Did you ever go to youth camp as a teen?
There are many great memories I hold of those weeks away with friends around the Word. Of course, there were always fun and games and free time — all of which every teen loves. But God does something special when we remove ourselves from the day-to-day in order to seek more of Him.
Last week I found myself at youth camp yet again — this time as a chaperone. It was exhausting, yet such a special time. My husband and two oldest were at camp as well. The theme for camp was DWELL and we looked at what it means to BE WITH God.
This past weekend our little family spent some time Saturday night de-briefing by each sharing a few of our takeaways and what God is doing in our lives. The next day at church we saw the rest of the teens still on their camp-high, then again this past Wednesday at youth group. Among them all there is a consensus: they miss camp.
Yes, they miss the fun but if they got down to it, most of them would say they miss camp because they miss the feeling of being so close to God.
Why can’t I have the same experience with God at home?
Perhaps you have a particular time of your life that you look back on longingly. One that you wish you could get back to. Most often, those times are marked by a sense of peace, fullness, and happiness as a result of being marinated in God’s Word. Because we are immersed in God’s Word and surrounded by God’s people, we are seemingly carried along the stream of God’s presence.
Yet something some of our teens are missing (and perhaps some of us adults, too) is that we don’t need to get away in a particular environment to hear from God and feel close to Him. His presence can be enjoyed right here, right now. Our experience with the Bible can be one of excitement leading to great fulfillment and joy in our everyday moments.
One of the big differences is that instead of God’s Word coming to us everyday and night in the form of a well-formed teaching talk delivered by a professional, here at home we have to do the work of prioritizing the opening, understanding, and obeying of the Word we already have 24/7 access to.
But that can be a challenge.
Over years of working with women who are struggling to get in the Word (and experiencing this in my own life), I’ve seen several common roadblocks that keep us from enjoying the Bible daily and encountering God like we have on the “mountaintop” experiences like camp and conferences.
Three common roadblocks to experiencing God like we do on the mountaintop:
- Lack of a plan. Simply put, when we have no plan, we wander through the Word. We may get a random nugget or two here or there, but without a clear goal and finish line, our time in the Bible will feel aimless and disjointed.
- Lack of community. Like so many worthy pursuits in our lives, we need people. It is rare for an individual to reach their goals all by their lonesome. We need help getting started and reminders to stay on track. We need friends who will encourage us when we get distracted and discouraged. We need someone who is a few steps ahead of us to help us through the tough spots. We need a tutor who is skilled at coaching us toward the desired end goal.
- Lack of know-how. Having a plan brings purpose, but we also need to know HOW to reach our goal. Without a step-by-step process for how to study, we come away from the Bible scratching our heads. It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to build a house.” It’s quite another to know how to put all the pieces in the right place. We can’t focus on something we don’t know how to do.
When we know where we want to go, how to get there, within a group of people who are seeking the same end-goal, something amazing happens.
I’ve known these truths, but I’m seeing the lack of these elements played out yet again with our youth as the post-camp deflation sets in. I’m attempting to provide a plan, accountability, and a few how-to’s as we go along but it’s up to them to invite the same power of God they experienced at camp into their “normal” lives. I can’t make them open the Bible each day. I can’t force them to follow the plan and persevere. I can’t infuse biblical know-how into them.
Here’s the real roadblock keeping us from transformation.
It’s one thing to know what to do and how to do it. It’s quite another to actually do it.
Information is helpful but it’s the implementation that’s transformational.
Last week, these forty-three souls received a bunch of information about God and how to grow closer to Him through studying the Bible. But information alone won’t bring transformation. Implementation is the working out of our salvation to where our inward identity becomes an outward reality. It’s the partnering with God through knowing and obeying the Word of God that brings about Christ-likeness to our character.
These youth have to do the work to follow the plan.
They have to make the investment to show up, open the Bible, and learn how to study.
They have to choose to make God a priority by seeking Him through His Word.
Us adults … we struggle with this, too, don’t we? Perhaps you experience God on Sunday morning at church or at a women’s conference, but the moment you get home alone and open your Bible you experience … crickets.
I know you want more.
I’ve been there, where my relationship with God’s Word was intermittent and frustrating when I tried reading it on my own. But I received help through accountability and training and tools and coaching on how to implement that training.
So, if you want to go deeper than a devotional …
If you want to move forward from fill-in-the-blanks …
If you want your time to be spent in actual study of the Bible …
If you’re ready to start putting in a bit of elbow grease to make it happen …
… then find a plan, gather a community, and get trained on how to study your Bible. Then get ready for a deeper experience with God through purposeful study of His Word. Because as you get serious about experiencing God through the pages of Scripture you’ll see the spiritual growth you long for and begin to enjoy some mountaintop moments in your day-to-day.
p.s. If you need some help with IMPLEMENTATION, I’d love to help. I’ve created a Bible Club geared toward coaching you on how to study the Bible for yourself. Each month a new customizable Bible Study Pack arrives and we study together. There are daily check-ins for accountability, and resources to help you understand what you are reading.
“I love that I’m learning Bible study methods that enable me to study any part of the Bible, on my own. I’m getting so much more out of my studies.” — Lorie
“With the monthly plans I get in the Bible and with the videos I learn things about the Bible I didn’t know. I’ve read the Bible daily but now I feel like I come away from the study with a closeness to God and an understanding that I didn’t have before.” — Faith
So if you’re ready for more—more focus, more study, more transformation through your time in the Word—and you’re ready to start studying the Bible on your own, then the Bible Study Hub Club is for you.
“I love that I constantly have new studies to follow and can dive in as deep as I have time for. I am consistently in the Word now more than I ever have been!” — Donna
“I am now digging deeper than ever before and understanding what I am studying. My Bible study has changed completely.” — Judy
See you inside the Club!