Hopetown Highlights—Session 1, 11th-12th Graders

Daystar’s version of a summer camp is Hopetown, on Kentucky Lake.  Picture Martha Stewart does camp…with 25 to 30 kids playing on the lake each week, cooking together, laughing together, and learning together what it looks like to pursue deep relationships with Christ and each other this side of heaven. 

This summer, we’ll be sharing with you again some of Melissa’s rich teaching from Hopetown on Thursday.  We’ll call them highlights from Hopetown.  And we’d love for you to grab your Bible, a comfy chair, and pretend you’re sitting right next to us at camp…

“There are two needs we all have:  to know and be known.”

Our first camp at Hopetown this year started with many of the high school kids talking about wanting to know God…to be closer to him.  And, at the same time, wanting to be known—not just known, but known and loved.

Melissa’s response—and teaching for the week was based around John 10:37. 

“My sheep listen to my voice: I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Jesus is called the good shepherd in John 10:11.  We are his sheep.  Sheep are gullible…wanderers.  They act in groups.  In Biblical times (and often still), they were not fenced in a particular area.  They had the freedom to do their own thing.  At the same time, they were very dependent on the shepherd for water, food, and protection.  He took care of them.  He knew them and they knew his voice.  All throughout the Scriptures, the relationship between sheep and their shepherd is mentioned. 

John 10:11 goes on to say that Jesus lays down his life for his sheep.  He knows them by name and his sheep know Him.  They know his voice.  We know his voice.  Unfortunately, we hear other voices, as well. 

The high school kids described some of the other voices they hear:

“I know best for me.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“You’re not good enough.”

“Your value is dependent on others.”

“Your voice isn’t important.”

“Stop trying.”

“You don’t make a difference.”

“It’s not worth it.”

We all hear these types of voices from time to time.  We hear God’s voice, too.  And sometimes, in all of our sheep-ness, we mistake his voice for the others.  We think he’s saying something like “You wandered off.  Too bad.  It’s your choice and you messed up.” 

But he’s our good shepherd.  He is a shepherd who leaves the 99 others to search for us—for you.  At this moment, he is actively pursuing you.  He calls you by name.  He knows you.  He won’t willingly let you go.  You are a child of God.  You don’t have to worry about a whole lot more. 

But, still, we wander.  We become missing sheep.  And in our week together, Melissa named 13 categories of sheep we can and often do fall into:

The Missing Sheep

Stuck-I can’t get out of this place.

Lost-I don’t know where I am.

Wrong Flock-I thought it would be better.

Pain-It just hurts.

Stubborn-I know the right way on my own.

Distracted-There are so many fun things to do.

Busy-There are so many other things to do.

Confused-I’m going in circles.

Head in the clouds-unaware

Angry-I’m not sure I trust the shepherd.

Prideful-I know best.

Tired-I just don’t feel like doing anything.

Spoiled-What’s next for me?

And so, we wander.  We are the missing sheep, focused on all of the reasons that caused us to wander in the first place.  But, as Melissa says often, you can be too strong for God, but you can never be too weak for Him.  Are you weak enough?  Are you willing to be dependent enough to follow the shepherd?  We grow in our faith as we follow where He leads. 

It’s not about the sheep.  It’s about the good shepherd.  The nature of sheep is to be led.  And your shepherd is pursuing you right now…whatever form of missing your sheep self has taken.  He has left the 99 others just to find you.  Because you are known and loved deeply by him.  You have only to listen for his voice, and to follow…