6:10–18). We arm ourselves by getting a good, solid grip on our situation, by getting some clarity on the battle over our lives. God’s intentions toward us are life; those intentions are opposed. Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes.
(Waking the Dead , 14–16)
Our vision for Warrior Camp is first God's vision.
I hope you all have a great week! I'd love to hear what God is doing in your life.