Yesterday was Pine Cove’s 47th opening day as summer 2014 officially began. The weather was beautiful as the summer staff lined the entrances of each camp to welcome all week 1 campers in typical Pine Cove fashion. By God’s grace, we have the amazing privilege of serving close to 33,000 campers this summer at Pine Cove. Our prayer is that our campers hearts and minds will be open to hearing the gospel and that their life will be transformed for His glory!
Every year, Pine Cove publishes a “Drive Time” CD for all parents to listen to on their drive back home after dropping off their kids at camp for the week. This year, on the CD, I encourage all to realize whose they are and perhaps more importantly who He is.
In 1977, I was a junior at The University of Southern California. That year, by God’s grace I became a follower of Jesus Christ. On that day, Jesus became my Savior, my Lord and my life. The only problem was that I still did not fully grasp the meaning of that statement.
As my Savior, Jesus paid it all. As the old song goes “He paid a debt he did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay”. If I were honest, I would say for me, it was a little bit about going to heaven, and a little bit about not going to hell. Yet, the implications were vast but my mind was finite.
Between 1977 and 1985, I began to do “Christian” things- I became active in a church and I began to study scripture. As I began to understand the Word better, about the same time, a man in our church took a bunch of young men and held a bible study. He began to share with us what it meant for Jesus to be our Savior and our Lord. He explained the Holy Spirit to us and he prayed in such a way that he would say things like “Lord have your way with me”. As I began to read scripture more and understand more, something began to really change in me. I was drawn to think about Jesus in a different light, and to really think through the implications of being a Christian.
I spent time reading scripture through a new lens. Theology still mattered, worship still mattered, and the way I lived mattered. But now, the reason I was alive began to matter.
In the early 1990’s, work was hard and Lynelle and I had three little kids running around our house. Life was tiresome. We began to have issues of margin in our family. When the going got tough, we wondered where we could buy back time as a family that we just seemed to never really find in our “every day” lives.
Pine Cove Family Camp became an instrumental part of our life. Even though it was just a week during the summer, the time to think, reflect, grow, and rest was vital to our family.
One year, a young man was leading worship and led us in an old hymn. The opening stanza were these words:
“Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in endless praise.”
It finally hit me. Jesus is not only my Savior and Lord. He is much more and demands to be much more. He is my life. I was saved in 1977. It took my nearly 20 years to figure out the true meaning of the gospel and who HE is.
As John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. The Lord used people and places to impact me along the way. He used my family, Pine Cove, but most of all, His gospel to impact my life in a REAL way.
Pine Cove speaker Tim Kimmel puts it this way- “When Jesus becomes your life, we have moved from merely receiving the gift of grace or giving back in obedience, but to being a living, breathing representative of His power, His presence, His mercy, His forgiveness, and His grace.”
As we embark on another great summer of ministry, I pray that our staff and our campers come to the true realization that Jesus is our Savior, our Lord, AND our Life. Maybe the only thing holding you back from making that realization, like me… is you.