You Were Made For This; How YoungLife Has Changed the Way I Look at Christianity

Happy Sunday!  There’s no “Scripture Sunday” this week, but there’s something else I’d like to share.  I think you all know by now that I’m a devout Christian.  I love God and over the past couple of years I feel like I’ve strengthened my relationship with Him a lot.  I have done this through Bible studies, confirmation classes, and especially YoungLife.  Today I wanted to share with you what, in my opinion, is the most important and overlooked thing about Christianity.  I came across this idea because it’s actually YoungLife’s slogan; “you were made for this.”

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people who aren’t Christian assume that most Christians fall into one of a two categories; “perfect”-goody-two-shoes kind of people who never do anything wrong or not so great (meaning rude, condescending, etc.) people who think they’re perfect.  While there are obviously some people who fall into each of these stereotypes, many Christians aren’t like that at all.  Not every Christian refrains from cussing, lying, stealing, underage drinking, drug use, etc. and while those are certainly not good things, they don’t make them incapable of being loved by God.

No one, not even the biggest bully at your school, not even that girl who seems to be with a new boy every week, is anymore unworthy of God’s love than I am or you are.  The thing is, God’s love is greater than any love we have ever had for anyone.  Greater than the love you feel for your boyfriend, greater than the love you feel for your siblings, and even greater than the love that your parents feel for you.  Given the extreme love He gives and the horrible condition of sin that we as human beings have on our hearts, none of us are really worthy of His love.  Despite our faults and resistance, He wants to love us unconditionally anyways.  He loves us so much that He sent His only son to die the most painful, humiliating death so we don’t have to pay the ultimate price ourselves.

Out of this magnificent love, He created this wonderful world for us to enjoy.  He gave us feet to explore it with and eyes to see it with.  Along with the sun, the stars, the oceans, the mountains and all of those other incredible things, He thought the world needed some of us too, so He created us.  You and I were carefully crafted for a purpose.  You might already know what your purpose, you might think you have an idea of what it is, or you might have no idea at all.  Even if you don’t know what your purpose is, never forget that you have one.  The most important thing you can be is loved by Him.  There is only one you and God created you for this earth just like He created the sun for this solar system or His son for us.  You are so important to His plan.

That brings me to another stereotype of Christianity.  Many people believe that Christians just go to church, read the Bible, and pray all the time.  First of all, I’d like to say that those things are all great and don’t have to be “boring” at all.  That aside, that’s not all that Christians do.  A life with Christ is not a boring, confined one.  It’s a beautiful, free, fulfilled life of adventure.  That’s what you and I were made for.  You were made to ace that test, to score that goal, to climb that mountain, to travel to that country, to sing along at that concert, to eat that legendary cake, to live your life to the fullest.  You were made for a life of fun with Christ by your side.

My relationship with Christ has been strengthened so much because I have discovered this life of adventure.  I love to travel and explore all of the beautiful places He has created.  I love getting home from a concert and feeling so happy and blessed that He has given me the opportunity to go and enjoy myself so much.  Since I’ve started to read my Bible more and allow His love to pour into my life the way it was meant to, I have become so much happier.  I encourage you to look at your life and His love this way too, it really changes everything.

As much as I absolutely love living life with Christ, it’s important to note that just because you’re leading a life with Him doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.  Following God won’t prevent your life from tragedies and hardships, but it will make these awful things a little easier.  Being able to turn to Scripture, prayer, and fellow God-loving friends and family members can become your best medicine for difficult times.  Having a relationship with God will comfort you in knowing that He has already painted the beautiful picture that is your whole life and you’re only looking at one little corner that might seem messy.

YoungLife has played a huge role in demonstrating not only what this wild life of love and adventure can look like for me, but also what getting through struggles with God by my side can look like for me.  “How could a Christian youth group really be that much fun and informative?” you might ask.  Well, each club is approximately an hour spent playing super fun and hilarious games, watching leaders and peers participate in hysterical skits, hearing super cheesy jokes, singing both currently popular music and classic Christian songs, dancing like no one is watching, and hearing the Gospel.  This takes place every Monday night during the school year and is honestly the best part of my week.  Outside of YoungLife, I hang out with a few of my college-aged leaders a couple times a week.  While many high school students think it’s so “cool” to hang out with college kids that often drink around/with them and do other not so positive things, YoungLife has provided high school students with college kids who love Jesus and are just all around good influences.  My leaders are always there for me, whether I’m having problems with my parents, friends, school, you name it and I have cried to a YoungLife leader about it.  What’s so neat about these connections is that YoungLife leaders are the best secret keepers and give the greatest advice.  Plus, they usually have some Scripture that they know will help you out.  YoungLife also has camps around the world that local YoungLife groups take their students to in the fall and summer.  These camps are jam-packed with fun activities including crazy games, zip-lining, swimming, horseback riding, and mountain rapelling as well as opportunities to improve your relationship with your friends, leaders, and God.  Camp always makes me feel so refreshed and tremendously impacted.  YoungLife camp has really painted a vivid picture for me of what that adventurous relationship with Christ looks like.  As the new school year and the start of YoungLife approaches, I beg you to at least try YoungLife club.  It will seriously change your life for the better.

