A special memory I will always have was when I first learned of Frontier Camp. I was in college at Tarleton State University and had recently made the decision to work at a Christian summer camp. This was in order to see if that might be a good fit for me as a career. Shortly after I made that decision, a TSU career services counselor told us in class about the upcoming Camp Day Job Fair. I decided to go to see what the Lord might bring before me.
What drew me to the Frontier Camp booth and to Matt Raines was a pretty WAKEBOARD. What led me to apply for staff was FC’s desire to teach the Bible to campers. I had spent the previous summer working with a local youth group, which meant lots of time in both Bible study AND on Lake Granbury on a wakeboard and in a boat. I had hoped to find a camp one day where I could teach the Bible and teach wakeboarding. Then I saw Matt Raines and his beautiful display! The rest, as they say, is history.
For many years my interests, thoughts, desires, and hopes involved watersports. That was a great passion of mine at that stage of life. I watched videos (VHS, DVD – it was a while ago) and combed magazines for any instructional aid I could find to continually develop and improve as a wakeboard instructor. I loved to learn more and more about it.
It’s kind of funny how at different stages of life we are passionate about different things. While I still really enjoy watersports, a bigger passion for me now is my family. I love my family! I am constantly hoping the Lord will teach me how to continually improve as a husband and father. He gives so much grace and truth for these stewardships in His word.
One of the most often used passages – and one we use to train our counselors – is Deuteronomy 6.
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” – Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
This passage is great! We have all most likely heard it, studied it, and maybe even memorized it. It is a great command for parents. We hold the initial responsibilities for our children’s biblical literacy. It is up to us to teach them God’s word.
When learning to wakeboard, I consulted many different sources. I could see the examples of mature, successful riders – but needed help figuring out how to get from here to there. I needed some structure. That is just how my brain works.
When it came to figuring out the how, when, where, and what to do to teach God’s Word diligently, I consulted many examples. I remembered the Mayo family from my childhood. Larry and Ann Mayo were adult leaders in our church and youth group. Their two sons, Todd and Gene, were in our youth group, Gene being one of my closest friends. I was often at their home, and I still have memories of their family devotional time. One would take a turn reading a passage from the Bible and then they would discuss it. They shared prayer requests and took turns praying. It was simple. It worked.
Now, when I say this, please understand the Mayo boys were already older kids – in the preteen and teenage years. My kids aren’t that old. What do I do with a three year old? What to do with a 3 and a 2 and a 1 year old? They can’t read yet. They can’t sit still. That is what I first ran into.
When we don’t know just what to do to please the Lord, there is a pretty good way to find out. ASK HIM! James 1:5 tells us to faithfully ask for wisdom when we need it (and we all need it from time to time!).
The Lord has generously helped Liz and me to figure out as we go. I love that He did not give a specific program in Deuteronomy 6. He did not say, “Every evening after the kids brush their teeth and before lights out, sit them down in a group arranged in birth order and then have those who can read do so from Scripture. Start in Genesis and work straight through…”
One of the ways the Lord has helped us is by shining a light on some existing materials prayerfully made to help. We have used different things. Liz and I both served as counselors at camp and have developed and taught countless devotions and Bible studies. But, man, when it came to my family devotional time, it was very nice to have some of these resources.
The first we used was from the Family Time Ministries – famtime.com. They provide many great ideas that work for all ages. We would pick a “lesson” from the book, grab the supplies, gather the kids one evening after supper and have family time. Our kids loved it! Once the study had them taking turns acting out the Lazarus story in John 11.
Recently, with our kids being a bit older, our evening times have become harder to use as devotional time. My wife found another ministry called Lamp & Quill International – lampquill.com. We got our three oldest – 10 years old, 8 years old, and 7 years old – their own devotional book. The daily Bible study lessons are over the same passage, meaning each child is studying the same passage at the same time on the same day.
We now enjoy our Bible time in the mornings and can sit around the table before breakfast and walk through a Bible passage. Our 2 year old has even caught on and brings his kids Bible to the table!
When I get to coach a camper on the wakeboard and he learns something new, I feel that I might be as excited about it as he is. It is so fun! I feel the same way about trusting the Lord enough to spend time in His word with my family. I get blessed so much by Him in doing so.
How it looks has changed as our family grows in number and in age. The methods we use have changed. The time and place has changed. But God’s faithfulness never does. He is always good!
What are you passionate about? Is it a sport? If so, how can you use it for God’s glory? I promise you this, when you commit your way to the Lord, you will be blessed!
Do you have children under your care? Are you a parent who might be wondering HOW?! I know I’m supposed to teach my kids God’s Word, but HOW? Try one of the resources mentioned above. The main thing is to be consistently prayerful and obedient to the Lord.