Every afternoon, various seminars were offered to students who were interested, as well as sports and crafts. Some of these topics consisted of marriage, sex, and money, and one afternoon I (Dan) had the honor of teaching a class on God and the Big Bang. (Don't mind the shoddy handwriting on my part-->)
Most Czech students are not exposed to an alternative to the predominant secular worldview at school, and science is mostly regarded as the antithesis to a belief in the God who made them. So, I figured this would be a good opportunity to offer a basic case for a personal Creator, which would hopefully instill a deeper confidence among those who were more skeptical about the person and work of Jesus.
Following the seminar, I received a number of comments from some of the students:
"I have never thought that science and religion could go hand in hand so well."
"I get these questions asked all of the time at school, and now I feel ready to answer."
"Thank you for the discussion we had about the connection between religion and science...I always hoped to have this conversation."
This year's theme for the summer camps was "Upside Down". Throughout the week, the students were introduced and invited to see the world they know in a different light and perspective. The world without Jesus pushes the view that looks, wealth, and love will satisfy and fill empty hearts - giving happiness; yet this only leads to despair, whereas only true and eternally rooted happiness comes from God. The world says that if you were wronged it's good to be angry or seek revenge - yet God calls us to forgive and love our enemies. Our imperfect nature longs
for control of our lives and worries about the future - yet, God in His omniscience knows everything and we can completely trust in His goodness and perfect will. What if God's perspective is the right perspective? What if what seems to be hidden and unsure is actually spoken and written in the Bible for us to know and hold on to? What if the God who made this world cares so much about the details and status of our hearts and souls that He would send His son Jesus to take our place that we might be made right with God and be called His "children", "holy", and "blameless"?
On another occasion, Dan had the opportunity to share a message on Love through the story of Jesus with the prostitute and Simon the Pharisee from Luke 7:36-50. The message that people ought to get what they deserve is what pervades our cultures, but in the upside down kingdom, love for the unloveable conquers the death we have been lead to.
As each evening program progressed, the themes became more pointed or personal all leading up to a summary on Thursday night where the Gospel was laid out for the students to walk through in what was called a Labyrinth. Through a pathway outside, lit only by candles, the students would walk at their own pace through a series of stations and reflect on what they had heard about Jesus.
This was a solemn time to reflect on the message of the love and forgiveness that only Jesus brings through His death and resurrection, and at the end of the trail there was an opportunity to burn the piece of paper that had 2 of the major sins keeping them from God written on it. This was a symbol of handing their lives over to Christ and watch Him take their guilt and shame away. Please pray for the number of students who have taken that step.