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America California Children Christianity/Religion Church Conferences/Seminars God Music Pentecostal Photography video

Faces Around Camp Part 2

In another post, I mentioned the WAY choir, which is composed of young, unmarried people from around the state of California and Nevada, a small group of singers. Their ministry on Thursday night was astounding, and I wanted to share it with you, but knowing there had not been made a professional video, I went to YouTube hoping to find something of theirs I could bring over. I was surprised to find that someone had posted a video of the very song I wanted. It is not professionally filmed, but I want you to see and hear this.

Although there are other groups who do so, of course, Pentecostals may lead the way in demonstrative, exuberant worship. Such worship is biblical; it is healing and refreshing and soul-satisfying. In heaven, there are created beings whose only job is to worship God. On earth, during Jesus’ ministry here, there were those who objected to loud, exuberant worship of God. “If they don’t praise me, the rocks will cry out,” Jesus warned. In our small way, we too worship.

What you will see here is only the ending of a spectacular musical presentation. I don’t even know the name of the song that comprised the first part, but it started with rather modern sounding, little bits of music and morphed magnificently into this.

The entire congregation was profoundly moved by this beautiful hymn of the church. Our ministerial leaders intensely worshipped.

As did the keyboardist and director, Ken Fitzpatrick,  whose spirit was “overcome” by the presence of God. By these few dedicated young people, we were truly ushered into heaven’s throne room.

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Children Christianity/Religion Photography

Faces Around Camp

Children are the best humans on the globe. Take a look at a few I gazed on this past week at the camp in Santa Maria. This three-month-old beauty is named Sabrina (I think. If I’m wrong, someone let me know and I’ll correct it.) Her parents attend Pastor Paul Walker’s church in Desert Hot Springs, CA. Is she not the cutest thing! It is such a blessing to be granted a long life, and one of the benefits is seeing godly young people grow up, face early struggles, but continue to walk with Jesus, marry in the faith, and begin a family of their own. That’s the case with the parents of this child. I don’t even recall their last name, but through the years I’ve seen them in sectional and state functions and when we visited their church, and now they are married and have brought their gorgeous child into the world, and when we are in meetings together, they bring her over so I can know her. I pray for this couple and for other such young families, for I feel deeply the tremendous challenge they face in nurturing and training children in such a world as ours.

I have pictures of Andrew and cotton-top Marc Stevenson cutting apples in our pre-school in Garden Grove. Now both Marc and Andrew are pastors in the San Diego area. You know how impressive and highly intelligent and destined for greatness are Andrew’s children: I’m sure you’re aware, seeing they’re my grandkids and I’ve clipped lots of pictures here and have written a million or so words about them 🙂 Marc’s children are equally beautiful; actually they’re breathtaking. Meet Luke.

He stared me through when I first pointed the camera his way, then impishly hid his face. I waited.

During the Friday morning service, I sat a few rows behind this somber little girl. She was poking around in her things, occasionally taking a bite of cookie, then of a sudden, she struck this pose. I have no idea of her name. I just know she mesmerized me.

At the conclusion of one of the morning services, I was struck when I saw this group of people praying in the altar area. Sometimes preachers ask families to come forward and pray for each other, but that had not at all been the case during this service. It appears that spontaneously these children had gathered about and were praying for their parents.

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Children Christianity/Religion Photography

Glorious Camp

The last day of camp has scrolled into view, and from my seventh heaven perch, I pronounce it marked with excellence: From my memory cache as I pull up camps of both close and distant years,  I judge this one–Santa Maria 2008–unsurpassed.

I started feeling better when on Wednesday morning, Michael rolled onto the grass beside our motor home in his ’72 Volkswagen pop-up-top “Hippy” van, which after service on Tuesday night, he and his friend Brandon had driven from Lake Havasu, AZ. to Ventura, CA. At 3:00 am, they had pulled over somewhere, slept for less than an hour, and had then driven onto the Santa Maria Fairgrounds.

