From the cool mountain air to a fiery furnace, meant literally and a little symbolically. A week ago John & I returned from our greatest week of camp with Preston Road in the last four years. Literally the temperatures were average about 50-60 degrees it was wonderful to wear jeans and fleeces in the middle of the summer. We were encouraged to take 20 students with us to camp this year; two years ago we went alone to fulfill our teaching responsibilities. Therefore taking 20 students was exciting, but numbers is not the most exciting part of course or the real evidence of God’s hand. Throughout the week our students worshipped with instruments (provided by our favorite worship team ever from Dave Drake, Edwin Guerra, and Aaron Collier), they worshipped accapella, they opened up to one another, and included everyone. The Preston Road Youth Group actually looked like a group of students seeking Christ together, this is a huge milestone for a youth group that is spread through 25 schools and has had no leadership from students until now. It was inspirational and one of the few times in four years that John and I have been able to SEE the difference in our group now. This week was our cool mountain air.
We came back to a literal fiery furnace; the temperatures this week will stay around 102 degrees every day. I am not a friend of the heat, I have always been sensitive to heat and the sun with headaches and sunburns, but after getting heat stroke and dehydration last year I do all that I can to stay out of the heat now. Symbolically, it was not exactly a fiery furnace but it felt a little similar. I had a confrontational meeting with someone that expressed to me I had let them down, hurt their feelings, and had missed opportunities to show Christ’s love to them. My reflex was to defend myself, find excuses- but I had nothing and I could defend nothing- this person was right. I had unintentionally failed to offer support, give encouragement, or show Christ’s love in the past year. It broke my heart to be told this and know there was truth in it. I cannot go back and change my lack of actions, but I seek God to forgive me, and to allow this to be a building step in my ministry. One that will encourage me to actively seek more people out boldly if needed to show them care and encouragement. I strive to not let this confrontation tear any part of God’s work in me down, or give hold to any doubt of what I am doing for Him.
Revelations 3:19-20, here He is knocking