Archive for the ‘Church’ Category

This summer I’m going to attempt to post weekly about our activities at New England Frontier Camp (NEFC). But first, let me give you a little history of my involvement with NEFC.

I first came to NEFC as a camper in the late 70’s. I think I was here for two years, and I remember during that time that they were building the Stockade area of the camp, about 1/2 mile from the main part of camp. The cabins in this area were built in the style of the old Blockhouses on the frontier, with the upper level overhanging the lower level by about 2 feet all the way around.

In 1986 and 1987 I came to the camp as a Senior Counselor. During the summer of 1987, my then fiance, Kathy, was the head cook in the kitchen. Two weeks after the conclusion of camp was our wedding. It was probably not the best way to spend the summer in preparation for our wedding, as we were quite busy, and had little time to plan. However, somehow we managed to pull it off.

In the summer of 1988, we came for just a week. I was in a cabin and Kathy helped out in the kitchen. In 1989 I don’t think we came at all.

In December 1989, we were looking forward to our first child being born in late June, when I got a phone call from the camp director. He said the administrative staff had been talking, and decided they would like me to be the Stockade Program Director, but they knew that I couldn’t do that with the baby coming. However, they decided to let ME make that decision, instead of making it for me by not asking. I think we surprised everyone when we said “Yes”. Josiah was 4 days old when he arrived at camp that summer – quite possibly the youngest person to ever be at camp.

I worked at camp the summers of 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994. During that time I went on the camp board for a period of time as treasurer, and worked as both Stockade Program Director and then as the assistant to the Camp Director. Matthias was a couple of weeks old in 1992 when he arrived at camp.

At the end of the summer of 1994, our pastor at home resigned, and that led me into a position of speaking each week at church. In addition, the summer of 1995 saw our 3rd child come along, and we decided that we could no longer work at camp. The strange thing was how completely we ended up separated from camp – I do not believe that we set foot on camp property again until May, 2010 when I took my Battalion group down for the Camp-O-Rama. Driving through the town of Lovell began to bring back many memories of camp, and it was quite a remarkable experience to drive down the camp road and begin remembering all the things that I had done there and been involved with. I had forgotten how much I missed the place, if that makes any sense.

Our family had talked about doing some camping that summer, and we found an opportunity with a “Hammer Camp” NEFC was hosting Memorial Day weekend for families. We decided we would go down and camp out in the back field and help out, and we had an absolutely fabulous time. All the kids had a lot of fun and we got a lot of projects done. Over that weekend, the camp director asked Matthias if he would be interested in coming on staff for the summer, and so Matthias sent in an application and subsequently spend the summer there.

We also found out that they were short handed in the kitchen, and so Kathy, Peter, David, and Elias spent 3 weeks there, which turned into 4 weeks. Annie and I made a commute back and forth between home and camp – I needed to stay on top of things at C-Prompt, as well as some projects I was working on at home.

We had such a fabulous time that we decided this summer we would spend the entire summer here. There may be times I will need to go home to tend to things at C-Prompt, but for the most part we are hopeful that the shop will continue without much need for me to be there. Kathy is helping out with the kitchen, both with orders and helping with some cooking, as well as taking care of laundry for the camp. Annie is helping out in those areas where she can as well. Matthias is doing a lot of office work, and Peter is a CIT (Counselor in Training). I’m kind of helping out with whatever I can do – networking, re-building campfire sites, and other miscellaneous things.

In the next day or two I will try to post a summary of our first week. Feel free to post any questions you might have! .

So it has been over 2 and half months since I posted anything here.  I guess I better bring you up to speed on my life over that time.

April is always a busy month, with the Maine State Math Meet.  This year the event was held on April 5th at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.  It was the largest meet we have ever had.  Kathy and I go down on the Sunday afternoon before the meet, and spend Monday afternoon getting everything set up – from registration tables, to putting name tags on the tables for schools, to setting up the computer scoring network, and setting up the grading room.  My team usually arrives shortly after 5:00 pm, and I take them out to eat for supper.  On the day of the meet, I arrive onsite at 7:00, the meet generally ends around 3:00, and I try to be on the road for home by 4:00.

