When walls come down

YouthCamp 2009 218 350pxA camp counselor took some time to pray before the Night of Reflection at Warm Beach Youth Overnight Camp. She asked God to open up the hearts of her campers, and to break down any walls they had up. As she was reading her devotion one night, she came across a sentence that read, “If you keep praying…God will knock down the walls you are facing.” As she was praying for her campers, God was speaking the same truth to her! When she took a walk that night, two girls approached her and wanted to talk about their struggle with God, and invited her to pray for them. Walls came down and prayer was answered. God always speaks to our own hearts as we are praying for the words to share with others, doesn’t He? Add a comment

Hope... is a precious gift

specialFriends400The Easter egg hunt at Warm Beach Camp was a big hit at the Special Friends Play Day the Saturday before Easter. And yet, what if you are blind? How do you participate? One young “buddy” brilliantly led her blind camper to the tennis courts where Easter eggs were placed in the webbing of the tennis nets for this camper to discover. Oh, the joy! This precious blind camper was able to find Easter eggs by feeling her way along the tennis nets!

Special Friends Camps for adults with special needs, creatively accepts, loves, encourages, plays, and shares hope. We cannot cure anyone or rescue anyone from their circumstances. However, during the time our Special Friends campers are here, we can enter into the world of “Camp” and laugh, love, and learn together. Through this, the Spirit of Christ brings hope, touches hearts, and truly transforms the spirits of people. He cherishes as His very own.

In his article, “The New Discrimination (It’s Just the Old Discrimination),” John Hiski Ridge J.D., PhD concludes his own story as a parent of a special needs daughter, “There may be a happy ending to this story, but I don’t know what the future holds. The best we can do now is hope.”

The heart of the Special Friends program at Warm Beach Camp, is to offer hope with joy, acceptance, and love. Join us in this journey. https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/special-needs-programs  

Life changes here

Patrick Patterson, General Manager/C.O.O.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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A milestone, some memories, hard work, and happy hearts

Lakeland2017 IMG 1141Since 2007, the Senior Class of Lakeland Florida Christian School comes to Warm Beach Camp every spring for a “serving Senior Class trip.” About 90 seniors bring their best to any kind of work we throw their way. This year it included putting together new playground equipment, landscaping upgrades, weeding, clearing existing trails, blazing new trails, deep cleaning, building new picnic tables, and getting the RV area ready.  

More importantly, the students, faculty, administration and board of Lakeland Christian School are demonstrating values by how they choose to live and make a difference in this world. They show up to serve and make a real difference for the glory of God. They are helping to keep the path clear to the cross of Jesus Christ at Warm Beach Camp.

It all began in 2007 with the need to change plans for their Senior Class trip. The school’s travel agent in Florida said, “Years ago I gave my life to Christ at Warm Beach Camp at a Men’s Conference. You ought to check them out.”  Here we are, this many years later, as real ministry partners.  

One of my favorite moments each year is when the Lakeland seniors and faculty gather in a tight cluster together with the Warm Beach Camp staff surrounding them. The Warm Beach staff speaks words of blessing and prayer over their lives, asking for God’s direction and guidance at this incredible time of graduation.  

Giving God thanks for the many ways He accomplishes His work through Warm Beach Camp.

With gratitude in Christ,

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Where did the time go?

FCamp IMG 1653 400pxHave you ever sat down with an elderly person and listened to them reminisce? If so, you’ve probably heard a lament that goes something like, “Where did the time go?”

Your family legacy can be one of shared family and faith experiences. Oasis Family Camp offers just such a time to build memories and relationships. Camp offers a getaway adventure that immerses you in fun, faith, and family for the whole five days. This “larger than life” experience together is made for sharing, not just consuming. You worship and learn about the faith walk with Jesus Christ that is both age appropriate and something you can share together.

One of last year’s attendees shared, “God has truly blessed us with such special relationships we have made and continue to make each year at Family Camp. Our kids were called to the altar and God is clearly working in their lives. Our hearts were so full of JOY by the end of camp. It is truly our favorite week of the year!”

At Oasis Family Camp, not only are family relationships strengthened but new friendships emerge. Extended families can join together in something like a reunion without anyone having to plan it all. Over time, Oasis Family Camp becomes an anchor point, a family tradition that is much greater than you would imagine. Real transformation occurs. Many years down the road, gratitude can replace lament when you reminisce about the past. Gratitude for God’s faithfulness and the lifetime of memories and joy shared at Family Camp.

