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Moments with the Master

After a seven hour trip that included lunch and multiple bathroom breaks, my group arrived at Short Mountain Bible Camp. I was not really sure what to expect of a “mountain” in Middle TN, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The theme for the week was “Moments with the Master”. We looked at several passages of the Bible that talked about people who had experienced a change in their life because of coming in contact with Jesus. This is a theme that will DEFINITELY be stolen for future preaching use.

This week I had a mixture of good and less than desirable experiences with people at camp.
I will share the stories of both.
The guy on the extreme right in this picture is Roger H. He was one the adult counselor from Nashville. Roger is a 43 year old man who has the mind of a 17 year old. I do not say this to poke fun, only to make a point that I hope is clear. He had some childhood illness that has kept him from fully developing mentally, but Roger is no fool. He knows when someone is making fun of him or is trying to take advantage of him. ALL WEEK long Roger was what I considered a role model for everyone at camp. He sang loud, hang on to every word from the preacher or Bible class teacher, and was friendly to everyone he came across. Roger was also a man of prayer. He wanted others to know what his spiritual needs were and wanted to know about theirs also. He was also a comedian and want to see people smile. In our cabin he would tell jokes and try to make the campers feel good about being there. He was awesome to be around. The best experience I had with him during the week was in Bible class. He wanted to lead a song that he “wrote”. The lyrics went this way

“Jesus is the answer for the world today above him there’s no other, Jesus is the way.
If you have problems, peace you cannot find. Call upon my Jesus He will be there right on time.”
Although he did not write this song the words ring so true. It was awesome to see that a man who by the world’s standards is not very intelligent actually understands the most important thing in this world.

Paul speaks about having a “thorn in the flesh”. I am not sure how long he had this ailment, but my thorn lasted all week and had a name – Ricardo. Ricardo is a 14 year old boy from Puerto Rico. He has been living in Nashville for the past two years and has only been speaking English for two years. He comes from a big family. This young man taught me many things this week (Not all good obviously). On my first night in the cabin I had to deal with him and his mouth. Most of you know that I do talk alot myself, but do not get easily angered. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE SUNDAY NIGHT. Because of some very vulgar comments and actions I was determined to see him go home. I did not want to put up with his attitude, but tried on sevral occasions to give him another chance. I know that the camp is for the kids, but I do not deal very well with anyone who does not show respect to others, but wants respect from all. He did not seem to care about anyone but himself.
The experience with him was difficult because there were times that I know I was a good example to him because I wanted to reach out to him and show him the love of Christ. I also admit there were times this week that I was not nice at all because of my frustation for his attitude. I know that I should have been the one who was level headed in all of this, but I admit my shortcoming and wrongdoing in this.
One night Ricardo began venting about how the church is so fake and how he enjoyed being in a gang because they were “real”. I had a hard time dealing with his line of reasoning. I wondered what would make someone want to be in a group of people who hurt you first before you could be accepted. It made me sad that he was more concerned about pleasing a group of people rather than pleasing God, but then I realized that we are all that way sometime. Most of us want to be wanted and will go wherever we need to get that attention. Some chooose the Boy Scouts, a sports team, the church, and even a gang just to feel wanted. I pray that Ricardo makes good decisions about his future, but I also pray that we all search for meaning and feeling belonged only in God and not in any man made institution.
Even though dealing with Ricardo was rough, it taught me even more clearer that everyone is in need of a Savior. Each of us with our sin is still worthy and needs to know about the love of Christ. I hope that my actions showed Christ and helped Ricardo to see that God cares about Him.

Overall I absolutely enjoyed this week. The staff and directors provided a memorable week for us all. I am looking forward to going back next year and hope to spend more moments with the Master in the weeks and years to come.

Categories: Short Mountain
  1. J.D.
    July 5, 2006 at 1:07 am

    Excellent post, Mike. I really enjoyed it. It sort of reminds me of one that I posted not too long ago.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. It’s beautiful country. But how in the world did it take you 7 hours to get to Manchester? It usually only takes me 4, but then again, I’m only me and not a group of kids.

    Short Mountain itself is a gorgeous camp, and yes middle TN has the occasional mountain (go a little farther south to Monteagle for the next big one.) I had such great memories of that camp, the guys I met, and most definitely the girls. I hooked up with all the hottest chicks I could find. Of course I was 16 at the time.

    I hate to hear that the camp dynamic has changed so much. The last time I did the camp counseling thing was in ’96 at Camp Maywood, while I was still a FHU student. I remember there being kids with problems from the inner city, but I don’t remember any gang members.

    We all have our struggles with the people we reach out to. We just need to keep in our mind that God isn’t always going to give us the easy conversion and the willing heart. Sometimes he is going to throw us up against brick walls and challenge us to find ways to scale them. I imagine Ricardo is not much different than some of the personalities we will run into every day here in Memphis. There will be those with a chip on their shoulder, a vulgar mouth, and whose reasoning is so far behind our own Christ-based logic that we just simply won’t know what to do with them or even where to begin with them, aside from praying to God to give us wisdom as we play it by ear.

