From Friday 4th of July until Tuesday the 8th, over a hundred youth plus a few leaders attended Re-definition 2014. This camp brings together all the youth groups from Anglican Churches together for five days of talks, small groups, seminars, fun and fellowship. It is a jam-packed five days, but well worth it at the end!
This year we focussed on Ecclesiastes and were blessed to have two great speakers, Ed Springer from Port Macquarie and Mike Sams from Trinity North East. Ecclesiastes is a great book, especially for youth, as it describes the reality of life. It’s real and it doesn’t try and sugar-coat anything. Life is ‘hebel’, that is, meaningless. Or perhaps a closer translation is a mist or a vapour, a breath on a cold morning. It is there for a moment and then it is gone. And that is what life is like. There is nothing that lasts, not money or power, reputation or family, not even wisdom itself. Everything is meaningless.
So why was this good for the youth? Well, firstly, studies have shown that characteristics that youth in the 21st century admire most are sincerity and authenticity. And this is exactly what Ecclesiastes provides. Ecclesiastes doesn’t try and pretend that everything is ok; it exposes life for what it is and shows us the futility of trying to find our purpose and meaning in it. Secondly, its solution is simple and applicable. Ecc. 12:13 “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” And when is the best time to do this? Ecc. 12:1 “Remember you Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come”. The point of Ecclesiastes is that we must find our purpose in God, not in anything of this world. We build our house on the Rock where it is firm, not on the sand where it can be pushed over by a breath of air. But more than that, the writer of Ecclesiastes implores us to do it now, do it while you are young so that you don’t waste your life. What a great message for our youth to hear!
Of course, the climax of the whole camp was the Sunday night where five youth committed their lives to Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. We certainly had fun on the camp, going to Greenhills and playing wide games, but nothing compares with the joy of welcoming into the family new brothers and sisters. Because at the end of the day, everything else is meaningless, except the knowledge of our God and Saviour Jesus, who came and died so that sinners might be saved!
I for one am exhausted and I am sure that many others are still recovering too, but it was definitely worth it. A big thankyou also, for all your prayers while we are away, it is so important and does have an enormous impact on what we do. So thankyou all!