The Learning Curve of Moses

The Learning Curve Of Moses

Moses strikes me as a particularly robust individual. His character, behavior, and presence all intrigue me greatly. He is a man, and biblical character, we speak of often. From a young age, many are familiar with the story of the parting of the red sea and wandering the desert, especially if you were brought up within any sort of Christian community. 

This is where my understanding stopped, I had known the rudimentary stories of Moses. I had known a vague and convoluted timeline of what happened and where they took place. Reading through these stories with the depth it takes to write a podcast script, however, shed a good amount of light and understanding on the man and character of Moses. 

Over the course of the last 30 days and five episodes, I have found a new relatability to Moses. Prior to this time, I had understood Moses as a specific, special man, picked out by God, to carry out a direct and important plan, which is not necessarily untrue. It is however missing the average normality that makes Moses an example worth exemplifying. 

In my opinion, I see many of us individually in Moses. He is visibly uncertain, doubtful, even aggravated at the plans and path that God has called him to. He questions, missteps, responds out of foolishness and is still invited and encouraged into the will of God. I can’t help but recognize my own uncertainty, misguided foolishness, boastfulness, and at times frustrations with faith, with the uncertainty, within the response and life of Moses. 

My largest moment of clarity comes with this thought; Moses, although a man of normal form and function, was used by God through an invitation to carry out a specific divine plan. I know these are not new thoughts but as a member of our foolish and fallen humanity, it is an ever pertinent reminder.

Summer Update

Summer Update

Who else is counting down the days till Summer Camp? (132… ish) We have a summer update for you!

Adventure with us at Covenant Bay Bible Camp this summer! We have a lot of flexible and fun-filled programs on the horizon!

Registration opens Monday, February 22nd!

Check out the frequently asked questions to get more information

Check(in with) yourself before you wreck yourself.

Check(in with) yourself before you wreck yourself.


This week on the Bible Story Podcast, Jon Drebert and I (Bradon Pihowich) spoke to our listeners about a simple growth tip. The challenge or tip was to ask yourself, “How am I doing in my relationship with God?” 

The question above was prompted by a conversation Jon and I had earlier in the week. This conversation was centered around the discontent in my spiritual disciplines and active relationship with God. I have found myself in this place before, often yearly, like clockwork; following the lull of the Canadian winter and the lack of sunlight, my spirit becomes restless. Although I find this place or emotional state familiar, I have yet to find an answer that works as consistently as the challenge arises. 

We all know that “change” is one of the most overused buzzwords of 2020. “Change” rounds out the list of unprecedented opportunities we have learned to leverage through this season of pivoting. 

We all know that “change” is one of the most overused buzzwords of 2020. “Change” rounds out the list of unprecedented opportunities we have learned to leverage through this season of pivoting. 

I write that facetiously. However, the fact remains that a lot, if not everything, has changed since February of 2020.  This change has fluctuated between minor and major, sometimes within seconds of each other. 

After coming to terms with this constant, unpredictable yet somehow opportunistic idea of change, I settled into some new thoughts I hadn’t had before. Nearly every practice and norm of my life had been redefined to the point of only being faintly recognizable of the life I once understood. I am content in this reality (Most days) and find myself enjoying several aspects of the new normal in which we collectively find ourselves.

Eventually, I begrudgingly admitted to God that I found myself in the all too familiar state of spiritual stagnation. This admission was a moment of clarity for me and the reason for this article. I realized that I rarely, within the last 12 months, asked myself, “How am I doing in my relationship with God?” The same question I was encouraging the listeners of the podcast to reflect on—a little hypocritical, if not at least a little ironic. 

It dawned on me that I had lost touch with my spirit and spiritual grit amid the conversation Jon and I shared earlier this week. I had failed to see the necessity to change my spiritual practice or routines until I directly felt the disconnect. This recognition is good, don’t misunderstand, and I have taken new and exciting steps to reconvene with God at the center of my life. Although I deem this distinction as necessary, the severity of discontent I had endured still felt unnecessary. 

My Social Work and Counselling services background points out a potential cause to the unnecessary discomfort I repeatedly experienced. All of which could have been avoided with an honest answer to my spiritual check-in. 

It sounds simple, and it is. To know how we are doing or why we are feeling a certain way, we first must ask ourselves that exact question and be willing to answer it with vulnerability and honesty. Once I responded to this question, I recognized the feelings and thoughts, and actions or changes correlated to a possible solution. Without asking, a possible solution is unavailable; we are simply unable to find an answer to a question that has yet to be asked. 

Without asking, a possible solution is unavailable; we are simply unable to find an answer to a question that has yet to be asked. 

This check-in is also available to children, although we often need to instigate the conversation or spiritual reflection prior to the child being able to promote this thought train, especially when in an emotional or dysregulated space.

