Church at Charlotte In Tents | Summer 2016

Early this summer we welcomed the Church at Charlotte middle schoolers, but this past extended weekend we welcomed the Church at Charlotte high schoolers for a different sort of stay!

Church at Charlotte In Tents at Whisper Mountain Camp.jpg

On a week long camping trip, we were just one of a few stops they were making. They began with us and will end at Niagra Falls! Awesome right?! We saw first time camping people adjusting (some better than others) and seasoned ones soaking it up! Part of the goal while at Whisper Mountain was for them to experience walking like Jesus walked. They stayed on the opposite side of the “normal” camp. If you’ve never walked our roads, you can’t quite appreciate the reality of walking from one side of our property to the other (where the bathhouse is!).

Church at Charlotte In Tents

Aside from the walking, a good dose of heat, and a rain situation, they seemed to enjoy the time they had on the high and low ropes courses.

Church at Charlotte High Ropes GroupChurch at Charlotte at Whisper Mountain Camp eno life

I (Cassi) admire the leaders for taking these teens outside their normal comfort. We too easily get stuck inside the posh life we experience (if you are reading this on a computer or handheld device, that’s you!!). Sometimes getting outside of that, experiencing a little inconvenience and less than ideal can make us grow in such unexpected ways. Hearing the conversations and observing them even briefly made me take a look at what I’ve been taking for granted, made me slow down and find the bare boned simplicity within today. As a result, I find myself thanking God more!

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Thank you, Seth and Nikki and CAC teens, for stopping in at Whisper Mountain, for all you’re doing to lead these teens, and for the beautiful reminder to me to simply walk with God! May He bless you as you follow Him!

Awesomeness Takes the Stage >> Chaz

Chaz Title Pic

Chaz, the GIT with pizzazz! (It rhymed, folks, just go with it!) His initiative and sincere care are just two things I automatically think of when I think of Chaz! Every time I turn around, it seems I catch him seeing a need and meeting it!

Chaz Balance

Chaz has a good balance of responsibility and fun, which I believe is a great combo for life! Reliable but knows how to laugh, smart but lives in humility. Great combo, I say!

Chaz GIT Gator

As a GIT (Guide In Training), there are jobs that aren’t fun or take him away from all that’s going on, but he always works with such a positive attitude! And we all know attitude is a leaking of the heart — speaking so much about a person!

Chaz paintball

His servant heart, sincere interest in others, and desire to keep growing and being shaped like Christ are what mark Chaz’s place here on our summer team!

Chaz Hello

Thank you for serving with us this summer, Chaz! Your influence on the teens coming through our gates is far reaching as you shine Jesus and exemplify godly manhood to them! We appreciate you!

Trivia Giveaway | A1: the name

Thank you to all those who entered our Trivia Giveaway over the weekend by answering the trivia question! I’ll tell you the winner in a minute! First, the answer!

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In the camp’s formative years, I Kings 19:12 was impressed on Marty’s heart as he was seeking God for the ministry ahead. Elijah, waiting for God on the  mountain, experienced fire and earthquake, but he didn’t hear God until there came a quiet whisper.

Whisper Mountain Camp had found its heartbeat and mission: to provide a refuge from the everyday noise so individuals can hear the whisper of God.

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ESCAPE THE NOISE. ENCOUNTER THE WHISPER.

The randomly raffled, correct answer winner is

NIC, who answered: “1 kings 19:11-14”

CONGRATULATIONS!
Your mug ships today!

Thank you again for all those who joined in! We shall do this again!

Make some time today to hear God’s life-changing, personal whisper to you!

pilgrim on

Pilgrim-On-pathway-in-the-woods

The news headlines cast shadows on our daily realities. Changes in the classrooms quicken our breath and lead our thoughts to places we’d rather not visit. Current events darken the threshold of our peace of mind. Heaping piles of fear can weigh us down and cause us to dread the future or lose sleep at night or keep us from choosing to live our lives in a forward motion.

Pilgrim-On-high-ropes-at-whisper-mountain-camp

Let us encourage you today to remember that God’s hand is in the undercurrents of all of life. Lift your eyes to the King of Kings, to the One who said in His Word these things will take place, to the One who is aligning everything for His promised return! WE ARE NOT HOME…Pilgrim on! Be the light while light remains. His plan is in motion and He has proven Himself trustworthy. We can hope in Him!

