Lessons from the Mountain Part 1: God’s Kingdom

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost… If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.” -Matthew 18:11-13 I’m writing to you from beautiful Hume Lake. We’ve been leading worship for high school students here at Hume for the last 7 weeks. We have only 3 weeks left before we all return home to our slightly more conventional ways of life.  In the time we’ve spent here, God has poured out like a flood; not only in worship, but through powerful speaking and through the many staff members who make themselves available to campers at all hours. There are so many stories I could share, but right now, I just want to share one that really impacted me this week.  Campers who come to Hume are given many opportunities to grow closer to Christ. One particular night each week is focused on sharing the gospel and inviting people to receive Jesus for the first time. Those who have made that first time decision are encouraged to stay in the chapel to receive prayer and counsel while everyone else is dismissed to free time.  As the night progresses, new believers trickle out of the chapel and jump back into the camp’s activities.  By now, we’re all used to this pattern, but this week I saw one youth group do things differently.  Rather than disperse into various activities, this entire youth group waited right outside the chapel doors. I hadn’t noticed them there until the camp director pointed them out to me, saying that they do this every year. I started to observe from a distance: they stood together waiting. Some leaning on rails, others sitting on the steps, talking, laughing… just doing things we all do when we’re waiting for something. Then, I saw a girl walk out of the chapel, and suddenly there was a jubilant uproar of clapping and cheering for her as the chapel doors closed behind her. The group surrounded her and immediately began hugging, holding, cheering, and high-fiving her. She had just given her life to Christ and this was the celebratory welcome that she was being shown. Another camper followed shortly behind her and received the same celebration and welcome. Every time someone walked out, some with wet checks and puffy eyes, they would joyously and uproariously welcome them into the family of God.   As I started toward my room, I could hear that sound of cheering all the way to my door, growing fainter with distance, echoing in the dark. Then it hit me so hard that I couldn’t hold back my tears. THIS IS WHAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE. Support. Rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep. Celebrating loudly when a new soul is saved. Waiting outside the door, just like Jesus does. This is the Kingdom that God designed. A Kingdom of love, community and hope, not this individualistic, isolated mess we often find ourselves in. It’s true that sometimes the walk of faith is lonely, but the reality is, God created us to be in community. This is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of that. As I ponder all of this, I find that it’s wonderfully characteristic of the Lord to show this spiritual truth through a group of teenagers. Not a group of pastors, or a board of elders or church leaders; but through a youth group made up of teenagers who went to summer camp.  Thanks for reading, jen  lovelitemusic.com