Rudimentary questions often slip our minds due to their simplicity. These questions, however simple, are grandiose in their possibility.

I implore you, as I did myself and the listeners of The Bible Story Podcast earlier this week, to ask yourself this question “How am I doing in my relationship with God?”

One Thousand Hours

 

One Thousand Hours

I must start with a caveat about the following article. The ideas I am sharing are simply thoughts to be pondered and reflected upon and not a commentary on any specific group or individual. 

I was listening to several podcasts this week while painting some walls in my home office. A few of which mentioned the recruitment of youth and young adults into extremist or terrorist cells, specifically Isis. The ideas and tactics they were sharing were hardly different than that of national gang recruitment. 

A study “Tackling terrorists’ recruitment of youth” by Jessica Trisko Darden delves into and communicates the recruitment systems used by extremist groups.


 The author speaks to the vulnerability that is taken advantage of when recruiting young individuals. These youth have several things in common; Vulnerability, loneliness, and marginalization from their immediate community.  These youth seek connection, community, and above most else, belonging, which they receive through connecting with these terrorist groups. 

The recruiters will often use several people to recruit one young person, which is never communicated and misrepresents that the youth is always connecting with the same person. Often over thousands of hours through chat rooms, calls, and emails. Trust and belonging are built over this time. Slowly and methodically. 

Without going too much further into the specifics of the scenario, I will say this. I have some experience working with youth who were gang involved. These individuals never saw it as a flawed system, not once. They felt more protected, cared for, and connected there than they ever had at home or in the community, which does not say much for their home life or experience within the community. They understood the surface dangers of it; they knew there were risks involved, but what “family” doesn’t have some give and take?

These are all human needs, all things God created us to need! We will all search for these life essentials until we find them.

The introspection came quickly after listening and digging into this idea. I am profoundly challenged by the thought of one thousand hours. This idea, one thousand hours, at its simplest, is the idea that 1000 hours will be spent with any given child or youth to ensure they feel safe, cared for, and protected. This type of intimate time spent then creates an indebted relationship that can quickly be taken advantage of. When was the last time I, or ministries, spent this kind of time connecting with an individual? 

Do we offer these individuals the same things? Do we offer the youth, community, protection, belonging, and judgment-free relationship in a Christ-centered and healthy environment? 

Many of these are rhetorical questions. I genuinely don’t have the answers to them. I know that evaluating how we share God’s love is crucial to reaching people. Understanding what they seek and the places it is found allows us, as Christians, to understand some of what they are going through. 

As we approach each other, understanding our humanity and collective brokenness allows us to connect, listen, and share life without the implications or expectations perpetuated by unhealthy or self-involved relationships—a challenge for all of us, only attainable through a vibrant and earnest relationship with God.

Summer Thought; Winter Day

Summer Thought; Winter Day

I sit here, easily distracted by the snow covering the sidewalk, driveways, and roads just outside my living room window. As with much of the world at the moment, I find myself working primarily from home, a scenario I am thankful for but not always good at. I like to move, change scenes, and travel more often than the regular individual might. It’s sometimes a nervous twitch yet more specifically a need for experience and adventure! 

This paints a good picture as to why I ended up being the Program Director at Covenant Bay. Never a dull moment. Once the winter days settle in, a week or so after the time change (which somehow still throws me off, every year!) I recognize my need for adventure, travel, and warmer weather, calls me, subtly yet not lacking fervor, it demands I take note. Which I do, momentarily at least. like most Canadians I know, I long for the warm days with exponential increase as the winter months drag on.

I like to consider myself an expert in Summer. Not like, a meteorologist or anything, just simply a person who has experienced summer and much of what it has to offer through many years of serving Summer camp! It is much harder to have a slip-n-slide in negative 30-degree weather! (trust me, I’ve tried) 

The exact timing of “evening” seems to get less exact as the year draws to an end. “Is it 2:00 pm? Or Midnight?” I am genuinely unsure most of December due to the lack of any prolonged sunlight. 

Midnight is and has always been the time when I get my best thinking done. This year I have been captivated by the thought of how we carry experiences with us and how those experiences, help grow and oftentimes define us long after they’re initially experienced. 

Every summer, since I was 18, I have watched children, youth, and staff, grow through experiences. This growth is often more profound than any individual expects. Each winter, around this time I remind myself to pray for those individuals, for the change they experienced, and that the spiritual growth they experienced in the summer months has been fostered, cared for, and encouraged into this season. 

We, at camp, or in ministry, recognize that this type of life change comes through an interaction with the Holy Spirit. This is the exact life change and connection we pray for and love to see during the summer months, or while doing relational ministry with people! 

