The Great Outdoors (Ms. Lauren – Children’s Director)

I just returned from a week of church camp! Oh, church camp in the great outdoors. Hot, humid weather, smelly cabins, seriously crowded bathhouses, lukewarm cafeteria food, and hard and squeaky bunk beds. Late nights, little sleep, 300 excited screaming kids. Oh, church camp.

You may wonder why anyone would ever want to be a part of such conditions. If you could only see the priceless moments at church camp:  the faces of God’s children learning about Jesus, 300 sweet angelic voices singing His praises during worship, the late night talks and giggles echoing in the room as we all desperately tried to fall asleep, and the look on a child’s face when one of God’s truths all of a sudden makes sense!

The nature walks in the cool of the morning, the exploration of God’s creation, the BEAUTIFUL great outdoors. God’s word is filled with verses about His creation. Creation is how it all began. He spoke and it happened. He spoke and there was light. He spoke and there were seas and rivers teaming with living creatures.  He spoke and animals of all kinds began to fill the earth. He spoke and the great outdoors came to be.

But there is one of His creations that He loves more than anything else.

On our last night of camp, after 10:30 lights out, Bo and I snuck the kids out of their cabins for a little star gazing. Now let me try to paint this picture for you. Linden Valley is deep in the woods of Linden, TN, resting snuggly by the Buffalo River and, after lights out, the camp goes dark. Dark from artificial light, that is. The sky, however, lights up with the glory of the heavens. As Bo and I and the kids looked up at the sky that night, we could see a thousand stars. The Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, the Milky Way, and shooting stars, clear as they could be like a light show right in front of us. We sat awestruck in HIS creation. I told the kids, as I am telling you, that scripture tells us in Psalm 147:4 that He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. He calls them by name! But yet, in Psalms 8, we read that we are the crown of His glory. We rule over His creation, His handiwork, and the stars. And He loves us the most. He loves you and me more than the beauty of the heavens He created. WOW! No wonder why David ends this Psalms with Oh Lord, Oh Lord how majestic is your name! How could you not praise the one who loves you more than the stars and the heavens?

I hope our kids will remember that night forever. I know I will. I want to encourage you all this week to get away and get alone with God in the great outdoors. Hit pause on the demands and chaos of this life and go live out Isaiah 40:26 And lift up your eyes and see who has created the stars. Sit by the quiet waters, take a walk and hear the sounds of creation. Soak it in. Really soak it in. And then remember that He loves you more than all of His creation. YOU are the crown of His glory!!! And I know when you do this you will be like we were:  awestruck about the great outdoors, and ready to take on the world for His sake!

By His Grace,

Ms. Lauren