    I believe Jesus ran into these types quite frequently, only they weren’t Bloods or Vice Lords, they were Pharisees. I guess the truth of the matter is that these people need the benefits that Christians and Christian camps have to offer even more than the good little boys and girls do.

    I hope you don’t think that I’m trying to criticize you, because I’m not. I don’t know if I’d know how to deal with the kid either, and it would be much easier to get him shipped home (and back to his gang, which he was probably trying to get you to do anyway) than to put up with his shenanigans and teach him the truth. It’s probably a good thing he stuck around, because in any case, that’s one week that he wasn’t at home, running the streets and getting into trouble. And maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the road something you said or did will kick in and he’ll get it.

    And as for yourself, you’re now better equipped for when you face this in the real world, outside of the confines of a Christian environment. Believe this, that God answered all your prayers for wisdom and patience by giving you this trial.

    As for Roger, it is truly a blessing to have people like that around. Sometimes I think God puts the mentally handicapped on earth to remind us all that we’re not nearly as smart as we think we are in the grander scheme of things. I love and enjoy the simple nature of their thoughts: how they don’t hold grudges, how everybody is their friend, how they enjoy the most minute and mundane things in life, and how they can smile even though life has basically pimp-slapped them across the face. When you strip down our supposedly sophisticated veneers and our pseudo-intellectualism, you get to the real heart of the matter, and that’s where these people are naturally, at their most real, at their most soul-baring essence. God bless them, for they quite often show us a better way to live.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mike. See ya around town sometime.

  2. Anonymous
    July 5, 2006 at 2:54 am

    Sounds like a full week. Gangs are difficult to understand. I guess the hardest part is we don’t see the whole picture. Where his parents are, how he has been treated, and maybe the gangs speak his language. I understand not fitting in. We are all not square pegs that fit nicely into our spot. Maybe he needs the rough edges worn off, and the only way to do that is with kindess.

  3. Vicki
    July 6, 2006 at 2:12 am

    Did you have a camper of the year or possibly an intern of the year award? Did you do a memorable skit? My sister won the camper of the year award from camp Meribah, and I didn’t. Not that I am bitter about something that happened over 30 years ago, but, trophys are nice. I just have the Monopoly trophy and a mug from placing in a Rook tournament.
    Maybe you should have won a trophy for giving up your daughter for a week !

  4. Caroline
    July 6, 2006 at 3:14 am

    Or even michael a mother of teh intern of the year, but my favorite is BFF of the year (which of course we ALL know who would win)
    I cried all day long when you left- i guess i will cry myself to sleep- call me when (sniff) ever (sniff)

  5. caroline
    July 7, 2006 at 3:36 am

    i am sorry that i didn’t tell you… negative
    and i thought about another award….. best cheater or Monopoly ( ripped ppl $20) shame shame

  6. delaney
    July 7, 2006 at 4:11 am

    Oh Ricardo,
    The Troulbe maker at camp. I remember the firt day of camp and you said ”Delaney I had to kick somebody out last night and it was not pretty.And Ricardo would not stop talkimg smack. Oh camp

  7. Anonymous
    July 8, 2006 at 10:11 pm

    Oh Ricardo
    On the firt day of camp you told me” Delaney last night I had to kick somebody out of the cabin and it was not pretty” I can hear the words. And the ansewer to all of your live long questins yes, I miss you Mike Jones. Delaney

  8. Michelle
    July 9, 2006 at 12:51 am

    What about a neck-thumper-of-the-week-award? Or maybe food-server-of-the-week-award? Best camp hair? I think Zac might win that one. Oh! And there will be no BFF Award without the written permission of the president of the BFF Club. BFF is trademarked.

  9. Anonymous
    July 11, 2006 at 4:31 am

    oh what is going to happen to the bff club? chelle i believe you are the prez, and what do you say?

  10. Ashley
    July 15, 2006 at 8:45 pm

    I was randomly surfing the net and you blog poped up. I had to read it when it mentioned the funniest camp ever. I have attended that camp for nine years. I also live here in Short Mountain. I didn’t attend the week you went but I attended last week and I attend again next week. I too.. even as a camper… had to reason with some people who were not Christains and didn’t want to be. I learned the best thing to do is just hang in there.. and in the end you both will learn something. Or just talk to him and see what’s on his mind. Sometimes problems at home cause kids to always have a bad attitude. But God promises he will grow up.. maybe, just maybe he will see through all of his mistakes. Maybe he needs our prayers. Well, ttyl!! God bless,


  11. Anonymous
    February 5, 2007 at 2:39 am

    This is very interesting site… »

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