I Met the Future Last Sabbath

By Dick Duerksen

I met the future last Sabbath. Young people praying for their own spiritual growth, for the needs and hopes of other staff member, and for each of the young people who God is planning to bring into their lives this summer at Big Lake Youth Camp. 

The entire summer staff had taken the Big Yellow Buses from Big Lake to a hilltop near Smith Rock State Park where they were spending the day reading scripture, worshipping, singing, and praying. 

One group was hanging out on a rock pillar overlooking the valley. Another was in the junipers planning better ways to introduce campers to Jesus. A third group had walked over the hill to study and pray over the planned camp activities. 

Sometimes small clusters of staff would break off from their group and pray together over a specific challenge. Then the group would re-form, report, and pray specifically for the job each member will be doing during camp. 

About 4:00 pm all three groups joined up for a special dedication of the RAD team. RAD Camps include experiences like, High Desert Wakesports, Horse Trail Extreme, Advanced Rock Climbing, White Water Rafting, and (if you’re really up to it) RAD Sports Ultimate! Though the RAD camps are about helping campers improve skills and learn to face giant challenges, the counselors and leaders are really about helping each camper develop a deeper bond with Jesus. 

While the cooks were laying out an evening meal of haystacks and brownies, the rest of the camp staff walked into the junipers for a deep worship with Pastor Benjamin Lundquist, our new Oregon Conference Young Adult Ministries leader. 

Yes, the entire day was an awesome time of worship and commitment, but it was in this worship where I met the future. 

Pastor Ben asked each staff member to select a stone from the trail, a stone that would represent something that was weighing down spiritual growth. “It may be a specific temptation the Devil keeps using to entangle you, an experience you’d love to forget, or anything else, that if it is GONE, would make it easier for you to hear God’s voice more clearly and live life more effectively as His servant.” 

The staff nearly picked the trail clean of stones! 

Then, each staff member poured his or her ugly memories and powerful temptations onto the stone, and prayed for God to “clean up the past so I can better serve You in the future.” 

When all of the prayers had been carried away by the mighty mountain wind, Pastor Ben asked the team to “give the past a throw.” 

What happened next was like watching an NFL practice session. Stones flew from the trail far down into the junipers. No one simply dropped the stone nearby or tossed it back onto the trail. No one. Each stone flew as far from the trail as teenage biceps could send it. 

I even picked up a couple stones myself, and though I’m no Peyton Manning, I made sure the stones flew far beyond where I could ever find them again! 

When you give the garbage back to the Devil and throw the ugly and hurtful memories into the depths of God’s forgiveness, your life is lighter, brighter, calmer, and you’re eager to be filled with the energy and peace of God’s Spirit Wind. 

The future? I’ve seen it in the hearts and minds of our Big Lake Camp Staff! They’re safe to follow!