For more information about Oasis Family Camp, visit https://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/family-camp

Patrick Patterson, General Manager/C.O.O.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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The two great responses - part 4

“Spy Kids” was a series of family films that came out several years ago. The story is of a family of spies with cool gadgets and gizmos. After a “dangerous adventure” that ends with dramatic success and epic music, one of the spy kids says, “Family is the greatest adventure of all!”

Truly, family is one of life’s greatest adventures.

Jesus says the two greatest commandments are: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the midst of raising kids, it is easy to minimize God in our lives. The pressures of making life work every day are unending. Yet, something incredible happens when we keep pursuing God in the midst of it all – we see just how much He loves and cares for us.

My wife, Bev, and I try to do two things every day in seeking God – we pray together and read from God’s Word. It doesn’t always happen, but we never give up. In the simple effort of praying and reading God’s Word, we connect with God and sense His love and care for us, even when the tough things come.

By loving God with everything we’ve got, we connect with the depth of His love for us. His love is so much better than our love. An amazing thing happens next… His love flows through us to our kids. In effect, Bev and I are loving our kids as we love ourselves.

In my journey of parenting, I have come up against myself in so many ways. I have experienced me being selfish, greedy, controlling, angry, passive… (you get the point). Yet, by leaning into Jesus’ two great responses, I experience how much I am loved, and that love is shared with my children. My kids actually experience Jesus’ love through me.

As you continue on the great adventure of family, thank Jesus for pointing out the two greatest commandments. Pursue them, and it will change your family life.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Longing to be loved

Photo 21 400pxA boy arrived at camp carrying his bags as well as a heavy heart. He shared repeatedly about the lack of a father in his life… but almost with a proud tone to his grief. Those words came to a crossroads on Thursday night when he asked his counselor during reflection time, “What does it mean to be a part of God’s family?” The counselor explained the truth the boy was longing to hear — the reality that God was the perfect Father and created him to be in relationship. The boy continued to ask questions about the Bible and wanted a list of all the worship songs from the week. His heart was opening to the idea of a perfect Father. What a beautiful start to lasting love!

Camp is a place where a kid can leave behind the cares, distractions, and problems of everyday life and embrace a new beginning. The love of God becomes more real at camp, lived out through the lives of caring staff. Would you like to join us to make sure no one is left out of a chance to attend camp? Donations to the Kids 2 Camp Scholarship Fund make it possible. Learn More Add a comment

Investing in your kids for the long term

450 Dad and Son Weekend ArcheryWhile parenting has no more guarantees than financial investment, when we make regular investments of time, attention, love, and joy, our relationship with our children has much greater capacity for enduring health.

One such investment which became a ten year tradition for my son and I, was attending Dad & Me Weekends at Warm Beach Camp in Stanwood, WA. These weekends gave us plenty of ways to build memories and have fun together. Even though I work at Camp and could take my son out to shoot BB guns or do archery anytime, there was something special about packing up and moving into a cabin with other guys and spending time hanging out, and doing cool stuff together.

Whether it was mountain boards down the hill or foursquare in the barn, we kept busy morning to night. It sounds exhausting and frankly it was. But it was always a good tired feeling at the end of a weekend knowing that positive investment was made in our relationship. There was something special about me taking time away from the rest of the family to do something with just my son.

Dad & Me Weekends are deceptively simple. Two nights, six meals, and tons of fun things to do together. Memorable chapel times bring focus on meaningful aspects of faith and family. And, there is lots of time together. It is one of those rare times when dad is just playing with his child and doesn’t have to stop and do chores or go to a sporting event or help someone else with a project.

Dad & Me Weekends can be a tradition that builds positively upon the daily/weekly investments we make in our kid’s lives. It is the perfect getaway for investing in our kids, while they’re still kids. As my son approaches high school graduation and will soon be off to college, those routine investments have built a life of shared memories and mutual commitment that is so very, very rich in our family. 