My encouragement and end thought for today is simple. As the days get colder and we see the sunless, let’s remember to pray for those whose lives have changed, for the children, youth, and families that are impacted by local ministries sharing the Joy of the Holy Spirit.

Just A Little Off The Top

“Just A Little Off The Top”

Thanksgiving is often the time of year when I take stock of the events of the past months. October is often the beginning of the next summer season. Dreams and schemes are being planted and diligently cared for to slowly propagate what will eventually be next year’s summer camp!

October is also when I, the Program Director, look over the events of the summer past. The highs and the lows, or “Poops and Puddings,” as I have aptly titled them.

The list of pros and cons, wins and losses, often seems to grow with the more thought I put into it.

The trouble is, I am attempting to measure the immeasurable. Don’t misunderstand; I love a useful metric or perfectly presented statistic, but so often does this do some injustice when I think about the summer as a whole. The staff, children, and families we come across each year need to be more than statistics.

After a few months of critical analysis, I remind myself to take a little off the top, skim the surface, remove the foam, cut loose the split ends. In statistics, these “top” numbers are called outliers. They are the numbers that do not show the accurate measure of your research. Every single study has outliers, anomalies, and inconsistencies. These are often the discouraging moments, fights, or failures that could distort the picture of an otherwise glorious summer.

God grants us grace continuously and without interest or expected return. He prompts us to strive not for worldly success but life in His abundance. As followers of Christ, we get to live under this grace and enjoy the calm it brings.

Every year, around this season, I am reminded that God’s metric is different and far more complex than the metric of worldly success or progress. Self- Reflection, growth, and improvement are all attributes that I consider honorable.

Success does not mean perfection or without fault; only Jesus can be that. Perhaps it is okay to skim a little off the top and rest in His immeasurable grace.

Things I wish I hadn’t Grown Out Of; A Non-Comprehensive Thought

Things I wish I hadn’t Grown Out Of;

A Non-Comprehensive Thought

I am now at the age that would be considered an “adult,” although I must admit I feel like an imposter most days. I find myself yearning for the freedom, naivety, and homecooked meals of childhood. 

After ten years or so of working with children and youth, I have realized there are specific opportunities that we are asked to give up as “adults” that seem to do me more harm than good. Sure, eating cake for dinner isn’t a healthy life choice (trust me, I have tried), but there is a principal there that we can glean hope and peace from! 

As I try to navigate this thing, they call “adulthood,” I am reminded of how Jesus spoke about children. He did not push them aside, ignore, or urge them to “grow up” to become a part of His kingdom. He recognized the importance of their minds, hearts, and simplistic look at faith. 

This is the youthful character trait I find myself chasing these days. In the midst of an overwhelming, and the seemingly unending whirlwind of political, economic, and societal unrest, I desire the simplicity of childhood thought. 

As adults, we assume that a complicated and convoluted response is the only way to approach these BIG issues. We do this often in our faith; we complicate, dissect, and drown in the theological debate of semantics, all without ever reaching an answer. 

My thoughts bring me to a question. “What if we were to reclaim the simplicity of childhood thought?” 

I believe that children approach faith with the fervor, earnestness, and love that I am seeking to emulate, that I once had and had been asked to give up for a more “adult” mind frame. 

I am encouraged by this – We can approach God as children; we can fumble and stutter our way through a conversation with Him. We get to be proud and excited and trusting in His presence. He is our Father, and He loves us. It’s pretty simple. 

Next time you sit down, with the weight of the day resting heavily on your shoulders, think about the simple answer. God loves you, He cares for you, and He works all things out for good. Fight the urge to complicate, solve, and strategize the solution and simply let the Father hold the answers. 

How Are You?

 

How Are You?

Not Such an Obvious Question

September is known as National Suicide Awareness month. As I continue to navigate the very abnormal day-to-day we are currently experiencing, I often wonder how the individuals around me are doing. 

We ask, “How are you?” in any given situation without much emphasis or conviction. The idea that a “good” or “fine” will suffice as a quick answer. 

Amid our current scenario, I have noticed the honesty and vulnerability that are newly attached to such a simple question. People seem to be seeking an outlet, a conversation, a connection with one another. 

The idea of mental health and well-being is not new to many of us. We see comments, articles, and entertainment all geared towards the awareness of this idea. Something I believe is pertinent to our society. 

With this said, I am emplored to be honest about the worrying state I have found myself in. As COVID – 19 became daily news, I immediately began to see and consider its repercussions on the families and children in our community. The impact due to the inability to fully grasp what they are living through. 

I have always desired to care for others; this motivated me. Passionately we (the Covenant Bay Bible Camp Leadership) began to brainstorm how to reach and serve this community. 

