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    A Summer with TEAMeffort is...

    December 13, 2017 Kristen Matherly
    When you start looking for a summer job, you don’t start off by trying to find the most challenging and tiring one. 7am-11pm 6 days a week is part of a job description that turns people away. It sounds crazy. Who would want to spend 8 weeks in a faraway place away from every humanly comfort you have known? It honestly sounds ridiculous! And scary.

    But in the unknown and challenging, God shows his face. His presence has always been available to us, but when you run out of willpower—tired, hungry, and ready for a nap—you find yourself in desperate need for more of the LORD. 

    A summer with TEAMeffort is finding your desperate need for the LORD.

    “And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)

    Following Jesus is not meant to be easy. It is not meant to feel comfortable. It is hard, tiring, and requires that you die to yourself. What does it mean to die to yourself? Glad you asked. It means that you live your life not with what you want in the center. Not your desire for money. Not your desire for relationships. Not your desire to be “good.” Not your desire for happiness. Not your desire for good grades. Not your desire for acceptance or love from your friends and family. Dying to yourself means being alive in Christ, dear friends; lay the chains of the world at your feet! Being alive in Christ means that the LORD is within your innermost being—He is how you make decisions in regard to your money and time. He is how you make decisions on what college to go to, what to study, and what to do with your summer! 

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

    Take heart, brothers and sisters, because when you start to live out of who God says you are rather than what you say you are, there is abundance and adventure. There is brokenness and sorrow. There is love and joy. We humans are meant to experience rich emotion, not passivity or apathy. 

    A summer with TEAMeffort is full of rich emotion. 

    When I decided to dedicate my summer to God I was excited and scared. I was excited for something new. I was scared that I was not enough. Humans tend to operate out of their fear. For me, I started to believe that I could not do what God wanted me to do. I was scared that I wouldn’t have the words to say or the knowledge to lead others. But God calls us to obedience. He does not call us to complete knowledge. Where the world operates out of fear, we as believers are called operate out of love. Operating out of love is feeling peace in desperation and light in affliction. It is knowing truth and feeling a desperate need for others to know it too. To operate out of love is to make decisions based out of the LORD’s love and care for you. 

    “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

    Walking in love and sacrificing yourself to God’s will is so incredibly rewarding. Not only because you draw closer to God, but because you learn more about the need in the world and in yourself. You experience God’s grace and love, not just learn about it. Experiential knowledge is key to understanding the Gospel.

    A summer with TEAMeffort is rewarding, satisfying, and fulfilling.

    Truth is, I am nothing. I deeply identify with Paul in Ephesians 3:8 when he explains that he is “less than the least of all God’s people.” None of us deserve God’s gifts of love and grace. We are undeserving, but God richly lavishes us. Nothing we can do earns us this blessing of love. He cherishes us and it is a gift freely given through Christ (Romans 6:23). Therefore, I want to be clear about what I am going to say next: dedicating your summer to God and working for TEAMeffort does not earn you anything in the Kingdom of the LORD. However, by nature, spending time in communion with God and fellowship with others tends to bring satisfaction and fulfillment. This is because we are reminded of God’s character and his promises to us. We experience God’s love in action and it leads to blessings in our own lives. 

    “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” (Psalm 16:11)

    During my summer with TEAMeffort, I got to explore the depths of the human heart. I saw the brokenness of teenagers as they knelt at the cross and wept. I saw people in the community we helped who were lost in their addictions and utterly alone. I saw the hurt in eyes of children as they desperately wanted to connect with people who love them. I saw the ugliness of my own heart as I tried and tried to be enough for my staff, campers, and mission sites. I saw our need for God and the security we have in Him alone.

    A summer with TEAMeffort is hard, BUT IT'S WORTH IT!

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