Camping Tips

Posted: 06/01/2010 in Liquid
Tags: , , , ,

This past Sunday, I spoke to my Students at Liquid who are moving into new stages in life. Many there were either just about to enter into middle school and others were about to enter into high school. It was exciting to see all the 5th graders moving up, but I was really sad to see the 8th graders leave. Their presence will be missed a lot at Liquid. But we had a good talk on Sunday about the middle school and high school as if they are a jungle or a forest, and I think in a lot of ways, that can be a pretty accurate equation. So with this analogy, we used a couple camping tips, as they journeyed through high school, and here are the tips:

Tip #1 – DON’T FEED THE WILD ANIMALS. There are all sorts of dangerous animals out there in high school and middle school. There’s the traditional drugs, alcohol, sex, and those sorts of taboo activities. But there are also some animals that sneak up on us and are easy to feed because they seem cute at the time. The animals of gossip or pride or cheating or lying. Those can seem so innocent when you just feed them a little bit, but they always want more.

The highway of the upright avoids evil;
he who guards his way guards his life.
– Proverb 16:17

Tip #2 – USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM. The jungle can be a dangerous place. Never travel alone, because when you think you can do it all on your own, you can get kind of trapped. This doesn’t mean you need to have a gazillion friends, but it does mean that you need to find a Christian brother or sister who sticks close through thick and thin.

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
– Proverb 18:24

As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.
– Proverb 27:17

Tip #3 – DON’T WORRY ABOUT EACH STEP. Sometimes I think we get trapped into thinking that each step can determine everything about our futures… and it might, but that doesn’t really matter all that much. What is most important is trajectory, choosing which path we want to be on, not necessarily each step. Figure out the kind of person you want to be and the steps will just be determined by God.

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.
– Proverb 16:9

A man’s steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand his own way?
– Proverb 20:24

Tip #4 – BRING FIRST AID. When walking through the jungle, you never know what could happen. A vine would come out and snap you in the head, you could trip on a root, or an animal could creep in for the attack. Because this can and does happen, you need to be prepared for whatever circumstances that may come. So what is this first aid that can bandage wounded hearts and cover wrongs?

Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs.
– Proverb 10:12

Love is the key. When someone makes an enemy out of you, love. When you see injustices happening to you or those around you, love. When you get hurt, you could choose to pick the scabs of bitterness, or you could choose to love. Bring love wherever you go, and healing will follow.

So when you find yourself out in the jungle and unsure of how to respond, where to go, or what to do… remember these steps, and know that God is always with you and you are not alone.

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