A Summer of Abiding
Our summer camp theme this year is Abide and comes from John 15. It is our goal as a ministry to teach our campers what it means to be obedient to Christ's call to abide in Him. Abide is a word that is primarily a Christian word. We don't often hear the news talk about how millennials are abiding in their smartphones for hours on end. Even being primarily a Christian word we probably don't hear this specific word used all too often in our churches. Yet as we look at the culture of our world around us and the cultures of our churches, we see this word abide taking shape in various forms.
In John chapter 15 we get a taste of what “Abiding” should look like. Jesus issues the call in verse 4 by saying, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." A branch that has fallen from a tree may look alive for a short time but soon withers, shrivels up, and becomes great kindling to start a fire. The same is true for us in how we abide. Yes - everyone abides in something whether we know it or not. Some of us "find ourselves" in our jobs where we willingly work 80+ hours a week. For others, it is raising those cute snot-nosed kids and pouring everything you have into protecting them. For many, it is right in front of your face - that screen you are staring at. Regardless of where you abide, Jesus said that if it is not in him it will not last. He calls us to be in the word, to pray without ceasing, and discover the goodness of God. He wants us to Abide in his love and to acknowledge what he did for us on the cross. This. This is the message that we want our campers to understand.
We pray our campers will see the fruit of what a life looks like when abiding in Christ. Jesus concludes in verse 11, "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) but rather they are deeply freeing (Matthew 11:28). May our campers and you find your ultimate joy in the one whose yoke is easy and burden is light - Jesus Christ - the one who has overcome the world (John 16:33)
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I Am the True Vine
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.