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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Are My Kids On Track?

We’re so excited to announce our new book, with Bethany House Publishers, Are My Kids On Track?, coming to a bookstore (or website) near you on February 14, 2017.

We all talk about the importance of kids developing into emotionally, socially, and spiritually mature adults. But how? The focus of this book is to identify the specifics . . . what those milestones are and how parents can help kids reach them. Sissy, Melissa, and David continue to see evidence of milestones kids in our culture are missing, and have written a guidebook to usher kids into becoming real grown-ups...

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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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Hopetown Highlights: Session 2

Psalm 103.

We have about 30,000 thoughts a day.  Most of those thoughts are shaped by past experiences.  Author Richard Rohr says that a majority of those thoughts are repetitive and negative.  Our mind likes to 1)go against something and 2)have something to criticize. 

But Psalm 103 says something different. 

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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.”

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I'm Standing With You: Final Camp Hopetown Week

“What do you want?”

A few nights in to our final camp of the summer, Melissa asked the 7th-8th graders this question.  Their answers were:

“I want a safe place from rejection.”

“I want to be included.”

“I want confidence.”

“I want community.”

“I want people to be kind to me.”

“I want people to think I’m really great.”

“I want people to accept me.” READ MORE

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Hopetown: What Do You Paddle With? 5th & 6th Grade

Matthew 14:22-36

Matthew 14 is the familiar story of Jesus walking on the water.  How do you remember the story?  What do you remember most?

Melissa asked the 5th-6th graders at camp these same questions last week.

A few of their answers were “Peter didn’t trust and started to drown.” 

“It doesn’t matter how rough the storm is, he’ll catch us.”

“Peter was supposed to trust Jesus.”

Most everyone, though, thought they remembered that Jesus told Peter to come to him on the water.

That’s not exactly the way it went... READ MORE

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Camp Hopetown for 2nd-4th Graders: Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map...

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?

Why are you crying the blues?

Fix my eyes on God—

Soon I’ll be praising again. 

He puts a smile on my face.

He’s my God. 

Psalm 42, The Mesasge

If you had been anywhere near Camp Hopetown this week, you would have heard these words shouted out by 28 2nd-4th graders (and a few counselors)…over and over again.  We shouted them with angry voices, pretending we were mad because we wanted to ride the tube first.  We shouted them with sad voices worried we would be left out from our friends.  We shouted them with fearful voices that it would rain and keep us from the lake.  But however we cried the blues, other voices always shouted back, “FIX MY EYES ON GOD—SOON I’LL BE PRAISING AGAIN.”  READ MORE

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He Comes To Find US! Camp Hopetown 9th & 10th Grade

This week at camp, we talked about Zacchaeus and Luke 19.  You remember him…the little guy who climbed up the sycamore tree to see Jesus.  The backstory of Zacchaeus—in case you’ve forgotten from Sunday school—is that he was a tax collector.  He was Jewish but taxed the Jewish people to pay money to the Roman government.  And, in those days, tax collectors were known for skimming off the top.  Suffice it to say that Zacchaeus didn’t have a lot of friends.

So, here he was, in Jerusalem, having just heard that Jesus was on his way to town.  It’s hard to see with the crowds and Zacchaeus’ height, so he climbs up in a nearby sycamore tree to have a better view.

Jesus, walking underneath the tree, shouts up, “Zacchaeus, hurry down.  Today is my day to be a guest in your home.”  The Message goes on to say, “Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him.”  Zacchaeus was excited to see Jesus, but Jesus was even more excited to Zacchaeus.  He stopped on purpose, just for Zacchaeus.

Jesus goes on to say, “Today is salvation day in this home!  Here he is:  Zacchaeus, son of Abraham!  For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”  The NIV says “to seek and save the lost.”

He comes to find usREAD MORE

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Wake Up! He's Coming Back! Hopetown: Girl's Week

The all girls’ camp started off with a bang…actually, with a high-speed chase through Clarksville.  We weren’t actually in the chase but it went by us…four times actually before the truck in pursuit jumped a curb and headed out of sight.

In the midst of the chase, Hannah, one of our staff members caught Cheryl, our bus driver on video.  Cheryl was excitedly yelling over and over, as the driver sped past us and past us again, “He’s coming back!!!”

Melissa heard the video being played before she heard the story behind it, and was prompted to remind the girls of a passage from 1 Thessalonians that talks about a much more important return than the one we watched from the bus window... READ MORE

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Camp Hopetown: Week 1

MONSTERS…we talked a lot about monsters this first week of camp at Hopetown.  Not the one-eyed, scary, scaly kind of monsters but the kind of monsters we hear in our heads every day. 

You know…you hear them, too.  It’s not just the high school kids we had at camp last week.  It’s the voice in your head that says “You blew it.”  You can internalize it as the voices of those in relationship to you or even God’s voice.  Rather than “I love you and am for you,” it’s more like “You fell flat on your face.”  “You are such a mess.”  “Try harder.”  “I’m frustrated.”  “You’re in trouble.”  “You deserve this.”  “I’m not going to love you anymore.”  Henri Nouwen said, “One of the reasons we don’t trust God is the negative, persistent voices we have inside of us.”  The VOICE OF TRUTH gets lost in the wake of these lying, powerful monsters that do their best to defeat us. READ MORE

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Summer with Daystar and Hopetown

Happy June!  The three of us are shifting gears a little this summer.  David is holding down the fort at Daystar in Nashville and serving as our Director for the Summer.  And Melissa and I are off to camp!  We’ll be spending the summer at Camp Hopetown for Daystar’s Summer Sessions…our small scale version of a summer camp. 

Almost half of the Daystar staff, plus high school and college age leaders travel weekly with kids up to Daystar's Camp Hopetown, located 2 hours N.W. of Nashville on Kentucky Lake. We have six summer sessions, each five to seven days long, and grouped around grade level. There are never more than 30 campers per session, with a ratio of about three campers per leader. Summer Sessions is a time to strengthen and experience what we've been talking about in groups throughout the school year. As we share during group, laugh on the boat, play in the water, and worship together we experience hope. The hearts of the kids are softened through relationship...READ MORE

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