Quiet and focused, he stood with his family at the Nativity scene. His family was enjoying the beauty of The Lights of Christmas festival and soon drifted off towards Joyland, leaving Dad alone. His eyes were glued to the passage of scripture sitting right next to the baby Jesus. Line by line he read it silently and reflectively. God was speaking to him.
Life changes here.
During summer camp this year, the theme for Friday was “Truth” with the subtitle, “What lies about yourself have you believed as if they were true?” The camp pastor would speak the truth of scripture that describes how God sees us. We are His creation. We are loved. There is nothing we can do to make God love us more than he already does. He knows our name. He will never leave or forsake us. We are wonderfully made and have incredible value.
Each camper had the opportunity to write down a lie they had believed to be true and nail it to a wooden cross. Literally, campers were exchanging lies for the truth. The cross was full of deceptions young people believed. They were set free to the truth of who they are in Christ.
Life Changes here.
Over 300 groups come to Warm Beach Camp for specific purposes. Many want to grow in God. Others want to learn about better relationships. Some come for outdoor education, and others come for sport camps.
What everyone finds is a place and a people where God is present and at work. The Holy Spirit connects with people. Our hospitality is often the conduit for transferring God’s grace.
“We appreciate the attention and care we always receive from everyone at Warm Beach, and are blessed to be able to hold our events with you!” – Guest Group leader
“I had a good time connecting with my son.” – Dads and Sons Weekend attendee
“My son looks forward to camp. He loves it! His counselor was patient and kind and the atmosphere made him feel a sense of belonging.” – Summer Youth Camp parent
These are only a few of the encouraging words we have received throughout the year. God changes lives at Warm Beach Camp and we are blessed to be part of that journey.
We wish you a happy New Year and many blessing to you and your family.
Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center
“Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!”
- 2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT
Plant a few seeds, get a small return. Plant many seeds, get a large return. This is one of God’s great gifts to us: Generosity.
Paul encourages followers of Jesus to trust living generously. Chapter 9 of 2 Corinthians talks about the gift of generosity. Paul explains God’s gift is “too wonderful for words.”
Be generous in every phase of life. Put much into life. Invest in people. Spend time in relationships. Share your time. Give of your money. Meet needs and solve problems. Be generous about all things. Don’t do life “on the cheap.” Be a good steward.
God is generous in every way. Trust in His generosity and you will experience the joy of seeing “the harvest” of life.So, what holds us back from being generous? Here are a few thoughts for consideration:
- Selfishness: We simply choose not to share. We choose to sow a few seeds in the ground, and there’s not much return.
- Scarcity: We are concerned that we will not have enough. Creating the illusion that generosity is not a wise option. God asks us to trust Him. He is the source of all generosity. He says that He will take care of us.
- Spending vs. Investing: The current culture is focused on spending. We are a consumer society. There is not an appropriate focus on saving and investing. It is very difficult to embrace generosity when we are consumed with spending.
- No Margin: For most people there is no margin in their life. Time, relationships and finances are tapped out. Most USA families do not even have $500- $1,000 in the bank to handle basic small emergencies. Any small disruption in life becomes a major issue when there is no margin. Generosity is lost.
- Immediacy: Fast results and 24/7 access have taken our eyes off of the time required for good relational, physical, and financial investments in our lives. Generosity thrives off of good “investments” or “seed planting” when it is given time to grow and produce good returns or a “rich harvest.”
Consider a life of generosity. Look for ways to be generous through networks and resources. “Plant more seeds” in this world. Tend to them and give them time to grow, giving you much to share with others.
Thank You for God’s generosity in our lives. Help us embrace a life of generosity to others through our relationships, our time, and our resources. In Your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center
As I walked down the gravel road I could feel the cold sneaking into my coat. Winter’s approach grew stronger each day. I’ve lived in cold climates before. I grew up in Indiana and braved the Michigan winters through college. However, this winter felt different. It wasn’t because of the cold or the frost covered grass. It felt different because I was different.
Last winter I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. As a new mom, I was also helping my mom overcome cancer treatment. The winter before, I was newly married and adjusting to life as a wife. I look back at the last two years and I remember how much God can change a person in so little time. In two years I got married, became a mom, and helped my mom through a life-changing illness. It was hard but it was beautiful. God showed me what it means to be compassionate and patient. He also showed me how valuable the gift of life is and how fleeting it can become.
As my family and I settle into our new life at Warm Beach Camp, we are surrounded by an unusually warm and generous community, who every day, reminds us of God’s provision and grace.
1 Corinthians 1:4-10 reads, “I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge. God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. I appeal to you, brothers and sisters... be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. Can you believe it? As we gather with family and friends let’s remember how God has worked, and is working in us still. Let’s show kindness to others and remember that God is working in each one of them too. Let’s remember how fortunate we are to experience the freedom of relationship with Christ and how blessed we are with the right to exercise that freedom.
We are so blessed to be fervently loved by the Creator. So let’s give thanks to the One who is in everything that is good, and who loves us more than we could ever imagine.
As I looked around the room I saw unfamiliar faces, a rarity in my small town. Over 200 people had gathered at my church in Northern Indiana. As a pastor’s kid, I often got roped into every church event and activity. Soup for the Soul, our church’s meal program to the homeless, was no exception. For me, Soup for the Soul was different. As a flawed human being, I overlooked many of the people in my local community who would come to this bi-monthly event.
There were a diverse age group present, most of which I didn’t know. I learned new stories from elder shut-ins I would deliver meals to. They loved the sense of community and warm food. I got to play tag with the young kids two Tuesdays a month. These kids were guaranteed a warm meal and a place to feel welcomed without judgement or hesitation of acceptance.
As I look back at those days I realize that my passion for ministry was birthed from those moments and that I received far more than I gave. I was taught humility, the importance of community, and an understanding of the challenges this world is often filled with. Most importantly, I learned that God meets us where we’re at and He chooses to bless every child. Not just the children with clean clothes and brushed teeth, and not just the children who know Him.
Matthew 25:35-36 reads, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
After this experience, volunteering became so much more to me than a “duty.” I learned that the calling to serve others is mentioned so much in the Bible because it truly reveals the nature of our God and expands our understanding of who He is. What started as a begrudging way to fulfill God’s commandment was a catalyst of change in my own heart. He is a God who cares. A God who loves, and a God who does not forget His children.
Thanksgiving Working Weekend is just around the corner. This weekend is a time when people come and help Warm Beach Camp prepare for The Lights of Christmas festival. It is a huge blessing for the staff to have volunteers work alongside to create an event that brings the hope and joy of Christmas to others.
Would you please join us? Along with the blessing of serving others, it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and be part of the community of Christ at Warm Beach Camp. We would love to have you!
Thanksgiving Working Weekend is November 22-25, 2018. Come for a day or for the entire weekend. For more information and to register visit https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/thanksgiving-working-weekend
Acts 20:35, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center