“The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’” - Psalm 32:8 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/psa.32.8.NLT

It is common for us to want the best. When it comes to the overall direction for our lives, we often find ourselves perplexed and frustrated because we don’t think we are in the best position, the best job, the right relationship, etc… and the search goes on.

Along comes God’s word.

He makes a statement: “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.” Would someone really do that for us?

I don’t know about you, but I have tried doing what I thought would be best for my life, and the results showed that my self-directed approach did not work. What I thought would bring meaning and fulfillment did not. What I thought would have lasting results did not.

Several years ago, I was at a point where my life was not working well in several areas. At that time I asked God to lead. To the best of my ability, I laid down my self-directed nature. I asked the Lord to lead and guide. He has, and He is.

He brought wise counsel into my life. I listened and acted upon the wise counsel. He also brought needed encouragement.

God speaks with more good news: “I will advise you and watch over you.” It is such a blessing to have thoughtful care and oversight. Even though we live in a world that celebrates self-sufficiency, there is no substitute for knowing that someone who actually loves you is looking out for you.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for God the Father’s leading and guiding in the way that is best. It may not be the easiest, but it is best. Thank you for continued guidance and oversight. I give up my self-determined nature to you. In Your name Jesus, Amen

Ed 80pxby Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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“Warm Beach Camp is where my faith in Jesus became real,” said one summer staff, reflecting on her years as a camper and now staff. As various youth camp staff shared how they had grown closer to God this summer, a deep unity and sense of holy purpose came over the group.

The staff shared about relationships, leadership opportunities, and a profound sense that God was living and working through them.

Over the course of the summer, the staff ministered to youth from local churches, students from Japan and South Korea, foster and adoptive kids, and kids who have parents in prison. Warm Beach youth campers come from very diverse backgrounds. They come for the fun and new experiences. They leave with Jesus.

With deep gratitude, we praise God for the 25 youth campers whose faith in Jesus became real for the first time this summer.

Thank you, Jesus, for the incredible group of youth camp staff.

Ed 80pxEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center

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Our words matter. The words we speak, tweet, message, write, and stream have an impact.

Step back and ask a simple question: “What do I want the effect of my words to be in this world?”

There is a great answer to that question: “Let our words be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

This answer greatly challenges us. We are addicted to the freedom of words. Unfortunately, there is a loss of personal responsibility. The result of reckless words can be hurt and division.

I invite you to a simple, but difficult, challenge of “letting everything we say be good and helpful”  for the purpose of bringing encouragement to this world.

At Warm Beach Camp we recognize the significance of words and attitudes that lift people up. It is my hope that refreshing and encouraging words are shared with everyone who comes to Warm Beach Camp. Words can give life and hope.

By the way, this idea is not new with me. It comes from the very best source of all, the Bible: “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” - Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Ed 80pxEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center

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If there was a contest for the greatest act of kindness, I wonder what the entries would be. Personally, the most meaningful is intentional thoughtfulness to help carry a load in life, or simply the surprise of unexpected generosity. 

Advocacy is an act of kindness. Things like, advocating for someone who is vulnerable or misunderstood, creating opportunity for someone who needs a fresh start, or simply giving someone a chance to develop and grow. To extend kindness, a spirit of selfless and unconditional love needs to be cultivated. Kindness is done for the good it brings others. It is not an attempt to bring attention to ourselves.

The greatest act of kindness I have ever received is forgiveness that Jesus Christ brings to my life. Every piece of brokenness, deceit, manipulation, anger, (the list goes on) that has, or ever will, exist in my life is forgiven. He didn’t just carry my load, He completely took it and called it His own.  Jesus, at the direction of His Father, gave His life as forgiveness, redemption, and restoration for me and for all people.

On my best day, I only have glimpses into the magnitude of God’s kindness. Being a father and grandfather have opened my eyes to part of His unlimited kindness and grace. Being a husband has revealed the beauty of selflessness and the challenges of selfishness. Adoption has shown me the deep desires to be loved and the significant challenges of being abandoned. 

The ministry of Warm Beach Camp extends kindness by advocating and creating opportunity for people to have life changing experiences in safe and caring environment. It is a living expression of the faith we hold in Jesus Christ, for the good of others.

