Tuesday, March 3, 2015

KNOWN our 2015 Theme

K N O W N.

He knows me.

Our theme comes from John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Like most themes, our theme is one in which we can talk about too much, but never enough.

At Camp Luther we often sing the song 'I Just Wanna Be A Sheep'. Like our theme, it can be sung too much, but never enough. As the song goes, “I just wanna be a sheep, ba-ba-ba-ba / I just wanna be a sheep, ba-ba-ba-ba . . .”, but when we sing this do we really mean we want to be a sheep?

I don't think so. 

Let's be honest, if we were going to choose to be an animal we wouldn't choose a sheep. We'd want to be a lion or an otter or a house cat or a T-Rex, but not a sheep. 
Definitely not a sheep.
What we are really exclaiming when we sing 'I Just Wanna Be A Sheep' is that we want to follow the One who is our Shepherd, the One who knows us.

When Jesus spoke the words found in John 10:27 He not only reminded us we are His, but also that we are lot like sheep.
Like sheep we can easily become confused, losing our way in this ever constant, ever changing world. We wander away from the truth, but it is the voice of truth and grace which calls us back.
Though our world is constantly changing, our God doesn't and His voice continues to call out to us. His hand remains outstretched, a sovereign hand of love and purpose for those who He knows: His people.

Jesus, the One who calls us is full of love and compassion. Yet, He didn't simply sit still knowing what His people needed, but took action and did something about our need. There on the cross He showed us we were fully known and loved by Him. Jesus knew the rotten side of us, yet still did something about it. He knew that we needed Him to come, live a perfect life, die, and rise again so that we may have life with Him.

Camp Luther has been intentional of sharing this hopeful truth since our beginning in 1946. Here we believe that those who spend time in God's Word and in His creation, while being surrounded and encouraged by a community of believers will see they are truly known and loved by Jesus. Our belief doesn't stop with us simply recognizing we are are known by God, but continues with taking His word to light the world, to make Him known.

As followers of Jesus we get to live our lives as a response to what Jesus did. No one ever said following Jesus would be easy, but we know it's worth it. Why else would Jesus, our Shepherd, call us to follow Him if He didn't know it was the best thing for those He loves? After all, we don't have to be a sheep to know Jesus, to follow Jesus, or to make Jesus known.

Valuing Family

It has been my pleasure since beginning full time ministry in the early 90’s to get to know many families and watch youngsters grow up to have families of their own. As you might imagine, some of these families saw their children become very active in their faith, while others became less involved with church as they became adults. The difference? Those parents who were more successful at passing on their own family values were those who were more successful at valuing their own family.

While no parenting style or method is 100% effective, research over the past 10 years or so has shown two things to be consistently true: (1) Approximately 65% of kids who are very active in Sunday school, youth group, church, etc. STOP attending when they are on their own. (2) Those that do re-main active as adults had parents who valued and taught the importance of faith in their home, beyond simply getting the kids to church activities. Single Parent, Traditional Family, Grandpar-ent; the configuration does not matter as much as spending time together and actually discussing faith during some of that family time.

So what do you as a parent, do teach your faith to your children? There are many resources available, and a few are listed below; but the main step is to have a plan. Be intentional about priori-tizing time as a family. The more time you have together, the more time you have to show and share your faith. The discus-sion, the material, the questions, and the answers will come naturally, but it starts with time. It starts with realizing your job is not to get them to church, but to teach them faith can help you and them in everyday life and being a part of a church to-gether helps to make that happen.
Family schedules vary, but find a regular time to share a verse or a devotion. In our house we all leave at about the same time, so we’re committed to all being at breakfast and simply sharing the “verse of the day” from an app or other reading plan. Sometimes it sparks conversation, sometimes not, but you can hardly go wrong starting your day with the Word! Maybe in your house it’s supper or bedtime, but set aside a time. Check out Famtime.org, StickyFaith.org, and Revolutionary Parenting (barna.org) - all resources to help parents talk about faith. Finding support and encouragement from other parents is another big step in the right direction.

Beyond consistent time in your daily life, plan extra family times together. It may be a vacation, a weekend (at camp?), or a walk around the neighborhood; a night at the ballgame or catch in the yard. Work within your schedule and budget but make time to be together. If you want to pass on your family values, then value your family.
(Camp Luther and your congregation also value your family. Talk with your pastor or church staff about family ministry in your congregation. Check out campluther.com for information on our programs designed for family time together.)

Mike “Mutt” Rieck
Director of Guest Services