Michael Staires: Hello, my name is Michael Staires. I’m the Summer Camp Director at Camp Loughridge, and I’m here to talk to you today about Tulsa summer camps, but not just any Tulsa summer camp. I want to talk to you today about one of the finest Tulsa summer camps, and that is Camp Loughridge. Wedding Venues Tulsa

I’ve been at Camp Loughridge for almost a little over a year now. I’m a program designer, a summer camp program designer, and summer camp program director. I’m excited about the theme that we’re putting together for camp this summer. There are a lot of great Tulsa summer camps, but there’s not that many where you can send your child with an expectation of spiritual formation. Wedding Venues Tulsa

Now, let me tell you what that means. At Camp Loughridge, we really view our position out there as missional. In other words, we feel like it’s our calling to share the love and the gospel of Jesus Christ with every kid that comes out there. Wedding Venues Tulsa

We’re doing a lot more than just babysitting. We’re doing a lot more than just daycare, or just making sure that the kids are busy and safe between about 8:30 in the morning and 5:00 in the afternoon. We’re doing a lot more than that. Everything we do from the time the kids arrive until the time they depart, yes, it’s fun. Yes, we do a lot of stuff, but everything we do has this ulterior motive. I’ll go ahead and admit it. We’re very intentional about getting kids in a position where they can receive the love of Jesus Christ.

That means different things to different people. We don’t have altar calls necessarily. We’re not going to be dipping kids in the pool, and baptizing them. We think that these are things that should probably happen in a local church. We feel like the mom and dad should be in on those things. That’s not something that we are really trying to take over or take advantage of certainly.

We know, I know, from 30 years in summer camping, that there’s something an incredibly special that happens to a human heart in a camp setting. It’s almost like taking a power washer to your backyard deck, that grain of the wood when the water hits it, it opens right up. That is exactly what a summer camp experience does, it opens up our hearts.

Think about it, in the Bible when God wanted to really speak to his kids in a special way, what did he do? He sent them to the wilderness. He sent them to the country. He got them out of their comfort zone, got them to a place where their hearts would open up, and that’s exactly what a summer camp experience does.

So, I’ve said that there are a lot of great Tulsa summer camps. What makes Camp Loughridge different or special? This summer, what’s going to make us different or special is our theme. We’re going to focus on trust, and you know, learning how to trust God, even as a young person, is an incredibly valuable tool to have when you really think about how important that skill of trust is in our ongoing walk with Jesus. We worship and serve a God we cannot see. We worship and serve a God that we cannot touch. We worship and serve a God that oftentimes we don’t hear with our ears. Maybe we hear in our hearts, or we here with our inner ear, but we don’t hear an audible voice. Wedding Venues Tulsa

It takes an incredible amount of trust and faith to follow God. We know from the Bible that it says without faith, it’s impossible to serve God. So, what do we do with this? How do we teach this? How do we relate such an abstract concept to seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, and 12-year old’s?

We’re going to start with the scripture Proverbs 3:5-6. This is a very familiar verse. I’m sure you’ve heard it a lot of times before. Trust in the Lord, with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. What a great collection of verses. I even break it down a little bit for our camp program, a little bit more so it’s actually phrases.

Monday, the phrase is trust in the Lord with all your heart. We’ll talk about what it means to trust in the Lord. We’ll talk about what does it mean with all your heart. Is there a way that you can trust halfway, or is it all or nothing? We’ll talk about the importance of trust, and we do a lot of activities at camp that in that really teach how we trust one another. Wedding Venues Tulsa

There are a lot of team building activities that we learn how to rely on one another, how we learn to really let go and trust that someone else is going to catch us, or we learn how to trust that someone else is going to be standing by just in case we fall. All of these things, instill this thought, this concept of trust.

The next day, on Tuesday, we’ll take the next phrase; and lean not on your own understanding. You know it’s so easy as human beings to construct our own strategies, to construct our own ideas, even to construct our own worldview that blame certain people for some things and gives other people credit for other things. The Bible is very specific here, it says, if we’re really going to trust in the Lord with all our heart, we can’t lean on our own understanding. You cannot do both at once. All your heart, means you’re all in. I trust in you Lord. I’m not going to lean on my own understanding.

There’s a lot of great people out there giving advice. There’s a lot of great wise words even, but there’s really a fine line between relying on someone else’s advice, and in a sense, leaning on our own understanding, and what it means to really say, “You know what? This doesn’t make any sense at all, but I’m going to trust God because I believe that this is what God is telling me. You’re showing me what to do.”

So, then Wednesday, we’ll take the next phrase; in all your ways acknowledge him. How do we do that? How do we acknowledge God? How do we acknowledge his presence? How do we acknowledge his presence in our life, in our relationships; how we’re made; how we are designed; how we think; the family we have; the school we go to; the church we go to; all of those kinds of things. How do we acknowledge God in all of those different ways?

Then of course, the last phrase that we’ll do on Thursday; and he will make your paths straight. How does he do that? What does straight path mean? What’s the difference? I mean, other than the obvious, what is the biggest difference between a straight path and a crooked path? How is it better to go and to walk on a straight path? How does God make those paths straight? Wedding Venues Tulsa

So, we’ll talk about all that, Monday through Thursday, then on Friday, we’ll tell the story from the Bible of Joseph, from the end of Genesis. Joseph, of course, was one of the sons of Jacob, and Jacob probably inadvisably treated Joseph as if he was the special kid. Obviously, he gave him the coat of many colors, all of that kind of stuff that you’ve heard, but as charmed a life as Joseph had for his first 17 years, it really went south after that.

His brothers kidnapped him and sold him into slavery. He was sold into the house of an Egyptian where he was wrongly accused of rape. Then he was thrown into prison, and he served in prison. In every step, he acknowledged God, in everything he did. I don’t know that he understood, he probably didn’t understand. There was no human understanding as to what was going on.

How do you get from being the favorite son of a wealthy landowner, to being a slave, to being a servant in a household where you’re wrongly accused, then thrown in prison, then all of a sudden you find yourself in the court of Pharaoh himself, serving as his second-in-command. This is quite a story. We’ll talk about the story, and tell the story, and we’ll be able to bring out the theme of trust through each stage of Joseph’s life as we talk about it on Friday.

The theme is very important. Like I said, we don’t see the day at camp as just being a time when we need to keep kids busy. We need to keep kids safe. We’re just trying to fill some time, do some fun activities, feed a good lunch, and then turn them back over to their parents at the end of the day.

We want to do a whole lot more than that. We want to use those experiences and use that time to really impact that young person for Jesus Christ. If they walk away from camp asking a lot of questions, my job is done. I mean I pray that every day, when a young person gets in the car, and their mom or their dad says, “Well, how was your day at camp?” that they’ll immediately start off with a ton of questions about what this means or what that means. That is very good because that means their heart is open.

So, it’s Michael Staires, Tulsa Summer Camp is talking to you, I’m the Summer Camp Director at Camp Loughridge. Thank you very much.