The first of November saw our annual church camp arrive. The leadership asked me to talk with our guest preacher about the background of the Thai church, and to present what we had in mind for the goals of the camp. Dr. Guy Saffold, the director of Power to Change, Canada, was our speaker for the weekend. Before the weekend began, we talked about the great need for foundational preaching of the Gospel here in Thailand. So many times, a weak and watered-down Gospel and a simple call to accept Jesus into your life is presented and left the hearer to think that simple nominal faith in this God Whom they don’t know but you seems to resemble a generous old man in the sky is all that is required.
Dr. Guy though, brought the Word. It was great to hear such solid teaching on the most foundational things that we discussed as being incredibly needed – (1) Who is God?, (2) Who are we as sinners?, (3) What is the real meaning of the Cross?, and (4) What is the response that God demands from us. Dr. Guy preached about the need to answer the greatest question correctly – this question that Jesus Himself posed, “who do you say that I am?” He continued speaking about the cross as showing both (1) how horrendously awful you and I are, and (2) how amazingly great is the love of God. The only thing that could deal with our filth of sin, was the brutal suffering death of the Son of God under His Father’s wrath. Finally, the only acceptable response is not just inviting Jesus to be a part of our life, but in repentance and faith, total trust, turning completely to God.
Awesome preaching of the Word, but for us, we left discouraged. Even with such solid teaching, the atmosphere of the camp was much like we often see at our church. Many people came, many people participated, but for most it was only about a church activity, not about growing in Christ. Many people were talking or not paying attention during the messages. They were interested in the fun stuff of the camp, and hanging out with friends, but many seemed uninterested in going deep with God. Again, not the conclusion you would hope to read, but reality. I ask for your prayers.