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Makes me miss Jamaica.

And Red Stripe. Hooray Beer!

And Ting.

And Reggae music.

And omelets w/ a plate of bacon and a plate of fresh pineapple.

Time for a vacation.

PS. If anyone knows where to get Ting locally, please let me know.

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It took four days and seven messages, but they finally got it. Tonight was one heck of a night. I don’t know if it was the “Last Night of Camp Syndrome” or what, but a lightbulb came on for some of the kids. For others, they decided to quit acting like their problems didn’t matter and face them head on. I don’t think I’ve cried so much in forever. Seeing teenagers broken and raw, aching for God. This is why I do what I do.

I witnessed one of my best kids, my rock, my go-to guy lose it tonight because he can no longer go on pretending that life is great and he can handle what life throws at him. It kills me to see what he is going through.

I saw another kid finally understand and come to terms with his faith. The switch came on, and he sobbed for an hour with this realization. He got it. It makes sense.

Others found their voice. Their purpose. Their passion.

It is safe to say that the kids I left with won’t be the kids I return with. They’ll look the same. Slightly redder. But they will be considerably different on the inside. My prayers have been answered. And yours, too.

My new prayer is that it not fade in the weeks after camp, but continue to burn inside of them. That they take the burden that God has placed in their hearts and put hands and feet and a voice to it. That they not be ordinary any longer.

Tonight is the last night of camp. It’s always a bittersweet time. We have a great time while we’re here, but I’ve never missed my own kids than I do right now. It’s to the point that when I see other people with their kids, I wanna go hold them.

The teens have been great! This has probably been the best group of teens yet. I haven’t had to address any issues. None. That borders on being a miracle. I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with all of them. We went to Bubba Gump yesterday for lunch, and we’ve been to the beach every day. Tonight I’ll cook spaghetti for them, and we’ll celebrate communion after worship.

I have no doubts that their lives have been changed this week. Mine certainly has. My prayer for me and for them is that we bring that change home with us and not leave it here when we depart. These kids have so much potential, they just need to put it to use. We’ll see you guys tomorrow!

This morning I was reading Matthew 14 during my quiet time. It contains the passage about Jesus walking on water, and Peter wanting to get in on the action. So he gets out of the boat and walks to Jesus. Now, I don’t know if you realize this or not, but this is a MIRACLE. Two to be exact, but who’s counting?

Then, I went for a run on the beach and I noticed something out in the ocean. It appeared to be a guy standing ON the ocean. Not IN the ocean, but On the ocean. Now, stay with me. I’m not under the influence of anything right now. Upon further investigation, it appears he was standing on a surfboard, paddling parallel to the beach, just past the waves. The waves were just enough to hide the board, and it appeared that he was walking on the water! OK, God. You’ve got my attention. I started thinking more about Matthew 14.

This hits me where I live. I want to do great things for God. I want to be extraordinary in the kingdom. But I am still in the boat. The boat is nice. It is comfy. I have a wife and two kids and a mortgage and health insurance and a 401K in the boat. But Jesus isn’t in the boat. He’s out walking on the water.

My prayer is that I have the courage to venture out of the boat. It’s a big, huge, scary prayer. Will you pray it with me?

Tonight at beach camp kicked my butt. There’s usually one night, and this was it.

We’ve been to this particular camp four years running. One of the things I love about this camp is that they support Compassion International. I have a heart for missions, for helping the helpless – especially children, and Compassion does just that. They set up facilities around the world in impoverished areas to provide children with health care, education, and an opportunity to learn about Jesus. These are children who are destined to follow their parents into poverty, and Compassion gives them hope. Some of these children have never known love, and Compassion shows them Christ’s love.

Last night, we had a special guest at camp. Raphansel was visiting from the Philippines. She is a graduate of the Compassion project, and she just graduated Magnum Cum Laude from a university in the Philippines. This may not seem like much to you, but hearing her story this is nothing short of a miracle. She comes from an extremely poor location in her country. Her father was an alcoholic, and in an area where it was a struggle just to have food to eat, her mother would often have to beg the neighbors for food because her father drank their money away.

Insert a lady on the other side of the world in Australia who decided to sponsor a little 5 year old girl through Compassion. For $32 a week, she afforded Raphansel hope. Food, healthcare and education, but most importantly hope. Hope for a future free from poverty. Hope that her earthly father would come to know her heavenly Father. Hope that she could break the cycle her family had been in for generations.

Ginny and I have supported Compassion for four years now, and I couldn’t think of a better use of my money. When you get that first letter from your sponsored child, your heart will melt. To see the difference you are making in not only that child’s life, but the life of their family, makes that dollar a day seem like a million.

I’m sorry it has taken four years for me to share this with you, but I’m glad I finally did. I encourage you to go check out www.compassion.com and see what it’s all about. Should you choose to sponsor a child, please comment back and let me know. Give me the child’s name, age and country so I can pray for you and the child. My prayer is that 10 children will be sponsored from this blog in 10 days. At the end of 10 days I will post an update to let you know how it went. At the end of the week, I will post about the little girl that Ginny and I sponsor.

It’s $32 a month for you, but it’s the opportunity for life and hope for a little child. Jesus said whatever you do for the least of his children, you do for Him. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to be a blessing to a child.

Day 2 of Beach Camp.

Last night was a blast! They had an illusionist – Jared Hall. A pretty funny guy, and a good illusionist. I may borrow part of his act sometime. Chris Tomlin brought the house down. It was unbelievable seeing 6500 people worshipping God at the same time! Then Louie Giglio told us how small we are and how enormously large God is, and despite the difference He knitted each of us in our mother’s womb. Pretty awesome stuff.

This morning, Louie reminded us that Colossians 1:16 says that we were created by God for God. Given that fact, we need to live extraordinary lives for Him. He encouraged us not to satisfy for normal, but make our lives count. Then Alex and I ate some sushi, and I attempted to teach Taylor how to skimboard. I’m pretty much a pro, but she’s not. BTW – I assume no responsibility for injuries while skimboarding.

It’s raining right now, but John Wayne is on the tube, so it’s all good.