When Christmas Distracts

Christmas Decorating 5Season’s Greetings, beautiful people!

As school is slowly winding down + the rest from Thanksgiving is wearing thin on our restless hearts yearning for the next break, our minds are starting to shift to the upcoming holiday: Christmas. Hearing the word brings glee + excitement, but I want to put focus on the main part of the word – the stem.

Christmas Decorating 1Pretty lights, trees, + presents get my attention every year, but these ingredients mix into a tempting appearance shifting my mindset from the truth. Every day we are focused on physical, material, + tangible things instead of the whole reason we are on this earth: Christ. Our minds are easily distracted from the One who created them, and set on our daily routines or challenges. We always somehow find a way (our way) to get the bills paid, gifts bought, or overcome obstacles. Every day we don’t realize the absolute need for God until we are at the breaking point. You know that point where you are on your knees and have finally come to the realization that you can’t do it on your own anymore? It’s true God uses those as turning points for us to look to Him and surrender, but we’re missing the point. It shouldn’t take misery for us to remember that Jesus is there for us, and it shouldn’t take a holiday to remember what Jesus did for us.

Christmas Decorating 3God calls us to love Him with a daily, hourly, minutely, secondly love. He wants our love for Him to overflow so much that it turns into an absolute necessity to survive. A necessity like how a deer pants for water–our souls should thirst for God. He wants us to WANT Him. He wants to captivate our hearts so our love for others stems from our love for Him. He places tests in our lives to see how we will handle them, and He may give you too much for you to handle only for you to realize He is the only one who can help you carry it.

Christmas Decorating 2But He wouldn’t have to do this–we wouldn’t have to suffer so much–if we would just fix our eyes on Him to begin with. God commands us to do this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.” (Luke 10:27). If we truly loved Him the way He commands, our lives wouldn’t resemble the common “It’s going good until I can’t handle something so that’s when I clasp my hands and pray for help” scenario. He wants our very first thought to be of Him when we encounter trials AND when we don’t.

Christmas Decorating 4God sent His son–Christ–to die for our sins. This is the reason we celebrate Christmas. He is the very beginning of the word for Pete’s sake! So this holiday season, set your heart + mind on the whole reason for the season:  Jesus coming to the world, to not only die for us, but to live as an example for the world to strive to become daily. However, along with the cliché Christian “reason for the season” motto, think about this: Christmas isn’t the only time to focus on Jesus. My prayer for you is to not only focus on Him this Christmas, but that you wouldn’t stop after December 25th.

\Author >> Erin| ^^ |Photography >> Cassi|

the simple truth

Snow on evergreensHello there, dear friends!
As the celebratory season of giving thanks and Jesus’ birth warmly embraces us this time of year, I’ve been prayerfully yearning a simple, powerful desire: Give me Jesus. My mind has been warpedwith a recent love of simplicity, and the truth is, learning the power behind it is anything but simple for my over-analytical brain to do. When one of my students falls out of her chair “accidentally” knocking over and spilling my coffee all over the place during a formal test, Lord, Give me Jesus [grace] When I drive to work 55 minutes late for being early, unknowingly forgetting my classroom keys and lunch but get to see the glory of His sunrise over a silent highway, Ah, Lord, Give me Jesus. [peace] When I am constantly being pounded down by hearing unrelenting bad news of family’s health issues, day after day, Just give me Jesus. [power]
All of these daily common circumstances are always bringing me back to the simple reality ofneeding Jesus, simply because of who He is. In John 14:6 Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” What is the truth? The truth is Jesus. Who is Jesus? Jesus is the most compassionate, loving, gracious, peace-giving, powerful, and faithful man who ever walked this earth. He faithfully took on our ugly sins, shameful regrets, and broken pieces. He washed us clean, forgot our past, and wholly put us back together on the cross that He died on. The truth is, in everything that we say and do, we are to do our humanly best to become the truth, to become Jesus, even when it seems impossibly complicated to achieve.
What does this have to do with discipleship? Everything. We can claim and proclaim all about Jesus as much as we want so people hear us and so we are doing our “active duty” as an obedient disciple of His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), but if we are telling the truth without being the truth, nothing we say will be heard. Sometimes we try to dig so deeply into the Word to try and extract truths to gain more knowledge, all the while missing the simplest truth. Sometimes we simply read the Word because we know we should, all the while missing the simplest truth. It’s so simple: Just get Jesus. An aspiring theologian, avid disciple maker, and one of my best brothers in Christ told me this one day: “There is a big difference in knowing something and becoming it. I think it’s a problem with Christianity. We become consumed in our rational and intellectual pursuits of God instead of simply allowing Him to change us into that which reflects Him the most.”
With all of this in mind, I have a simple question for you: Truthfully, what are you doing with knowing the truth?
|Author >> Chelsea| ^^ |Photography >> Cassi|

