#MySummerStory

#MySummerStory

ScottHuffBlogPhoto

Scott Huff serves as the Student Pastor at Coastal Community Church in Charleston, SC. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Hannibal LaGrange University and a Master’s of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Scott and his wife, Lori, had their first child, Carly, in August of 2014. Scott is also the owner of www.stuminsidekick.com – a resource community for student pastors. Scott has a calling on his life to impact the lives of teenagers with the Gospel and to lead them to strengthen their faith for use in an ever-changing world. He has been a FUGE camp pastor since 2011 and is aggressive in the area of campus ministry as a mission field for teenagers. You can follow him on Twitter: @scotthuff

FUGE this past summer was extremely encouraging. I love seeing students as they worship with everything they have. They are intent on listening to the messages and serving in the community in which they have adopted for the week. I was even more encouraged by a young man at FUGE at Charleston Southern University this summer when he approached me after my message on one particular night.

Nick was an 18 year old young man who had grown up in a Christian home as the son of a pastor. He attended Christian school and was in the church building every time the doors were opened. He knew all of the Bible stories one might hear while being in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. He even knew all of the lessons taught in vacation Bible school, children’s church, and AWANA’s. But what he never knew was Jesus Christ personally through his own, sincere and authentic faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior of his life. Most of us would ask: how does this happen to a young man who is entrenched in the very family dynamic, program filled life, and Biblically saturated teachings we all would say is an ideal situation?

I learned from talking to Nick that he had head knowledge but never heart knowledge. He knew what he was supposed to do and think but he never really knew why it was so important. He knew that Jesus loved him and wanted him in church, to read his Bible, to pray and worship, and to be nice to everyone by being a good kid. The ideas of what it means to be a Christ-follower never transferred over into his own heart where he was doing these things because he had a relationship with Christ. He actually thought these “disciplines” made him a believer; therefore he was good to go! But God moved in this young man’s heart that night and he realized he was doing these things out of discipline, not out of love for his Savior. He turned his life over to Christ because he was convicted about the sin in his life and because he was separated from God due to that sin.

Where did things go wrong for this young man while growing up? Was his Christian school to blame? What about his Christian family including his dad, the pastor? Maybe the programs at his church were not organized well or were taught by inferior teachers? I don’t believe it was any of these things. I believe God moved at a particular time in his life for a reason. I believe God was writing Nick’s story a little different than we would. I believe God wanted Nick to grow up in these surroundings before realizing his sin separated him from God and the “churchy things” he was doing were not closing the gap. God moved at FUGE that week and Nick is now a child of God for all eternity.

SLA:  Authentic Community

SLA: Authentic Community

payton

Payton Moree has served the past two summers as an SLA in Nashville. She is originally from Metro Atlanta and is currently pursuing a degree in Global Studies from Boyce College at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Payton loves to laugh, drink coffee, get new stamps on her passport, and attend Fuge Camps! 

 

 

I fell in love with this group of people; these eight people who I lived life with, seven who were my age and one who was a tad older, our fearless leader. This woman led us with her whole heart and she led us oh so well. I often get asked why these people whom I just met matter so much. Well, it’s because you learn every part of them, you know what they like and what they don’t. You learn their fears and their dreams. You know what makes them laugh and at times see them cry. You live together (same gender of course, keep it FUGE people), eat almost every meal together, worship together, do laundry together, have Bible study together, serve together, and see life change happen together. I say all this to say you literally do every aspect of life together.

I’m talking about SLA, Student Leader Apprentice, the program where I had the ability to serve for two summers, a total of four weeks. During the course of my four weeks at SLA, I was challenged to live in an authentic, give-all-you-can community. Every aspect of life was shared and this brought about radical life change!

One night during my second year, I remember sitting in a circle with my group and the things God had been teaching became real to me. That night I just laid down everything that was going on and did God move in power that night! I found myself broken as I admitted the things God was showing me. I began to cry in front of these people for the first time. I allowed them to see my broken struggling self. As I poured out my heart, I took a moment to glance at those in my group— not a dry eye. I realized then that they were crying because they shared this burden with me, they were feeling this pain and brokenness with me. Just like an authentic community.

However, I couldn’t just sit on this. This authentic community gave me an opportunity to serve, because it had given me a small glimpse of what Heaven is like and I wanted others to have that as well! I wanted everyone to see this glimpse with me, so when I went into the surrounding community of Nashville, I shared what I could and I offered those I encountered the most important thing I had, Jesus Christ. When you experience authentic community in Christ, it leads to better service and this is exactly what SLA is if you make it.

payton2          payton4

SLA is a two-week program offered by FUGE Camps for students who have completed their junior and senior years of high school. This is a two-week program available at Belmont University in Nashville and Glorieta in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students learn leadership skills and shadow a FUGE staffer. Applications are available online at www.fuge.com. Deadline to apply is February 9, 2015.