Thank you Jesus.

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. Ephesians 1:7.

Ed 80pxEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Summer Camp photocredit Jamie Smith 292 350pxA summer camp week is an experience unlike any other, offering a lifetime of positive impact. Youth overnight camps at Warm Beach provide a safe and fun environment for youth to step away from everyday distractions and step into who they are in Christ.

Perhaps the most valuable and unique element of summer camp at Warm Beach is the intentionality of the program and staff. Along with fun activities and recreation, campers are placed in a community where they are loved and taken care of by trained cabin guides. The camp experiences provide opportunities for campers to grow in leadership, teamwork, responsibility, confidence, and love. Camp cultivates positive relationships, often lifelong friendships between peers and strong bonds with camp guides.

This summer, our focus is what it means to be alive in Christ and how to follow in His footsteps. There will be time for campers to enjoy the outdoors, and reflect on their purpose. It’s going to be an amazing summer!

www.WBYouthCamps.com

SaraRodriguezSara Rodriguez
Youth Program Manager

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“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” - Proverbs 29:25 NLT

When the human spirit rises and falls on the approval and opinions of others, we are in a vulnerable position. The writer of Proverbs calls it a “dangerous trap.”

People caught up in domestic violence are often trapped in a situation where they literally live in the fear of the abuser every moment of every day. It is a very dangerous situation. Sometimes individuals, in pursuit of their faith, end up following a pastor, teacher or religious leader with greater priority than knowing Jesus and following God. This too, is a risky move.

In my own life, I have learned that even with the best efforts and intentions, I will let people down. I make mistakes and need forgiveness and grace from others for those mistakes. This is true for all of us. While human relationships have the potential to be very meaningful, when we live in fear of them, we are not in a good place.

At Warm Beach Camp, we know there is a relationship that is always safe. God provides a relationship through Jesus Christ that is good. Putting our trust and faith in God does not fail. He never abuses. He forgives mistakes. Grace is extended where we fall short. Love is present. Trust and truth give us hope and faith. People are not taken advantage of. Instead, people are restored, renewed, and refreshed. God is transformational.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for being trustworthy. Thank you for pointing out that living in fear of people’s disapproval is risky and dangerous. I love you and put my trust in you today. In your name Jesus, Amen.

Ed 80pxEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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There is not a single experience quite like a week at summer camp. I have experienced this as a camper and a staffer.

I began my journey as a camper in the fifth grade. I was nervous, but excited to spend a week with a bunch of strangers away from home. My first summer could be summed up in the words “fun,” and “relationships.” It was the first time I really saw Christianity lived out in other people my age. I began to understand what a real relationship with Jesus looked like. I learned how to make friends and maintain those relationships beyond camp. During my second summer, the Lord really got ahold of my heart and turned my world upside down. I left knowing I had experienced true love for the first time from the source of love Himself. Camp allowed me the space to step away and be still. It gave me the chance to listen, and for the first time I heard Him say my name.

During my time as a camper, I felt a call to ministry. I pursued this in college and spent summers working as a staffer at camp. I did just about every job and gained a wide range of work experience. The intentional community built was unlike any other. The ministry experience prepared me for where I am today.

In a recent survey I asked parents of campers, past campers, and camp staffers, to share the impact camp had on their life. I was incredibly encouraged by the answers. Here are a few of them:

“Camp has helped her overcome fears, learn independence, and strengthened her relationship with Jesus.” – parent

“I was able to be myself with youth my age! Camp caused me to confront fears while giving me the tools to overcome those fears.” – summer camper

“It was one of the hardest yet most rewarding summers of my life.” – summer staffer

The power of camp is real. The life-long impact is undisputable. Genuine possibilities are here at www.WBYouthCamps.com.

SaraRodriguezSara Rodriguez
Youth Program Manager

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“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” - 1 Timothy 4:12 NLT

Young leaders, please jump in and lead. You are needed and wanted in the ministry of Warm Beach Camp. Feel free to speak into my life, and the lives of staff and campers. Please address the issues of the day through Jesus and bring lasting good. You are welcome at the table and around the campfire. Your influence is needed. Please don’t let people older or younger than you scare you off.