The Giver

Hello, wonderful people! This month I’m going to share with you a beauty secret that no one can resist.  It’s one that not everyone possesses, yet some may have in greater capacities than others.  My beauty tip for you this Christmas starts with analyzing your heart.  Are you a giver? I’m not asking if you give the best gifts, or if you always empty your wallet.  Do you give LOVE? Do you give HOPE? Do you give to those who don’t deserve it? Are you a TRUE giver?

What if I told you? You have the power to give someone hope far beyond their wildest dreams. What if I told you it’s right there in your hands? It’s hard to imagine how something so small can make all the difference tear down the tallest wall.  It’s feeding the hungry, serving the poor, it’s telling the orphan you’re not forgotten anymore.  It’s doing what love does when no one’s watching you. What if December looked different this year? What if we all just gave Christmas away? If there’s love in your heart, then don’t let it stay there.  Give this Christmas away and your life will be changed by the gift you receive when you give Christmas away. ~ Mathew West

I stumbled across this song in the car, at the exact moment my fiancé was giving away his last few dollar bills to a homeless man.  Giving is not always one that deals with a monetary value. The generous heart of a giver is always looking for ways to bless others through words, prayers or actions.  Let me tell you about just a few of the MANY people in my life who are givers.

Giver.friendsMeet my friend Chelsea Starr. She shines as a bright as her last name! She has the beautiful gift of giving. She is one who goes out of her way to make sure you aren’t the only silly person.  You are never alone with Chelsea. She is giving of her TIME. Her passion is discipling–she LOVES it! Even when it hurts, and it’s messy, she gives her time and energy to infectiously lead others closer to the Lord.

Giver.Dorks(she even helps you win the dance-off at dork balls!)

Giver.fianceThe next person I would like you to meet is my fiancé Brent Stickles. He has a heart of compassion (which I’m completely thankful for). His giving in my life is seen in multiple ways. That precious moment in the car as he gave his last few dollars to a homeless man melted my heart. He is giving of his money, his time and his heart. When I am grouchy and mean he still LOVES me. He goes out of his way to make sure I know how much he loves me.

Giver.parentsLet me introduce you to my parents, Chris and Debbie Adkins. These two have been the best examples (besides my Savior!!) of the giving of unconditional LOVE and forgiveness. I am reminded of the time I called my dad crying to ask for forgiveness, to which he responded “I forgave you before you even asked for it.”  Or the countless times my mom has used her Christmas or birthday money on me (now that’s love ;).  They have sacrificed money to put me through school, they gave up their schedules to watch me play sports, and have supported me through every decision in life.

Giver.baby

Giver.momAre you getting the theme here? Every one of us is capable of GIVING LOVE. This Christmas practice the gift of giving. In return your heart will feel tremendously blessed, and you will radiate joy that shines brightly.  It is a rare and beautiful quality to be a giver.  Will you be a giver this Christmas?

|Author + Photographer >> Kaleigh|

what should I do?

Foggy treesIn this wonderful, cold season we are often prompted with a lot of questions that determine our life choices: what college should I attend after High School? Who should I hang out with? Should I date this person I like? How am I supposed to get along with this person I don’t like? What am I supposed to do with my life? I don’t know about you, but I could use some wisdom in my life. Let’s see if James (Jesus’ brother) can offer us some advice on how to renew our minds:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5 ]

Snowman + on her kneesIt’s just that simple- get on your knees, get in God’s Word and ask for wisdom! I asked God for wisdom at 16 and started off reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. I am not Buddha, Gandhi, or King Solomon; I have, however, had God blow my mind with his wisdom because He is so good. Ask, and you shall receive!

