Monday, April 30, 2012

Top 4 Reasons to be in Church... Reason # 1

Because God Wants It–Heb. 10:19-26

            I want to indulge in one of my favorite passions, cooking. Not!
            However, Jell-O is one of the few items I can cook, so, let’s pretend I have a cooking show; why not? Everyone else does!
            Okay, on my show, I am going to demonstrate how to prepare Jell-o. It is easy to do, first, open the box and in pour the contents into a bowl. Add water. Mix everything together. Then, pour your liquid into a mold.
            Here is where it can be fun. You can try various molds for your Jell-O.
            After you have poured the liquid into a mold, place your mold in the refrigerator. Your liquid has to congeal. After an hour or two, voilà! You open the refrigerator and pull out your beautiful mold of Jell-O.
            Pour your Jell-O onto a plate. Now you can entertain and host you own exciting party!
            One of the things that the preacher in Hebrews emphasizes is that there are a number of groups in the world who are competing to put people into their molds. What he tells the Christians in chapter ten is–for them, it had better be the local church.
            Let's apply this to today. Are there a lot of groups in the world? Of course. Are they all trying to fit you into a mold? It would be good for you to understand that yes, they are.
            Not all of these are bad. In fact, many of them are very good. The Lions Club is a very good group. It has a very good mold for its members to fit into. The same thing is true when it comes to the Rotary club. The Shriners have many children's hospitals in the United States.
            Your group at work operates under a boss or a management that has a mold for its employees and that can be good or bad--depending upon the group (and depending upon the leadership.)
            Schools have molds. Sports teams have molds. Little League has a mold.
            However, make no mistake about it. Hebrews teaches us, (and the rest of Scripture reinforces this) that the most important group in the world is the church. Hebrews emphasizes that it is the church as represented by the local congregation.
            You may be asking, “Why?” The reason is it is the mission of the church to help people become molded into the image of Jesus. That is unique, and even if some of the other groups try to do that, and very few do, that's not the group that the Lord has designated. It is the church.
            One of the ways the church does this is in gathering together. What you have in chapter 10 verses 19 and following is, quite honestly, a commandment for Christians to gather together. Let’s read verses 19 to 25–19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

slide  23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. ESV

            Now, a lot of people are sensitive about verse 25, and I get that. Because it has been taken out of context so many times. A congregation could call an assembly at three o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon for a gospel meeting, and if somebody didn't show up, I have heard this verse used, “Forsake not the assembly…”
            Let me be frank, I believe this text is about the Sunday assembly of Christians gathering together, in sharing in the Lord's supper and communing together, building each other up, and other ministering activities, of which the New Testament offers hints such as singing, praying, preaching, giving…
            I find it interesting to look at some of the translations of verse 25. Here are a few:

25 Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer. CEV
25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming. NCV
25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching. AMP
25 Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. THE MESSAGE
25 And let us not hold aloof from our church meetings, as some do. Let us do all we can to help one another’s faith, and this the more earnestly as we see the final day drawing ever nearer. PHILLIPS

25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. HCSB

 25Do not stop going to church meetings. Some people do stop. But help each other to be strong. You must do it all the more as you see the Great Day coming closer. WE

25 Let us not stay away from church meetings. Some people are doing this all the time. Comfort each other as you see the day of His return coming near. NLV

            Hebrews enters our fast paced lives, slams on the brakes, and screams–wait a minute! The Lord and his work should drive the agenda.
            A church might apply this principle to another time of meeting, or to a meeting for additional teaching, worship, prayer or encouragement, but the commandment here—and it is a commandment—is for the Sunday assembly of the saints. The event that takes place here is one reason that Sunday is referred to in Revelation as the Lord's Day.
            So, why assemble?

1. It is cool as the body of Christ, as a community, to go into the presence of God together. That is a moldable experience. This is something that's been talked about before. Because of the work of Jesus, we can go into the throne room of God. So we, together, show group recognition of who this Holy Father is. It is a time of appreciation for the work of Jesus. It is a time of worship and adoration directed towards both.

