For myself, the whole trip was so amazing! Every part of it from the rec activities (meeting tons of new people) and the conversations with the different leaders and students from our own youth group to the speakers’ brilliant sermons and intense equipping labs was extremely impactive and intense. Of all the things I took away from that week, I had a hard time deciding on only a couple, but in the end, two stood out to me the most: My Source making me a source and Chris Hilken’s lab To Be a Man… Of GOD.
The first of my two highlights was really a link that God fused in me between the teaching of Ben Stuart and Shane Stacey. In Ben Stuart’s own words: “If you want to make a difference in the world, the reality is we need to Have a Source to Be a Source”. This really stood out to me because I have always wanted to be a source for others- a light in the darkness- but I never really understood that when I became a Christian I wouldn’t just be changed by God all of a sudden. No, it is a continual thing, an army can only be a source of protection if it is constantly supplied with food from another source. We have to have a source to be a source. And that Source is our Eternal Father. That is why, as Shane Stacey pointed out, our Enemy’s most effective tactic is to isolate us from our All-Powerful Source. For me, reading my Bible had been the part of the normal morning routine that could be dropped if I didn’t have time. It has been on this trip that I realized how dangerous it was to go even a day without spiritual food.
Secondly, I took so much out of Chris Hilken’s equipping lab, that I couldn’t pass it over. In his seminar he immediately brought up the fact that only the artist has the right to give the true definition to his art and that if we as men are God’s art, we must trace our manhood back to His holy definition. In talking about the different aspects of being a real man, Chris presented a helpful acronym which explained the various areas in our lives that are important to being a true Man of God and what we should look like called RESPECTME.
Relationship- It is important for a man to be able to carry on relationships even when he does not want to and to comport himself with good etiquette.
Economic- We as men must learn how to manage money well, as a steward of the Lord should.
Sexual- We need to honor God with our bodies.
Personal- We need to keep ourselves clean, to dress well and have an upright attitude.
Ethical- Can we discern between right and wrong?
Character- When no one is there to see what we are doing, will we still do what is right? Will we be known for our integrity?
Transcendent- What is our relationship with the One who gives us life?
Mental- Our demeanor must be wise and careful. Chris went over how responding in anger means psychologically that we by-pass our frontal lobe, which is where we use logic, therefore, responding in anger is foolish. Huh, Proverbs talks about only a fool giving full vent to his rage. Wonder why God told us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.
Established- As men, we should make sure we are ready to establish a family before we set about doing so.
When we are doing these things, we will deserve respect as true men.
This all does not do the entire week a shadow of justice. Each speaker was very talented and I could go on and on about all that I learned and enjoyed. On top of that we had some great times together as a youth group, laughing for 5 minutes straight- Multiple Times!!! Not to mention the food. Mrs. Nord did a great job of finding tasty restaurants and organizing all our orders. Our visit to Q39 BBQ was definitely a highlight. Hats off Pastor Tony keeping us all together and focused. To Matt and Julie for the sacrifices they made because they wanted our lives to be forever changed for the glory of God and they were always willing to talk to us and impart their wisdom. And thanks to all the people who I missed because there are more than I can count on 10 hands and feet. All praise be given to God alone, for He made us.