Last week we were in that state up north attending a week of family vacation at Gull Lake Ministries (www.gulllake.org). It was much more than I anticipated and such a blessing to be with other Christians in a week of fellowship and fun. Many times tears came to my eyes as I watched the smiles on the children and I heard the sermons and I realized the blessings God has bestowed upon my life. I can at least say that I now like one thing in that state up north ( that’s Michigan for those of you that don’t understand Ohio talk)
I learned that I can do an organized vacation. If you would’ve asked me a year ago, two years ago, five years ago etc. I would’ve said I would never do an organized vacation. When I am on vacation, I want to have my time and my family time to be what, when, and how we want it to be. However, after being at Gull Lake for a week, I have to say I liked it. We had breakfast between 8-845. Had service at 930, which was optional if you wanted to do your own thing but we went every day (except Tuesday morning, which was free time for adults). Kylie and the kids would then go to their own parts of camp until 1200-1215. We would then have lunch 1230-130 then have free time in the afternoons (215-5) to go on the lake (swimming, paddleboards, kayaks, trampoline/blopper/moonwalk), rec center (indoor climbing wall, basketball, creation/activity room, foosballl, etc), the quad (ziplines, grass area to play, outside climbing wall, etc). We would then have dinner 6-715 then have evening worship 730-900 then have fambam (family time playing basketball, games, climbing walls, etc) in the rec center 9-1000. Then we would go back to the house and play games until 1100-1200. It was defn. busy and fun. We were worn out by the end of week. (because of work I was only there Sunday night through Wednesday night but rest of family and friends were there Saturday afternoon to Friday morning).
I learned that tv and computers are over-rated compared to family time and connecting with each other. There are no tvs or computers (except business office in rec center if you absolutely need to use them). They want you to be free of the distractions and connect with each other and with God. It was surprising to me that I did not miss the tv or computer at all.
I learned that even though teenagers, young adults, and adults are so wrapped up in social media- facebook, twitter, internet, etc. that we do realize it is a distraction from our families and from God. Satan can use these things to keep us too busy from turning to God, praying to God, living for God. I pray that each of us can spend less time in the computer world and more time face to face connecting. Did you know that scientists have found out that people that spend ten hours a day on the internet lose up to 10% of their brain function over time? Think about what all the time on the internet now will do to your brain ten, twenty, thirty years from now. It is being rewired.
I learned that prayer is powerful and God didn’t want me to die in Michigan. Monday was the first full day I was there and the morning was pretty but then the storms came in. Monday night I was thinking, I came up here to die. There was a tornado coming right at us for about 10 minutes or so then at the last minute it veered south and missed us. Then a few hours later there were two more tornadoes coming at us and at the last minute one went south and one went north. When 600 people are praying for safety, God listened and had the tornadoes miss us. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Pray regularly. Here we are huddled in a closet, then the next day God brings us the beauty after the storm. I also thought I was going to die on top of the tower for the zip-line, it was moving in the wind and I thought I was going to be sick- it’s heck getting old, but I did it and Kylie did it three times
I learned in our sermons, as we went through Philippians 2 about humility. Most of us on this earthly life are trying to go up the ladder of success, which there is nothing wrong with that. However as we go up that ladder are we sacrificing our time and energy to getting farther along in our careers or do we still make time for our families, for God, and for worship. We have to remember that Jesus started at the top of the ladder and came down to the bottom of the ladder to be sacrificed for our sins.
I also learned in our sermons about being humble. Phil 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. How many times do we see, esp. in sports, someone who makes a play and then does a dance or something that brings glory to himself. (even when the players team is losing). Act like you have been there before, that God gave you the ability and that He should be getting all the glory.
I learned to give thanks to God for all our blessings. Do we only say thank you to God when times are good or do we also give Him thanks and rejoice in Him when things are bad? Do we give thanks just for the blessings or do we also give thanks to the blessor?
I learned that a lot of people will have children to bring happiness to their lives but do children really bring happiness? They bring sleepless nights, less money, less time with our spouse, less time for ourselves, etc etc so do they really bring us happiness. Yes of course they do, but in reality our happiness may go down but our meaning for life goes up. We want to raise our children to be compassionate, empathetic, healthy, God-fearing, God-loving, etc..
I learned that we should wake up every morning by saying yes, Lord. Yes, Lord, I will do whatever it is you ask. Now God, what is the question? What is it You want me to do today? My answer is yes, Lord, no matter what the question.
I learned that these young, college-aged counselors are awesome. They have to do so much and they do it with a smile on their face each and every day. They are up to serve breakfast, they take the kids for their activities, they serve lunch, they watch, help, with all afternoon activities, they serve dinner, they are involved with evening activities -worship and fambam, then most of them have small groups after 10 pm. They were all so great with each and every kid. I wish I could personally thank each one for their service to our families and to God. Basically they are busy from 7-730 to 11- 12 midnight each day, all summer long. Can you imagine that? They defn. have to rely on God’s strength to get through each day. At the end of camp each child gets a certificate from the counselors on how special they are and what they loved about each child.
I learned that I love to see my wife smile and laugh. Something I don’t get to see as often in our busy, hectic life. I learned that Kylie can come out of her shell and have a great time without being by our side. I learned that I can talk to other adults, that I can come out of my shell. (Yes I wore an Ohio State shirt in Michigan)
When Kim told me they leave the doors to our house and rooms unlocked when we are out I was like do what, what if someone breaks in. I remembered that forty years ago my parents did that. This world has changed and it has changed because we have taken God out of so many things. Can we put God back into our lives, our country, our world and live the way God intended us to live?
Need to reconnect with God? with your faith? with your spouse? with your children? Consider a vacation like this.
All these activities in the pics and video are free with the vacation. It was awesome (and the food was fantastic).Thanks Deanna Osborne for inviting us. We defn. look forward to coming back again. You can see Kylie and me in several of the activities. Look at her smile when she comes up out of the water after I blopped her off. (video shows me blopping another girl, Kelsey, off but shows Kylie coming up out of water 1:32- 1:40 of video)
Lead Me by Sanctus Real –
Good To Be Alive by Skillet –