Thanks for reading!  Don’t forget, you were made for this.

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P.S. – Yes, I know this post might just seem like a big YoungLife ad, but it’s something I’ve really wanted to share with you.  I don’t know about you, but when I find something really great I love to share it with my friends and family so they can experience it too.  I think of y’all as my friends too in a sense and I wouldn’t want to keep something from you that has the potential to bring you so much joy and fulfillment.  That makes sense, right?

Frontier Ranch Travel Diary 2017

This past Sunday afternoon I returned from what is constantly referred to as “the best week of your life”; YoungLife summer camp.  I was beyond excited to be going to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, CO, but I had no idea just how much the week would surpass my expectations.  I did crazy things I never thought I’d get the chance (or have the guts) to do while learning tons about myself, my friends, and God’s love.  Today I’m thrilled to finally share this week with you all.  I was originally going to go into detail on each day, but if you’ve ever been to YoungLife camp, even for just a weekend, you know it’s always full of surprises.  I obviously don’t want to ruin any surprises for my readers who might be going to Frontier Ranch this summer or in the future, so instead I’m sharing a video I made along with some of my favorite pictures!  The important things for you to know about my time at Frontier Ranch are that the food was delicious, the activities were fun, the skits were hilarious, the people were nice, the work crew was awesome, the speaker was incredible, and God’s creation surrounding the camp was absolutely breathtaking.  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the underwater/pool clips were taken with a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 and all the rest of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “Line of Sight” by ODESZA featuring WYNNE & Mansionair.

I’m sure you noticed the change in audio in the last thirty seconds or so of the video.  You were listening to my favorite part of the message that our wonderful speaker, Andy, gave on top of the mountain that we hiked (the quality of the audio sounds weird because it was recorded on top of a windy mountain plus Andy was talking with a megaphone).  He told us about how God views us as His most beautiful creation, and that statement was so powerful for me as we were staring in awe at the gorgeous Rocky Mountains that God created.  Out of everything we heard last week, the overall message that stuck out to me is that my purpose is to be loved by God.  God loves us despite our mistakes and sins.  He gave us this incredible, beautiful world to enjoy and we turned our backs to Him.  To break the barrier that our sin created between Him and us, He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate cost for our sin, death.  Even after that huge sacrifice that He made, we continue to turn away from the best relationship we could ever be a part of.  Not only does God still want a relationship with us despite that, but He is willing to meet us in the middle.  Andy simplified this concept and told us that forming a relationship with God is as easy as the ABCs.  A is for admitting that we are imperfect sinners.  B is for believing that God loves us and through that sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins and break the barrier between us and Him.  C is for coming home to God, because a relationship with Him is where we belong.  We were made for this.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the week!

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If you ever get the opportunity to go to YoungLife camp, whether it’s for Work Crew, a week in the summer, or fall weekend, you really should go.  YoungLife has been so incredibly beneficial for me in my faith and nothing opens my eyes to God’s love more than time at camp.  This week at Frontier Ranch was my fourth time on a YoungLife property and I’ve yet to have an experience that was anything less than wonderful.  This was seriously the best week of my life.

Thanks for reading!  If you’d be interested in more YoungLife camp themed posts, such as “Things I Wish I Knew Before YoungLife Camp” or “Ten Things You Should Bring to YoungLife Camp,” please comment below, shoot me a direct message on Instagram (@apocketfuloffaith), or email me at apocketfuloffaithblog@gmail.com.  I love nothing more than talking about YoungLife, especially YoungLife camp, so I’d be more than happy to do more posts about it!  Another quick reminder, all of my pictures posted during/of my travels on my Instagram are under my hashtag, #farawaywithfaith, so be sure to check that out throughout the summer to keep track of my adventures!

