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The two great responses - part 4

“Spy Kids” was a series of family films that came out several years ago. The story is of a family of spies with cool gadgets and gizmos. After a “dangerous adventure” that ends with dramatic success and epic music, one of the spy kids says, “Family is the greatest adventure of all!”

Truly, family is one of life’s greatest adventures.

Jesus says the two greatest commandments are: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the midst of raising kids, it is easy to minimize God in our lives. The pressures of making life work every day are unending. Yet, something incredible happens when we keep pursuing God in the midst of it all – we see just how much He loves and cares for us.

My wife, Bev, and I try to do two things every day in seeking God – we pray together and read from God’s Word. It doesn’t always happen, but we never give up. In the simple effort of praying and reading God’s Word, we connect with God and sense His love and care for us, even when the tough things come.

By loving God with everything we’ve got, we connect with the depth of His love for us. His love is so much better than our love. An amazing thing happens next… His love flows through us to our kids. In effect, Bev and I are loving our kids as we love ourselves.

In my journey of parenting, I have come up against myself in so many ways. I have experienced me being selfish, greedy, controlling, angry, passive… (you get the point). Yet, by leaning into Jesus’ two great responses, I experience how much I am loved, and that love is shared with my children. My kids actually experience Jesus’ love through me.

As you continue on the great adventure of family, thank Jesus for pointing out the two greatest commandments. Pursue them, and it will change your family life.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Longing to be loved

Photo 21 400pxA boy arrived at camp carrying his bags as well as a heavy heart. He shared repeatedly about the lack of a father in his life… but almost with a proud tone to his grief. Those words came to a crossroads on Thursday night when he asked his counselor during reflection time, “What does it mean to be a part of God’s family?” The counselor explained the truth the boy was longing to hear — the reality that God was the perfect Father and created him to be in relationship. The boy continued to ask questions about the Bible and wanted a list of all the worship songs from the week. His heart was opening to the idea of a perfect Father. What a beautiful start to lasting love!

Camp is a place where a kid can leave behind the cares, distractions, and problems of everyday life and embrace a new beginning. The love of God becomes more real at camp, lived out through the lives of caring staff. Would you like to join us to make sure no one is left out of a chance to attend camp? Donations to the Kids 2 Camp Scholarship Fund make it possible. Learn More Add a comment

Investing in your kids for the long term

450 Dad and Son Weekend ArcheryWhile parenting has no more guarantees than financial investment, when we make regular investments of time, attention, love, and joy, our relationship with our children has much greater capacity for enduring health.

One such investment which became a ten year tradition for my son and I, was attending Dad & Me Weekends at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, WA. These weekends gave us plenty of ways to build memories and have fun together. Even though I work at Camp and could take my son out to shoot BB guns or do archery anytime, there was something special about packing up and moving into a cabin with other guys and spending time hanging out, and doing cool stuff together.

Whether it was mountain boards down the hill or foursquare in the barn, we kept busy morning to night. It sounds exhausting and frankly it was. But it was always a good tired feeling at the end of a weekend knowing that positive investment was made in our relationship. There was something special about me taking time away from the rest of the family to do something with just my son.

Dad & Me Weekends are deceptively simple. Two nights, six meals, and tons of fun things to do together. Memorable chapel times bring focus on meaningful aspects of faith and family. And, there is lots of time together. It is one of those rare times when dad is just playing with his child and doesn’t have to stop and do chores or go to a sporting event or help someone else with a project.

Dad & Me Weekends can be a tradition that builds positively upon the daily/weekly investments we make in our kid’s lives. It is the perfect getaway for investing in our kids, while they’re still kids. As my son approaches high school graduation and will soon be off to college, those routine investments have built a life of shared memories and mutual commitment that is so very, very rich in our family. 

More information about Dad & Me Weekends for sons and daughters can be found at http://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/dad-and-me-weekends

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

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The two great responses - part 3

The big idea in marriage is that “the two become one.” It is one of the strongest expressions of unity that is demonstrated in this world.  It is obvious the world struggles with marriage as evidenced by all the counseling, laws, and interventions often needed when things are not working out.  

At the heart of the struggle in a marriage is selfishness. Bluntly put, I still want my own way. In Jesus’ two great responses, He challenges us to a selfless focus. Invest all of who we are in God and in the people we love.

Early in our marriage, my wife, Bev, let me know I was constantly late to commitments with her and our family. My immediate response was, “No I’m not.” with my second level response being, “What I was doing was important and couldn’t be put off.” My responses revealed everything…

My agendas were more important than my commitments to Bev and our family. Yes, I loved Bev. Yes, I loved the kids. Yes, I would presume upon them all the time to adjust to what I perceived to be the most important to me at that moment. I was selfish.

To get my attention, Bev came up with a plan: “For 30 days, every time you are late to a family commitment, you pay me $5. Every time you are on time, I pay you $5.” I took the challenge, believing I would prove her wrong.  

Thirty days later... Ed paid Bev $340. Bev paid Ed $10. You do the math! Boy, did I show her... NOT!!!

Bev’s simple act of creativity was one of the many acts of love that have helped me lean away from my selfishness and lean into a selfless love where “the two become one.”  

Sometimes, it is easy to take important words and apply them to everyone else. The real opportunity in my marriage is when Bev and I love God with all we’ve got, and love each other as ourselves. 

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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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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