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Why I keep coming back to Women's Event

Each year Warm Beach hosts a weekend where women can gather together for renewal, relaxation and to deepen relationships. I have been attending Refresh Women’s Event regularly since 2001. It was at this event where I first heard God call me into ministry. I keep coming back because I am blessed year after year by the connections made and the relationships that are deepened.   

Attending Women’s Event as a group is a great way to build relationships with women in your church. Bring your daughter, your sister, your mom, your friends… there is nothing like spending a weekend away with someone to get to know each other better! The walks, talks, and meals shared with others deepen relationships. This builds community which can help us as we stumble through life together when we get back to “the real world.” At Women’s Event, lives are changed, friends are made and relationships with God and others are strengthened.    

A few years ago, I met a wonderful woman from Tacoma, WA. We had a great time chatting and we discovered we had a lot in common. We were both in progress to become ordained pastors in the Free Methodist Church, and our children were both freshmen at Seattle Pacific University. These common bonds helped us pray for each other with understanding at a heart level. Each time we are together, we are able to encourage each other in ministry as we journey through the process of ordination.

What a joy it is to be a part of planning this year’s Women’s Event! You are invited to come and hear a wonderful speaker, Sue Donaldson, who will speak about finding our strength and joy for our journey through life. Worship leader, Angie Morehouse, is bringing a complete worship band, and we have some extended times of worship through music planned. There are also wonderful new workshops, crafts, recreation, and spa packages to round out the weekend. And don’t forget - no cooking or cleaning all weekend long!

We look forward to seeing you! To register and for more information, see our web page www.warmbeach.com/refresh.

Mary CombsMary Combs, Assistant Pastor
Living Hope Free Methodist Church,
Bothell, WA

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The two great responses - Part 2

In the same way people were trying to trap Jesus, we often trap ourselves. Self-sabotage is something all of us develop and fine tune in response to vulnerabilities and brokenness in our lives. Think about it… Jesus says, “I love you,” and we might fire back with, “I don’t like me, how can You love me?”

Jesus says He has two things for us to focus on: Loving God and having compassion for people. In effect He is saying, “Love God with everything you’ve got.” He wants us to go all in.

Here is what I have come to know: It is only by going all in to God’s love and compassion for people that life begins to hold together with integrity, meaning and purpose. When I jump all the way into God’s love, I begin to know, experience and incorporate His visionary view of me.

Over time, His visionary view of me takes hold in my life and it changes me. I become more and more of His view for my life. As this takes place my love for people increases. My desire to make a difference in their lives grows. Compassion flows, barriers are broken, and risks rooted in compassion are taken to bless and encourage.

When you are tempted to sabotage yourself, choose Jesus’ two greatest responses.

Check back next month for Part 3 of this series.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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To Korea with Love

400px Korea love 2The Church in South Korea is inspiring. With a fraction of the population of America, it is the second largest missionary-sending country in the world just behind America! Korean Christians are some of the most passionate of any in the world.

Nevertheless, only 30% of Koreans express faith in Christ. Korean Christians are working hard to reach their fellow citizens. One of the effective means of reaching Koreans with the Gospel is through English language learning.

Myungsun Presbyterian Church, just outside of Seoul, has an extensive outreach through English ministry. The key to their success is an annual summer English Camp in South Korea and a Summer American Immersion here in the Pacific Northwest. Warm Beach Camp partners with Myungsun to send a team of 15-20 American youth and adults to South Korea to work with them in ministry. And each summer, 30 Korean young people attend a week of Warm Beach summer camp as part of their American cultural experience.

This year, the Warm Beach Camp mission team will serve in South Korea August 1-14, 2017. They will join 20 Korean young people who will rapidly immerse the team in Korean culture and build effective teamwork. Once oriented, the team will join Korean hosts in ministry to the homeless, English day camp at a local church, and a week-long English Camp. The experience is truly a ministry immersion with our Korean hosts.

English Camp is a multi-level ministry to campers, high school students, and young adult partners. It combines English language learning with camp-style games, crafts, music, and sports. Along with ministry to elementary-age campers, Korean and American High School students enter a leadership track where they will assist with the camp and spend time in Biblical leadership studies led by the US Team Pastor.

The Warm Beach Camp mission team recruits eight adults (18 yrs+) and 8-12 teens (ages 14-18). The adults lead English classes and are mentors to the teens on the team. American team members also lead or assist with activity rotations such as games, crafts, and music. Curriculum and activity guides are provided.

The Lord always reaches deeply into the hearts of his people as we go and engage in the work He calls us to. Saying “Yes” to Jesus when he calls us to go is the first step in a journey of transformation.

Would you like to be part of the Warm Beach Korea Team? For more information and an application packet, visit WBCKorea.WarmBeach.com or email ppatterson@warmbeach.com.

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The two great responses - part 1

It happened a long time ago in the middle of a debate. A new leader had shown up on the scene, but he was not known and vetted through traditional channels. He was known for the incredible things he did and the unusual authority he spoke with. People were drawn to him.  

The establishment did not know what to do with him. He made outlandish claims. He did not pass through their institutions of learning. And yet, people were drawn to him. Some even said the hearts of the people were being won by him.

The establishment decided to trap him with their great intellect and knowledge. He needed to be discredited. The people needed to learn he was a fraud. So, in the middle of a debate where people were asking him questions, the “loaded” question was asked:

Which law is the most important to keep?

The establishment knew if he preferred one law over any other, they could discredit him and tarnish his reputation. It was a simple question. It was a loaded question. It was a baited question.

He responded with two statements that had nothing to do with the law, and yet, all of the law is held together and fulfilled through these two statements:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus spoke these words to the religious leaders of the day in response to the Law of Moses. In effect, He was saying, no law can be enforced in a useful way without a deep love for God and great compassion for people. These are the prerequisites for holding anything together in a helpful way.  

To every follower of Christ, Jesus’ words have become known as the two greatest commandments.  

Check back in a month for part 2 of this series.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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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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