2. We stir each other up to good works. I'll play off of something I have talked about before: take water and powdered Jell-O, put them together, and you have elements of what you need for a nice Jell-O dessert. But you still don't have Jell-O. Why? Because you have to mix them together. To do that, you have to stir them up.
            Many Christians think about Christianity and they think about God doing powerful things with the Christian individual. You have a human being who has the Holy Spirit living within him or within her. However, that has to be stirred up for good works. Assembling together is an essential component of that process.
The Preacher is telling them–you make the Sunday worship assembly your priority.
            One of the reasons people were dropping out of the faith and not enduring was because they had quit assembling together. Here is how serious the Preacher is about the problem: look at verse 26 and the phrase–“go on sinning”. What is he referring to? The fact that the Christians were not assembling together. Look at 26-27:

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. ESV
            These are not proof texts. These is not a TV evangelists with a bad hairdo talking.            I was blessed to have as a professor one of the world’s great scholars on Hebrews, Dr. James Thompson, in a class on Hebrews in graduate school. He told us you can boil Hebrews down to one statement–you need to be in church. I assure you, James Thompson is not a legalist.
            Once again, this is important because you and I are going to fit into somebody's mold. It had better be God's mold.
            Where does that happen? Well, as much as we might not like it, it is with our local congregation.
            If you don't like that, take it to God. I didn’t write the Bible.
            Did you know there are well-known people in the last one hundred years who have sacrificed to “go to church.” They did so because this was a priority for them. I will tell you about three.
            You might not know who Christy Mathewson was. Known as the “Christian gentleman”, he was the most famous athlete in the United States in the first decade of the 1900s. A fantastic pitcher for the New York Giants, he was known for choosing to not pitch on Sundays. He believed Sunday was the Lord's Day. Mathewson still won 363 games, which was not bad.
            Other players did not view his “church-going” as sanctimonious. Indeed, he remained extremely popular with them.
            One player who loved and respected Christy Mathewson was hall-of-famer Ty Cobb. Cobb was a troubled individual known for being excessively mean. Yet, he cried when Christy Mathewson died due to complications from wounds from his service in World War I.
            Anybody want to go to Chick-fil-A for lunch this Sunday? Good luck. It's going be closed.            
            That's because the founder, Truitt Cathy, decided when he opened his first restaurant that they would not open on Sundays. He wanted his family (and himself) to enjoy God on that day. He felt his employees should enjoy the same blessing as he and his family. Even though his competitors are open one extra day a week, Chick-fil-A is considered one of the most successful restaurant chains in the country.
            Now, I want to say something to the person who feels he is too busy to attend church every week. Do you know who Vince Lombardi was?
            Vince Lombardi coached the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s and was voted by some organizations as the greatest coach of the 20th century. A Broadway play, based on his life, has done remarkably well. Indeed, Lombardi has achieved legendary status in our culture.
            Vince Lombardi was a Roman Catholic, who attended to church every day. Seven days a week Lombardi attended the Catholic mass. Now, regarding this fact, one of his star players, Bart Starr said, “If you knew Coach Lombardi, you would know that he needed to go to church every day.” Consequently, I write this not to offer a money-back guarantee that the worship assembly will make you the person you need to be. I am saying it is hard to be busier than Vince Lombardi was; yet he attended church everyday. (Some of us have difficulty scheduling a quiet time every day, much less go to church once a week.)
            Some of you know that I enjoy reading about the presidents. I think it's interesting that, considering how stressful and time-consuming the job he is, many presidents are recorded to have attended church every Sunday (some of them multiple services.)
            I think the Preacher of Hebrews is saying, “Don't tell me you don't have time to go to church. Tell me you won’t, tell me you don't, but don't tell me you can’t.”
            Remember what has happened to some of these folks? Heb. 10:32-36 reminds us, to recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.”
            All of this is based upon one assumption–that the most important thing in the world for you to become like Jesus. This does not mean to check in, check a box on a card, and leave.
            Hebrews reminds us the most important thing in the world is knowing Jesus and becoming like him. After that, what else is there?
            If you don’t know him, or if you knew him but you have decided to not be MOLDED into his image, how is that working for you?
            Let me be non-judgmental:
            What if we treated people like we wanted?
            What if we spent our money like WE wanted?
            What if we had sex with whomever we wanted?
            What if we came and went with whomever we pleased?
            What if we placed great groups such as charities above the church?
            What if we decided what we did with our lives and we would not let that nosy church get involved?
            Would our lives be better?
            Now, what if we really try to do things God’s way:
            What if we took God’s mold seriously?
            What if we trusted in his plan with the church?
            What if we established the right priorities?
            What if we passed those priorities on to our kids?
            How many of you would I visit on your deathbed and you tell me: I wish I had never trusted Jesus?
            I wish I had never loved the church?
            I wish I had never made the assembly a priority?
            Which mold is going to offer more regret?
            Which mold is going to offer more hell on earth?
            Which mold is going to offer more heaven on earth?


