When a person makes a decision for Christ, he or she also makes a decision to turn away from the world, to Go Rogue.
I wanna talk about a different point of view, the point of me. I was a half-in, half-out Christian living in Godly moments and then slipping back into my worldly and fleshy behaviors. I had gone rogue on God, not rogue with Him. I was “lukewarm” and constantly felt torn between who I wanted to be and who the Lord wanted me to be.
This summer, Jesus pried my sin-filled eyes open, helping me see my sinful nature and just how much I needed to change. He helped me see the need to stay away from temptations and use His tools to remove stumbling blocks from my path. I realized what it meant to go fully, totally, completely rogue for the One who made me. I want to show Jesus that I want His will for my life and that I love Him. That I didn’t/don’t want a worldly lifestyle, I want Him. I find it difficult to leave a whole life behind, especially when the enemy is always dragging me down, making me believe I need certain things when they have no use. This causes me to lose focus and every one of my priorities shifts. Reading my Bible slides down to the bottom, praying feels like a chore, speaking becomes less and less edifying, and eventually I don’t even know what it means to be a Christian. Slipping so many times makes it easy to give up.
That’s the thing though, I gave up. God didn’t. I was sure that God was done with me, tired of my habitual sin and one apology after another… He wasn’t. Now don’t get me wrong He was for sure tired of the sin, but not me. He had/has a plan for me, He gave me a job at this camp called Whisper Mountain. He surrounded me with these Godly people who did not judge me for having sin. Instead, they encouraged me to confess it, to no longer allow it to hold power over me. To not let it hold me back. They texted me daily and told me to read my Bible. I felt comfortable asking for prayer about whatever I was going through, and they reciprocated. God used these people to teach me how to Go Rogue for God not from God. They taught me how to live out my faith, to study the Word, and to pray without ceasing. For all these things I am eternally grateful to God and them.
Having said all this, my question to you is simple, yet hard to swallow. Have you gone rouge from the world, or have you gone rouge from God? I made the wrong decision, but praise the Lord, I was able to run back to Him.
On Tuesday night, I picked up a hiker’s backpack; heavy with stones. The stones had painted words: Gossip, lust, pride and murder… Other stones had social media apps painted on them; like Instagram, Snapchat and Tik-Tok. I took a shaky breath, and prepared for my last walk with these weights. It was hard picking up the backpack without making a noisy shuffle in the back of the camp’s chapel building: The Axis.
The stones I carried would act as talking points for a skit that night.
“Alright, time for my Life’s Journey!” I said, walking down the aisle of seats, with campers and staff on either side of me. My back was bent with the weight of the backpack. “I hope I packed enough. I think I have all the essentials!”
When I get to the stage, I meet one of the staff who plays the Guide for my Journey, Carlo Cicero. I tell him that I’ve packed everything I need for my journey; or at least I hope I did… The guide asks me to explain what I’ve packed. I take out a few items before the rocks come out, explaining why I need them.
“Well, you see, I’m the first starring female quarterback for my high school’s varsity football team… It’s kind of a big deal. I have to practice for at least three hours a day after school… I need to.”
I took out other objects, representing activities my character considered essential. Textbooks, signifying the need to please parents and the need to get into the best colleges there are. A dumbbell, representing the need to exercise and to maintain my appearance. A TV remote, signifying the need for Netflix binges. The rocks with social media apps painted on them, representing the need to keep up my internet presence.
Then, I took out heavier objects.
An empty beer bottle. An empty pill bottle. Rocks with sins painted on them: gossip, lust, pride…
I sought to portray the need for certain objects in my life that gave me a sense of identity. I needed to excel in so many things: football, drums, a social media presence, grades in school; so others would see me as excellent. My character carried these weights to maintain a sense of purpose.
Yet, it exasperated me. The backpack was heavy. I was weighted down. The weights ultimately couldn’t fulfill me.
The guide invited me to set it all aside. Let go of those things! They aren’t essential…
Another member on staff, Lucas Bloss, played a character who also embarked on his life’s journey; yet, his pack was different than mine.
He didn’t have one. Lucas walked to the stage with one thing: a singular loaf of bread. He started eating it, and explained that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
He didn’t carry any weights. He didn’t need a hiker’s pack like I did. The word of the Lord was enough for Lucas.
That was all he needed.
Since the beginning of the summer, I’ve been praying that if God could use me to point just one student closer to Himself, that would make a whole summer of camp work worth it.
A.W Tozer wrote:
I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme [of the love of God] than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So, as I stretch my heart toward the high, shilling love of God, someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.
Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer
I don’t know the backgrounds of all of the students who come to Whisper Mountain; but what I do know is, they all need Jesus more than anything.
One camper who left a lasting impact on me struggled with identity issues. She found her identity in her looks; and when that couldn’t satisfy her, she turned to other things, such as extracurriculars and social status.
She felt empty and drained. I was able to sit with her after the skit a few weeks ago and ask her to read Psalm 139, which talks about how God has made her wonderfully made. He knows her, loves her, and has made her with purpose.
