So, it’s been about a couples of months since Ripon finished. And if you are feeling lost without the hundred people just like you around you every day; we know exactly how you feel.
I started coming to Ripon when I was 12, and as soon as I got home each year that I was a member, I remember missing the atmosphere, the people and the space just be me.
For a brief aside, I haven’t missed a year yet. Now I’m 26.
Some of my closest friends are people that I’ve met through Ripon Ventures.
And I firmly believe that we all need people around us to keep us dancing through life and growing virtues like in faith and perseverance.
I know that for me, something that I struggle with, is trying to deal with every situation I go through on my own, because I thought I can. But I have to say over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that I’m not invincible or anything close.
I have also learned that it’s ok not to be.
But the thing that made the difference for me was keeping in touch with friends that have I met at Ripon over the years and getting involved with a church and youth activities locally. So please, please, please, try to get involved with your local church or a youth group so that you don’t have to rely on the randomness of Ripon to keep going with God.
Your church is the place where you can encounter God, but you can do that on your own too or in a room of a hundred people like at Ripon.
We believe God meets us where we are and shows us the plans for our lives.
The bible talks about plans to prosper us and not to harm us,
plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
I believe we were created to be in relationship with God, and as we learn about who God is, and Jesus is, we learn who we are, or can be through having his teachings guiding our lives.
We all need people around us, people who we can be ourselves with.
I’ve made friends for life through coming to Ripon.
I hope that you all have people in your lives like I’ve described.
So, if you can, I recommend keeping in touch with the people that you have met through camp this year.
I will be praying that God blesses you this year.
Hope to see you again next year.
As we head back to school and settle back into the normal rhythms of life, it’s important to remember that God isn’t just for Ripon.
Sometimes everything seems to go right. There’s no drama in your friendship group, that boy you fancy likes you back, school seems easy and you actually understand things as teachers explain them. At times like these it’s easy to thank God for what He’s doing and to rejoice in His love for us. That’s not a bad thing, but Habakkuk 3:17-18 says:
Though the fig-tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the sheepfold
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Saviour.
Habakkuk is saying here that nothing in his life seems to be going well. There’s no food, all the crops have failed and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better. He doesn’t say to God, “You have to sort this for me”, he simply says, “God, I know you’re good even though all these bad things are happening and I rejoice in that”. Whether we can feel God’s presence closely, whether things are going well, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we rejoice and be joyful in God our Saviour. We know God is 100% good, and he’s got His reasons when things aren’t going well for us. Although we can’t always see what those reasons are, there’s always cause for joy.
My prayer for you is that you’ll be able to praise God for who He is every day. That it doesn’t matter what God does and He doesn’t always work in the ways we expect but He is always 100% good.