It is Friday night, April 15, 11:33 PM. I am in the top bunk, in the dark, beginning to type this on my iPad. The top bunk of a bunk bed, in a camp on the Potomac River deep, deep in Southern Maryland, directly across the river from King George, Va. I got here last night, was up until about 1:30 am, and back up at 6:00. Finished my day about an hour ago, showered, reflected, and now I’m typing this potential blog post. I’ll be back up at 6 am tomorrow, going all day, probably to finish my Saturday later than my Friday.
God is dead. Or at least, that’s what Nietzsche wrote so long ago. Time magazine made that their headline about 50 years ago. It’s what we now believe as a society. Or…it’s at least how we live as a society, as if He is dead. As if we have killed Him. As if we have killed Him, and now we are God.
God is not dead. I know this, because I am spending the weekend with Him. He is on this river, with myself and about 90 other grown men. I met Him here, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on this very camp, on this very river. I met Him about 19 months ago, in September 2014. I came to this river, along with about 25 other guys. Waiting for us were about 45 men who had already had the same experience with Jesus before me. 45 men, most of whom were just like me. Addicts. Alcoholics. Liars. Cheats. Thieves. Gamblers. Sex addicts. All misfits. All misfits who couldn’t wait for me to get there. So they could serve me. Love me. Love me as Jesus loves. To be the love of Christ to a misfit like me, when there was no way I had any kind of personal relationship with Christ.
When I arrived, they hugged me. A man hugging a man. They took my bags. Made my bed. Prepared my food. Fetched my food and my drinks. Would not allow me to get my own, asked me not to “steal their blessing.”
They shared with me. They shared the word of God. They shared their struggles. Their fears. Their success. Their failures. Their strength. Their weakness. They shared THEMSELVES.
They hugged me some more. They told me they LOVED me. They SHOWED me they loved me. They continue to show me they love me.
They shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with me by being the LOVE of Christ to me. They fed me. They SERVED me. They showed and modeled the forgiveness of Christ. They took me through a sinners prayer to accept the salvation of Christ.
They helped me to forgive those who had hurt me. They helped me to forgive MYSELF for hurt I had done to others. And then, they even washed my feet as Jesus had done for his disciples.
And now I’m here for the third time as one who serves. I’m here to be Christ to men who may not believe in Him. Who may not want to believe in him. Who may not feel worthy of the free salvation offered by Jesus. I’m here to serve because I was served. I’m here to LOVE because I was loved. I’m here to be Christ to these men, so that they may have their own relationship with the savior of the world.
I serve every day in Celebrate Recovery. My CR works hand in hand with this Credo Third step ministry to jump start our third step, turning our lives and wills over to Christ’s care and control. So, I now serve twice a year here. And I know – “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”” Matthew 18:20 ESV. Yes, God is here among us this weekend. As He always is. He always shows up, then He shows off. This weekend is no different. Masks are falling off, hearts are being changed, and men are coming to Christ. Lives are being changed. Families are being changed. All because men are faithful to His commands and carry His message forward. God is not dead. Christianity is not dead. There are still men (and women) who get it. Who are willing to serve others as Jesus served us all. Who are willing to give time and energy to the cause of Christ to save the lost sheep. Who are willing to share completely of themselves and not hold back. Not hold back their energy. Their emotion. Their time. Their story. There are still men willing to be Christ to the sick and hurting in this world. There are still men willing to love like Jesus did.
One more thing – to all of you who stuck through this whole post. To those of you who still believe in the power of the name of Jesus. Who are willing to love others as Jesus loves you.
And also, to all of you who don’t. And who won’t.
To all of you, period – I love you. And there is nothing you can do about it!