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See You Soon!

Hey everyone!  This isn’t a formal post, just a quick little announcement and explanation of what will be happening on my blog and Instagram over the next week.   I am so excited to be heading to Frontier Ranch, a YoungLife camp in Colorado, today and I know I will have a ton of fun.  The camp includes so many fun activities like mountain rappelling, swimming, go-kart driving, horseback riding, and of course worship at club.  However, our phones (and other non-camera electronics) will be taken up on our way there, so I will not have access to my Instagram or blog until the return trip next Sunday.  I am more than happy to take a break from electronics, but I don’t want to leave you all without any new content for a week.  With that being said, I have blog posts scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and next Sunday and one of my good friends made through blogging, Olivia (from the Instagram account @faithandliv and the YouTube channel Olivia Stepp), will be taking over my Instagram, reminding y’all of my new blog posts, and announcing a huge giveaway in my absence!  I know her Instagram posts will be great and you all will love her as much as I do.  I couldn’t be more excited to be spending this week at YoungLife camp and I know I will write a post (and hopefully make a video) about it soon after my return.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, see you soon!

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5 Things I Learned During Work Crew Weekend at Carolina Point

This past Sunday I returned from a weekend at Carolina Point, a YoungLife camp in Brevard, NC.  I went with several of my peers to serve at Family Camp Weekend and it was so much fun!  I worked in the camp store and as a server.  I had an awesome experience and today I’ll be sharing five things that the experience taught me.  Some of these are life lessons I won’t forget for a long time, while others are just pieces of knowledge I learned about YoungLife camps in general.  I have also included some pictures from my weekend working at Carolina Point, so if you make it to the end of the post you’ll see them!  I know this is a little different than most of my blog content, but I hope you enjoy this post!

  1. So much work goes into every meal at YoungLife camps. – I’ve been to Windy Gap twice and as a camper I’ve never noticed that in each meal every napkin is facing the same way, every chair is right across from another, and every other piece of each table setting is perfectly and precisely arranged from table to table.  We as servers set all of the tables before each meal and there are so many little things you don’t even realize go into the preparation for the campers.  YoungLife work crews work super hard to guarantee that the campers won’t think about anything going wrong and can put all of their focus on the message being shared with them.  Everything down to the butter packets in each dish is organized oh so carefully and participating in the set up for each meal this weekend will make me appreciate all of it so much more on my next YoungLife camp trips.
  2. Mark 10:45; No one is “too good” to serve others. – My group memorized this verse and I’m working on applying it to my every day life.  The verse says “For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  Out of this verse I have gathered that if Jesus wasn’t above serving others (and actually served us all in the most extreme way possible) I certainly shouldn’t act like I am either.
  3. Hard work isn’t so hard to get through when you’re with your friends. – I went to work crew with my school’s YoungLife group, so I got to serve alongside a few of my closest friends.  Having them around not only made the preparation and cleaning process quicker, but it became so fun.  We sang songs together, shared lots of laughter, and made up handshakes as we worked, it was great.
  4. Thank you’s are great, but seeing someone smile is better. – As I mentioned in the introduction, we served during Family Camp Weekend.  There were a ton of families with kids in a wide range of ages present, and serving these children was so fun!  While it was obviously great to be thanked when I brought out the food or refilled a pitcher, seeing the big smiles on a few little girls’ faces as we brought out the food filled my heart with the purest joy.
  5. The work is worth it. – On Saturday alone, we were awake and working from 7:30AM to 9:00PM.  In this time we (we meaning the servers, this doesn’t even cover what our school’s cooks, pits, and outdoor crew did) set the tables, poured drinks into carafes, put out condiments and other presets, brought out the food, served families, bused tables, and cleaned like we never have before, three times.  In our very little downtime, we got to enjoy a little of Carolina Point and share some Scripture.  We bought a couple tee shirts in the camp store, drank Cheerwine slushies, played a little ping pong, and utilized the go-karts.  At the end of the weekend, all the hard work was worth it and there was no denying that we all had a ton of fun.

As usual, I took my camera with me everywhere all weekend.  Here are some pictures we took!

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If you ever get the opportunity to serve as part of the work crew at a YoungLife camp, take it!  Don’t go into it expecting it to be all fun and games, but know that you will be impacted in ways you didn’t even imagine.  Thanks for reading!

