This year’s theme at Raise the Blaze was “Fan The Flame”. It came out of 2 Timothy 1:6 which says “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,”. Many of the teachers taught on passages of scripture that spoke either of God’s gifts or how our flame can be extinguished. What seems to happen each year after camp is that we start off as a bonfire but it soon dwindles to a spark. What do I mean by that? I mean that we are completely on fire for the Lord during and immediately following camp. Sometimes the zeal that we have lasts a few months, for some a few weeks, and for others maybe only a few hours after they return home on Saturday. It shouldn’t happen that way, it’s not supposed to. Unfortunately, even for those of us who are plugged in at our churches, it is so easy to lose the excitement and feelings we had during camp. We start to refer to it as the “Camp Experience”, which makes it sound like we believe that we can only capture those feelings we’re searching for during camp. We start longing and counting down to the next year’s camp thinking to ourselves that we’ll be ok if we can just make it until then.
This is a very wrong approach. We shouldn’t be relying on the capturing of those feelings to get us back on track. That is something the Enemy can use. This year I would like to encourage you to remain steadfast in the Word and in prayer. You each have awesome support groups set up around you at your churches and in your youth groups. Also I would like to give a huge shoutout to those who have been participating in the Raise the Blaze Prayer Group on facebook. If you aren’t involved with this awesome support group, you’re missing out on some major blessings. It is so encouraging to see so many youth and leaders opening up and humbling themselves to ask for prayer. Prayer is our strongest and most formidable weapon as Christians and it is the thing that the Enemy mosts wants to keep us from doing. I would encourage you to continue to pray for each other daily, so that we may keep the darkness at bay. With all of that said, let’s get on with the camp recap!
Worship: I must say, the worship this year was as phenomenal as we have ever had. I would like to give a big shoutout to Mike, Andrew, Ricky, Brendan, and Muscle Man Dave all for the great job they did with each and every song. Not only are they incredibly gifted musicians, but each are awesome guys who took time to fellowship with the youth and talk to as many of them as possible. We were truly blessed by these guys.
Teaching: The teaching this year, as mentioned above, was focused around the theme of Fanning the Flame. There were some awesome messages on the subject, with the teachers including Cliff Simmons, Cody Marnoff, Paul Harmon, Jacob Ingram, and Sam Parkison. This was the first Raise teaching appearances by Paul and Sam, while Cliff, Cody and Jacob are a few regulars. Paul blessed everyone he met with his sincere attitude and crazy personality. Sam was a huge blessing to myself through his intellectual approach towards God’s word. All of the teachers did an excellent job of presenting the scripture and taught all of us something valuable.
Team Games: The way team games were done this year was drastically different from years past. This year instead of doing maybe 2 actual team competitions, the entire week was team focused, and this allowed for more team bonding. Shoutout to my Original Green teammates, while we may not have won, each of you gave your all and sacrificed your voices to make sure the entire camp knew who we were. Thanks to Cody Marnoff and the other leaders on our team for being a great example of what true leaders looks like. Congrats to the Gator Girls for winning!
Coffee House/Talent Show: The Coffee House had a much more energetic feel this year, which made for some crazy awesome times. I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the churches that volunteered for a night. I don’t know if everyone knows this, but several of our fellow youth groups dedicated their time to bake treats, serve Italian Soda, and do various other things to make each night have a different theme. The talent show was moved to the Coffee House this year, and I gotta say, we have some crazy talented youth out there! One of the more popular acts included a guy playing a flute while another guy juggled. While that may sound cool, what makes it even better was that the guy with the flute was playing it through his nose. We had some amazing singers and musicians perform various songs and if you stuck around for the whole show, there was a pretty sweet card trick towards the very end. I can’t talk about this year’s talent show without mentioning the Miranda Sings impersonation. For those that don’t know, Miranda Sings is a YouTube celebrity who has a strange voice and wears far too much makeup. We had a young lady this year at camp who perfectly impersonated her voice, looks, and of course comedy!
The Blaise Show: I’m not sure how I’ve lasted almost this entire article without mention of our awesome emcees Blaise and Dave. Neither had been at Raise for several years now, and ;they brought a level of excitement and craziness that was unrivaled. Thanks guys for making this not only the craziest camp, but also probably one of the most disgusting ones. Anyone want a Happy Meal?
The Concert: One word describes how awesome this year’s concert was… MULLAAAAAAAA! Andrew Muller took the stage and played the majority of the songs off of his CD, which is a must buy for any of his fans, and while many probably didn’t know most of the words, he kept the environment crazy and when he came back out to play “Nightmares” for the finale, that was one of the coolest moments I’ve witnessed. Great job Andrew!
Volunteers: Thank you to everyone that helped out in any way this week, know that no matter how small a part you feeled that you played, you were a huge blessing to all of us.
Until next year when we walk through the chapel doors once again, remember to remain steadfast in the Word and prayer, continually and vigilantly fanning into flame the gift of God. God bless you all and hopefully we all remain in contact until next summer!