Half-way through and going strong

Brody

SWO13 is approaching the mid-summer point, and it has been a blistering pace.  We have had students come from all over the country and have seen God move in amazing ways.  Many have come from darkness to light, from death to life, by the power of the Gospel.  We have been blessed with a great staff for the summer and they are pouring their lives into these students.

SWO is a year-round ministry, but more than half of our participants come in during the 10 weeks of summer camp and stay longer than at any other time of year.  During the school year, the average conference or camp at SWO is two nights, but in the summer, it is five nights.  This gives us a great opportunity to really invest in and connect with students and leaders.

Pray that our staff continues to endure the long hours and emotionally and spiritually grueling ministry of so many thousands of hurting students and families.  We are standing on the Gospel alone, in Christ alone, to minister to needs that we are not qualified to address.  But praise be to God, HE knows every need, and every person who will come through, this summer.

I will share some personal stories as the summer continues.

Thanks for the support through prayer.  Hope to see you at SWO before the summer is over.

SWO13

StaffLR

We are going into Week 3 of SWO13. It’s awesome to see what God is doing. Continue to pray with us for the work God is doing this summer. Pray for our staff — for endurance, for obedience, for humility, for zeal. Pray that we boldly carry the Gospel.

SWO Marriage Retreat — All about the Gospel

Main teaching sessions

We had a great weekend hosting the 2012 SWO Marriage Retreat. We have been so excited to host this year’s event, knowing the great opportunity we have in challenging couples to biblical marriage. The event sold out, and we actually had to turn away dozens of couples who had been on a waiting list.

The thrust of the weekend was bringing our marriages into the lens of the Gospel. There seems to be such a trend in ministry right now to talk a lot about the Gospel, and I am excited about that. There is nothing in all of creation that is not impacted by the Gospel. There are books being written by prominent pastors, and there are conferences and ministries being named around that one word — “Gospel.” Even for our SWO13 summer camp, we are emphasizing and working around the theme of the Gospel and its centrality in all things. We’re excited!

But there is NO greater platform to display the love, grace and glory of Christ in the Gospel than the platform of biblical marriage. If we are to experience God-honoring marriages that reflect His covenantal love to us, then we must build marriages on the foundation of the Gospel.

We had a great time this weekend breaking down the Gospel-marriage relationship. Thanks to everyone who attended. Podcasts will be up soon at swoutfitters.com.

Candlelight dinners

SWO worship band

On-campus recreation

Illusionist Jared Hall provides humorous entertainment

 

To work it and to keep it

I was honored to speak at Kennesaw FBC’s Men’s Conference in Georgia this past weekend. From there, I had the privilege of speaking at the Eagle Pointe/Lifebridge churches’ Men’s Conference. Something that seems to keep coming up in these conferences — including the BE STRONG conference at SWO — is the fact that when we look in scripture, God demands MUCH from men. We also see that God always works first to lead us in that which he demands from us.

For instance, in the garden of Eden before Adam is ever created, God had already prepared the garden and given creation everything it needed to be sustained. God did not NEED Adam. Rather, Adam was given the opportunity to “work and keep” the garden. This was an opportunity to take an active role in the work of the Lord by tending the garden and providing for the wife God had given him. In doing this, Adam had the ultimate platform to reflect God’s glory through his obedience. But rather than fulfill God’s call for his marriage, Adam perverted it by NOT obeying all God had called him to do.

In marriage, and in singleness, God is always working to reveal and reflect His glory. He brings us into the work that He intends to do. In submitting to God, I have the opportunity to reflect the glory of God and to live out the Gospel in my marriage. The marriage relationship God has given to me is my “Eden.” I am called to “work and keep” it. God has already prepared and done the work. Do I strive to reflect that or do I pervert it with my own selfishness?

That’s a good question.