I spent last week at Green Valley Bible Camp in Rogers, Arkansas, where I worked as a counselor and had a great week spending time with 120 young people from across several states.
The theme of our camp session this year was Stars in the Universe, and during the week we focused on the idea that Christians are called to be a distinctive people who stand out from those who surround them. As Paul says in Philippians 2.14-15:
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…”
Unfortunately, Christians (of all ages, not just teenagers) are often more influenced by the “crooked and depraved generation” in which they live than they are influencers of it. Christians easily conform to the world’s standards and practices on modesty, sexual purity, gossip, integrity, and a host of other issues.
This is tragic, because if Christians don’t shine their lights and stand out from the world around them, then the world will remain in darkness. As Christians, we cannot benefit the world if we are just the same as everyone else.
Green Valley is a pretty bright place—with so many Christians all around you, letting your light shine isn’t as difficult. My prayer for our campers (and myself) is that, as we return to our normal lives in a culture that largely repudiates Christian values, we continue to shine like stars in the universe.
Here’s a link to the 2012 Green Valley Slideshow. My buddy Jake Greer did a great job putting it together.