Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
What are you currently doing to help build a foundation for the children in your lives? This question is not just for Fathers or Mothers. It’s a bold question that anyone having daily or weekly interactions with children should ask themselves. Children are like little sponges, they soak up love, knowledge, habits (both good and bad), and all the other things they come into contact with. They truly are remarkable little wonders. *In Ephesians 6:4, we are taught that parental discipline should be used to help children learn and grow, not to provoke them to anger or discouragement. This is vital to a child’s development and their understanding of what Christ is like.
So, my parents were loving people. My home life was dysfunctional just like any other family, but we were clothed, sheltered, well fed, taken to church, and ultimately cared for. We went to church and heard His Word on a weekly basis. However, it wasn’t until about the 3rd or 4th grade when I was really introduced to what God’s Kingdom here on Earth could, would, and should look like.
Our church collaborated with a church camp in Indiana called Camp PYOCA. My parents along with about 110 to 120 other families, from our church and various churches in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, would send their children away for one week in the Summer to bask in the sun and scripture. Spending almost the entire day in some form of activity that introduced us to God’s Kingdom here on Earth. Whether we were learning how to spend quiet time reflecting on Him & His words, working with others to solidify our walks, or sharing with one another about experiences God uses at work, school, etc., we learned who He was and how He showed us mercy and grace. This place is where God started to pour my foundation, strengthen my core, and push me to become more than just a wanderer on this Earth.
It wasn’t until the age of 14 (8th grade) that I surrendered it all to Christ, but He was molding me and placing knowledge in me during those years before I accepted Him. Showing me who He was and who He wanted me to be. As parents, we are doing the same things. We are molding, teaching, sculpting, grooming, etc. our children to become who He wants them to be. However, we have to remember that His Kingdom is comprised of many parts. Letting go and letting God is not always easy…but it is required. We must remember that He has placed His Kingdom here for us to live in. Sending our kids off into His care through others is in some ways necessary. Children need to see that what we, as parents, are teaching them is not just of our own doing, but it comes from Him. This way of life crosses denominations, households, communities, states, and cultures. It does NOT only exist in our homes or churches alone.
I spent over 13 solid weeks (4 as an adult) of my life at that Camp. I can honestly say that I would not be the same person in Christ had it not been for the time spent there in the Word, with that family of faith, and meeting Him at the Lake, Chapel, Campfire, etc. I thank Him for that time and I also thank Him for giving me the opportunity to take my children there – being a part of the same camp I grew up in. The cabins, lodge, docks, campfire, etc. have all been renovated and updated…but our Lord remains the constant, never changing rock on which our lives can rest. The same Lord that met me there so many years ago, still stirs my soul today.
In conclusion if your church offers a Summer camp that your children can attend, please consider sending them. (Consider volunteering there as well – you’ll be changed by the experience) If you do not have a church, but would like for your child to go to a Summer camp. We can help guide your decision making process, giving you a few local churches that offer Summer camps. I leave you with this…listening to a sermon, pulling reverence out of a daily devotional, and/or serving your fellow neighbor all have merit. But offering a 24/7 experience with God to a young one or any-age individual is a life-changing ordeal. It will leave His mark on them.
* Notes borrowed from NIV Life Application Bible below the scripture for Ephesians 6:4.
NOTE: I’ve started a blog that helps keep the Body of Christ from Camp PYOCA connected throughout the year. If you’d like to see what He is doing in the lives of those connected – feel free to visit http://geminimissioncamp.com.
Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?
If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:
"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay. I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"
If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can welcome you into the kingdom. We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.