More information about Dad & Me Weekends for sons and daughters can be found at http://www.warmbeach.com/programs/family-programs/dad-and-me-weekends

Patrick Patterson, General Manager/C.O.O
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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The two great responses - part 3

The big idea in marriage is that “the two become one.” It is one of the strongest expressions of unity that is demonstrated in this world.  It is obvious the world struggles with marriage as evidenced by all the counseling, laws, and interventions often needed when things are not working out.  

At the heart of the struggle in a marriage is selfishness. Bluntly put, I still want my own way. In Jesus’ two great responses, He challenges us to a selfless focus. Invest all of who we are in God and in the people we love.

Early in our marriage, my wife, Bev, let me know I was constantly late to commitments with her and our family. My immediate response was, “No I’m not.” with my second level response being, “What I was doing was important and couldn’t be put off.” My responses revealed everything…

My agendas were more important than my commitments to Bev and our family. Yes, I loved Bev. Yes, I loved the kids. Yes, I would presume upon them all the time to adjust to what I perceived to be the most important to me at that moment. I was selfish.

To get my attention, Bev came up with a plan: “For 30 days, every time you are late to a family commitment, you pay me $5. Every time you are on time, I pay you $5.” I took the challenge, believing I would prove her wrong.  

Thirty days later... Ed paid Bev $340. Bev paid Ed $10. You do the math! Boy, did I show her... NOT!!!

Bev’s simple act of creativity was one of the many acts of love that have helped me lean away from my selfishness and lean into a selfless love where “the two become one.”  

Sometimes, it is easy to take important words and apply them to everyone else. The real opportunity in my marriage is when Bev and I love God with all we’ve got, and love each other as ourselves. 

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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Why I keep coming back to Women's Event

Each year Warm Beach hosts a weekend where women can gather together for renewal, relaxation and to deepen relationships. I have been attending Refresh Women’s Event regularly since 2001. It was at this event where I first heard God call me into ministry. I keep coming back because I am blessed year after year by the connections made and the relationships that are deepened.   

Attending Women’s Event as a group is a great way to build relationships with women in your church. Bring your daughter, your sister, your mom, your friends… there is nothing like spending a weekend away with someone to get to know each other better! The walks, talks, and meals shared with others deepen relationships. This builds community which can help us as we stumble through life together when we get back to “the real world.” At Women’s Event, lives are changed, friends are made and relationships with God and others are strengthened.    

A few years ago, I met a wonderful woman from Tacoma, WA. We had a great time chatting and we discovered we had a lot in common. We were both in progress to become ordained pastors in the Free Methodist Church, and our children were both freshmen at Seattle Pacific University. These common bonds helped us pray for each other with understanding at a heart level. Each time we are together, we are able to encourage each other in ministry as we journey through the process of ordination.

What a joy it is to be a part of planning this year’s Women’s Event! You are invited to come and hear a wonderful speaker, Sue Donaldson, who will speak about finding our strength and joy for our journey through life. Worship leader, Angie Morehouse, is bringing a complete worship band, and we have some extended times of worship through music planned. There are also wonderful new workshops, crafts, recreation, and spa packages to round out the weekend. And don’t forget - no cooking or cleaning all weekend long!

We look forward to seeing you! To register and for more information, see our web page www.warmbeach.com/refresh.

Mary CombsMary Combs, Assistant Pastor
Living Hope Free Methodist Church,
Bothell, WA

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The two great responses - Part 2

In the same way people were trying to trap Jesus, we often trap ourselves. Self-sabotage is something all of us develop and fine tune in response to vulnerabilities and brokenness in our lives. Think about it… Jesus says, “I love you,” and we might fire back with, “I don’t like me, how can You love me?”

Jesus says He has two things for us to focus on: Loving God and having compassion for people. In effect He is saying, “Love God with everything you’ve got.” He wants us to go all in.

Here is what I have come to know: It is only by going all in to God’s love and compassion for people that life begins to hold together with integrity, meaning and purpose. When I jump all the way into God’s love, I begin to know, experience and incorporate His visionary view of me.

Over time, His visionary view of me takes hold in my life and it changes me. I become more and more of His view for my life. As this takes place my love for people increases. My desire to make a difference in their lives grows. Compassion flows, barriers are broken, and risks rooted in compassion are taken to bless and encourage.

When you are tempted to sabotage yourself, choose Jesus’ two greatest responses.

Check back next month for Part 3 of this series.

Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center

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