Monday, April 23, 2012

Tough Love

            I have written before that I was never good at track. That may explain why I was never a fan of track meets.
            The last one my children took part in was a few years ago. It was one of those that took hours to complete. There was rain, cold, wind, and then the sun came out and made it hot. Sitting in the stands watching all of the preliminary heats seemed endless.
            I finally leaned over to my wife, Judy, and told her, “If I ever contract a terminal disease, and I know I am going to die, I want you to take me to a track meet.”
            “Why in the world would you want me to do that?” she asked.
            “Because the track meet will last forever.”
            The Bible often uses the metaphor of running races; maybe I should not be so rude. One of those places is in Hebrews. It just happens that Christians are the “runners.”
LOOK TO JESUS (Heb. 12:1-3)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
            In Hebrews 12, the Christians have trained and are running the spiritual race, but not everybody has been cheering for them.
            Have you ever attended a race your kids participated in? Did everybody cheer for them? No! Others were cheering for their own kids, and your kids faced adversity. Maybe kids from the other schools were cheering against your kids, even booing them and heaping abuse upon them.
            Hopefully, your kids had a great group of witnesses present and were able to channel the encouragement and toss aside the scorn and abuse.
These Christians here are being told they are running their race in front of a big crowd pulling for them. There was a crowd in the world pulling against them. They had to learn to channel the energy of their “fans”, and also their opposition.            
Great athletes or athletic teams are those who love to go into the arena of the opposition, hear the crowd screaming against them at the end of a pressure pack event, and come through with a key base hit, key free throw, key touchdown, key long jump, or key throw and quieten the crowd.
Perhaps the greatest example of this in track and field was when Jessie Owens, the great African-American, won four gold medals in the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. Adolph Hitler, after so much effort invested to demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan race, was so upset that he left the stadium rather than see Owens collect his medals.
         To the Christians in Hebrews, it felt as if no one was cheering. What they needed to know was there were those cheering for them—those in the faith who had gone on before.
             Furthermore, they needed to know that in Jesus, they had a mentor who modeled for them (and for us) how to live. Moreover, they (and we) had a coach, a trainer, and a father, who disciplined them.

4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
 5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 
 6 For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

            This Preacher is saying, “I know a lot of bad things are happening to you. Some of you are getting your property taken away from you, some of you are being thrown into jail, these things are happening, but you are not a victim.”
            Incidentally, you see the word “struggle” here in verse 4. From we transliterate the word “antagonism.” The idea is an antagonistic attack against Christians, but we are not victims. And the writer says, “I know you're being exposed to all of these attacks, but you are in a competition. And he said we're not going to let our abusers with this competition. We are going to strive for the prize.”
            Satan and his forces battle us, try to get us to sin, and thus get away from God. It is a lot easier for me to go forward with God when I know I’m not a victim. I'll do better when I'm thinking, “I'm in a battle. I’m in a competition. I want to win.”

       Exposure to insults and hardships is a competition–and we will not let our abusers win because we are striving for the prize.

