Strengthening Your Hand in God-11th and 12th Grade Camp-Hopetown Highlight #1

(This is something you could share in a family devotional or with the kids in your life.  We’d highly suggest you watch the movie Wonder together first!)

In the movie Wonder, the mom says to Auggie, “Your face shows where you’ve been and your heart shows where you’re going.”  This week at camp, we talked about the same kind of idea…but with hands, rather than faces…

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Hopetown Highlights: Summer 2018

During the summers, Daystar has something called Hopetown. It’s really more like a week-long retreat than a camp, for the kids who are involved in Daystar. But it’s a place where those kids learn more about themselves, about relationship to others, and how deeply God delights in them. Mostly, in the midst of cooking and dancing and playing on the lake and Melissa’s amazing and experiential teaching, they find hope. This summer, on the blog and on our Instagram account @raisingboysandgirls, we’re going to be bringing a little more of Hopetown to you. We’ll give you scripture you can study and ideas you can use to connect with the kids you love, and help them connect to others and to their own growing faith with more depth and purpose. So stay tuned for Hopetown Highlights of the summer. We’re so glad to have you alongside us... ❤️⚓️❤️

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HOPETOWN HIGHLIGHTS #6: BEING A “GREATER” 7TH-8TH GRADER PART TWO

“Do you know how you mess up?  

How do you ask for forgiveness...?

Why do we ask for forgiveness, if He’s forgiven us already?

As one of the 7th-8th graders said, ‘We ask for forgiveness so we acknowledge what we’ve done wrong.’

Or, as Paul said in his letter to the Romans, ‘I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…

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Hopetown Highlights #6: Being a “Greater” 7th-8th Grader Part One

On the first night of 7-8 grade camp, we watched the movie, Greater, on the back of a barn.  It’s one we’d highly recommend watching with your 7-8 graders, or high school kids.  We wouldn’t just recommend it because it’s a movie based on a really amazing guy who happened to be a Razorback (cough, cough, Sissy’s favorite team).  We’d really recommend it because there’s so much to talk about…and so much to glean from this extraordinary man, Brandon Burlsworth, and the way he lived his life.

Brandon was a walk-on for the Razorbacks in the late 90’s.  He worked so hard to not just play, but to persevere, that he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.  Tragically, he lost his life...

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Hopetown Highlights #5: 5th-6th Graders - Superheroes, Super-Conquerors, and Armor-Bearers

What helps you believe you’re incredible?

“Someone listening to me.”

“Someone letting me know how I’m different and special.”

“That God made us just how he wants us.”

“Getting a hug.”

“Praying.”

“Someone smiling at me.”

“Forgiveness.”

“Being thankful.”

“When someone says, ‘I love what you’ve done so far.’”

“When someone knows I’m trying as hard as I can.”

These are the answers the 5-6 graders gave to this question last week at camp.  And, let us say at the outset…these were some pretty incredible kids...

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All Girls’ Camp:  NASA, Buckets, and New Mercies

Our all girls’ high school camp of the summer started with the movie Hidden Figures on the back of a barn.  If you haven’t seen it, we’d highly recommend it.  It’s a true story about the African American women who, against a great deal of opposition, changed the NASA program forever.  One specific statement, from the movie, set our week in motion:

“Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with an engineer's mind should be an engineer. You can't be a computer the rest of your life...

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What do King David, the Preds, Giants, and the Enneagram have in common?

And how can you use it to share truth and inspire more resilience in your kids?  Read here to find out…

This week marks our first week of camp at Hopetown.  We’ve had high school kids at camp this week.  And our hope is that what we’ve been learning might be something you could share with the teenagers you love.  Read it together.  Talk about it.  Ask questions.  And even throw stones…we’re getting ahead of ourselves...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 4 - 7th-8th Grade Camp - You are Chosen

Almost every meeting of our 7th-8th grade camp started off the same way.  Two of our interns, Kenneth and Sarah, would stand up and start running in place.  Melissa would start talking, almost as if they weren’t running in the middle of the group.  Then, one by one, someone would start to encourage them.  One of the guys or girls would shout out a sentence like, “You’re doing great!”  They would run a little faster…As our week went on, others would also get up and run alongside them, sharing in their race.

The last day of camp was our Hopetown Christmas celebration.  On that last morning...

