Posts Tagged With: god

Thin Places

Last night marked the [almost] end to staff training with worship, communion, and staff commissioning.  It was a great night for many reasons, one of which being the reminder of the thin places.

1-DSC_4368thin place: those rare locals where the distance between heaven and earth collapses

Moses received the ten commandments on the top of the mountain. Jesus frequently went to the top of the mountain to pray.  Ancient churches were frequently built as high a possible on a hill or mountain.  Thin places.

paigerailey-42-3There is something about being in nature, particularly on a mountain, that allows you to feel God’s presence.  Are you physically closer to heaven? Probably not.  But thin places require struggle.  Thin places mean giving up control.  Thin places mean surrendering ourselves so that we may more fully experience God.

1-DSC_3991 I believe Asbury Hills is one of those places.  One of those places where God seems just a little bit more available. personable. present.

paigerailey-46-3We are on pace for 1100 campers to gather at Asbury Hills this summer.  Welcome.  Be ready to meet God.

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Christian Birth, Growth, & Renewal

We are in full planning mode at Asbury Hills. The 2015 budget has been finalized. The site is humming each weekend with retreat groups worshiping, fellowshipping, and having a blast! Details for Summer Camp 2015 are coming together and on-line registration is being set up. Part of planning for us is refocusing on our mission. What is the purpose of Asbury Hills?

Our mission is to serve all people for Christian birth, growth, and renewal. But what exactly does this mean?

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Christian Birth:
Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. –Romans 10:9

We desire for people to know Jesus Christ. Admittedly, most of our summer campers and retreat guests come from a church background. They do know Jesus Christ. But many do not. We want anyone who steps onto the property of Asbury Hills – whether it be a retreat guest, summer camper, hiker, person making a delivery, or simply someone who got lost in the mountains – to be able to encounter the living God.

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Christian Growth:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. –John 15:5

We desire for people to grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. As mentioned before, most of our guests do know Jesus Christ. But we also believe that faith is a journey, and part of this journey is to become more and more like Jesus. The staff at Asbury Hills seeks to provide an atmosphere that enables people to abide in Jesus Christ. This may be intentionally through a summer camp worship service or staff led devotion. It may also be something as small as trail maintenance to allow guests to hike and experience God through nature. We are always seeking to remove barriers and distractions so that guests can be focused on what God wants to do in their lives while on site with us.

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Christian Renewal:
Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so you can figure out what God’s will is – what is good and pleasing and mature. –Romans 12:2

We desire for people to be renewed in Jesus Christ. The world is full of distractions. Maybe our guests and campers have hit a plateau in their faith. Maybe they have started to fall away from faith all together. Asbury Hills seeks to create an environment that reflects Christian fellowship and community. We want to create an environment where it is easier to be a Christian. Unfortunately, we understand that people cannot stay at Asbury Hills forever. Hikers, campers, and retreats guests will have to return to their normal lives – complete with all the distractions they left behind. But our goal is that by creating the atmosphere of Christian community and temporarily removing the distractions, we have allowed time for our guests to be renewed in Christ and ready to take on the world again.

Categories: Asbury Hills, Retreats, Summer Camp | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Year of Blogging

It was almost one year ago today that Asbury Hills started this blog.  We wanted a better way to connect with you – to tell stories, share information, or even just share a quote and a picture.  We had no idea it would take off the way it has with 2,148 followers and thousands of monthly views.  The best part of blogging though is getting to hear from you!  We love seeing you share our stories around Facebook & Twitter and being able to read the emails you send us asking for more information or sharing your opinion.  So for the next year, we ask you to keep them coming!

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And if you’ve missed out, here are our top 5 viewed blog posts from the past year.

1. 10 Questions with Asbury Hills Director David Rouse

2. Because I Went to Camp: Sarah’s Story

3. Happy Staff Equals Happy Campers

4. But Why? The Closed-Toe Shoe Rule

5. Asbury Hills – More Fun Than Disney World

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Throwback Thursday: Dreams Becoming Reality On Methodist Mountain Camp-Site

Below is an article originally published in the February 21, 1963 edition of the Advocate. Today, we are thankful that 50+ years ago many worked towards and dreamed of the place that would become Asbury Hills Camp & Retreat Center.