            I am very competitive. That would have come in handy in Hebrews. Here, the Preacher wants to fan the flames of their competitive nature. He wants to say, “Hey Christians. There are some people outside who are trying to stop you. You are in a competition. Don't let them beat you. You stay faithful. You win the prize.”
            It is almost a figure of speech, but young people face this so much. They get grief in public schools, and they get it in Christian schools; the attacks come  because they want to do things that are Christ-like, and not do things that are Christ-wrong; still, it is so hard.
            You know who Jeff Foxworthy is? He is a comedian and the host of the TV show "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader."
            I found out recently that Jeff Foxworthy is very committed to his church in Atlanta, GA. I saw him being interviewed by a staff member from that church.
            The interviewer had noted that Foxworthy typically had a lot of men in his audiences when he performs. He asked Foxworthy if he had any suggestions for Christian men. Jeff Foxworthy said, "Before I was a Christian, I used to think Christian men were nothing more than “goodie two-shoes” sissies. But then I started looking at Jesus and his suffering surrounding the cross. I had always looked at it as God suffering. Then I realized he was also a man, and he took those shards of bone across his back, and he took a crown of thorns, and he took that cross, and he took it all like a man."
            Have you ever seen the western LONESOME DOVE? I love that show. Robert Duvall plays Gus McCrae—Texas Ranger. At one point, Gus is attacked by Indians and they shoot him in the leg with an arrow.
            Gus almost goes into shock as a fellow cowboy tries to pull out the arrow—the pain is so bad. Jesus took the pain better than that.
            If you have seen “24”, you know the hero Jack Bauer. Sometimes Jack got captured and tortured by the bad guys. Jack Bauer has nothing on Jesus.
            Let me tell you, they captured and tortured Jesus, and he showed his manhood. Jesus displayed it during torture; his courage, self-control, pain management trumps everyone else’s. He showed it because he put his trust in his Heavenly Father.
            Remember, as George McDonald has written, Jesus did not die in a pretty painting. Jesus did not die in a beautiful cathedral. Jesus died in a public marketplace—naked, with the general public walking by back and forth, or observing him and observing the shame and abuse being heaped upon him. Some perhaps even stopped by and heaped a little scorn on him themselves.
            Something else the Preacher in Hebrews wants them to know (and wants us to know), just because you or I are suffering for the cause of Christ, it does not mean that God is unhappy with us. We've all probably had experiences where we think, “Oh no, God is not happy with me” or “I must have done something wrong, God is unhappy with me.”
            Sometimes that may be true. Obviously, whenever we face adversity it is good to do an evaluation: am I in the will of God? Am I doing the right thing?
             But these guys who were meeting together and hearing this letter were still hanging in there, and what he wants them to know, “Though you are going through hard times, God is still pleased with you.
Experiencing trials does not mean that God is unhappy with you.
            The myth today is God always wants us to be happy—that happiness is God's top priority for us—and His whole universe revolves around our happiness. That is a lie.
            Now, let us not go to the other extreme. God is interested in our happiness. Otherwise he would not have given us a world that had color. We would live in a black-and-white world. Such reality shows you the degree of detail in which God is involved in our lives, to help us enjoy life. But that is not his first priority.            
            God’s first priority is getting us to be like Jesus, and helping others to be like Jesus—whatever it takes. Even if it means being persecuted. Even if it means being reviled. Even if it means being put down.
            Now, here is the hard one for some of us:
   “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. 

 6 For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”

            The word “punish” has become a dirty word today. Here is why the Father punishes us—to compress a lifetime of pain into as short a time as possible, so as to avoid a lifetime of it.
            It’s spring, and I see bags of fertilizer everywhere. I see them and think about when I was four or five, and a friend and I got into his dad’s storeroom, cut open bags of fertilizer (there were a bunch), and threw the fertilizer up in the air all over his storeroom. The floor was covered. It was like sawdust.
            Strangely enough, my friend’s dad did not appreciate our work. He gave us a whipping. (Back then parents did that.) I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never been tempted to do it again.
            God can use circumstances to punish us, and that is not a bad thing in the biblical sense. It can save us a lifetime, an eternity, of pain.
            Keep in mind, this is in the context of discipline and training. Speaking of which, Hebrews 5:8 (talking about Jesus) tells us that Jesus learned, (literally, he was discipled by his Heavenly Father) to be obedient: Even though Jesus was the Son of God, he learned obedience by what he suffered (Heb. 5:8.) NCV
            Even the Son of God in human form had to learn—had to be trained—so that he could share our experience. God the Father did not exempt God the Son. God the Son did not even exempt himself. God the Son went through this so he could share our experience.
            I don't like discipline. A lot of times it takes pain to get to me to discipline myself. Often, the pain of trying to get my pants to encircle my waist, motivates me to eat like I should. The pain of wearing too tight can motivate me to physically exercise like I should.
            I need discipline. God knows that.

