An Enduring Weekend

by lopc

Categories: Youth Ministry

This past week I (Zach) have been in northern and central Illinois. As a lot of students know, each year I take the large part of a week each year to spend time with 5 other guys I know from my time at Princeton to reconnect and hear about the ways their lives have been changing, developing, and growing. This is a result of a decision we made when we graduated to get together every year to hold each other up as we grow older advance in life and in ministry. One of the most amazing things about this time together is when, over the course of an hour, we each have time to share the major points (highlights and lowlights) of the past year, express certain themes we see going on, respond to questions from everyone else, and then spend time in prayer together.

In the interest of sharing who takes part in this time I want to share a photo of each Bro. But in the interest of pure entertainment, the photo I will share is taken with a fish-eye lens. (I should note as an aside here that I got a new camera a few months ago, after researching it a bit, and I am totally stoked about the Canon Powershot SX230 HS – I have nothing but good things to say about it and consider this my public endorsement of a fine product.)

Gary  Nick
Dean  Zach

Handsome men, every one!

We are still learning how to go about this endeavor – both the endeavor of life and of the trip itself. And, now that we just finished the 5th incarnation of the BroTrip, it is amazing to look back over these years at what has happened. This year our theme for the week was Endurance. Everyone led a devotion on this topic as a way to center each day as well as bring conversation about our lives – Judy would have been proud!

My devotion centered around Exodus 17:8-13. Have you ever tried to hold your hands in the air for an extended amount of time? It is tough, it isn’t natural, and in this story the survival of a people depends on it. I had four points relating to the passage regarding endurance:

  • We must find a way to rest without neglecting responsibilities
  • We need people beside us who can keep us steady when we grow weary
  • Our presence and our actions are important, but we could not accomplish anything without people out there fighting the good fight
  • We must remember that God is doing the real work  – Moses putting his hands in the air is just motion without God’s power behind it

Endurance is something we all deal with. We get tired. We have bad days. There are times when it is all we can do to just look out the window and wonder what life is doing to us, or where we are going, and if the race is still worth running.

In those times we must endure. In those times we are called to live into the hope and promise God gives us. I was reminded of that even today while at a memorial service. Gerald, who is a total stud, gave the words of comfort and spoke to the nature of struggle in life. We are called to be a people of hope as we trust in a God who is bigger than our questions and cling to faith in a God who is at work to redeem creation and us with it. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. Life is difficult. But life is also a gift, and a gift of such magnitude is not to be squandered. I believe we must develop endurance if we hope to know contentment and joy in life.

Simply put, each day is not full of roses. Endurance helps us weather those days, but it is not a skill that comes without patience and hard work. Endurance is tough, it isn’t natural, and the survival of our joy in the business of life depends on it.

That said, it is time to again enter the business of life as usual. It is good to be home.

Oh, and we like to think Jesus was there this week, too, so I’ll include a picture of him. In solidarity, he was also fish-eyed.


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