Wednesday, July 16, 2008


It seems like whenever I spend time away at camp, I come back with an increased hunger for my relationship with God. All day long, every day, there are constant reminders of His love and sacrifice and it never fails to touch me. And yet without fail, I get home at the end of the week or month and am disappointed because I can't seem to find the same sort of communion outside of the boundaries of a Young Life camp.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that my relationship with God is my responsibility and no one told me that it was going to be easy. But why can't I seem to find a church that holds the same feeling and passion that I experience through my time with Young Life? I've been searching for that church for years to no avail. Time and again, I am disappointed by two main things.

First, every church I have gone to spends almost all of its time focused on what to do to be a good Christian instead of focusing on developing our relationship with Christ. I went to Church for almost a year before I finally heard something about having a relationship with Jesus...and I heard it at Young Life, not at church. Don't they realize that out of a strong relationship with Christ comes the desire to be a good Christian? That the relationship is what it's all about, because that's what He wants with us above anything else? And yet Sunday after Sunday, I sit in church and am told how to avoid doing things that would make me a bad Christian, not how to deepen my relationship.

I love the fact that YL is focused completely around our relationship with Jesus. It's like a breath of fresh air, a cup of ice cold water on a hot day, a wake up call that makes your heart sing. Because the very fact of me needing a relationship with Him means that He wants to have a relationship with me...that He loves me and forgives me all the stupid, hurtful things I do. In sharing that with the girls I work with, I remind myself. I'm forced to face the fact that I don't allow myself to rely on Him as much as I should. After all, obviously I don't do that great of a job of running my life when I'm holding the reins.

The second issue I have with a lot of churches is how much they focus on foreign missions. It almost feels like we're out to prove that we take care of the little guy...and yet we refuse to look at the brokenness in our own town. I know I've talked about this before, but it's something I feel strongly about. Why are we so worried about what is going on in a country that is thousands of miles away when we can't seem fix the hurt in our own backyard? Something along the lines of:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7:3-5

To be completely honest, I'd give just about anything to go be property staff at a Young Life camp. To live constantly within a tight-knit community all about serving God. To be a daily witness to God's movement in teenagers' lives. To live in a place where God's presence is so plainly seen and felt. To be able to take a step back from the "real world" and just focus on what really matters. To share that with my husband and children, knowing that we're living for something beyond ourselves and growing closer to each other and God through it. It would be hard, but it would be infinitely rewarding.

Maybe someday....


Janis said...

I completely agree with you about churches and that most of them seem to have lost their focus. One additional thing that bugs me is the pressure on giving....
I read once that our mission field is all around us in the people that we meet everyday - cashiers, friends, strangers seated next to us on the bus, etc. I believe God has given you a special one in Young Life. You are blessed!

Big Poppa said...

Lindy, it is great to hear your thoughts and frustrations. They are not unusual, I think, but they have unique consequences for each person. My old pastor once said that if you see something needing to be done and no one is doing it, then you need to do it. I have chickened out of that one several times because I did (do) not trust God enough with my well being. Seeing something around you that is dissatisfying can be a frustrating experience. One thing I have notices about missions support is that there is more interest when there is less participation required. It is a distillation process of faith, trust and courage in a body of believers. Seeing a lack of commitment to our community here in Baker just means that your heart is here, while others' hearts are in completely different places. My encouragement is to find others with a like mind, because you can not change people's minds. Was that a ramble? Probably. Take it for what it's worth.

By the way, I love hearing about your boys. Autumn is starting to feel our baby move now too.