You may be wondering what it looks like to have God’s wisdom. James, our expert on wisdom, tells us:

“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace –loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” [ James 4:17 ]

There you have it! Surrender yourself to God and ask him to help you renew your mind and He will make you into the kind, wise person you were created to be!

BONUS challenge: Commit to reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. A proverb a day keeps the enemy’s lies away!

Peace and grace to you,

James

|Author >> James| ^^ |Photography >> Cassi|

missing the bar

Hey everybody! James here. You are still fully surrendered like you were this summer, right? You’re still in the word and prayer all the time, and you’re in authentic community right? Things are going almost perfectly, and you are at the top of your spiritual game right? (Cynical laugh) If you are like most of us, the answer to one or all of these is “no.”

Hilton head FeetSomewhere along the way we all “miss the bar” spiritually, emotionally, socially, and so on. We all fail. We all hurt others, and we all hurt ourselves. I am convinced that the biggest danger to Christians today is not temptation but the guilt and shame that come from sin. All too often, we will mess up. We repent, turning towards Christ. But for some reason we cannot seem to forgive ourselves as Christ has forgiven us. This guilt and shame perpetuates more fear, more hiding, and more sin.  There are so many Christians who let their guilt and shame turn into self-hatred, and not grasping God’s grace fully, allow their self-hatred to fester and grow. I have been one of them without even realizing it. Does this ring a bell to you? If so, grab your bible and lean into God’s truth with me: 

Level

  1. We are commanded to view ourselves accurately. First and foremost, in Romans 12:3 we are told, “do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” One thing The Lord has shown me recently is I have a tendency to view myself as unworthy, and so I overcompensate by acting prideful. Whether we think we are the coolest thing since sliced cheese, or we are always downing ourselves, neither reflects the way Christ sees us; both can be dangerous to our spiritual, emotional health.
  2. Your Self-Hatred Affects Others. There is so much I could say about this, but all I will note is this: you will never be the person God has created you to be, and you will never love other people the way God has called you to unless you love yourself.  In other words, the “golden rule” of loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31) cannot be followed well if you treat yourself like garbage.
  3. Holding Resentment Towards Yourself is a Vicious Cycle. I messed up, therefore I feel bad. I feel bad, therefore I need to do something to feel better. I do what makes me feel better (sin). I feel worse than I did before.It is a horrible pattern that most of us are not aware of when it happens. On the flip side, it is when we finally acknowledge the bitterness we have and surrender it to Christ (Romans 12:1) that we allow Christ to do the healing in us he promised. 

So do yourself a favor and forgive your worst enemy- you! Talk to a trusted friend, a pastor or a mentor. Break the sin-cycle you are trapped in and let Jesus shine through you!

Peace and Grace to you,

James

|Author >> James| ^^ |Photography >> Jamie|

be still

Be Still 1

Imagine this. You wake up peacefully; the light of morning is quietly peaking through the curtains. You turn over slowly, allowing yourself to sink deeper into the warm comfort of your covers. Everything is still, you are at rest, and the anxiety of the world is light-years away.

Suddenly, you look at the clock. You realize you forgot to set your alarm and you only have 15 minutes until school starts or you have to be at work. Your mom is screaming “we have to leave NOW for school” and you can’t even figure out what to do first. “I still need to shower”, you think, “and I was going to finish my homework early this morning because I was too tired to finish it last night”. “Oh, I have to remember my book this time because I was docked 5 points for forgetting it yesterday.” AAAHHHH Jesus help me!!!

Be Still 2

And then, you remember: Jesus. Oh yeah, I wanted to spend time praying this morning. Oh well, God will wait for me to talk to him when I have time….Does this situation sound way too familiar?

Busyness does not always give rise to productivity. I have recently been reminded that apart from God, I can do NOTHING (John 15:5). Truth is, God wants to be your comfort in the midst of your busy schedule. He wants to be a part of everything you are involved in, not just the church stuff. He wants EVERY BIT OF YOU, and He wants to make your burden light.

Cast ALL your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7) Did you miss that? HE CARES FOR Y-O-U! He is a wonderful Father, and He hates to see his children in distress. That is why He wants you to know that He can hold your stress: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

Be Still 3Be Still, and know that I am God.

Be still, friends.

Much Love, from Caitlin Hines

|Author + Photographer >> Caitlin