On the last night of each week of youth camp I preached a message entitled “Keepers of the Flame”. In the weeks leading up to the summer, I sensed this was not simply a sermon to seal a week of camp but rather, an important part of TYM language moving forward. For those with us on those Thursday nights in the Camp Jackson tabernacle, the idea is familiar.
“Keepers of the Flame” was a clarion call to contend for the fire of God burning on the altar of our heart. We explored the book of Leviticus as God instructed Moses and Aaron repeatedly to not allow the fire to be extinguished. We talked candidly about what it is like to leave camp and return to every day life. We acknowledged that perfection is unreasonable and the odds are good, even on the heels of a tremendous God encounter, at some point bad days and mistakes will come. How does one handle the bad days and the less than stellar performance? By looking into the face of Jesus and trusting HIS love…confident that one bad day cannot make powerless the glorious days of his death and resurrection. How do we handle the less than ideal days? By remembering the beach ball…
To Keep the Flame is to remove the ashes of old experiences, because the ashes of yesterday’s burn tend to snuff out the new burn. One cannot live with the burden of comparing the rest of their days to those dramatic experiences with God at camp. You don’t spend a lifetime trying to recapture a moment, you spend a lifetime waking up with a “YES” in your heart and making sure the “YES” remains when you lie down to sleep. We left camp this summer determined to contend for that “yes”, to “keep the flame”.
Our theme for The Movement Convention this year is “The Burn”. It is a declaration of faith and hope. This fall, on November 21-22, the TYM family will converge at Opryland Hotel, having spent the days, weeks and months since camp faithfully keeping the flame. When all of those “yeses” join in one voice, we become “The Burn”. I believe something special happened this summer. Those Thursday nights became a marker of freedom. You could sense the weight and pressure being lifted from student and leader alike. When we first adopted the language “The Movement” the initial thought was that revival in TYM was not confined to our gatherings, but was intended to go with us and become a movement instead of an event. I am more confident than ever that those initial prayers and dreams are being fulfilled.
We are TYM.
We are The Movement.
We are Keepers of the Flame.
We are THE BURN.