Once I recover from that event, we usually are close to April vacation, which it seems that I managed to get through without spending EVERY day at C-Prompt.

Once we hit May, things start picking up again.  My AP Calculus class took their AP exam on May 5th, so we had about a week of final preparation for that.  I began meeting with each senior Mountain Time to start going over expectations for graduation, including dress code, procedures, and doing some practice marching.  We took the Brigade group from church down to New England Frontier Camp for the weekend of the 20th for the annual Camp-O-Rama, which is a lot of fun.

The last full week of May was not really full for school, as we had no students on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  We had a workshop day instead.  On Saturday we went to Jonathan and Karolyne Sloma’s wedding (Jonathan works for me at C-Prompt), and it was a beautiful wedding.  On Memorial Day itself I ended up spending about 4 hours in school getting things taken care of that needed to be done.

Thursday, June 2nd was our first formal Marching Practice getting the seniors ready for graduation.  Friday morning was our Senior breakfast, and then we had two more Marching activities on Monday June 6th, and then the Senior Farewell Assembly on Tuesday, June 7th.  I actually ended up going home early that day as I did not feel well at all.

Then that afternoon we headed down to Oxford to my folks where we spent the night, so that Kathy could get me to Portland by about 6:15 so I could catch a 7:20 flight out to Kansas City by way of Chicago.  In fact, that’s where I am currently writing this from.  I’m here grading the AP Calculus exam, and have finished 6 straight days of grading.  Tomorrow is our last day, and then I fly back home on Thursday.

Friday is our last day of school, so I’ll be working hard to get grades done and my room cleaned up.  I have very little time for this, as we plan to move on Saturday down to Frontier Camp in Lovell for the summer, where Matthias will be a Senior Counselor, Peter will be a CIT (Counselor-in-Training), Kathy and Annie will be helping out in the Laundry area and ordering food for the kitchen, and I’ll be helping out wherever I might be needed around camp.  I may have to come home each week to tend to things at C-Prompt, but we intend to spend a full 8 weeks at camp.

So – that’s where things have been for me the past several weeks, and that’s where things are going for the next 8 or so.  Maybe I’ll do better at keeping this updated while at camp!.

Sunday morning we are studying through the book of Galatians.  The last couple of weeks we have been focusing on Galatians chapter 3, and I want to try to describe some of the highlights we have come across.

The entire book of Galatians is dealing with the role of works in our salvation and our Christian life.  A group of Judaizers have come into the Galatian church and have taught that in addition to the work of Christ, one needed to be circumcised according to the law of Moses to be saved.  Paul is writing this letter to correct this fallacy.

In chapter 3 he specifically discusses the role of the law and what happens to the one who attempts to follow the law to be justified.  In particular, he makes the statement in verse 10 that those who attempt to live under the law are cursed if they do not abide by all the things in the law.  This is a specific quote from Deuteronomy 27:26.  He goes on to quote from Habakkuk and say “The righteous man shall live by faith.”

Most people who say they are Christians would tend to agree with these positions without too much difficulty.  However, we took our discussion much deeper the past two weeks and it brought us to a startling realization

Specifically – we are no different than the Judaizers!  In our churches today, what is the message that we communicate?  Isn’t it something like some of the following?

  • If you are a good Christian you don’t smoke.
  • Christians shouldn’t drink alcohol.
  • In our church, we don’t dance.
  • Christians don’t go to movies.

This is no different than the Judaizers who were calling on the people to be circumcised!  You see, when we create a list of things that we do (or don’t do), we are creating a list of “rules” or “laws” that we say people need to follow.

But salvation isn’t about following rules or laws!

Look at verse 6 of Galatians 3:  “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”  It’s not about the things we DO.  It’s about our faith and belief in Christ.  Later in Galatians Paul talks about walking by the Spirit, and not carrying out the desire of the flesh. You see works can have absolutely no role in our salvation.  We should not try to “do good things”!  When we strive to do good things, we are working in the flesh.