I must clarify that I, In no way consider this current pandemic or scenario, impending doom for the children of this generation—actually, quite the opposite. We have a remarkable and unique opportunity to converse with each other about our health on a day to day basis. COVID – 19, has perpetuated this already inherent human need. 

As the school year drew near, we felt, as a camp, we needed to support our campers, staff, and communities in a new, COVID friendly way. This led to the idea of In-School Programming— born out of the heart to serve our community. 

Our in-school programming is a mental health initiative. Recognizing the importance of an individual’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being is a year-round endeavor. Suicide awareness month helps us continually prioritize and recognize the need for physical, emotional, and mental support. 

Children are strong, resilient, smart, and courageous. Our initiative aims to share these strengths with them to teach them it is okay not to be okay, and that they have the ability and support system to navigate any time of strife or uncertainty.  

Our mission at Covenant Bay Bible Camp is to encourage a growing relationship with Jesus Christ; we believe that our mental and emotional well-being is a part of this relationship. Our care and hope for the campers, families, and alumni of CBBC are to be a part of the broader community and body of Christ, in which we care for and encourage one another. 

An Earnest Thank You

This week marks the end of our Summer Programming. We have said hello and goodbye to many campers, families, and friends throughout this season. The “Hello!” was always exciting, and “Goodbye”  seemed all too often like a small part of us was leaving. 

In one of its’ most straightforward definitions, Camp is where relationships are encouraged, where strangers become family, and life seems less scary. 

This year specifically, I held fear close as the camp season came near— fear for job security, health, campers, and staff, amongst many more.  

This concern dissolved as the first smiling faces and sounds of laughter filled the property. (filled being a relative term – Filled within social distance guidelines of course!) 

As I reflect on the strange yet simultaneously wonderful last three months, I recognize how thankful I am this year for the small things I have often overlooked. Both parents and campers’ eyes would show the marks of each early morning, but rarely was the exhaustion commented on, rather the parents and children would speak only with the excitement of the day to come! Eyes half-open yet with hearts and minds that couldn’t unbuckle the seatbelt and open the car door soon enough!

The truth is the laughter, smiles, footsteps in the gravel, late-night shenanigans, constant campfire scented hair, and all of the other tiny pockets of joy are all things camp has always had. Never have I escaped a summer without the burning sensation of eyes so dry from a windy night around the campfire. 

Moments that have nearly always been there that I have never fully recognized nor had gratitude towards. 

This year, with the unknown, unprecedented, unpredictable, or any other word meaning “no clue what the future holds.” I was so thankful for the gratitude I had forgotten to give. Each morning that campers were on the road, the staff shared a devotion over coffee, or the calm of the day hadn’t yet given way to the chaos driven distractions. I found myself saying, “Thank you, God.” 

Thank you for the things I do not know or have yet to see, for the parents who aren’t morning people but drove to camp anyway, and the joys we got to share in the midst of the unknown. 

Thank you, Father, for you are good!

An Earnest Thank You

This week marks the end of our Summer Programming. We have said hello and goodbye to many campers, families, and friends throughout this season. The “Hello!” was always exciting, and “Goodbye”  seemed all too often like a small part of us was leaving. 

In one of its’ most straightforward definitions, Camp is where relationships are encouraged, where strangers become family, and life seems less scary. 

This year specifically, I held fear close as the camp season came near— fear for job security, health, campers, and staff, amongst many more.  

This concern dissolved as the first smiling faces and sounds of laughter filled the property. (filled being a relative term – Filled within social distance guidelines of course!) 

As I reflect on the strange yet simultaneously wonderful last three months, I recognize how thankful I am this year for the small things I have often overlooked. Both parents and campers’ eyes would show the marks of each early morning, but rarely was the exhaustion commented on, rather the parents and children would speak only with the excitement of the day to come! Eyes half-open yet with hearts and minds that couldn’t unbuckle the seatbelt and open the car door soon enough!

The truth is the laughter, smiles, footsteps in the gravel, late-night shenanigans, constant campfire scented hair, and all of the other tiny pockets of joy are all things camp has always had. Never have I escaped a summer without the burning sensation of eyes so dry from a windy night around the campfire. 

Moments that have nearly always been there that I have never fully recognized nor had gratitude towards. 

This year, with the unknown, unprecedented, unpredictable, or any other word meaning “no clue what the future holds.” I was so thankful for the gratitude I had forgotten to give. Each morning that campers were on the road, the staff shared a devotion over coffee, or the calm of the day hadn’t yet given way to the chaos driven distractions. I found myself saying, “Thank you, God.” 

Thank you for the things I do not know or have yet to see, for the parents who aren’t morning people but drove to camp anyway, and the joys we got to share in the midst of the unknown. 

Thank you, Father, for you are good!