Tomorrow we leave for summer camp. And I should be packing, but as usual, I’m finding more reasons to procrastinate and put it off to the last minute.

Every mission trip and camp I’ve ever been to, it feels like it comes up too fast. I’m always disappointed in myself at how little thought I give these trips until they come. How little I pray over my students. How little care I seem to give. That was especially true a few weeks ago when I woke up before 3am to get on a flight with 9 students to go on a mission trip to Jamaica. And it’s true tonight.

Work was cray cray. I tried to slam out as many projects as I could. And now that I’m home, I should be winding down, packing and preparing with my mind undistracted by anything but camp. But I’m stoked … so stoked … that my cousins are coming to stay with me tonight. Staying overnight to attend the funeral of my uncle who died too early. And I’m sad I’m not going with them.

This year feels so much more distraction filled than most, and that’s saying a lot.

And I’ve decided. I need to have so much expectation. It’d be so easy to just turn on cruise control and coast through the next 5 days, expecting little. But man, God has done so much in the past 6 years of ministry at FSM.

When I got into ministry here, I felt a burden for lost and broken students. I wanted to spend time with students who wouldn’t get the time of day at other youth groups, and with most other leaders. I knew that God chooses the weak people, the despised people, the people-who-are-not to show off His glory. I knew that God always chooses those everybody else counts as out.

And God has not let me down.

There’s been a lot of sadness in ministry. I’ve had so much sadness and grief over students whom I love that don’t love themselves.

But even in spite of all of that pain, I have seen God show off and do amazing things. I think at this point the only thing I haven’t seen God do is attach some guy’s arm back on. But other than that, I have seen lives changed. I have seen students who have been abandoned by everyone they trusted begin to realize how big God’s love for them is. I have seen the highest of highs.

And six years in, I want to give up every day. Just like normal. But I know I never ever could because God is doing something so profoundly special in the lives of this ragtag class of 2018. Six years ago 2018 seemed so impossibly far away but here we are, right on its doorstep.

Every year I feel like I need to sit down and declare for myself that I’m in. You can’t go all in on 6 years. I can barely go all in on 6 days. But today: I’m all in. God, you better put some gas in that tank, because I am putting the pedal to the metal.

I want to up the intensity. Let’s leave everything we have out on the field. Let’s give everything we have — everything — and run that torch as far as we can carry it until all of our strength is gone.

And then let’s see what God does.

I wrote this post in my journal on the eve of summer camp, July 31, 2017. I didn’t publish it or share it with anyone at the time because it seemed too audacious. What if God didn’t show up?

Nearly a year later, I realize that God did show up. Summer camp was incredible. The past year of ministry has been one of the best, ever. God likes it when we bring Him our big expectations, so He can show us how small they are next to His plans. I will never stop marvelling at that.