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Windy Gap Travel Diary 2015

First of all, I would really like to apologize for my extreme lack in posts lately.  I’ve had a ton of tests and extracurricular activities.  I’ve spent the past week working on my grade’s homecoming float from 3:30 to 5:30 everyday and I went to Windy Gap with my YoungLife group last weekend, so today I thought I would tell you all about that!

Last Friday, September 18th, we all piled onto a bus and drove to Windy Gap for fall weekend.  If you don’t know what/where Windy Gap is, it’s a YoungLife camp located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  Windy Gap is absolutely gorgeous; it has a small lake and is encircled in mountains.  When we were about fifteen minutes from Windy Gap, our cell phones were taken up, so all of the pictures/videos you’re about to see were either taken on my friend’s GoPro or by the camp photographer.  I had the best weekend of my life, and now, I’ll tell you why.

Friday

When we got to Windy Gap late Friday night, it was absolutely stunning.  Even in the dark, you could see the outline of all the mountains among the stars.  The buildings’ lights reflected on the lake and it was just gorgeous. After exploring the area and settling into our cabin, we went to club.  Club is a lot like our weekly YoungLife meetings, only 10x more fun and exciting.  In club, we sing and dance to lots of songs (both Christian and popular,) watch skits performed by YoungLife leaders from the different groups that attended, play games, and listen to a sermon.  After club, we went back to our cabin and had cabin time, a time that the girls in our cabin talked about what we got out of the sermon and what it meant to us.  After cabin time, we showered and went to bed.

Saturday

Saturday morning, we got up early, took a few pictures and went to breakfast in the dining hall with the rest of the camp.  The food at Windy Gap is amazing.  During breakfast, we watched more skits and played double tap at our table.  After breakfast, we had cabin competition.  We were given a small slip of paper that had a list of things to do, like sliding into the lake or burying our cabin leader in the sand on the volleyball court, and their point values, then we had to go do as many as we could in a set amount of time!  Once time was called on the cabin competition, we went to club again.  As always, after club we walked back to our cabin and had cabin time.  When the bell rang, we all ran down to the dining hall excitedly for lunch.  After lunch, we had about six hours of free time.  Windy Gap has so much to do, including a zip line, giant metal slide that goes into the lake, volleyball court, pool, basketball court, and a giant swing that goes through the forest that I just don’t know how to explain without showing you (watch the video below).  Closer to the end of our free time, we went into the Windy Gap store to pick up a few tee shirts and stickers before taking a shower and getting ready for dinner.  Shortly after we finished cleaning up from our adventures, the dinner bell rang.  While we were waiting to get into the dining hall, we took a few more pictures on Scout’s GoPro.  After dinner, we ran to the club room where we had club again.  All of the messages over the weekend were so good, but this one was special.  The preacher described all of the things that Christ endured for us all during the crucifixion in such great detail, I was close to tears.  At the end of the message, everybody at Windy Gap walked outside and found a place to sit and pray.  As soon as everyone found a spot, all of the electricity in Windy Gap was turned off.  It was so cool to have that time to just look up at all of the beautiful stars with no distractions and talk to God.  At the end of this time to pray, a bell rang and we all walked back to our cabins for cabin time.  During this particular cabin time, we talked not only about what we got from the message, but what we prayed about as well.  A bell rang at the end of cabin time and we walked back to the club room where we played a ton of games before we were directed to the gym.  Once we walked into the gym, we were handed glow sticks and directed into a giant tarp tunnel.  Inside the tunnel, loud dance music was played and black light shined.  Up until this moment, we had no idea we had walked into a YoungLife rave.  This tunnel put all of those elementary P.E. class parachute games to shame, it was so much fun.  After the rave, we went back to our cabins and went to bed.

Sunday

Sunday morning, we got up early again to attend breakfast.  Before we left for breakfast, we were given our group shirts (hence everyone in the picture below matching.)  After breakfast, we went to one last club.  At the end of club, we went back to our cabins to have cabin time and finish packing to leave.  Once we finished packing, we took a few more pictures in Windy Gap before packing the bus and leaving.

Windy Gap was without a doubt one of the best weekends of my life.  I feel so much closer to God and all of the girls in my cabin!  I am so glad I went and I would highly suggest going too if you ever get the chance.  YoungLife is the most fun Christian youth program I have ever been a part of.  I can’t wait for my next YoungLife fall weekend!

Thank you so much for reading!  I hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventures in Windy Gap!

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