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Grace

Grace

What is grace?  I grew up hearing an acrostic for grace.  It went like this – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  That little acrostic served me well for many years.  And while it is a good definition, I don’t think it is the best.

I was recently listening to a podcast of a pastor from Florida.  His definition of grace was eye opening.  It didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t know already, but it did put a ‘handle’ on grace so that I could pick it up and take it with me.  In other words, it is a solid definition that allows me to fully see all three aspects of what grace really is.  Here is the definition:  Grace is unconditional acceptance to an undeserving recipient from an un-obligated giver.

Do you see the three parts?  First – my acceptance from Christ is unconditional.  Those 13 letters spell out something that is difficult, at best, to wrap our heads around.  Unconditional!  I don’t have to do anything.  As a matter of fact, I can’t do anything to earn His acceptance.  Not even more acceptance.  I am accepted fully and forever.  This gives me great ease, as I am not obligated to keep earning His favor.  I have it already.

Secondly, this acceptance is for an undeserving person.  Well, that definitely qualifies me…and you.  I am  undeserving of anything good from God.  What I am deserving of is punishment for my sin, yet He offers acceptance, love, and the right to be called a child of God.  Why?  Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.

Finally – He is un-obligated.  Now, according to the spell-check on my computer, un-obligated is not a word.  But I think we’ll run with the word anyways since is conveys the meaning.  God doesn’t owe me anything.  He is not obligated or compelled to do anything good for me.  However, because of His love, He chooses to give me His blessing, favor, and love.  He had a choice.  He could have (and should have) chosen punishment, but He, through His GRACE, chose to give a gift instead.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Bob Kauflin put it like this in the song Grace Unmeasured:

Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear Your righteous name

Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You

Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace

This definition has made me more thankful for the grace given to me by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Grace is unconditional acceptance to an undeserving recipient from an un-obligated giver.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Outcome Of Your Life

I recently set a reminder in my phone that brings up a quote that I read that made an impact on my life.  And choices-signwhile I always knew the truth of the quote, it has been a good reminder for me to see every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning at 8:05am.  The quote is this:  “The outcome of your life is not the result of what you want, but rather the result of the choices you make.”  I thought that was pretty profound.  Not in a “I’ve never heard that before” sense, but rather in a “that impacts my daily life” sense.

You are probably wondering where I read that quote.  Was a leadership guru,  a pastor from a mega church, or possibly an older mentor in my life?  No, it was Donald Trump.  Now, I don’t agree with everything that ‘The Donald’ says, but I do agree with the statement here.

In our pursuit of life, and a godly one, at that, our choices determine the course.  One of my professors in college used to say, “Life has choices.  Choices have consequences.  Make right choices.”  Well said!  I would add one thought, though…the word ‘consequence‘ could also be replaced with ‘rewards.’  Because, we all know that bad choices have bad consequences, but good choices come with rewards.  When we choose to honor God,  He honors us.  When we choose to honor our parents,  they and He will honor us.    When we choose live the way God has called us to live, life may not be easy, but we will be rewarded.  And the opposite could be said, as well.

The choices we make in life have potential to not only affect us, but those around us as well.  The choices we make have potential to impact the future, long after we are here on earth.  The choices we make are critical to the direction we travel through this life.  Wanting to go a certain direction is not enough.  Choose wisely the path you will travel.   Set goals and pursue them.  Choose to honor God with the course of your life.

So, I challenge you to do what I did.  Set this reminder in your Apple or Android.  Read this quote often and live by it’s premise.  Once again – “The outcome of your life is not the result of what you want, but rather the result of the choices you make.”

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Crunchy Leaves. Steamy Breath.

We have had a busy and fruitful fall season here at HPC, and we are excited about the lives we have been able to intersect with by God’s grace. The first five weeks after summer camp were back-to-back rental groups that kept us on our toes, but we are thankful to report that many heard the gospel and many came to Christ. It was also a unique opportunity to see other cultures worship our God.

Along with caring for rental groups, we have begun the recruitment process for next summer’s staff, starting at Bob Jones University. Last week, Shannon and Gil had the opportunity of interacting with many students who showed interest in spending their summers serving in camp ministry here at High Point. Standing at our HPC booth, meeting individually with prospective staff, and reuniting with former staff filled their two days in Greenville. We are grateful to God for the opportunity as well as for safe travels.

Upcoming recruiting trips include a visit to Northland International University as well as Clearwater Christian College and others. As we approach the recruiting time knowing that God is already preparing hearts to serve him this next summer, we are reminded to be constant in prayer that God would direct us to the right individuals and that He would give the wisdom needed during the hiring process.

We are in the final stages of preparation for our two big fall events: FallFest and FamilyFest. FallFest, as was laid out in our last post, is a day of exciting activities for 7th-12th grade teens taking place on Friday the 16th of November from 5-10 p.m. For more information, visit our website. FamilyFest is the following day from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. and will include festive fall activities for all ages. More information is located here.

