I’m at Glacier Bible Camp in Hungry Horse, Montana (just outside of Glacier National Park… an incredibly beautiful place on planet earth!) – I have the wonderful privilege of serving as Bible teacher for their Family Camp this week! And I’ve got to admit it… My mind and heart are filled with NOSTALGIA and GRATITUDE!
Why, you ask? Because Glacier Bible Camp is where I received my call into the ministry 58 years ago!
It happened during a “Kid’s Kamp” (a camping experience designed specifically to reach children with the Gospel and give them an opportunity to experience Jesus Christ personally). The year God called me, we had a lady camp evangelist (I don’t even remember her name)… The night that God called me into the ministry, she shared a challenging message and the Lord spoke powerfully to my “child heart!” I responded to her appeal for those who wanted to grow closer to the Lord at the close of her presentation and went back to the “prayer room” in the old tabernacle to pray. (the old tabernacle is no longer standing today… it collapsed under the weight of an unusually heavy snow storm years ago). As I began to pray, telling God I wanted to serve Him and do anything desired for me to do, the presence of the Lord became very real to me. It was in those moments as a child, I sensed God speaking in an incredibly powerful way to my “child heart!” God’s call was almost Spiritually audible! It was also visionary! I heard God call me to share His word with multitudes of people and saw myself teaching the Bible before crowds of people. I wept and wept! I told the Lord, “Yes! I will do what You’re calling me to do!”
The next morning at morning chapel during camp an opportunity was given for anyone who desired to share anything God had done in their life the night before. I knew I had to share my experience! So this timid little farm boy from the little town of Pablo, Montana stood up and blurted out the words, “Last night I think God called me into the ministry!” I couldn’t think of anything more to say, so I sat down… ashamed! It was at that moment the director of the camp, a tall Montana cowboy preacher from Libby, Montana, stood up, walked to the edge of the stage in the auditorium, pointed his finger directly at me and said, “Son, last night God told me he was calling you into the ministry!”
That was 58 years ago… This week I decided to try to find the exact spot on the campground where that Divine transaction took place. I knew where the foundation of the old tabernacle was located (there is now an outdoor basketball court there). I found the spot to the best of my ability and stood there (see the picture)… and renewed my commitment to the Lord to fulfill my calling!
Oh, what a journey! Oh what that call from God has led to! Years of fruitful pastoral ministry! Serving as a professor for over 30 years at a Bible university training thousands of young men and women for Christian service all over the world! Serving the Assemblies of God, the denomination I am affiliated with, as their National Director for Christian Education and their first Commissioner on Discipleship. And to think It all began in the heart of a 10 year old child at Kid’s Kamp at Glacier Bible Camp 58 years ago! Incredible!
Just let me say, I love Glacier Bible Camp … and I passionately believe in the value of the Children and Youth Camps that are held there each summer! I am the product of camping programs like that!