50 Years at Lake Agape: Why I Love Delanco Camp

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Editor’s Note: Today is day 42 of our 50 Years at Lake Agape countdown. Click here to read the other articles.

One of the statements I hear regularly about Delanco goes something like this:

After all of these years, it still looks the same…

The exact quote differs from person to person, but that’s the gist. For some, it’s a negative comment about aging facilities, not building anything new, etc. For most though, it’s positive and affirming. While we realize how awesome it would be to have a pool, full-size basketball court, air-conditioned dorms, and a host of other amenities, the fact remains that WE LOVE CAMP!  When we drive onto the grounds, walk into the Tabernacle, cross the bridge on the way to the Dining Hall, or simply get the first bit of sand in our shoes, WE FEEL AS IF WE WERE HOME!

Leonard Sweet recently wrote a book entitled: 11 Indispensible Relationships You Can’t be Without. It is a great book and most of the relationships were directly tied to a Biblical character (for instance, you need a Peter/Paul–mentor; you need a Jonathan—true friend; etc). However, the eleventh one is puzzling: you need a Jerusalem…a place. A place? Why are places important in our spiritual lives and our development as believers? Is this just a nostalgic grasp at the past? After all, we’ve learned through the years that the church is the people of God…not a building.

I think Sweet is on to something: our personal and spiritual journeys are marked by moments, by people, and by discoveries…but also by places. The Israelites erected monuments of rock to commemorate God’s mighty works “lest they forget what the Lord had done for them.” Places are important not because of what they are in and of themselves, but rather what they represent and Who they point us to…that God met us and did a work inside of our lives There! Delanco Camp is one of my “Jerusalem’s.” At camp, I met Christ…at camp, I surrendered my life completely to Him…God placed a calling to ministry upon my life at camp…and, perhaps most of all, Delanco is the place where I feel like I’m “home.”

And so Leonard Sweet goes on to ask: “What places represent holiness in your life? What are the coordinates of your ‘holy ground’? The intonations of your home space? Show me on the map your Beulah Land.”

Many who write this week will talk about specific places at camp that are their favorites…I could go on and list a few of mine. But for me, it’s always been camp itself…just being there on the grounds, that was awakened, encouraged, challenged, and clarified my life…and I am eternally grateful!

Join us at camp for the Lake Agape 50th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, June 6, at 5 p.m. Click here for more info.

Delanco Camp partnering with Hurricane Sandy Relief Workers

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Winter is always a time of preparation at camp. Program directors begin to discuss themes and assemble their staffs for summer camp, projects and building repairs are planned, and much work takes place “behind the scenes.” However, this year looks a bit different. In addition to our summer camps, we are privileged and excited to partner with three organizations doing Hurricane Sandy Relief:

  • AmeriCorps and National Community Conservation Corps volunteers in New Jersey serving along the coast will be staying at the camp on an ongoing basis when camp is not in session. If you are interested in providing a hot meal for these teams, engaging in our hospitality ministry, or would be willing to stop in once during the week as a resource person, contact Melissa Kappeler at KappelerFamily@gmail.com.
  • Another opportunity comes at the beginning of the summer. The Board of Directors has entered into a contract agreement with Group Workcamps, enabling Group to utilize our facilities as a “home base” for as many as 200 teen volunteers per week for four weeks. This is very exciting! These groups will be serving in Ocean City, Long Beach Island, and all along the Jersey Shore. If you are interested in learning more about Group Workcamps, go to groupmissiontrips.com/workcamps.

Here are some key details the Delanco Camp Community needs to know:

  1. These are not just “rentals” but strategic ministries in the life of our camp. These opportunities fit squarely into our mission as a camp and we are blessed to partner with volunteers and teams engaging in this vital work.
  2. The contract with Group has necessitated a shift in when Camp Meeting will take place in 2013. We believe this opportunity to be timely and felt that moving Camp Meeting to Labor Day Weekend could possibly be in the best interest for all involved. Camp Meeting will have a concentrated schedule with new components (coming soon!) and this shift allows us to host Group for two additional weeks this summer.
  3. There are opportunities for churches, Sunday School classes, families, and individuals to volunteer in these partnerships. Contact Melissa (email above) or Mike Bill (mike.bill@delanco.org) if you are interested in serving in this manner.
  4. Both of these partnerships will contribute to our financial recovery as a ministry. In both cases, the camp is being compensated for housing, utilities, any necessary staffing, etc. Though our primary goal is not to “make money” with these partnerships, our leadership is committed to the financial health and stability of the camp going forward.

Praise God for the work being done in and through Delanco Camp to make a difference in our world through Jesus Christ…I’m looking forward to a wonderful year in 2013 and the many things God is going to do!

Mike Bill is the president of the board of directors of the Delanco Camp Meeting Association and is a pastor at Sharptown Church.

Advent Devotion: A Child Born For Us

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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6

Hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, God spoke through the prophet Isaiah a word of hope. God’s chosen people are being threatened from within and without. Enemies surround them and the threat of invasion and defeat are ever before them. Inside their borders, corrupt leaders and spiritual apathy create an expectation that all is not well. In the darkest of hours, hope and promise appear—God will continue to walk with and deliver His people.

Sometimes we miss the historical context of the Incarnation and the Messiah’s birth on this side of history. We are keenly aware that Christ came to save and redeem us but He is also the hope of the nations, the hope of generations, the hope of the entire world. He is described as one on whom the government rests—He is Lord. He is described as a wonderful counselor—one who walks with us and journeys with us. He is described as Mighty God—the all powerful King of Kings. He is the everlasting Father— the one who loves us and calls us His own. He is the Prince of Peace—the one who brings hope and rest in the midst of difficulty.

Who is He inside of your life today? Sometimes we’re content to know Jesus in a limited way…He died for my sins…Or perhaps, He lives in my heart. But there is a richness and a vastness to who He is…indescribable, Word made Flesh, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Beginning and the End, Lion of Judah, Son of God, Redeemer, Savior, Friend of Sinners, God with us.

Will you open your life this Christmas season to the fullness of who He is? Beyond the cute pictures of an infant in a manger, will you open your heart to the one who came to make a difference in your life, my life, and the whole of human history. Charles Wesley’s famous Christmas carol says this of Him:

Hail! the heaven-born Prince of peace! Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, Risen with healing in his wings
Mild he lays his glory by, Born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

In light of all that He has done and still desires to do, will you give Him glory this Christmas season and you seek His face. Merry Christmas!!

Michael Bill is the incoming president of the camp’s board of directors and is a pastor at Sharptown Church.