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Believe there is GOOD in the world

BelieveThereIsGoodIt is fresh perspective that is so important.

Do you see the potential in a child or just the problems with their behavior? Do you see the good when we develop deeper character by going through things that are not fair?  So many people have said of difficult times: “I would never want to go through that again, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything because of the good God has brought from it.”

In a time where there is so much focus on all that is not right, search for the good.  Lift up the good, better yet…

…be the GOOD in the world.  

That’s right, be the good. There is an old spiritual saying that says: God is good…all the time. The world seeks people who bring good to the world. Most of the time it is not headline news, but it is what lasts.  

With God’s help, be the good in this world today. Speak thoughtfully. Listen compassionately. Act responsibly. Solve a problem and meet a need. Give generously.

A camper at Warm Beach Special Friends Camp for people with developmental disabilities, volunteered to pray before a meal. As she began to pray, I was compelled to watch her because of the honest passion of her prayer. She prayed, “Dear God, thank you for this camp. Thank you for everyone who makes this camp possible. I love this camp because here I feel normal. Thank you for this camp. In Jesus name, Amen.”

I was weeping tears of joy over an honest prayer. I looked around the room at the awesome team of staff and volunteers. I think of every person who made the week possible. I am overwhelmed at the generosity of the people who give to make the camp possible.

In that moment I was seeing good in the world and I was with a group of people actually being the good in this world.

Giving God thanks for his goodness.  He is good… all the time.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Life isn't fair, but it can still be good

I listened as he unpacked events in his life that were not fair. I wanted to take care of it for him, but this was his life, not mine. I was here to walk with him through a disappointment brought on him by others.

After taking some time to think and pray about it, we went to my favorite place of perspective, the campfire, and I spoke words of blessing and encouragement into his life. We reminded each other that it is not the unfairness of life that defines us. What we do and how we live in response to unfairness is where character and greatness resides.

There was nothing fair about the cross of Jesus. Yet, I have a life of eternal good in front of me because of all that unfairness. What is even more amazing, is that Jesus declared going through this unfairness as the Father’s will.

Jesus’ brother, James, writes to followers of Jesus in Jerusalem, “…when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NLT)

It is a given that life is unfair. There is something so much greater than the unfairness of the moment.  There is a powerful good that rises and produces life in me in no other way. It was as if through Jesus, God the Father was saying to all the unfairness of all time. “Bring it on. Give me the death blow. There is a deeper good, and not even death can stop it!”

I watched the young man rise up from the unfairness and choose to let the greatness of his God-given character rise and grow. 

Life is unfair but, thanks to God, it can still be good!!!

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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We are all in

Andrew Michele Ed Aug2016Responding to Vision matters. I will never forget the first meeting with Andrew and Michele. It was a simple vision that would require collaboration and commitment. I had clear conviction and desire from God to see a family camp for foster and adoptive families. Michele and Andrew have been living out a commitment to the health of foster and adoptive families through the Refresh Conference, Harvest Hands Alliance, The Permanence Project, Overlake Christian Church, and being adoptive parents themselves.

We met, shared the vision, and the response was immediate. “We are all in.”  

Three and a half years later, more than 400 attended the third “Refreshed Families” foster and adoptive Family Camp at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, WA. Volunteers and staff serve to make the event possible. Donors give campership money to help families experience a much needed win in their lives.

Michele, Andrew and I met again to share vision about the future. Every foster and adoptive family needs a win. We looked at how we could improve the Refreshed Families camp to support even more people every year. We committed all to God as we look forward to next year.

To all who have responded to this vision – thank you.  

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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A VISION and A SACRED TRUST

Warm Beach Camp FoundersFrom left to right: Charles Kirkpatrick, Stanley Watkins, Forest Bush Sr., S.E. FosketIn the mid 1950’s, a group of people launched an incredible vision to build Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center. The leaders of the Washington Conference of the Free Methodist denomination came together to sell two small camps that were going to be overtaken by the construction of I-5.

The vision they pursued was multiple times the scope of what was being given up. Two small properties for a big spacious property overlooking Port Susan Bay. They went from a vision of serving hundreds to envisioning ministry to tens of thousands every year.

The photo is an iconic picture of four great men who gave leadership to the vision. As a boy and young man, I had the privilege of knowing each of these great men. There were many others that were working right alongside them.

Earlier this year, the last of these four men, Forest Bush, went home to be with Jesus. At a recent Warm Beach Camp Board of Directors meeting, we took time to remember what they, in faith and obedience to God, had begun. 