We ask for your prayers as we prepare for fall festivities, winter retreats, and as we continue to raise support for our Pavilion Project. The encouragement and support of prayer is invaluable to us and we thank you!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Fall, Uncategorized

 

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Pavilion Project – A Major Change!

Pavilion Project – A Major Change!

The Need

Each year, thousands of campers, young and old, attend High Point Camp. Over the last five years we’ve seen our annual camp and retreat attendance grow from 5,600 to 6,500 in 2011. Although Current Pavilionthis growth may not seem drastic, it has stressed needs that we’ve known all along yet had not been able to address. In 2009 and 2010, we began to take steps towards meeting those needs in renovating two dormitories. We are now faced with the next step, the need for an indoor chapel.

During the summer, our services are held in our centrally located outdoor pavilion. We can seat over 300 campers in the pavilion and it has served us well, but when the weather turns cold, we run into problems. For years, the gym game room has doubled as our winter chapel. However, this room can only seat 120 people, and we have to turn away campers and churches when we exceed that limit. We have tried to be creative, having groups meet in the Dining Hall and even transporting our winter retreat campers to the auditorium at High Point Baptist Chapel because we just don’t have enough room. These steps, however, have created new challenges only further highlighting our need.

Simply put, we need a designated chapel building – a facility that will enable us to communicate God’s Word to the campers that already attend High Point Camp and to the many more that will come when there is adequate space.

 
The Plan: Proposed Renovations

After much thought, prayer, and planning, we have decided that the renovation of our outdoor pavilion into a year-round indoor chapel is the most ideal and most cost-effective solution to our need. We will miss the feel of an outdoor pavilion; however, we are aware that enclosing the pavilion will also remove unwanted distractions (heat, rain, wind, noise, etc.) from our service times, while providing indoor seating for 300 campers. In addition to enclosing and insulating the pavilion, we will install bathrooms, new seating, heating and air conditioning, carpeting, a sound booth, and a lobby at the entrance.

In order for us to complete this project we are seeking to raise $150,000. Our goal is to start this project by fall 2011 so that it could be enclosed before winter in order to work indoors during the cold months. We hope to have this project completed by January 2013 for our winter retreats.

How Can I Help?

Never before in the history of High Point Camp have we gone outside of the High Point Ministries for help in funding a project. However, in celebration of 50 years of Christian camping and thousands of lives impacted for Christ, we want to give you a chance to join with us in completing this project. The $150,000 needed for this project is no small amount, but the return on the investment will be immeasurable and eternal. We ask that you would prayerfully consider giving to this project. If you decide that this is something you would like to be involved in, there are two ways to give. You can mail a gift directly to High Point Camp or you can donate by going to this link and clicking the “Donate” button at the top or bottom of the page; all donations are tax deductible.

There is another way that you can help – by giving your time. This project will take thousands of man hours and we could use several church groups to volunteer to come and work for a day, a weekend, or a week on this project. If you would like to organize a group from your church, please call the camp office at 610.286.5942 – ext. 153.

Whether you give, work, or pray, we thank you for your investment with us. We are confident that God will provide funds, safety, and grace for this project to further His Glory!

Thank you for considering what God might have you do!

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Thieves!

Camp is all about stealing.  Now, it is not the type stealing that you think, but it is stealing, none the less.  I realized this as I was traveling about southern Africa over the last 10 days.  I began to realize that I spend my time when out and about looking at the ways things are run, the ways things are built, the designs of buildings, and other ideas somebody else has come up with.  For instance – while in Cape Town, South Africa last week, some friends were showing my wife and I the new stadium built to host the 2010 World Cup.  It is an impressive stadium and apparently handled the throngs of crowds well.  Beside the stadium, along the frigid Atlantic ocean, is a large park for people to picnic, play, and relax in.  Two large playgrounds or jungle gyms caught my eye as they were constructed completely from trees and other natural materials.  My immediate thoughts were, “How could we do something like this at High Point?”, and, “What else could you do with this concept of all natural materials?”  So, basically, I was stealing someones architectural ingenuity and trying to find a way to use it at camp.

We do this constantly. A few years ago, we introduced a new way to do registration using “Fast Passes.”  That idea was stolen directly from Disney World.  A game we did for the teens two summers ago was stolen from the television show Minute to Win It.  A recent concept for an indoor climbing wall was stolen from a local indoor climbing gym.  A pastor who comes as a camp speaker is stolen for a week from his church.   It is all thievery.

This type of theft is tolerated and even condoned and encouraged in the camping world.  Many a great idea has stemmed from the ideas of others.  Many a building has been built from another structures plans.  Take something good and make it better.  Make it more campish.  We attend camp conferences where people sit around and throw out ideas specifically for other camp people to steal and develop on their own.  And in the end, for all the stealing, the camp is a better place.

Now, we are not condoning criminal stealing.  It is one thing to steal an idea (patents and copyrights aside) and change it to meet your needs, and it is something quite different to steal  $1,000,000 and have it meet your needs…and wants!  But, be assured, if there is a great idea out there and we can take it and change it into something that can be used for camp…we’re gonna get our hands on it.  So… builders,  comedians, chefs, businessmen, athletes, architects, singers, janitors, zookeepers, and bankers beware…we want what you got!

