Our students returned from Summer Camp at Camp Caswell on the coast of North Carolina a few days ago. To put it mildly, they came back energized about their faith, reconnected to God and to each other. As a parent and a pastor, that is always a really exciting thing to see! You pray the passion of the moment becomes a life pursuit.
Of course, this is a pretty common experience for students, and it is no mystery why times at camp and on mission trip become “spiritual highs.” You leave routine behind along with technology and most of the other things that shove the world and its values in your face, and you spend mornings and evenings in God’s Word, and among his people, and before you know it, your Christianity has actually become what it was always meant to be… a daily conversation with God and His people. Funny how we suddenly start to hear from God and soften our hearts toward Him and each other when we actually turn our life into a conversation (using the word in the Biblical sense of a daily walk) with the Father.
This has me thinking about us “grown ups” and our own practice of the Christian life. Most of us do not get many opportunities to head off to camp or mission trip, or at least, they are rare. What can we do to jump start a faith that has gotten stuck on the side of the road? The answers seem so obvious, and not very profound, but I can tell you the things that help me. So here are my top four suggestions for jumpstarting a stalled faith walk: (If you have suggestions of things that have worked for you post your comment, and help someone out)
1. A new song(s). We are creatures of habit and we tend to get stuck in the same sounds of life. Force your self to hear God praised and worshipped from a variety of styles, artists, and perspectives and you will find your appreciation for our amazing God growing exponentially. I was actually listening to some Gregorian chants the other day. Yes you read that right. Amazing meditation music. By the way, a new song is a very biblical thing (Psalm 98:1 and dozens of other similar commands), 2. A mind stretching book. Not the same old thing you might always read but something that forces you to take a new look at God. Remember the first time you read Crazy Love, or A Purpose Driven Life, or Fresh Wind Fresh Fire. (And if you haven’t read those, start there). 3. Break your routine, pray at different times of the day than you usually do, and pray from a different “heart.” Try writing out a prayer as if you were David composing a Psalm. You might be surprised at what the Holy Spirit within you is capable of producing creatively if given the chance. 4. Take the BIG CHALLENGE. Try it. You know what I am talking about… that ministry or life opportunity that you normally would not even give a second thought. This is how faith gets exercised! No one wants a flabby faith.
Time to go to camp, so get packed,
And the truth shall set you free!