CIY 2014: This Changes Everything   Leave a comment

Last week I went to CIY’s Move event with my church’s youth group.  As an adult leader, I was able to get most of the awesome CIY experience that the students did, though I missed out on a few things like The Morning Show.  While my church normally goes to one of the Move events in Holland, Michigan, this year we went to Tennessee.  As my second ever CIY experience (I missed out on it when I was the right age to go), I have to say that it was one of the best weeks I’ve ever had.  It’s taken me the better part of a week to “fully recover” from it (I meant to write this last Sunday), but there are some elements of it that I hope I don’t recover from.

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That’s our group (minus our church’s family minister, Traci.  She’s the one taking the picture, I think.)  I’m the large non-student on the right, doing my part to sponsor (if memory serves) Dr Pepper.

The theme of the week was summed up in the phrase “This Changes Everything”, a phrase that the CIY folks packed with meaning all week long.  The overarching messages looked at everything that changes with the information that Jesus didn’t just die, but came back to life.  Most of the material covered came from the book of James, the book written by the brother of Jesus.  While Jesus was alive, James didn’t care much for his brother’s outlandish ministries but, after Jesus came back, he had to admit that his older brother was exactly who he claimed to be (which would’ve been a very humbling thing for anyone to admit about their sibling.)

A key element of every CIY I’ve been to (both of ’em) and of what bits and pieces I’ve picked up from watching people return from CIY is a focus on backing up our walk with God with the actions that should go with them.  It felt like this aspect of CIY was cranked up to full throttle this week, possibly due to the fact that James talked about it.  Before our youth group went to CIY, we spent a week where we read through the book of James (it’s one of the Bible’s shorter books, so it wasn’t too difficult), and we focused on that before we left, as well.  As we pointed out before we left, the book of James said (among many things) that there are many who express good deeds without faith, and that the faith of those who don’t back it up with deeds is effectively dead.  We, as Christians, should live out our faith through our actions.

In the United States it’s really easy to get too comfortable and forget about some of the awful things happening in the world, so I was very grateful to CIY for showcasing a lot of organizations who are out there to help people in other parts of the world.  CIY’s engage organization was geared toward helping people to make planned service trips to different parts of the world (or even within their own country), while 1mission exists to construct housing for people who don’t have the basic needs of shelter that we all take for granted.  Other missions focused on rescuing and rehabilitating the problem of slavery in the world, such as Rapha House and Black Box International who focus on sex trafficking.  The final evening speaker on the last two nights was actually a member of Black Box, and he did a lot to point out how the way we live our lives every day can impact those kinds of ministries.  All sin is communal, as he put it.

The week also featured a day where we went mountain hiking.  As the highest point of the mountain that we could easily reach, there was a nice double waterfall.  I was proud of myself for climbing to a certain peak on the waterfall, but no one was around to take my picture until after I’d climbed down again, getting very wet and dirty in the process.

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Just… just imagine me standing on that platform at about the middle of that picture there.  That’s where I was, though the world will never know.

Ultimately, it was a great week.  Lots of fun, and while I know that the trip was made for the benefit of the students, I feel like it helped me a lot as well.  I won’t say much more since some people haven’t gone yet and might not want spoilers (like Tim’s job this year), but my hope is that after the “camp high” dies down I’ll find myself in a better place than I’ve been for quite some time.  Definitely a relief after last year’s “eight month move”, let me tell you.  I’ll just end with this last picture of the event and be on my way…

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