As you lead, please remember to set an example for all of us following Jesus. Let your words be helpful and useful. Please don’t just sound off with the latest opinion of the moment on social media. Consider your words and the impact of them. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Please use all avenues of communication to lift up Jesus and to encourage the world.

Your communication, creativity, and understanding of how to connect to people today is amazing. Thank you.

Please think about how you live out your faith. Be genuine and authentic. Keep the good news of Jesus in front of us always. Challenge us to reach out and stretch to help others in a broken and confused world. Live with courage. Do not be defined by fear.

Let your love, faith, and wholesomeness define your life.

At Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center, young leaders discover, explore, and launch into the adventures God has for each one. Life changes here. Thank you, young leaders.

Ed 80pxEd McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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My name is Sara Rodriguez and I stepped into the role of Youth Program Manager at Warm Beach Camp in October 2017. I have been working in camp ministry in several different capacities for nine years. I attended Indiana Wesleyan University for my Bachelor of Science in Adolescent Ministries and Leadership. Then I spent two years teaching outdoor education at a camp in Texas while going to Dallas Baptist University for my Graduate degree in Christian Education and Business Ministry.

I started going to camp as a fifth grader. It was a place for me to slow down and take a break from my fast-paced life. At camp, my faith became more than a list of things to check off – I was led to a real relationship with the One who loves me more than anyone ever could. My faith became my own. I grew more confident in my identity and role in the body of Christ, and I made lifelong friends. The impact camp had on my life has driven me into full-time camp ministry.

I am finding myself in my dream position here at Warm Beach Camp. I am beyond excited for what the summer holds. This year, the program will revolve around the book of Ephesians. God gave me this idea one day when I was praying about a theme that could meet the needs of all our campers. Wherever a camper is in their faith journey, there is something special and powerful for them this summer. Ephesians covers everything from knowing you belong to Christ, to finding your identity in Him, to taking action as a follower of Christ. I cannot wait to see how the Lord works in the lives of the campers this summer.

This summer’s theme verses will be Ephesians 2:4-5:
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Almost all our summer camp guides (counselors) have been hired, and are now spending time preparing for this summer’s ministry to serve campers. It is going to be a summer your camper will never forget!

Be sure to sign up today on the website before sessions fill up! www.WBYouthCamps.com

I look forward to meeting you all this summer.

SaraRodriguezSara Rodriguez
Youth Program Manager

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I lived in hiding for over a decade, presenting a façade to everyone I met. I was the loving, respectable, stay-home housewife. The honorable mother and godly Sunday school teacher. No one knew the shame, the secrets I carried.

No one, that is, except God.

He saw my deepest wounds and everything I tried so hard to hide. He knew me well before my husband pulled me off the streets of Tacoma. He saw the high school dropout who spent more time drunk than sober, the girl without hope, or even a thought for her future.

But His vision, His love, went much deeper, and His call reached much farther than merely granting me salvation. He wanted to give me deep, unyielding spiritual and emotional freedom, the kind that says, “Yeah, I was a mess. I still am. But you know? That’s okay, because I’m loved and eternally accepted.”

And so, bit by bit, God began to expose and then uproot all the lies I had come to believe about myself. Lies like, “I’m unlovable. Ignorant. Shameful. Worthless.” He began to replace those lies with truth until, over time, I came to believe everything He said about and to me. The process was far from quick or easy, but it’s one He wants to take us all on.

Often, when we think about grace, we stop at salvation, which is awesome enough. But God wants to take us to total freedom so we can walk into any room, encounter any hardship, and remain strong and unshakable in our identity in Him. He wants us to give His voice prominence over all the others that bombard us each day, and learn to rest, truly rest, in His love for us.

Living loved is more than the intellectual consent that God loves us. It’s allowing the truth to permeate so deeply that our hearts begin to heal, our perceptions become clear, faith replaces fear, and we know-know-know with every fiber of our being that we are God’s beloved daughters.

Join us May 4-6, 2018 at Refresh Women’s Event and learn how to walk in love’s deep, all-consuming freedom. Learn More

Jennifer SlatteryJennifer Slattery
Refresh Women's Event 2018 keynote speaker
Founder of Wholly Loved Ministries

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