 

 

Genesis 3 – Sin and Redemption

Genesis 3 – Sin and Redemption

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Chuck is the worship pastor at Shoreline Church in Knoxville Tennessee. While his heartbeat is for the local church, he also loves traveling all over the country to lead the people of God in the worship God. Chuck is a  FUGE Worship Leader and will be at Glorieta this summer.  You can learn more about him, listen to some music, and read his thoughts on life and the gospel at www.chuckhooten.org.

My grandfather died September 15th at 5:20 in the afternoon. The joy I have experienced of watching a newborn baby inhale and exhale for the first time stands in stark contrast to watching someone’s chest rise and fall for the last. Both tell a story. Both are God’s language to speak to us truth about the gospel.

We are born questioning. Why do bad things happen? Why do people suffer and die? It is difficult to see the beauty of the sunrise or hear the pounding of the surf, and then reconcile that beauty, creativity, and love with the fact that we live in a world where everyone suffers and everyone dies. But, it is ironic that our questioning of God is at the very core of why this suffering and death exist. We assert ourselves as the authority and demand that God answer us, and in doing so we recreate the very scene in Eden where we first unlocked the floodgates of His wrath. Sin is realized in the actions of the fallen, but its essence is found in the heart that has set itself as the authority on what is to be and how it is to be accomplished.

As Eve stands in the perfection of God’s created world, the serpent comes to her…questioning. It has been by the word of God that everything exists. God has spoken, and the nothing has obeyed His voice and has become something. Where there was emptiness now stands plants, animals, oceans, and human beings. Light and darkness have found their place. The sun and the moon have arranged themselves, along with the stars, in a perfect dance of beauty, power, and spectacle. All of this owes its existence in the speech of God. The serpent will not come and assault the creation, for to any eye the creation is unquestionably good and perfect. The serpent will instead attack the very core of why the creation is good in the first place. The serpent asks the question, “Did God really say?” It is the word of God that the serpent will place on the witness stand and accuse of dishonesty and corruption.

We know the result of this conversation well. Our hearts are now programmed, above all things, to repeat like robots the question of the serpent, “Did God really say?” In the poem, Invictus, William Ernest Henley famously penned the words, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Here is a true anthem of the human heart. We are at the center. We are in control. We will be asking the questions and we will supply the reason that will validate the answers. We are gods.

God’s reaction is strange. He allows humanity to live. He does not kill us for our mutiny, but in mercy He places constraints on how far our mutinous hearts can travel. We are now born into the hard reality of how unqualified we are to be gods. We create things that kill. We decide on things that are selfish and ugly. We lord over others and demand they bow to our ways, and our ways do not end with the statement, “it was good.” We are unqualified masters, unqualified gods.

Yet in the center of the pain and the night of judgment comes the reality that God is still speaking, and that His words are full of hope and redemption. Genesis 3:15 is the gospel. The serpent will bruise the heel of the woman’s offspring, but the offspring of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. Jesus will come, Jesus will provide, and Jesus will end the struggle.

The road will be long and the price incomprehensible, yet God will provide and persevere with us until Eden is our reality again. If I question anything now, I pray that it is only a questioning of my heart and my intentions. I want God to be God and I want to die. I want my life to be a living sacrifice. I want to someday know that, just like my Papa, my chest will rise and fall one last time to reveal the reality that is God’s provision for my rebellion, and awake to a face to face meeting with the answer to all of my questions…Jesus.

SLA:  Intentionality & Flexibility

SLA: Intentionality & Flexibility

Walt

Walt Harper is a junior at the University of South Carolina where he studies psychology. This summer will be Walt’s third summer with FUGE, serving as the XFuge Host for the past two summers and Assistant Director this year. Walt loves spending time with his family and friends, the 90s, watching Netflix for hours on end, and Carolina football.

For those of you who don’t know, Student Leader Apprentice (or SLA) is a two-week program FUGE offers for students going into or just finishing their senior year of high school. During these two weeks, participants will take part in team-building exercises, Bible studies, and shadowing an actual FUGE staffer. I had the privilege of being a part of this experience. It was two of the most exciting, revolutionary, hilarious, and humbling weeks of my life so far. God taught me so much during my time at SLA. More than I ever expected. But of all the things I took away from those two weeks, two things stand out that I think prepared me for staff: intentionality and flexibility.

