Local News Correction: Not Camp Ridgecrest for Boys!

Posted by Phil

On Tuesday, July 26, 2011, a man was arrested on the grounds of Ridgecrest Conference Center in Ridgecrest, N.C., for an alleged incident that happened prior to arriving at Ridgecrest.

The Cumberland Country Sheriff’s Department reports that police were at Ridgecrest and arrested the man upon his arrival.

The arresting officer’s police report inaccurately identified the location of the arrest as Ridgecrest Boys Camp.

This man was not a counselor nor staff member of Camp Ridgecrest for Boys, CentriKid Camps, Ridgecrest Conference Center, or LifeWay Christian Resources.

LifeWay takes great precaution to assure that all staff are carefully interviewed and screened before beginning their employment.

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God Isn’t You

Posted by Melissa

Plans. Everyone has them. Weekend plans, college plans, vacation plans, career plans. You name it, and there is probably a plan for it. Do your plans always work out? What happens when they don’t? Do you make a plan B, or do you question everything around you?

Read Isaiah 55:8-11, considering verse 8 carefully.

What does this passage teach you about God’s thoughts and ways?

How are God’s thoughts higher and different than our thoughts?

What does it mean that God’s word doesn’t return to Him empty?

How is God’s word like rain and snow? Explain.

In your life, how have you seen God’s plan be bigger than your own?

Do you trust God for the perfect plan, or are you seeking your own thoughts and ways? Explain.

In this passage, God was speaking to the Israelites who were in exile in Babylon. They felt overlooked and forgotten by God. Today’s passage was God’s reminder to His people that His knowledge and power far surpassed theirs because He was God and they were not. His plans were not the same as their plans—and His were beyond their wildest imagination.

We often need that reminder, too. Much of the time, we try to make God fit into our plans instead of seeking to conform our lives and our will to His. God’s thoughts and ways are not the same as ours. He is God; we are not. He always sees the bigger picture; we only see the narrowest sliver and how it affects us. So when your plans fail and you don’t understand, trust God’s infinite wisdom and look to Him alone for guidance. He always has your best interest at heart.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. —Isaiah 55:8

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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Through the Fire and Flood

Posted by Melissa

When it rains, it pours! Your dad just lost his job. Your car needs new tires. You really want to go on that overseas school trip, but your parents said you’ll have to pay for it. And four of your friends have birthdays this month. It seems like every time you turn around, you need money. On top of that, school is crazy-busy, and you think the coach hates you. Even though you feel overwhelmed, God doesn’t.

Read Isaiah 43:1-3, stopping to read verse 2 aloud several times.

In verse 1, what can we learn about the nation of Israel?

As believers in Christ, how are we like the Israelites?

What do these verses teach you about God’s love for you?

What could compare to overwhelming fires and rivers today (v. 2)?

What fires and floods of difficulty are you going through now?

Are you looking to God for strength? If so, how is He caring for you?

What have you learned in the process?

The nation of Israel was created by God and very special to Him. God had chosen, protected, and redeemed these people. If you’re a Christian, He does the same for you because of your relationship with Christ. He loves you deeply, watches over you, and saves you. However, in His care for you, God never promised that your life would be easy. We all must walk through deep valleys and swim in treacherous waters in our lives. You don’t get a free pass from stress, sorrow, or difficulty when you accept Christ.

God does promise one thing, though. In verse 2 of this passage, God says that He will be with us, and we will neither be burned by the fires nor overwhelmed by the rivers. Hear that? Even though you will walk through difficult times, your difficult circumstances will never take you under if you trust in God. What great comfort to know God loves you and promises to be with you each step of the way!

I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. —Isaiah 43:2

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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Why God?

Posted by Melissa

Read Psalm 42:1-11.

One of life’s most difficult lessons is learning that things don’t always go the way we expect. We lose loved ones, have relationship troubles, or don’t get that thing—that place on the team, scholarship, or dream—we so desperately want. Circumstances in life often leave us feeling hurt, confused, sad, and disappointed. We often want to ask why and continually search for answers that aren’t always easy to find.

That’s how the psalmist felt when writing the passage you studied today. He was depressed. And even though he felt forgotten, the psalmist poured out his heart to God continually. He had desperately searched for God and, rather than seeking the world’s advice, looked to God for answers. These verses say he longed for God as an animal longs for water. In order to live, He needed God, just like an animal needs water. And even though the road was difficult and the answers weren’t apparent, the writer of these verses remembered God’s past faithfulness and chose to trust Him.

Just like the psalmist, we need to keep our hope and trust in God alone. We must see God as our rock and remember how He has cared for us in past situations, trusting that He will be faithful again. What about you? Are you in the middle of distress? How has God answered you in the past and shown Himself faithful? Are you searching for Him now and looking to Him alone? Even when you feel like God isn’t speaking, place your hope and trust in Him. He is faithful. Always.

I will say to God, my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about in sorrow because of the enemy’s oppression?  —Psalm 42:9

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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You Don’t Have To Look Far

Posted by Melissa

Where is it?! Have you ever been looking for something that you finally realized was right there all along? Lost homework, a key, a shoe. Something was missing. You looked and looked and could not see it. Maybe you even gave up. But at some point, you found the item you’d been looking for right in front of your face. Perhaps for some, God is like that.

Read Acts 17:26-29. Check out verse 27.

What does it mean that God has determined our “appointed times” and the “boundaries” of where we live?

According to verse 27, how far is God from those who seek Him?

Though God created us all, we don’t all know Him. Why not?

Paul quoted their own poets to show them God. Which of our poets (or songwriters) could you quote to your friends to show them God?

What does verse 29 teach you about God’s divine nature?

As Paul spoke to the people of Athens, he pointed out that they had gotten something right: there is a God. Paul explained to them that there is one true God who gives us life and determines how long that life will last. More than that, Paul promised that if we seek God, we will find Him. And finding God isn’t like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack. God has made it easy for anyone to find Him. He is not far.

The truth is, we’re all looking for something. And the only something that truly fills is God. As Augustine, an early Christian theologian, once put it, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord.”

All around you, people are searching for Jesus—and they may not even know it yet. You can help them find Him because He isn’t far.

He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. —Acts 17:27

Reprinted from ec magazine. © 2010 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used by permission.

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