Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to partner with God in His work of transforming lives! Every Friday, we’re taking a peek at how God is working in the lives of our high school students. These servants of Jesus are walking daily by faith as they navigate the hallways and relationships inside their school walls and beyond. Our weekly series will highlight what God is up to in their lives in their voices. Leave them some encouragement by commenting?

by Tyler Brooks

For seven years I have attended the beloved Camp Timber-lee “WinterXtreme” with Immanuel’s youth group.  The pristine facilities, adventure packed days and Christ-centered body makes it one of my favorite places to bond with fellow high-school believers.  Every year I look forward to seeing what things God has in store for my life, what new lessons He wants me to walk away with and what new struggles He wants to help me through. Yes, Timber-lee is a time for merrymaking and fellowship, but amidst the hustle and bustle of camp life it is also a time to sit still and listen to God.

Each year of camp has brought some new challenge to my life. I have always walked away as this “newly devoted man of God.” But as the day’s pass and reality begins to set back in I start losing that “Jesus high.” My experiences at the camp plateau, but in only a matter of time I find myself falling back to my sinful ways.  Of course this phenomenon is nothing new.  Many of us struggle with keeping up the intensity. After we leave the warm embrace of our Christian friends the secular world feels cold and dark.  Out of habit we fall back to our daily routines.

This year I wanted it to be different.

I did not necessarily need God to change my life in some radical way; He has done that in years past.  Simply, I wanted my eyes to be open to something new. The past months I have grown tired of living the “typical” Christian life.  I wanted something more. I wanted a new perspective.

At the beginning of the week our youth leaders challenged us all with the question: “why are you here?”  What seemed to be a relatively easy question really resonated with me.  After being here for six previous years it seemed as if I was just coming for the same ole same ole – have a fun time and learn more about God.  And while there is nothing wrong with that answer I craved something a little bit more. I needed something that reassured that the previous years had gone to good use and I truly was a different man now. So I eagerly waited for the Saturday night service.  Each year this was the service that had some big gut punching sermon, an awe-inspiring worship session and a time of deep devotion with God.  This was the service that woke us all up from our stagnant lives.

As Saturday night rolled around the service got into motion but sadly my high level of anticipation and excitement dropped.

It wasn’t that the worship was bad or that the speaker shared a lackluster sermon.  I just didn’t get this intense life-altering sensation from it.

Or at least not yet.

Toward the end of his message the speaker asked us all to close our eyes. He then asked for all the leaders in the room to stand up. After they had risen to their feet he said, “If you are ready to accept Christ into your life tonight please stand up!” Now I can’t say this whole routine was anything new, but, boy, did I experience it in a whole new way. The moment he asked that question and several people stood up I could feel God’s presence in the room. I never did open my eyes, but I was certain that numerous people had given over their lives to Christ. He then followed up that question and asked for anyone who needed to change their life and get rid of the “yuck” to please stand up.  Again, I got this shivering sensation down my spin.  As the band started playing one last song I opened my eyes to the glorious sight of a sea of brothers and sisters.  All who had stood up were praying and worshiping God as if a weight had been lifted off their shoulders.

And that’s when it hit me; I realized why I had come.

This is where the church is.  It doesn’t matter where we are or what building we are in.  The church is where the people are.  God had called each individual person there for a reason. For some it resulted in making the most important decision of their lives.  For others it involved changing their lives and repenting of sin. Each person had a different story and a different journey. We all came from different walks, but together we make up the biggest movement of them all.  Thanks to this weekend I was able to see the fruit of our ministry and the very reason why we are here on thisarth. I came because I love seeing what God is doing in others. Their spiritual high is what pushes me to keep doing what I am doing. My desire is to stay connected with fellow believers and together go out and spread His Great and Holy name!

IMG_0212-2Tyler Brooks is a senior at Warren Township High School; he’s involved with numerous student ministries along with the Tech Team during Sunday morning services. He also shoots videos for the church and other because his passion is photography/videography!

One thought on “ICYouth: The Beautiful Church {Tyler}

  1. Tyler, that is a great realization you have made about the church. I too am very excited about Immanuel and the wider church because it is less and less about the building and more about being out in our community (Lake County) changing lives and growing as believers. When you realize WE ARE THE CHURCH, its not a place, it does indeed give you a very different perseptive.

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