Intentionality. I had never heard this word before SLA. Honestly, I didn’t really know what it meant the first time Sean Marie, our SLA leader, said it. Intentionality is defined online as “done with purpose.” My prayer going into those two weeks was that God would break down walls for me and those I met. Man, did He come through on that one! Within the first two days of being there, my SLA group had gone from superficial conversations about school to deep, pointed conversations about our faith, scripture, and ministry. I had never been so encouraged and pushed in my faith by people my own age! It was such a blessing to be a part of such an intentional group of students. Even better: seeing the love of Christ reflected in our friendships. We bonded instantly and began to form real community. Praying for each other’s needs and struggles, sharing what God was teaching us, and encouraging each other daily through scripture and prayer. I came to realize how intentional God had been with me all my life, and I was to reflect that in my relationships I formed.

Flexibility. One thing a former youth pastor would tell us when we went on mission trips was, “you better be ready to preach, pray, sing, or die at a moment’s notice.” While that may sound a little morbid toward the end, we always laughed, knowing he was encouraging us to leave our comfort zones. During the second week of SLA, I was assigned to shadow Hamilton, a PCY (painting, construction, and yard work) track leader. To be honest, I always avoided PCY like the plague as a camper. It wasn’t that I didn’t like being outside, but it just wasn’t something I felt I was good doing. When I had gotten my assignment, I felt a little nervous and slightly defeated. “Well, there goes my second week, down the drain,” I thought. Thankfully, our great God had other things in store. That week, I was brought so far out of my comfort zone on site. God taught me that His plan is greater, even (or especially) when we have differing ones. That week was probably the best week on site that I had ever experienced at camp, getting to help lead and love students.

Yes, intentionality and flexibility were both extremely important for staff life. But more importantly, they have been SO important in my everyday life. God knew what awaited me when I got home from SLA: college life and the challenges and struggles that come with it. I was constantly reminded by God to be intentional not only with other people on campus, but with my time as well. To make sure that I gave Him the time He deserves. I was pushed to be flexible with ministry opportunities I received and class scheduling, knowing that at the end of the day, God was to be glorified in it all. I wouldn’t trade my two weeks with my SLAmily at SLA for anything and I am so thankful I was given the chance to participate in this program. If you or one of your students is thinking about applying, go with Nike’s slogan: just do it!

 

Walt3         Walt2       Walt4

For What Are You Listening?

For What Are You Listening?

JeffNealJeff Neal is a former N.F.L. football player and one of the founding member’s of Team Impact. In addition, Jeff is the co-author of “Hold the Rope”, which is a challenge to all Christians to be passionate about evangelism.

For What Are You Listening?

Jeff Neal – FUGE Camp Pastor

The story is told of an American Indian who was in New York City with a wealthy businessman. As they walked through the busy streets, the Indian cocked his head and exclaimed,” I hear a cricket.”  The businessman could not hide his skepticism as he laughed audibly and responded, “there is no way you can hear a cricket above the cars and horns and all the noise in this city.” Undeterred, the Indian, once again, cocked his head to one side and listened. The businessman, in complete disbelief, followed as his friend walked 50 feet, crossed the intersection and walked up to the front of a hotel. The Indian then reached inside of a planter and pulled out a cricket. The businessman enthusiastically questioned,  “How on earth did you do that?” The Indian responded, “It is easy…you hear what you listen for.” The Indian continued, “Let me show you what I mean.” He then reached into his pocket and pulled out ten coins and he threw them in the air. As the coins jingled, upon landing on the ground, every person within a 50-foot radius came to a stop and began to look at where the sound had come from. The Indian finished his demonstration by saying” See, you hear what you are listening for.”

Why do young people hear from God at FUGE Camp? Further, why do so many people I know say their lives were changed at summer camp? I am such a strong advocate for kids to attend camp because I believe there is an environment created where young people can hear the voice of God. For clarification, I am NOT talking about an audible voice that booms from Heaven. I am merely saying that through the music, the devotionals, the Godly direction of the FUGE staff, the stage is set for young people to hear what God has to say through His perfect, infallible Word. It is not that the Word is presented in a “better” way qualitatively. Instead, I contend the miracle takes place because the world is quieted so that the Word is heard. Without reservation, I am a strong proponent for summer camp. I believe most who attend will have the ability to change what they are listening to. The call of the world is loud and, on the surface, attractive. We need to challenge our students to come and hear from God as His perfect Word is boldly proclaimed at FUGE Camp this summer. I look forward to seeing you!