10 weeks ago did you ever think you would make it to this point? Bags are packed, the last 12hr shift has come and gone, and those Dickies that just don’t fit right have been turned back into Wardrobe with ease! The Summer Project has officially come to a close.
My guess is that you’re feeling an array of emotion: Excitement because you FINALLY get to have a home cooked meal and sleep in your own bed. Sadness because the MP Binder is full and the trainings are complete. Literal agony because you’ve heard Pastor Dale’s last intro-to-sermon joke and a little broken hearted because those late night balcony jam sessions are over. But mostly eagerness to get back to campus and see everyone again!
There’s not really a training or a talk that can fully prepare you for the reality of life outside of Pigeon Forge. The 10 weeks are up… So, now what?
Pulling out of the River Lodge South last summer, I would have told you with full confidence that this next year would be my best yet. I couldn’t wait to get back and share with my dorm-mates, coworkers, and friends, the things that I had learned over the past few months. Just as you all are about to, I headed back to my college campus, moved back in with my roommates, started back in my d-groups, and began my classes. Life was great… until it wasn’t.
Not too long after I got back to campus, I was faced with a lot of doubt and confusion about things that I thought I fully understood in Christ. Along with my misunderstanding came bitterness and anger. But you see, as I was struggling through a season of uncertainty in my faith, I was being showered with things in the world that whispered false promises of satisfaction. Distracted by the lies, I let go of my doubts and looked the world dead in the eyes. Enticed by the thrill, I pushed down my confusion and replaced it with “what ifs” and “why nots”. Filled with rage toward my fickle heart, I grasped tightly to my bitterness and let my anger lead me to people and places that teased me with reckless freedom. No rules. No expectations. I felt free, but in reality, I was held captive by my own struggle.
Brothers and sisters, I want to encourage you in Christ and beg you to prepare your hearts and minds for the battle ahead. The enemy is on mission to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). So, in the reality of the war of the world, how is one to fight well?
Soak your heart daily in the Word of God:. Rest in it, find truth there, learn about the character of God and who you are in light of His goodness. (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Tim. 3:16)
Be where you are: Don’t dwell on past seasons of life and don’t itch to be in a new one. Be present in the place that the Lord has sovereignly placed you and trust that he is good right where you are. (Lamentations 3:22-26, Psalm 46:10)
Immerse yourself in the body of Christ: We are not meant to do life alone. Get plugged in to the local body. Serve them. Pray for them. Enjoy Jesus with them. (Ephesians 4, Hebrews 10:25)
Submit yourself to some sort of intentional, spiritual leadership.
Meet consistently with a small group of believers that you’re willing to share your life with.
Get an accountability partner! Someone you trust in Christ, that you are willing and ready to discover, confess and fight the sin in your life with.
Wage War: The battle is coming. Know your sin tendencies, and through prayer, time in God’s Word, memorization of Scripture, and intentional accountability make a battle plan that you might fight well. (1 Peter 1:13-15)
“Make way for grace”: Due to our unfortunate diagnosis of humanity, we are going to continue to fall short of God’s perfect standard. When you sin acknowledge it, be disgusted by it, confess it before the Lord, and as Matt Chandler says, “position yourself under the waterfall of grace.”
As you all wave goodbye to Mountain Project 2017 & pull of the River Lodge South, my prayer for each and every one of you is that The Lord, through the power of his Spirit in your lives, convinces you of the things you’ve learned this summer. I pray that you would be diligent in learning, disciplined in walking well with Christ and that you would continue to grow in love for God’s Word.
Enjoy Jesus. Seek truth. Train in righteousness. Wage war. Walk in grace. All for the Glory of God and His Name is known.