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A Life Lesson for the Olympics and Teaching Our Kids The True Meaning of Courage - Hopetown Highlights - Session 6 - 5th-6th Grade Camp - The Olympic Spirit

The Olympic Creed is a phrase that might surprise you:

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.  The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

Not the spirit we sometimes associate with the Olympics, in this day and time.  But it is the sort of Olympic spirit that framed our 5th and 6th grade camp this summer.  And we believe that camp, and that particular spirit, is a great one to discuss...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 5 - 2nd-4th Grade Camp - Pieces of Our Hearts

Remember the Technology Tuesday last week on The Secret Life of Pets? We mentioned a guy, you may remember from the Old Testament, by the name of Joseph.  He’s the one with the brothers.  And the coat.  Actually, the jealous brothers.  He’s the one Max and Duke, from the movie could relate to.  And he’s the one our 2nd-4th grade camp teaching was based around.

Genesis 29 tells the story of Joseph.  We used the version from the Jesus Storybook Bible that ends with...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 4 - 9th-10th Grade Camp - Changing from the Inside Out

"For as he thinks within himself, he is…" Proverbs 23:7

"Our brains think in 1300 words per minute...", Melissa told us during our 9th-10th grade camp.  A majority of those thoughts are negative.  Have you noticed? What kinds of things do you say to yourself?  Are you critical of others? Are you critical of yourself? Do you say things to yourself like...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 2 - Boys Camp - A Lesson in Being Alert

This week's Hopetown Highlight is brought to you by, Connor Brown, one of Hopetown Intern's.

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.” Colossians 3:1-2, MSG

Our third camp of the summer, half a week devoted solely to high school boys, began with this verse, a charge not to become absorbed with the humdrum of daily life, with the rigors of school and activities, but to focus instead on the man God intended you to be...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 2 - Girls Camp

“Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.  The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?’ They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.  Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, ‘The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.’ Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.  Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. ‘Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?’  ‘No one, Master.’  ‘Neither do I,’ said Jesus. ‘Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.’  John 8:1-12

Jesus once again addressed them: ‘I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.’

This verse started off Melissa’s teaching to the high school all girls’ camp.  "Many of us have read this story many times.  What stands out to you about it here...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 1 - Discovering Our Internal Identities

 “Keep a cool head.  Stay alert.  The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.  Keep your guard up.  You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times.  It’s the same with Christians all over the world.  So keep a firm grip on the faith.  The suffering won’t last forever.  It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good.”                                1 Peter 5:8-11, MSG

Our first camp of the summer started off with this verse.  “Stay alert.  You are waking up at your age,” Melissa said to the 11th-12th graders that were with us at camp this last week.  “You’re aware of new things around you and new feelings inside of you.  There’s a destructiveness that you’re waking up to, as well... 

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The Difference A Camp Can Make

When I was growing up, my dream was to own a summer camp.  Actually, my dream wasn’t just to own any summer camp.  It was to own my summer camp, Camp Waldemar, a beautiful, idyllic spot located on the Guadalupe River in the Texas hill country, where several hundred girls gather each summer to stretch their legs and their hearts.  

I still try to make my way back to camp just to smell the cedar trees and sit under the lofty cypress as often as possible.  In fact, I went back to see...

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Hopetown: A New Name - 7th & 8th Graders

This past week, we talked with the 7th-8th graders a lot about Jacob.  His name means “grabber.”  We’re going to pick up at Melissa’s last talk of the camp—and last teaching of the summer…

“Hebrews 11 is considered the hall of fame chapter in the Bible.  It talks about a lot of people who trusted God, even though they had a limp like Jacob.  Jacob’s made it in, too, in verse 21.

‘By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn, blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.’

Jacob’s name no longer is grabber.  Now, his name is Israel, with God telling him his descendants will be many.  His name is mentioned over 250 times in the Bible.  He has much to tell us—in his living, his limp, and his dying.

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Hopetown: Fear & Trust with 5th & 6th Graders

This week, we talked a lot about fear and trust.  And the difference between the two.  And how those differences were walked out in the lives of two guys named Caleb and Joshua.  Caleb and Joshua were guys who heard and trusted God, despite what was going on around and even inside of them. 

As 5th and 6th graders, things are changing a lot for you.  You are beginning to see more and feel much more than you ever have before.  Something that didn’t bother you in second grade starts to bother you now.  You worry about what people think—and especially, what they think about you.  It happens to all of us. 

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Hopetown: Boys Camp - Demolition Derby

The demolition derby at the Murray/Calloway County Fair is there the all boys camp started.  Evidently, the purpose of a demolition derby is for the cars to destroy each other—to hit and be hit.

In true Melissa fashion, she likened the demolition derby to life for the boys.  You can get hit hard in a variety of ways.  The boys talked about “trouble with friends” and “family stuff” as two of the biggest areas of hits/hurts in their lives. 

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