“Mom, I feel like I’m in a candy store,” Mike had told me on the phone as they pedaled our way. “I can’t wait to be there.”

Last afternoon, I walked the grounds, and the tents erected on the far lots cheered me, as did the youngsters riding bikes, little boys throwing footballs, coveys of conversation on white slatted benches, BBQs smoking, the exhibit hall buzzing, and the food court throwing out the scent of sizzling hamburger and salty french fries. Beautiful children smiled at me, and I asked Dayna, (who I don’t even know) “May I take your picture?” and she smiled shyly as I snapped the shutter, and Berl’s great-grandson teased me and covered his angelic face.

Preaching that surely caused angels to lean down for a listen soothed and invigorated me. Federated in worship, a thousand voices anointed me, waves of manifest glory edged healing into my broken places. I saw God, high and lifted up…and all was well.

Young ministers who expertly and humbly spoke messages from God affirmed my thought that The Church is in good hands. The Way choir (comprised of young, unmarried people from around the district) effected such grand and magnificent music as should be heard in the finest of concert halls, except that their singing was accompanied by such deep and sincere worship that only in chambers of the sacred should such performance occur.

God’s in His Heaven; All’s right with the world. (Robert Browning)

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Christianity/Religion Family Friends Photography

The Hole

There is a hole here–here in Santa Maria–here at the camp meeting. It hovers over the sum of the thing, extending its vacuous, invisible tendrils in a hang that floats over the big tent; and of greater consequence than the tent, are the hearts, for the hole is a canyon whose gap tears at us; likely not all the hearts, for there are some who are oblivious, but into a slew of hearts, and I tell you frankly, into mine.

I’ve hesitated over writing such a piece, and even as I tap the computer keys, I’m not sure I will have the (excuse me for the crudeness) “guts” to press the submit button. But I’m pretty gutsy, and honesty is important to me, and while I know one does not have to blurt out every thought, nor discuss each mundane (or otherwise) personal issue to be honest, and I do understand there are things best left unsaid, this happening is such a vital part of me, and so tearing at my soul, I feel most compelled to write.

It may be a conglomerate of happenings that have fed into my angst; I know for sure of a couple  that are contributing to my unease: None of my grandkids are here, and none of them will be here, and if you recall last year, youngsters were tearing around by the score and there were tents set up beside our motor home and Rebecca was sleeping on our couch, and Thane had his 5th birthday cake on the picnic table outside, and it was controlled, exuberant confusion.

Andrew and his brood can’t be here, for his job situation forced him into work this week. At the last minute, Rebecca had a scheduling problem and she and Nathaniel can’t come. Steve and Dearrah aren’t coming, but…hang on…one glitter of light…Michael will be here this morning…but with no grandkids.:(

And could this sense of loss I’m feeling be connected to my recent birthday when I turned 70? I don’t think that to be the case, but I’m trying to analyze everything, for with all candor, I feel awful.

I won’t stay with this feeling, I promise you, and more importantly I promise myself, for despite the ugly hole, there are positive elements in the atmosphere and I’m wise enough to look forward and anticipate such development. Overarching the chasm are Truth and Stability and Faith.

Some of you understand on the flash, for you too observe the gorge and its ugliness. Notable are you who have helped carve the gaping place, or slipped into its edges: You went kicking or screaming, or silently, or feeling helpless at its creation. Others may see the hole as a glittering place; you occupy the ground from which the hole was dug. You’re the new, the fresh, the launcher, the pioneer. But wait, you there on the excavated mound, you too may sense hole and loss, I give you that, while on the very moment you are giddy with the spinning of precision, and inoculated with faithfulness to honor and to principle. You wear the mantle of discovery and of intrepid and bold architect. I understand that, truly I do, and you know I admire your many abilities, your intellect, your passion, your preaching.

But yet remains the hole.