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Next Sunday is Camp Development Day in the Methodist Churches of South Carolina.

Behind it are the hopes, dreams, and mountain-top visions, on the part of many people through long years of youth-work in the Methodist churches of South Carolina, which are now becoming a reality.

In the mountains, between Travelers’ Rest and Caesar’s Head, Cleveland, SC, the Methodist Camp is taking physical form.

Ten cabins have been finished, of which seven are for Juniors, and three for Senior Youth.

Being built are the Health Center, Staff Lodge, and Dining Hall. Just completed is the Bath House. Previous to this, a water system was install, roads built, a dam built and water impounded for the lake, and a home constructed for Camp Superintendent Wesley Voigt and his family.

There are 565 acres in the site.

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Camping has been an important part of the program of Christian Education conducted by the Boards of Education of the form Upper South Carolina and the South Carolina conference. With the merging of the two conferences in 1949, the program has been statewide in nature.

Working under the direction of the conference executive secretary of the Board of Education in this program have been Directors of Youth Work, who have borne a major part of the responsibility through the years.

With state-wide responsibility, and coming into contact with hundreds of young people from the nearly 800 Methodist churches throughout the state, the post is a vital one in the life of the church. At times served by volunteer leaders of the Conferences, and at other times by full-time persons, all have found camping a valued part of the church’s work.

Each summer, for many years past, the camping program has been carried on at State Parks, rented for limited periods of time in the summer, and in such other facilities as have been available.

Under such circumstances, limitations of time and facilities have limited the number of youth who could be accommodated in the summer camping program. It has also meant that no opportunity was available for junior-age children to camp. Yet, year-by-year it was demonstrated again and again that the camping experience under church sponsorship opened the way to joy and happiness and increased spiritual growth…

Now the work is under way.

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With the earlier contributions, and the memorial cabins already built and the work that has already been done, the present construction will make it possible to use the Camp in the summer of 1963.

Beginning the third week in June, there will be four weeks of camping for Junior girls and boys.

Senior youth, age 15 and above, will have a two-weeks Work Camp, beginning the first week in July. At that time they will help to develop some phase of camp life. Last year, 20 young people in such a camp built two bridges over streams in the camp.

The Work Camp this year will be limited to 22 persons. Applications should be made to the Youth Director….

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Laughter, Joy, and Worship

“If there is no laughter, Jesus has gone somewhere else. If there is no joy and freedom, it is not a church: it is simply a crowd of melancholy people basking in a religious neurosis. If there is no celebration, there is no real worship.”
― Steve Brown, Approaching God: Accepting the Invitation to Stand in the Presence of God

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I Am Yours and You Are Mine

Post by Sarah Kelley

There is a beautiful song by Hillsong UNITED out right now titled “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail).”  The song is so good in fact it is one of the few songs I can listen to on repeat without getting sick of it.

I also think it could be titled “Matthew’s Creek (Where Feet May Fail).”

At Asbury Hills, we believe that youth are going to struggle at something.  As much as we want to protect them, they will be tested.  They will be led to “the great unknown where feet may fail.”  God may even be the One calling them to something difficult.  But we also strongly believe, that with God, anything is possible.

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Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

How powerful would it be if youth today truly believed these words?
It is something they can learn at Asbury Hills.

Campers will try new things.  They will have opportunities to fail.  If you’ve never shot a bow and arrow before, how do you know if you will be any good?

I Am Yours

Campers will also probably be afraid at some point.  Maybe they have never been away from home for a week.  There are people they don’t know in their cabins.  There will probably be a loud thunderstorm during the week.  And even if you aren’t afraid of heights, jumping off a telephone pole into thin air is a little frightening.

leap of faith

More importantly than having the opportunity to work through fear and trying something new despite the possibility of failing, campers learn that God loves them more than they could possibility imagine.  That they are worthy.  That they belong to God.

Belonging to God, failing at something and coming out on the other side, and facing a fear head-on can give campers the confidence to let this be their prayer.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

AND if this can be the prayer of today, I have great hope in the world of tomorrow.

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