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Who Can Forget Randy Stone?

Who Can Forget Randy Stone?

At the simple mention of Randy’s name, a flood of memories come back to mind.  Now, I guess I should clear things up really quickly.  Randy IS NOT dead.  However, Randy and Lois Stone have moved to south Florida.  Randy took a job at a Christian school in Port St. Lucie, FL, and  his relocation sparks this blog.  Randy comes to mind today for a strange reason.  About 6 or 7 years ago, High Point Camp came up with a video to give all of the camp rules to the summer campers.  In the video, all of the actors (staff members) are acting as news reporters in the field and Randy’s role was the “weatherman.”  At one point in the video, Randy addresses me (Tom), the news anchor in the studio, and says “It’s raining out here, Tom!” This little quote has turned into somewhat of a catchphrase around High Point as I received two texts and one Facebook message this week that all contained Randy’s exact utterance.

This all comes to mind today, because Mr. Lee (Tropical Storm Lee) is choosing to drop loads of rain on the camp.  As I sit at my desk right now, the roof above me is reverberating the thunderous roar of the deluge.    I think that the real weatherman has called for us to get something like five inches of rain in the next few days.  This is no surprise since High Point Camp’s Men’s Retreat is this weekend and it ALWAYS rains leading up to and during Men’s Retreat.

So, take the five inches that we are supposed to get and add them with the five to six inches we got during Hurricane Irene and then add the sum of that to the already high water table (due to record rainfalls in August), this all equals a great, resounding “It’s raining out here, Tom!”

Ok, so, back to Randy. Randy was on staff at High Point’s Christian school.  But, for most of those years, Randy spent his summers back at High Point Camp doing the behind the scenes stuff that no one ever saw but absolutely had to be done.  On top of all the hidden work, Randy spent countless hours talking with homesick campers.  Somewhere in Randy’s life, he picked up a knack for convincing otherwise inconsolable kids to stay for “just one more day” until by the end of the week, they couldn’t wait to come back the next summer.  Randy also specialized in High Point’s famous “Pool Games.”  For years, Randy controlled the bull horn at pool games and, in turn, controlled the attention of hundreds of campers and the fate of a few goldfish and eels.  (Rumor has it that one of the eels still lives in the lake is reportedly over five feet long.)  But most of all, Randy will be ETERNALLY remembered for “Mail Call.”   Everyday at camp, during lunch, Randy would dispatch hundreds of letters and packages to campers eagerly awaiting news from home.  His unique humor and memorizing voice kept campers on the edge of their seats hoping to hear their name.  “S.W.A.K.” (Sealed With A Kiss) and “XOXO” were frequently heard and were only two of many celebrated phrases Randy often used.  In fact, Randy is the ONLY High Point Camp staff member, past or present, to ever have a t-shirt made with his face on it for campers to take home as a camp souvenir. On the front was a giant picture of Randy’s face and “Randy Is My Homeboy” in bold letters.  On the back was a “Top Ten” List of Randy’s favorite mail call sayings.  I still have this shirt tucked away in my t-shirt drawer and it even still gets worn on occasion.

All in all, Randy will be missed around here.  He put in more than 25 years of summers well spent at High Point Camp, and I think I can say with some certainty, that he will be not soon forgotten.  So, in honor of Randy and all he means to the history of High Point Camp, and as the rain outside my office gets heavier, I say one more time, “It’s raining out here, Tom!”

Randy – you will be missed!

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Finals Week…for Camp!

As many of you know, college students all over the country are taking final exams and preparing for a summer of work, loafing, travel, job hunting, or ministry.  (Over 50 college students will be coming here this summer to serve the hundreds of campers that will come.)

Well, what you may not know is that camp has final exams, too.  Each year, at about this time, we get put through the paces to test and see if we are ready for summer camp.  The exams have begun.  This morning we met and discussed the many things that still need to get done and what seems like the lack of manpower to get it all done.   If we don’t pass the exams, camp doesn’t happen.  Now, historically, we have always passed and never failed.  God always seems to intervene, despite us, and pull us through.  We have no doubt that God will once again come to the rescue and help us pass the final test of preparedness for summer camp.

With all that being said, would you please pray for High Point Camp.  Specifically, here are a few things to be praying about.

1. The Wilderness Cabin renovation.  There is still lots to do to be ready for summer camp.  Pray that it will all get done and that the cabin will be useable this summer.

2.  Pray that the program, activities, games, etc, will all be ready on time.

3.  Pray for the Bakersburg Community Church from Altoona, PA as they bring a group of volunteers to build a new deck on the guest room building.  They will be here in mid-May.

4. Pray for the 2 guy counselors that we still need to find.

5.  Pray that God would send us as many campers as possible so that we can minister to them all.  “An empty bed never receives Christ or makes a decision for Him.”

Thanks for reading through this and praying with us.  God is good all the time and we look forward to seeing what He will do through your prayers and by His powerful hand.

Tom

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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