Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?

The Gift of Camping

This past weekend, we celebrated the 1oth anniversary of a great family camping tradition.  We’ve been camping with the same four families since the beginning.  It’s been amazing to watch our kids grow up together.  Isaac was two and potty training on our first rainy camping trip to Locust Lake State Park.  Now, Isaac’s eleven, and he’s becoming a wonderful young man.  The story is similar for all the other kids as well.  It’s truly been a gift to experience the richness of these friendships year after year.  I look forward to many, many more family camping trips to come.

Nine out of the ten years, we have camped in a Pennsylvania State Park.  Pennsylvania is the only state that has an established chaplaincy program in its state parks.  Most years, we have worshiped together at the camp’s Sunday worship service.  This year was no different as we walked down to the outdoor amphitheater following a delicious camp breakfast.  I love my church, but there is something refreshing about getting outdoors and stripping away the music and lights and air conditioning.

At the service, Chaplain Jason shared from the passage in Romans.  Jason’s message provided some great reminders:

 1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:1-8

1.  I have gifts.  I should be sharing these gifts.

2.  My gifts are different from other people’s gifts.  We all have different gifts.

3.  Everyone’s gifts are important to completing the work of the body.

4.  I’m not gifted in everything.  Saying no sometimes is okay.

I’m sure there were some other great points, but these are the ones that struck me.

What fun family traditions do you have?

How are you using the gifts that God has given you?


August 23, 2011 - Posted by | camping, experiences, family, looking back, thankful, thoughts, verses


  1. Camping is awesome!

    Comment by Brandon | August 23, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree! I look forward to my camping trips. It gets me away from the busy things of life and into God’s creation.

      Comment by jonstolpe | August 24, 2011 | Reply

  2. We love to camp too and we go to some state parks. How am I using my gifts? I speak, I write, I teach the Bible, and I love every minute of it.

    Comment by Leah Adams | August 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Leah, Do you recommend any state parks? Our family is always looking for new places.

      Thanks for sharing how you are using your gifts! It sounds like you’ve found the sweet spot where your passions and God’s gifts to you intersect.

      Comment by jonstolpe | August 24, 2011 | Reply

  3. That sounds like such a wonderful tradition.I think it’s time to give thought to establishing some traditions as a family! I love the verses from Romans. A healthy body life, with each part functioning in their gift, a generous give and take, excites me!

    Comment by Beck | August 24, 2011 | Reply

    • It’s been a great tradition – it will be interesting to see if the “kids” keep going on this trip as they get in and through college. I know we’re planning to continue the tradition as long as possible. Other family traditions are great too – in fact, I’ll probably have a blog post about that one of these days. Thanks for the comment!

      Comment by jonstolpe | August 24, 2011 | Reply

  4. My favorite family Tradition is Christmas.

    Most of my extended family live in Florida, so every year around Christmas my family drives from TX to FL and spend a week visiting my very large family. It is always a fantastic time that we greatly enjoy!

    How am I using the gifts God has given me? I am using them to write out ideas and encourage others. I am using them to speak to my small group Bible study regularly and lead them into the study of God’s word. I am using them to encourage my wife, my family, and my friends as they deal with the sins and struggles in this life.

    By God’s grace, I am hopefully using even more gifts without attributing them to the gift giver.

    Comment by Alex Humphrey | August 24, 2011 | Reply

  5. […] 7.  (Another Tie) The Gift of Camping […]

    Pingback by Top Posts For August 2011 « Jon Stolpe Stretched | September 2, 2011 | Reply

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