Rather, we need to walk in the Spirit, and let the SPIRIT guide our steps and the things we do.  Yes, we will perform good works.  But not because WE tried but because we allowed the Spirit to work through us.

I am convinced that we always get Galatians 5:22 – 23 messed up.  This is where Paul lists the Fruit of the Spirit.  You know – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.  Typicaly, when we study these things it is with the following mindset:  “OK, let’s see – I’ve got Love down pretty good, and joy and peace.  I guess it’s time to work on patience.”  And then we go at life trying to achieve patience. 

Our approach OUGHT to be the following:  “OK – I’m lacking patience in my life, so that is evidence that I’m not walking in the Spirit the way I ought to be, but walking in the flesh.  I need to allow the Spirit to guide me in these circumstances, so that HE produces a spirit of patience within me.”

Do you see the difference?  We spend our lives trying to live up to a checklist of good and bad things, always striving to do what is right just so that we look better to those around us.  But we do that out of our own flesh, not through the Spirit.  This is what the Pharisees did – look at what Jesus says about them in Matthew 23:27: 

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”


In Hebrews 11 we find the passage of what many have referred to as the “Hall of Faith”, where the author lists numerous individuals from the Old Testament, talking about their faith.  When I read through this, I was struck by how it kept saying “By Faith, . . ” and then described how someone did something that we would consider to be a “Good work”.  But the emphasis is on “FAITH”, not the “WORK”. 

In fact, in Hebrews 11:6 is says that without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.  We cannot please him by doing “Good Things” out of our own strength, but only by living according to FAITH, and allowing the SPIRIT to do those good things.

Every time a church communicates the message “You need to stop doing this”, or “You need to start doing that” in order to be part of our fellowships, we are no different then the Judaizers that Paul was addressing. 

Instead, we need to communicate to people “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

If you want to hear our discussion from the last two weeks, you can find them on the First Baptist website, under the “Listen to our Messages” section.  Go to for the messages on Galatians, and be sure to give me your thoughts in the comment section below!.

First Baptist Church has a facebook page that I manage.  Each morning a short passage is posted about 6:00 am (Eastern Time!).  These passages are scheduled to appear a few days in advance, so I don’t have to get up each morning to post something.

Yesterday, the following passage was posted:   

‎1 Samuel 15:22-23 NASB

Samuel said,
“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
…Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has also rejected you from being king.”

Last night at our Brigade overnight I talked a little about this passage.  I wanted the boys to think about how this might apply to us today.  In particular, what are the “sacrifices” that we put as a higher priority than obedience?
I’m sure there are many applications we might come up with, but here is what I wanted to emphasize with the boys.  Many times in our American Churches we approach our church attendance with this attitude:  “OK – if I go to church today, I’ve done my God thing for the week, and the rest of the week is mine to do with as I like.”
Of course, if any of us were questioned on this, we would vehemently deny it.  But what do our actions tell us?

Scripture commands us to not fosake “our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. ” (Hebrews 10:25 NASB).  But do we turn this command into our “sacrifice”, decide that we sacrifice enough on Sunday, and ignore the rest of God’s commands?

This is not to say that we don’t need to meet together on Sunday.  Far from it!  But we should look for ways to meet together all week long.  We should be a community of believers that interacts with one another day in and day out, week in and week out.  To think that doing our “God thing” on Sunday is sufficient is to be no better than Saul, who thought his sacrifice was more important than obeying God’s commands..

School vacation does not generally mean vacation, unfortunately.  Yesterday at church, one man said he thought vacation for me meant just go work another job.  However, I DID sleep in today until almost 7:00, and am having a relaxing morning, since the store is not open. (Although I just got an e-mail from someone wondering if we open and if he could drop off his laptop today.  I replied and told him that if necessary I could meet him there this morning.  I guess what they way is true – if you own your own business, you only have to work half time.  It’s up to you which 12 hours of the day you choose to work.)