As a Board, we were overwhelmed with two clear thoughts:

  1. WHAT A VISION - The vision of Warm Beach Camp begun all those years ago has grown to over 92,000 people in 2015.
  2. WHAT A SACRED TRUST - We have a sacred trust to continue this vision in the same faith and obedience to God in changing times. 

Dear Father,

Thank You for the founders of Warm Beach Camp. Thank You for the vision You gave to them. Thank You for their faith and obedience. Thank You for all the lives being changed every year through Your gospel and creation. 

Guide us in continuing this sacred trust. Guide us in keeping the path clear to the cross of Jesus Christ.  Guide us to develop the ministry for current and future generations. 

Thank You.

In Jesus' name,
Amen 

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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This feels like coming home...

A young couple got out of their car, just arriving for camp, and walked up the sidewalk to Cedar Lodge. He turned to her and said, “I feel like I am coming home.”

There is a desire in all of us to feel like we are coming home. The descriptions of “home” may vary from person to person. Unconditional love, acceptance, certain types of food, relationships, traditions, a place and space that feeds the soul, are all parts that make up this ideal of “home.”

Bev, my wife, often asks me this question: “Does it feed your soul?” What a great question when we think about home and all that it means. My favorite place at home is the fire circle. Recently, I went to the fire circle by myself and built a fire, and people started to gather. We laughed, talked, prayed, and even spent time just staring into the beauty and warmth of the fire. I was home. My soul was being fed.

The truth is, this desire to come home is from God. He is with us on a journey that brings us home to be with Him forever. Being with Him is the ultimate place of unconditional love, acceptance, feasts, relationships, and traditions that will last forever. With Him, we know that our soul is fed.

At camp, coming home might be connection with friends, cinnamon rolls, riding a horse, or paddling a canoe. It might be a favorite space or the sunsets. Whatever it means to you to come home to camp, please know that it is evidence of a deeper reality: God, through His Son Jesus Christ, invites us to live with Him forever. 

Coming Home…

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Sign of an open heart…

Sometimes people get hit so hard in life that their heart and emotions simply close up and become hard, defensive and protective of self at almost any cost. If you are in this situation, or helping someone in this situation, there are two things to know:

  1. Just one meaningful connection: It only takes one meaningful connection between a person with a closed heart and someone or something else to begin to open up the heart again. ONLY ONE. The connection can be with a horse, a dog, or a coach, friend or relative.  
    I have watched God increasingly use horses at Warm Beach Camp to provide the one meaningful connection needed to open up a hard, scared and broken heart.
  2. Gratitude is the evidence of a closed heart opening up: When you start to hear someone express gratitude for one meaningful connection, be encouraged, because the heart and emotions are risking opening up to the possibilities of giving and receiving love again.

Caution for parents: Parents want to be the meaningful connection with a child who is hurt. However, the meaningful connection may need to be a horse instead. Don’t assume that you are the answer. Be open to who or what God would bring into your child’s life to open up their heart and spirit. Supportively be faithful to the part God has given you as the parent.

Opportunity for all: Shared experiences encourage connection. Consider Warm Beach Camp as a great place to connect and encourage people whose hearts are closed and hard. Pray they will find one connection, open up and receive love, and begin to express gratitude.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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From Florida with Love

Much of the work of ministry at Warm Beach Camp Lakeland 2016consists of preparing the way for others to experience rest, renewal, and re-connection. With good preparation, guests are able to fully enter into the purposes for which they come. Scripture exhorts us to bear one another’s burdens and thus live out the love taught by Jesus. We do this for each group that comes on the grounds as we prepare clean facilities, good food, and fun activities.

Recently, the Lakeland Christian School senior class came all the way from Lakeland, Florida, to bear our burdens for two days. They helped us accomplish so much more than we could have done otherwise.

The enthusiasm and work ethic of the Lakeland students and staff was a true blessing. This year, the biggest project area was a heroic effort to remove ivy from the entrance berm. They removed 3,000 lbs. of ivy! This work makes possible the eventual replanting with native understory which will provide better habitat and visual screening thus enhancing first impressions as guests come on to the property.

In addition to massive ivy removal, the Lakeland group constructed ten new picnic tables, organized and cleaned the RV campgrounds, built a new fence in front of a staff house, deep cleaned an amazing amount of facilities, prepared Chinook Village for a summer of Special Friends ministry, painted facilities at the Horse Stables, erected tents for summer programs, and restored much needed landscaping areas to spaces of beauty and refreshment.