7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
            Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by his father?
            You ever had one of those running around? A child not disciplined by his father?
            I remember one time Judy and I would practically insure our house before a family came over because we did not know what their kids would destroy. The fact that they were undisciplined; it was not their fault they were undisciplined; it was the fault of the parents; they would even attempt to discipline their kids.
            I appreciate all my parents did to discipline me. I hope I can, as soon as possible, have a spirit that appreciates the discipline of God.
            10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
            What was the desired result of the training that God was putting them through? Holy lives. You can go all the way back to Leviticus where God says, “Be holy for I am holy.” That's what he wanted. Then Jesus came down, walked among us, and showed us how to live a holy life. So that is what we aspire to live--the life of Jesus.
            Any of you pulling for a team this year in baseball? Back during Spring Training, I asked all of the Texas Rangers fans how they would feel if they found out that the Rangers were meeting every morning at the International House of Pancakes and loading up? And they follow that with golf!
            Would fans be happy with that? No. Fans would want the Rangers to undergo thorough, disciplined training. A fan would want the Rangers to leave their families behind and go into a camp and undergo strict training. They would want them to compete and to get better.
            That's what we need from God—strict training.
       Here is another way of saying this:
                   In life you will have two groups trying to discipline you:
           The people of the world and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
            The Preacher says there were two groups who were trying to discipline these Christians; one group was the world, and the other group was the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
            It is the same way today. You are going out into the world, and somebody's going to set up a mold and tell you, “Fit this mold. Live in this way.”
            It will be our culture, or it will be God.
            Young people know exactly what this means. If worldly young people think a young Christian should drink an alcoholic beverage, and the young Christian refuses, do you think they will back off because they're afraid to hurt the young Christian’s feelings? No, they're very committed to this. They are trying to discipline the young Christian to fit their mold. They are trying to train him to be like them.
            They may not realize that it is training, and it may be training in a bad way, but that is exactly what they're trying to do. They are trying to train someone in the way they think he should live.
            If you do not follow the world’s way of living, they will try various means and methods to rein you back in. They want you to get you back into line.
            They will try hard, harsh discipline. Ever heard this: “What's the matter, are you chicken?” The world has been trying to train us since day one.
            Since dating has begun, whether a teenage young man, or a young single man, or an older single man--how many times has a female heard this? “What's the matter? If you loved me you would…”
            What was the male saying? Basically, he was saying, “If you loved me, you would keep my commandments.” That is what he is saying.
            The world is always trying to train people up in the way the world thinks people should go.
            It is that important to the world. But you have the other side. You have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit working to train you up in the way you should go. And this passage talks specifically about the Heavenly Father.
            Our Heavenly Father says, “I am the one who should discipline you. I made you. I know what you need. I will discipline you, and I will train you in love.” He means it. The Preacher quotes here from Proverbs. 3:11.
            15  No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
            Doctors seek to avoid surgery. It is invasive, and if there is a better way, they pursue it.
            If you break your leg, doctors will try to encourage its healing through a cast or some form other than surgery. Sometimes, the bone simply grows back wrong. If it does, a doctor, such as an orthopedic surgeon, will have to re-break the bone and put a pin in it. That is a worse case scenario, but it may be essential for proper healing. It is in our best interest.
            Sometimes, God allows things to occur in our lives to promote our healing. Occasionally, he allows events occur that re-break us. It is a worse case scenario, it is tough, but it is loving. The Preacher from Hebrews wants to talk about that with us:
            12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
            These Christians were tired; they were like marathoners teetering, ready to fall. If they could just hang on! If they could just keep running!
            Then he says, make a straight path. Anybody here ever been like me when I was a kid? I had crooked teeth. I had to get them straightened out. I had to go to the “teeth straightener.” But that did not sound so professional, so he took this word from Hebrews: ortho. And he called himself an orthodontist.
            What is the Preacher saying?
            “Accept God’s training and get in the race!”
            Because we are part of a relay team, and that would be the church.
            We get our own house in order, and we help the community as well.
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.

            The message in Hebrews is, “Hey gang, we’re on the journey. People have dropped out, like Esau. Let's remember our responsibility to the church. We’re all in this together.” In God’s group, we help look out for each other.             We help each other. We help each other see what is so hard to see. And like Chapter 11—the heroes of faith— we become for those who come after us, heroes of faith.
            We can look at this as a negative thing, or as an adventure. How many of you ever been to a Christian camp in the summer?
            Was there discipline? Sure.
            Was there suffering? You bet—100 degrees and no AC.
            But, was there joy?
            Was their community?
            Did you want to leave?
            I think we should try to make our church and our everyday lives like camp.