Posted tagged ‘gullible’

A 64 Year Old Church Camper

July 7, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          July 7, 2018

                                  

This afternoon I leave for church camp, a 64 year old hanging out for a week with a bunch of kids bordering either side of the age of thirteen or smack dab on it. During this week, which will occur at an altitude of 8,500, I’ll probably be a target for shaving cream, dumped buckets of ice water, and the “ice cream” in the human sundae, complete with all the applicable toppings.

My role is to pastor this mass of hyperactivity, talk to them about Jesus, and listen for the hidden pain just as much as the easily heard laughter. 

The first day will be about breaking the ice…without getting hurt in the process! Having coached middle school sports since I was in my forties (WHAT!!) I know there will be the energetic campers, the quiet campers, campers who were there last year and looking forward to seeing kids they haven’t seen since last July, and campers who have never been to a camp and are terrified of their own shadows. 

And the old guy will attempt to lead them alongside Jesus! Camp can be an emotional experience, but emotions can sometimes can be their own god. They can be like the air that is blubbering out of a balloon that takes you in one direction and suddenly the other way.

I love middle school kids. You can laugh with them, discover their individual talents and how each kid is unique. You can use their gullibility and their boldness to forge lasting friendships. The painful memories and the hilarious happenings can both strengthen the sense of care and concern.

This week a life could be changed, redirected, or even saved. This week a kid who doesn’t believe in himself can have someone tell him he’s awesome, he’s loved, and his life will make a difference. 

And if that means I get smeared with shaving cream everyday, so be it! 

Samson Confuses Me!

July 3, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         July 3, 2018

                                  

Sometimes I just don’t get certain stories in the Bible! Call me a loser, dim-witted, or someone who’s a religious skeptic, but I just don’t get some of them.

Don’t worry! There are enough parts that “I do get”…that I get it!

A guy that’s hard for me to figure out is Samson. He’s known for his strength. “Brawn” would describe him, not brain! For someone with God-given strength his light bulb did not burn brightly!

If you aren’t familiar with Samson’s story it appears in Judges 13-16. His birth is a blessing to his parents who are childless. It is evident during his mother’s time of pregnancy that the child will be blessed in special ways. Judges 13:25 says “…and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him…”

But then the story gets weird! Samson sees a young Philistine woman- no name mentioned!- and he says to his parents, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.”

One of the things we learn about Samson through his adventures is that the choices he makes in women always brings him trouble. For a man who can tear a lion apart with his bare hands he’s like putty in the hands of the women he has relationships with. For someone who can tie the tails of three hundred foxes together in pairs (That’s weird!) he can not resist the whining and crying of the women in his life. Women were his kryptonite!

Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, our bad decisions. Sometimes we become familiar with our blind spots and those areas of our life where we are made to look like doofuses.

But sometimes we don’t learn! We keep drawing close to the fire that burns, like this time will be different from the others. 

For a strongman Samson has his weaknesses! Delilah infatuates him. He is enchanted by her luring words and flirtations. She is the method for finding out the source of his strength. For someone who was seen as being a blessing from the Lord, Samson got in line twice when gullibility was being handed out!

She convinces him to tell her what the secret to his strength is…but not just once, or twice, or three times! She suckers him four times, with the fourth time being the real reason!

Samson had thick muscles and was thick-skulled.

And that’s what confuses me about him. When we think of physical strength today we still think of him. He holds a prominent place in history, and yet would not be a threat to be invited into any school’s Gifted and Talented program!

It’s a confusing story in the midst of a confusing Old Testament book…and I guess that’s okay!