LEM Deeper Life Camp 2010

Since 1939, LEM Deeper Life Camps have been specially used by God to lead Christians into experiencing the fullness of life with Christ.  These camps were discontinued in the 1990’s, but a couple of years ago LEM director Pastor Peter Churness had the desire to start them again.  God confirmed this desire through several people whom Peter had never met.  Last June, after discovering the LEM website on a Google search, I contacted Peter and told him God had put the same desire on my mind for the last couple of years.  Two months later, former LEM youth director Dick Klawitter left a message on the LEM answering machine saying that he had twice been prompted by God to call and express the desire for resurrecting these camps.  About the same time, a mother of three contacted the LEM and inquired if the wonderful camps she remembered from childhood were still in existence.  Thus God led, and an LEM Deeper Life Camp was held for the first time in many years this July 21-25, 2010 (Wednesday-Sunday).

This year’s camp theme was, “Let Us Go Further On.”  Between 25 and 30 people ranging in age from 3 to 80 (including a high percentage in their 30’s and 40’s) gathered at the Wilderness Fellowship near Frederic, WI, for a time of rich spiritual growth and fellowship.  Sessions were held for the adults at 9:00 and 10:30 each morning in the Fellowship Center while the children had a VBS style program in the Windy Hill Farmhouse.  Each evening at 7:00, adults and children gathered for a worship service.  Main themes woven throughout the camp were God’s will for Christians, faith, hearing God’s voice, personal testimony of God’s guidance, and full surrender to the Holy Spirit.  Speakers were Pastor Peter Churness (Buffalo, MN), Pastor Tom Hilpert (Lebanon, TN), Dick Klawitter (Frederic, WI), and myself (Detroit Lakes, MN).  Congregational singing of both old and new songs was led by Peter Churness on guitar and Abby Anderson on piano.  Delicious breakfasts, lunches, and suppers were prepared by the indefatigable kitchen team of Abby Anderson and Ben Sherman.  After meals, many lingered for hours fellowshipping around the tables.  During the afternoons campers enjoyed fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and of course much visiting.  Two evenings concluded with a campfire.  

Above all else, spiritual blessings abounded.  In the opening message on Wednesday night, “God’s Will - Our Sanctification,” campers were exhorted to give full control of their lives to God’s Holy Spirit.  One man and his wife were especially touched, stating later that God had greatly encouraged them to take up their cross and follow Him, rejoicing in whatever suffering might result.  Thursday morning witnessed the beginning of a small miracle.  Two days before camp, speaker Tom Hilpert had to cancel coming due to his wife’s health problems.  Believing that God was telling him not to leave home, he could hardly go against God’s voice when the theme for his messages was “Hearing God’s Voice.”  Instead, he felt “very strongly impelled” to video record his three messages on a computer.  The results were amazing.  Every morning we gathered on couches in the Founders Fireside room and clearly heard the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts through a laptop computer.  We were moved to begin listening for God’s voice much more closely than before and to expect it.  These sessions concluded with very eager discussion times which had to be wrapped up prematurely to make time for the next sessions.  Hearts were prepared to listen for God’s voice throughout the rest of camp.  During two other morning sessions, Dick Klawitter exuberantly testified of God’s faithful guidance through his 77 years, and we who listened were drawn closer to the One Whom he obviously loved and trusted so much.  On Friday morning, I spoke on “God’s Will - His Law Written In Our Hearts” which was followed by another lively discussion time.  On Thursday and Friday nights, Peter delivered a pair of inspiring and practical messages based on the lives of Abraham and Isaac.  “The Basis of Faith” is the promises of God Who breaks through human events to call men to Himself.  “The Challenge to Faith” is enslavement to the world, the devil, and our own sinful flesh; but Jesus Christ has set us free to live as victorious children of God.  Saturday morning, we were electrified by the stories of missionary Diane Brask who travels the world as a servant to our Christian brothers and sisters in China, Africa, India, and elsewhere.  Diane related the series of miracles by which God first brought her from western Wisconsin to a meeting of “underground” Chinese church leaders.  Her description of the complete consecration of the Chinese Christians was first-hand proof that true revival is occurring in the world today.  

While the adults met each morning, Gracia Anderson kept the children busy for three hours with Bible stories, songs, Bible verse memorization, crafts, games, and a thrilling missionary story.  The children’s Bible stories on Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph paralleled much of the material given in the evening messages.  During two evening sessions, the children stood in front of the adults to recite Bible verses and sing some of the songs they had learned.

Though all of camp was blessed, we witnessed a special outpouring of God’s power on Saturday evening.  That morning we had taken time as a group to quietly listen for God speaking to our hearts.  The one who was to preach that evening felt led to silently pray that God would speak clearly to someone else.  Immediately a lady spoke out that God had laid on her heart Zecheriah 4:10 - “Who has despised the day of small things.”  This was an overwhelming encouragement for that evening’s speaker who knew that numbers might be smaller since some had to leave camp early.  The message that evening was based on Jacob’s story and was entitled, “The Place of Blessing - Dependence on God.”  It is only when we completely surrender ourselves to God that we may have His full and true blessing.  It was obvious to the speaker that God was moving in several hearts.  After the message, the congregation sang, “Holy Spirit, Have Your Way In Me” followed by a time of silent, individual prayer.  Then the service was closed, but the offer was made for any who so desired to stay behind to quietly pray some more.  No one left.  It was, as one put it later, “a holy moment.”  Sniffles and tears were heard occasionally.  After the pianist sang several verses of the revival hymn, “Search Me, O God,” prayer was offered again and the floor was opened for testimonies.  An older man shared that God was moving him to seek and accept His will for how to spend the time and strength he had been given in old age.  A young lady in her mid twenties testified how God had lately been bringing her to a place of complete dependence on Himself and that she now had immense peace in spite of poor health.  Later she remarked in private that only once before in her life had she ever felt so compelled to testify publicly.  Her testimony surely had an effect on the two young girls who perked up and listened to her with rapt attention.  Clearly God was moving in many hearts.  One person made an apology to another.  Others felt convicted of sin against another and resolved to confess it upon returning home.  I personally had the privilege of visiting till after midnight with a young Christian couple who were feeling very keenly the call to surrender all - ambitions, grudges, worldly friends, and pride - in exchange for the blessed freedom of unhindered fellowship with God.  I can’t think of the last time I have experienced such unabated fellowship with other Christians or seen such hunger for eternal blessings.  Truly it was all the work of God’s Holy Spirit.  Though it may have seemed like a very small moving of the Spirit compared with the great revivals of past centuries, it was sufficient proof that God’s Spirit still works in such ways in our country today.

On Sunday morning, camp concluded with the message, “God’s Will - To Bring Us To Glory.”  God’s great desire is our eternal good, and towards that end He graciously conforms us to the image of His Son.  We left Deeper Life Camp full of spiritual blessing, encouraged by the Christian fellowship, thankful for our new friends, and hungering for even more of God’s presence.  We would certainly welcome any of you who feel drawn by God to join us at  LEM Deeper Life Camp next year.

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