Post-Trip Devotions


For most of us, we had never even thought about the meaning of the word FORGED, much less how God has and can use it to form our lives. But that all changed at camp. We learned a lot about how God is always working in and through us to shape us into the people he created us to be. And just like when a metalworker FORGES a piece of metal, God uses heat – the suffering we experience in life – to soften us, strengthen us, and transforms us. We learned that our suffering makes us stronger. That God uses our suffering to soften and shape us into stronger, more compassionate people. There is a forging process where our suffering works like the process of FORGING metal. When metal is heated it can be shaped and it becomes stronger. We also learned that we are on a circular journey – one that starts with hope and ends with hope. And finally we learned that our suffering is valid. There are many ways to experience suffering; and whatever you’re going through, it matters to God.

During our morning programs you were encouraged to journal about a time when you suffered. As we examined different parts of the circular journey from hope to hope, we focused on six daily themes: Hope, Suffering, Perseverance, Character, A Return to Hope, and Forging Ahead. And that last one is exactly where these post-camp devotions come in. We want to help you and your youth group FORGE AHEAD. By now you’re back home. Back to the people who have been praying for you. Back to your family and friends. Back to the comforts of home. Back to life. This is where everything you experienced and learned about Forging becomes real. We want to encourage you to continue this amazing journey as we FORGE ahead together!

Post-Trip Devotion #1

Forged for Community

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” 

Romans 5: 1 - 4

Say: Hopefully, while at camp, you made some great friendships. Maybe you met some new people in your youth group and/or deepened the friendships you already had. However, as you returned home there might be the question, “Do I really need other people to be with me in my journey?” The answer is simply - YES! Listen, while your salvation isn’t based on a relationship with anyone but Christ, it’s those other relationships that can help you grow closer to Christ, maintain that relationship with Him, and help forge ahead to what God has next.

(Youth Leader, share a time in your life when you felt like giving up but someone close to you encouraged you to keep going) 

Say: When faced with tough times, on our own it would be easy to quit. When the pain gets to be too much, or the struggle too hard, we often will stop. However, a friend might see your frustration and offer to help. That one relationship alone could make all the difference. They might be able to help me encourage you through the hard times. To cheer you on when you’re struggling and hold you accountable in various other areas that could prevent you from forging ahead.

Our faith is like that. There will be hard times that will cause us to question it and there will be temptations that will test it. That’s where our community comes in. We need people around us that will encourage us, hold us accountable, give us comfort in times of trouble, and help us process when questions or doubts come our way. 

Throughout scripture, we see the need for community. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 is a blueprint for those kinds of relationships. 

(Read Ecc. 4:9-12)

We need to be part of a group that not only helps us, works with us, and holds us accountable, but one that also allows us to do the same for others. As believers, we are now part of the body of Christ. Numerous scriptures refer to this showing how the body works together. You have a part and the body needs you just as much as you need it.

  1. What was the best part of your week at camp?
  2. What was the saddest part about leaving?
  3. What was the one thing you were looking forward to the most about coming back home?
  4. What surprised you the most about your experience at camp?
  5. When you think of our youth group, would you say you feel closer, the same, or unsure of the group now compared to before camp? Why is that?
  6. How much different would your camp experience have been if you didn’t know anyone and you had to go serve on your worksites by yourself?
  7. How did having a group (community) to share the experience with help you during the week?
  8. What is one way you can continue to forge ahead in community now that you’re back home?

Close in prayer

Post-Trip Devotion #2

Forged for a Purpose

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Romans 5: 1 - 4

Say: I’ve had a number of jobs in my life. Some jobs have been more fulfilling than others. One of my first jobs after high school was working in a factory preparing a product for a buy one get one free promotion. One of my coworkers would bring a case of the product to me. My job was to take two of the items, insert a coupon, and tape them together. I did this over and over for 8 hours every day. Not only was the job long and tedious, but it was mind-numbingly boring. 

This job, like many jobs, left me unfulfilled and incomplete. I have also struggled from time to time with general household chores. No matter how much I love my family, it is difficult to find self-worth and fulfillment in washing dishes and doing laundry. While I knew that these tasks were important, my days often felt tiring and tedious. Although I knew, as a Christian, that there was a purpose for my life, my soul continued to cry out for a purpose in each individual day.

But what if our purpose was more than just that “thing” we do? It’s easy to look at our time at camp and assume our purpose was solely the job we did on our worksite, but what if there was more? What if God’s purpose for us during our week a camp was much more than we could have imagined?

One of my friends introduced me to “The Practice of the Presence of God”, which includes the teachings of Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence was a monk, and he sought purpose in the mundane, everyday life. I read in awe how Brother Lawrence concentrated on finding the presence of God in a task as simple as washing dishes. Brother Lawrence recognized that God could be in every task, no matter how small, when he stated, “we ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” I began to imagine how my day could be transformed if I did not focus on the large or small work, and began to view each task in my day as a way to do my best to honor God.

What would happen if we woke up daily and thought, “What is my purpose today at school?” or “What is my purpose today at work or on my team?” or better yet, “What is my purpose in the day-to-day events of my life that can reveal God’s purpose for my life?”

Our lives are being forged daily for a purpose. Some are obvious, and some aren’t. But our hope is that everything we do, everything that happens to us, will ultimately be used in incredible ways for his purpose and ours.

  1. Do you spend a lot of time questioning what your purpose is?
  2. Do you believe that God has a purpose for you?
  3. Have you ever thought to ask God those hard questions—like why you are here and what are you supposed to do with your time here?
  4. How can God use your sufferings and perseverance for your purpose?
  5. How does who you are (your character) effect your daily purpose?
  6. What role does hope play in discovering your purpose?
  7. What are some daily tasks you can do that will honor God?
  8. How can honoring God in the daily “purposes” of life reveal a greater purpose, one that you’ve been forged for?

Close in prayer