Preparing for Church Camp 2018: A Heart of Good Soil

In about two weeks’ time, about 90-100 of us will be going to Johore Bahru for Church Camp 2018. We thank God for the Camp Committee for their many hours of faithful and hard work to make our stay there a fruitful one. Manpower and hours of planning are required for the following items: camp site, registration and publicity, transport, meals, rooms and function halls, programs and activities, design and printing of a camp T-shirt, manpower for various responsibilities during the 4 days and 3 nights stay, camp booklet, coordination, etc. We thank God for the faithfulness and labour of love of the camp committee. What you do will bear eternal fruits.

If you are going to blessed by this church camp, do two things. I shall share about the first thing today: a heart that is ready to receive God’s Word. The clothes you put on will grow old. The lunch you take today cannot satisfy tomorrow’s hunger. You will have to eat lunch again. But the Word of God satisfies you forever. Jesus says, I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35). The prophet Isaiah in 55:1-3urges you:

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and all you who have no money, buy and eat! Come and buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen , that you may live.

The Church Camp is not about fun, although it will be fun. It is not about nice buffet, although the buffet is nice. It is about eating a spiritual buffet that can deeply satisfy your soul. Hence, you must first be clear about why you are attending the church camp: to listen to God’s Word. But if God’s Word is going to satisfy you deeply, you must have a good heart. Jesus calls it a good type of soil (Luke 8:1-15). If the soil is fertile, the seed that falls into it will grow and bear much fruit. Similarly, if your heart is good, the Word of God that enters it will also bear much fruit—holiness, joy, peace, love, patience, wisdom, strength, deep satisfaction, godliness, eternal life. Good heart, fruits of abundant life; bad heart, zero fruits.

What is a good heart that will yield “a crop, a hundred times more than was sown” (Luke 8:8)? First, this heart must treasure God’s Word, as if it is $1 million. Thus, you must desire to want to understand God’s Word. Then the devil will not steal God’s Word away from you as you are listening to it (Luke 8:12). Second, this heart must not give up on obeying God’s Word just because difficult times come. It must be willing to endure in obeying Jesus even though doing that is difficult (Luke 8:13; by the way, this person is often happy to hear God’s Word but only when it is convenient). Third, this heart must not exchange obeying Jesus for the world and its riches and pleasures (Luke 8:14). But what is a good heart? Jesus says, a good heart is like good soil, and “stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the Word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop” (Luke 8:15). In other words, it a heart that is determined to persevere in following and obeying God’s Word, and will not allow circumstances to stop you from obeying God’s Word. In short, in your heart you must make the following decision before starting the church camp:

I will obey God’s Word no matter how difficult my circumstances in life.

This is a good heart. Then you will bear fruits of 30, 60 and 100 times more.