I told her that she can find confidence in her identity in Christ, by knowing who our God is and who He created her to be.
I got to pray with her and assure her that she is not here by accident, but by God’s plan. Freedom is found through the accomplishment of Jesus Christ and His love for her.
Jesus invites us to cast everything aside, to follow Him. We don’t need to carry any weights! Jesus takes it all, because He is enough.
Having conversations like that humbles and astonishes me. Why would God choose to use me, of all people, to share His goodness with others? Why would He use me to help build up His kingdom?
The apostle Paul writes:
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
I Timothy 1:15-16 NASB
Despite my own shortcomings, God still chose to use me, and my imperfect words.
He even chooses to use that little backpack skit to point campers to Himself. Through the work being done at Whisper Mountain, God has shown me new mercies every day that have come from choosing to serve Him.
Jesus died for me, so why should I not want to live for Him?
A few weeks ago, on a Wednesday night, there was an altar call after the evening service. Students from Southbrook Church in Charlotte, North Carolina were invited to sit at the foot of the cross and pray; asking God to help relieve them of any burdens, asking God to help them endure difficult situations, so they could be confident in resting their eyes upon Him. Nearly the entire camp, close to 60 students, responded and went to seek the Lord in prayer.
I found it difficult not to weep as I stood in the back of the Axis building, looking at all of the students who responded to the Word spoken.
If all of these students chose to kneel and pray; if they were all committed to serving Jesus Christ by giving up their lives as a living sacrifice as Romans 12:1 says, there will be massive revival in the Church. If each of those students steps up to serve or lead in whatever capacity, I imagine a chain-reaction happening. Others will be pointed to the work and person of Jesus Christ, others will accept the Gospel and then more leaders will be created for the work the Lord has commanded His followers to.
Through the teachings at Whisper Mountain: through personal devotional times, small group Bible studies, sermons each night and spiritual parallels tied with other camp activities, campers have been challenged to apply action to their faith. They learn the importance of spending time in Scripture, prayer, worship, evangelism and discipleship.
Mere belief in Jesus Christ provides salvation, but Jesus Christ is not truly honored until His people pursue Him and seek Him diligently.
Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee.
Psalm 51:12-13 NASB
The Psalmist implores the Lord to help him to delight in the work God has done, and to help him to have the desire to serve the Lord. It is in the joy of salvation and the desire of believers to serve the Lord that others may come to know Jesus personally.
The love of God extends far more than I could ever imagine. This love is radical, transforming, and awe-inspiring. People crave love, and as many turn to the pleasures of sin in an effort to experience love and fulfillment; no one truly knows what it is to live fulfilled unless they understand the person and work of Jesus Christ, and confess their need for a Savior.
Jesus Christ lived the perfect life that we could not live, and He died the death that we deserved. The mission that God has called us to in Matthew 28:18-19; to make disciples and to proclaim His Gospel, has become more important to me than ever since serving at camp. I am on a mission to live for Him and to proclaim His works, as a soldier on duty (refer to 2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Whisper Mountain reflects and lives out this mission by its work centered on Christ. The camp is geared towards teaching upcoming generations about Him.
As I think back to all that the Lord has done this summer, I keep thinking about the skit and my heavy pack. I physically felt better once I set it down on the stage and let go of all that my character set her identity in; sports, school, people-pleasing… While I must strive to glorify and honor God in all that I do, I’ve learned the importance of letting go of the things that distract me from the mission the Lord has called me to: to worship Him and to tell others about what He has done for me.
Serving at Whisper Mountain taught me that God will use me if I let Him, but I must be willing and resolute in following Him in His mission to proclaim the Gospel.
If Jesus Christ endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:1-2), then I can find strength in looking unto Him in the work He has given me.
I can rest in the knowledge of who Jesus is; the author and perfecter of my faith, who saved me and who seeks to save the world.
Southbrook is a church we get to see twice in a summer because they are such a large group! WE LOVE THAT — but also, won’t it be great when our camper housing project gets completed and they can come all at one time?! Let it be so, Jesus!
Last week was the first week of Southbrook Church teens from Charlotte. It seems the best way to communicate the week is from the lips of the campers themselves, so here it is!
“I’ve known a lot of pain in my life, but this week I’ve seen that God will heal me in His time.”
I thought I knew God, but coming here I realize I know nothing. And meeting all of you, I realize I always have someone to talk to.
I had a lot of family issues I kept pushing away. Coming here and laying things at the cross helps me see how praying makes a difference. You guys have made it easy to find someone to trust.
All the activities, quiet alone with Jesus, Biblical teaching and intentional connections come together to create an experience that is entirely life-changing! This is the power of camp! We are so thankful for God’s faithfulness to continue to show us more of Himself! Last week a group a great, church-going people left camp and went home as Jesus followers. There’s simply nothing better in life than following Jesus! Thanks for escaping your noise at Whisper Mountain Camp! May you continue to find more of Him each day!