On top of this, they left a financial gift, which is going toward the eventual interior refurbishment of Cascadian Lodge sleeping rooms. Their sacrificial giving and servant’s hearts are a testimony of the effective discipleship that students receive at Lakeland Christian School. God is bringing his Kingdom to life through this school.

Warm Beach Camp’s ministry will be a blessing to the people of the Pacific Northwest in part because a group of students came all the way from Florida to be a blessing to Warm Beach Camp. And we pray the blessing of love and service extended to us will return to them many times over.

Patrick Patterson, General Manager/C.O.O.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Come together...

As a parent, we never know when the meaningful moment is going to come with our kids. These moments we treasure, where all of the sudden we are in the middle of something special, memorable, humorous or tender. The beautiful part is that we are in it together, with our kids.

We can’t plan them, or create them on demand. What we can do is spend time together. One thing is true, these moments are only experienced when we are hanging out with our kids.

One great way to share those moments is a family experience at Warm Beach Camp. When is the last time you and your kids met the challenge together of the human whirlpool at the swimming pool?  Have you celebrated someone getting to the top of a 40-foot climbing wall or marveled at the natural beauty of Port Susan Bay as your canoe slides through the water with each stroke of the oar?  

Don’t you long to share some stories around the camp fire or ride bikes on the miles of trails?  

It is in the middle of this kind of time spent together that the meaningful moments happen. It might be a conversation about faith, or something very funny that will be a source of laughter and joy for years to come.

Come together, come to Warm Beach Camp, life changes here.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Dads, create a "win" with your kids

Dad and Me Weekend IMG_3608_web300.jpgOne of the great wins Warm Beach Camp has given to me as a Dad are the Dad & Me Weekends. These weekends are all about a great time with my sons and daughters with all of the fun and ease of great camp experiences...

On Friday after a good dinner, enjoy a night swim. Meet the challenge of the human whirlpool. If you have some energy left, take each other on in mini golf under the stars. Or, enjoy an exciting game of laser tag.

Saturday begins with homemade cinnamon rolls. Can you smell them? They taste awesome. Combine them with a cup of hot chocolate or fresh coffee in front of the roaring fire by the big stone fire place. Wow!  

Enjoy morning devotions as a group, and then it is off to many adventures that may include canoes, mountain boards, climbing walls, biking, hiking, zip lines, high ropes, archery, bb guns, disc golf, more swimming, and rocket building. Maybe even a chance to catch a nap laying out on a sun soaked grassy hillside overlooking horses in the pastures below.

Saturday evening is a traditional camp fire, complete with s’mores and camp fire stories of the day’s adventures.   

Sunday morning is a pancake breakfast hot off the grill. This transitions into group devotions where dads and kids are given practical tips on how to follow God in their relationships with each other. The weekend culminates with the Dad & Me rocket launch combined with burgers on the grill. 

My kids are all getting older, ranging from 17-31 years old. When stories are told at our house, the Dad & Me Weekends are something that stand out in their lives as one of the traditions they value.  

Dads, do you need a “win” with your kids? Come to a Dad & Me Weekend this year.  

2016 dates are:  
Dad and Sons:  June 3-5 and September 9-11
Dad and Daughters:  June 10-12 and September 16-18

More information and to register: http://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/dad-and-me-weekends

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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The Good of it All...

My wife Bev and I were walking down one of the beautiful trails at Warm Beach Camp praying our way through the people and ministry we love so much. Something became clear in our time of prayer: No matter what occurs in our life, the response of God is to bring good to all of it.

It’s easy to say, but think of all the pieces of hurt and misunderstanding we can hold on to. Think of all the injustice that can be experienced in any one day. If we are not careful, we find ourselves holding on to the experience of all that is wrong and not fair in this world. In fact, our own view of life can become one of discouragement and cynicism if we don’t see God in the middle of it.

When we bring all that is wrong to God, His response is: Look at the good I am going to bring out of this situation. God isn’t excusing or justifying any of the wrong. God is overwriting and overcoming the wrong in this world with good.

I invite you to make a list of all that you are experiencing and holding in your thoughts and feelings as being unjust, unfair, and hurtful. Next, simply ask God, “What is the good of it all that you intend?” His nature is good. All of Him is PURE GOOD.

Anyone following God will be able to say something like, “I never want to go through what I just went through again; however, the good God is bringing out of this is beyond anything I have ever known or experienced.”

Hard things do happen in life. God shows us through who He is “the good of it all.”

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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