Heard the Latest about Higher Ground?

For those of you who don’t know, Higher Ground Encampment is a free Bible camp for teen girls in Sedalia, CO.  It began in 2009 and is sponsored by the Bear Valley church of Christ.

For those of you who are already familiar with Higher Ground, I wanted to share a couple of things that are new:

  1.  Higher Ground is under new directorship.  Beginning last year, Christy Swackhamer, mother of three girls and a diligent student of the Word, took over as director.  She did a great job and will continue to do so.  This year, Melody Sawyers, mother of three boys and the most hospitable woman you’ll ever meet, will begin serving as a co-director.  Teri Autrey and I will still be involved.  We are both serving as counselors this year and I will continue to teach Bible-marking.
  2. Higher Ground will be held earlier in the year.  Typically we’ve had camp in late July/ early August.  The dates for this year are June 24th-30th.  We are already accepting applications and Christy tells me they are rolling in!
  3. Higher Ground is at a different location.  A couple of years ago, the facility we’d been using was put on the market.  We had to find other accommodations, which was no easy task since we had to find something reasonable enough for us to continue to offer this camp for free.  We now meet at the Roundup Ranch (located right next to our original location).  Because it is a much smaller facility, Christy said we can only accept a maximum of 50 girls.

For more information about Higher Ground, and for a link to the online application, click here.

Please join me in praying for this effort, for the staff, and for all the girls who will be a part of it this year.  It will be a special week of spiritual growth, fun, and building or renewing friendships.





Revive Me #30–Love the Unlovable

Revive Me, Week 30– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Love the Unlovable

I spent the past week with 50 teen girls at a Christian Bible camp.  During one lesson, they were asked to come up with a specific way they would be willing to shine their light.  One young lady wrote, “I will love the unlovable.”

The 50 girls were from different states and had different backgrounds.  They didn’t all grow up in sweet Christian homes.  They weren’t all at the same level of spiritual maturity.  And yet by the middle of the week, there was a unity taking place that was beautiful to behold.  They were reaching out to each other.  They were (mostly) patient with each other.  They were drawing in the shy, the awkward, and the scared.  They even managed to soften the one or two with a chip on their shoulder.  By the end of the week, as we sang in a big circle holding hands, they were family.

Most of us encounter many people each day.  We know we are commanded to love them (Mark 12:31) but not all of them will be easy to love.  Some will be prickly or grouchy or mean.  Some will look unapproachable.  Some will simply reject any attempt to reach out to them.  While we won’t be thrown into a camp situation where it will be easier to grow to love others, we must still determine to love the unlovable.  The outgoing, warm, friendly, happy people around us are probably receiving love and good attention.  It’s the ones who are edgy, odd, or giving off “leave me alone” vibes who most need us to show them the love of Christ.

“Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

(1 John 3:18)

“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

(1 John 4:8)

Suggestions for the Week:

  1.  Pay close attention to outsiders.  Reach out to them in a specific way.
  2.  Show warmth in your smile and your words to those who are not nice.  They need it the most.  Remember, “hurt people hurt people.”
  3.  If you are afraid, ask God to give you courage.
  4.  Don’t give up if your first attempts to reach out are rejected or even ridiculed.  And definitely don’t react in a hurt or indignant way.  That’s what they expect.  Instead, smile and try again at first opportunity.
  5. Pray for those who are unlovable.
  6. Instead of mentally tagging others with harsh labels, identify them as lost souls or lonely and outcast.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.


From the Mouths of Teen Girls

The following comments were made by Christian teen girls at an out-of-state retreat.  They were asked some questions in a very casual setting.  I was just an observing visitor, but I was struck by their determination and sincerity so I started writing down their answers.

Sometimes we let teen girls down, assuming they need the same lessons on modesty, purity, and peer pressure.  While those lessons need to be taught, I think Christian teen girls crave deeper Bible study.  They want to be pushed to their spiritual potential.  Their hearts are thinking about ways to make a difference in their sphere of influence.  I was challenged and convicted by what they had to say and I think you will be, too.  Here are the questions and their answers:

*What is the Lord’s greatest rival in your life?

  •  “School is more of a priority than spiritual growth.”
  • “Selfishness–doing things on my terms, not His terms.”
  • “Cramming so much into my schedule, but God isn’t one of them.”
  • “Questioning God during situations instead of believing Him.”
  • “More time on entertainment instead of Bible study.”
  • “My friends–wanting to be like them instead of realizing God always trumps my friends.”
  • “My priorities–God can’t just be another priority, but the center of all my activities.”

*What are some ways you fight temptation in your life?

  •  “Just say no.”
  • “Walk past trouble.”
  • “Stay far away from negative influences.”
  • “Letting go of friends who make bad choices.”
  • “Pray constantly and surround myself with godly influences; change the atmosphere.”
  • “Have a person that will help you make right decisions.”

*What can your parents do to help you get closer to Christ?

  •  “Stop letting me make everything else a priority.”
  • “Tell me NO when I need to hear it.”
  • “Push me, remind me that my faith is what’s most important.”
  • “Simply ask me, ‘How’s your relationship with Christ?’  Checking in…”
  • “Use Scripture to help me apply things personally in my life.”
  • “We don’t go to any church activities outside of worship.  I wish they would push harder.”
  • “Sit down and study with me.  Set the example.”
  • “More Bible studies as a family.”
  • “If I’m too tired to go to devotionals, push me.”
  • (With tears) “I feel like just by making it more of a priority in my dad’s life would make it easier for all of us.  Skipping church makes it look like an option instead of a priority.”

*If you had one day left to live, what would you change?

  •  “I’d fix things that ruin my influence.”
  • “Say sorry for the things I’ve done.  Reach out to people.”
  • “Be more outgoing with my faith.  Set everything right with God.”
  • “Tell others why I love them.  Find some way to serve on my last day.”
  • “Tell everyone about the Lord.  Apologize to my family.”
  • “I’d realize nothing else matters but sharing the gospel.  I wouldn’t wait for the ‘right time.'”
  • “I’d tell everyone I’m saved, where I’m going, and that I want them there, too.”
  • “I would ask everyone, ‘Do you know if you’re going to Heaven?'”

Let no one despise your youth,

but be an example to the believers

in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

(1 Timothy 4:12)

Prayer for Today:  Thank you, Lord, for the teen girls in our lives.  Help us to treasure them, encourage them, and learn from them.

This post can also be found at http://proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/2014/02/wise-woman-linkup_18.html


Higher Ground snapshot (Not the young ladies whose answers I shared)
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