This afternoon we’re taking the boys from the Brigade group at church on an overnight.  We’re going to a friend’s camp in N. Anson this afternoon, where we will have a fun time in the snow, playing games, cooking supper over an open fire, and playing board games.  The cabin has a wood stove for heat, but no running water.  (Actually, there is running water – you can run up the hill to get it!)  Jeremy will come late afternoon and do some winter survival activities with the boys.  After breakfast in the morning we will clean up and get the boys home by lunch.

The rest of the week is somewhat unscheduled except for Thursday afternoon into Friday.  Friday morning I have to be in Portland at the Civic Center to meet with their tech guy about setting up computers to connect to their display screens during the Maine State Math Meet in April for our scoring system.  We will likely head that direction Thursday afternoon, and may schedule some other things on this trip.

Of course, if this is like any other vacation, I will fill it up with plenty of other things to do.  I need to do some projects around the house.  I need to get the taxes at C-Prompt done so that I can do my home taxes.  I need to do some paperwork for the State Math Meet.  I need to grade a few papers in my briefcase.  Somehow, I think I’ll manage to have a hectic week!.

Normally, my day begins about 5:00 am when my alarm goes off.  This morning, I managed to wake up at 4:30 am, primarily due to the fact that Kathy had “stolen” the covers. (Not really, but it’s fun to blame her!).  So, I was up for the day at 4:30.  By 7:00 I was heading out the door to school.  After school, Kathy picked me up so we could go to Farmington to do about 5 different quick errands, and then we came back to New Vineyard to C-Prompt, where I had to get a customer’s laptop ready to ship out.

We then made it up to church in time for the 5:30 spaghetti dinner and the 6:30 Matthew Video Bible Study, before finally getting home again about 7:15.

Now that I look at my day, I realize why I’m exhausted!  It’s (hopefully) an early bed tonight so I can get caught up on some sleep!.

We had a great time at our Brigade Meeting tonight (Christian Service Brigade – Stockade and Battlion groups).  We were missing half of our boys, but we planned our overnight for next week, played some games, and then watched the video “How Great is Our God” by Louis Giglio.  Although my boys and I have seen it before, the rest of the group had not.

This video continues to amaze me whenever I see it.  It does such a great job at communicating both our insignificance and our significance all at the same time.  The video starts with comparing our planet earth with other objects in our galaxy.  In particular, the recurring statement Louis keeps making is “If the earth were the size of a golf ball. . .”  He then compares several stars, in increasing size, to the earth.  When you begin to realize that our God created all of these things, it demonstrates how totally insignificant man is in the entire scheme of the universe.

At the same time, however, Louis clearly communicates that as insignificant as we appear, we are incredibly important to our God.  The things that affect us matter to him.  It is completely mind-boggling that what happens to me matters to our creator God.

If you want to view an eight minute sample of this video, check out

I’ve got to do a better job of taking time off.  I think God was very specific in his commands to work 6 days out of the week, and rest on the seventh.  Unfortunately, like most people I know, I have a tendency to fill my schedule 7 days a week.

Take today, for example.  I actually managed to sleep in until quarter of 6.  Then I was up for the day, working on various things until time to head to church for our 9:00 am Family Bible Study.  Following that was our 10:00 am Morning Service, where we are slowly working through the book of Galatians.  I say slowly, because we spent 3 weeks discussing and studying the first 10 verses.  Today we finally got past those 10 verses, and had a great conversation about the rest of the first chapter.

After lunch, Kathy and I went down to C-Prompt, where I wanted to work through our business taxes for 2010.   Unfortunately, I discovered I have a lot more work to do in Quickbooks before I can really go at the taxes.  Since I can log in over the internet to the store, I came home with the paperwork I needed, intending to work on that this afternoon.

However, instead I worked on getting Kathy’s new website set up for her, and then I played around with setting up my new website, experimenting with a couple of different templates.  The bottom line is that now it is about 7:30, and it will soon be time for me to think about heading to bed, to get ready for the new week.

I hope eventually I will learn to keep one day a week a lot less scheduled and take a day of REST!.