Author | Cassi Werner Photography | Adrienne Cicero + Cassi Werner
We enjoyed a mix of people from Highlands, NC, a few individuals from our town and a couple individuals from South Carolina and Michigan! We never are sure how things will go when people register to come to camp, but we have always been amazed at the way God orchestrates people’s lives to be in the right place at the right time!
The bravery of teens coming on their own, or even not wanting to come and feeling like they “had to” ended in close comradery with the other campers and for some of them, receiving Jesus! Isn’t that why we do what we do?
The outdoor activities, the personal and group challenges, the intentional connections with our staff, encountering truth from the Word of God, finding time alone to think and listen and grow — this is the power of camp at Whisper Mountain!
The two groups from Highlands are in a place of new leadership and fresh beginnings. The low ropes challenges proved helpful to strengthen their team unity.
To all who came this week, thank you for trusting your leaders, churches, parents, foster parents and us! We are thrilled for all we saw God do in your lives! Keep chasing Him!
It’s his birthday! It’s his birthday! Party on now! Party on now! HEYYYYYYY!!
How fun to have Ethan on our Awesomeness Takes the Stage on his birthday!
We think Ethan is worth celebrating for many reasons, but we just love that he is equal parts goofball and man of God! We loved having him on staff last year and are thankful to have him again this year as a Guide again!
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again! Getting to watch our summer staff grow through the years is one of the highlights of being in camp ministry! Ethan is no exception — we’ve really seen Ethan grow in his leadership while serving with us at camp!
Since we’ve known him, he’s always been a man of character, but we see him jumping to new heights as he strives to walk more and more closely to Jesus! He’s often caught helping out with forgotten or undesirable jobs, he’s quick to connect with campers that might be on the outskirts of the crowd, and he exudes hospitality by helping all the people feel right at home with him.
He is fantastic at making conversation with anyone, he makes amazing lattes and sincerely cares about the people he’s around!
Ethan, thank you for serving with us, for allowing God to have His way in your life and for helping add such strength to the team this year! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!
We have officially kicked off the 2018 Summer Camp Season here at Whisper Mountain with the welcoming of our summer staff this past week! Midway through our first week of staff training and we are super excited for who God has brought to serve alongside us!
Each one brings something unique to the table, so to speak, and we know God orchestrates all things for His glory so we are looking forward to His work through each of our staff this summer!
The laughter, the camaraderie that’s beginning, the stretching beyond expectations — all this and so much more are molding this staff to be an instrument for God’s glory alone!
We look forward to sharing more about them and their summer as the weeks go on!
SUMMER STAFF 2018 — thank you for being here at Whisper Mountain Camp this summer! We are so glad you are here and look forward to what God has in store for you this summer!
We were just remembering what a great week we had with our final group of Summer 2017: Hank’s Chapel! We just never got around to posting them! (sorry guys!)
What a delight they were for our staff to get to know and spend time with! We are excited to continue to see how God continues His work in their lives back home! You can check out their week’s video by clicking the image below (or click here!).
Being from similar small town living and quieter in nature helped our two groups meld into one this past week! Berry’s Grove and Robbinsville locals were a great fit!
At the end of the day, the adventure (whether scary or exhilarating) and fun, the teachable moments and Gospel truth all hit us in personal ways. We find ourselves stretched and growing when we least expect it! These teens encountered moments like these! We pray they are better for it!
Click the picture below to catch a glimpse of their week with us!
Thank you Berry’s Grove for entrusting your teens to us for the week! We pray God continues His work in you even when you go home! Robbinsville Locals, thanks for trusting us and coming to be a part of Summer 2017! Keep chasing Jesus!
You guys, we only have a short of time left to put all the staff on the Awesomeness Takes the Stage this summer! So let’s keep it rolling with Morgan Goodson!
Morgs (previously spotlighted here and here!), like many others before her, was first a camper! This is her third summer serving with us as a Guide!
Seeing Morgan grow through the years has been a beautiful thing! Growth is hard, people, but she is faithful to following hard after Jesus and He’s weaving a beautiful story with her! We are thankful for the front row seat and for the inspiration she is!
Morgan is the girl who’s quietly in the middle of the action, but very good at seeing those people who might be getting missed in the crowd, at offering her peanut gallery commentary and making those she’s with feel seen and heard! If she’s not hugging someone, she’s listening. If she’s not listening she’s making them laugh!
Morgs, we look forward to seeing how God molds and shapes you as you keep following Him in this next step of your journey! We are thankful to have you on the team this summer!
We had a complete Middle School takeover last week when Church at Charlotte arrived at Whisper Mountain!
People are afraid of middle schoolers, and we can understand that, but this crowd — they are great! They have hearts of gold and are struggling well through all the transitions they are experiencing in life! They make life a little more fun! Click the picture below to watch the video about more of their week with us!
Thanks for coming CAC! You’ll change the world as you continue to follow Jesus!
(We’ve seen evidence of your prayers, Warriors — thanks for praying!)