The Ebenezer camp theme this year was “The Guide of our Youth: A Study on Spiritual Backsliding from Jeremiah” by Rev Das Koshy. The camp theme verse was from Jeremiah 3:22, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.” It was a very apt theme for the youths. While some of us may associate backsliding with leaving the Church or completely denying Christianity and think we’re definitely not at risk, back-sliding is actually a very real problem and it starts in the heart. Through this camp we learned to identify some signs of backsliding and how to stay close to the Lord and prevent our hearts from straying. There were a total of 6 morning messages regarding the main theme throughout the camp, taken from Jeremiah Chapter 3.

Message 1 : Description of Backsliding
We learned what backsliding truly is, and why it is an abomination to God. Backsliding is a repeated rejection of the Lord, and is likened to a man leaving his wife, and then returning to her. While this sounds absurd to us, and unthinkable, truly that is what we do when we so often turn away from the Lord and return to Him only after rebuke.

Message 2 : Divine Investigation of the Backsliders
There are questions we can ask to determine if we are backsliding. Is God my Father? Is God’s anger against me? We must treat the Lord not just as a Father, but to us individually, He must be “my Father”. This will cause us to examine the relationship we have with our Father and get right with Him.

Message 3 : Divine Indictment of the Backsliders
God is a righteous God. His anger is upon those who backslide and God will rebuke and punish, but for the purpose of bringing us back to Him. As mentioned in Psalm 23, the Lord will lead us in the paths of righteousness, and to turn us back to Him, God will often use rebuke. When He does, we must be quick to repent and turn back to him.

Message 4 : Divine Invitation to the Backsliders
God is a merciful God. While He exhibits righteous anger, His mercy endureth forever and it is His desire that we turn back to Him. God invites us to repent of our sins and come back to Him, and He already gave us Christ through which we have forgiveness of sins. We must accept this invitation to turn back to the Lord.

Message 5 : Divine Instruction to the Backsliders
Once we are convicted of our sins, repent and accept the invitation to return to the Lord. The Bible gives us instructions on how to stop backsliding, and that is simply to turn completely to the Lord, taking our eyes off the things of this world. By keeping our eyes on the Lord, we will flee temptations and walk close to Him.

Message 6 : Divine Impunity offered to the Believers
Christ died for our sins, and we are justified in Christ. We must continue to fight temptations, but at the same time, trust in Christ to help us. Because of what Christ has done for us, we are all ready and fit for Heaven.

Throughout the 6 messages, while it focused on Israel’s backsliding and how they had left the Lord, the love of God toward them is still very evident. Despite Israel playing the harlot and pursuing worldly things, forming ties with Assyria and Egypt, it was still the desire of the Lord that Israel return unto Him. That is true in our lives today. We might be weak and fail much, disappointing the Lord and letting out heart stray, but it is still the desire of the Lord that each time we leave, we return to Him. How great a love that is.

On Monday and Wednesday night, there were also 2 night messages by Preacher Clement.

Night Message 1 : Be Brave
All Christians must be brave. True bravery is not bravery in committing sin, but bravery in defending God’s name, God’s Word, and to stand up for the truth. We can be brave because the Lord is with us, and that should give us the assurance to not fear anything. We must not have distractions in our lives, but focus on the Christian battle, and be brave to fight for the Lord.

Night Message 2 : Obey God rather than Man
To obey God rather than man is not to completely disobey men. Where men contradict the Word of God, then we must be brave to do the right thing and do what God’s Word tells us to do, even if it means offending them, like our bosses, our teachers. We must be brave to go against such people when they ask us to sin.

Besides the spiritual food, we also thank God for the physical food. Each morning, Sarah and Matthew Tan would prepare a sumptuous breakfast for us. Many brethren also took the initiative to help and carry out their meal duties. On the last night, we had a special thanksgiving BBQ dinner; it was indeed very heart-warming to see all the Ebenezer members cooking together. It was tiring but thank God for everyone’s pro-activeness and a blessed time of fellowship over a very hearty meal.

On Wednesday afternoon, we had an object lesson outing conducted by Gideon and Gershon, where we went to the Gardens by the Bay. The aim of the outing was to reinforce the lessons learnt through simple object lessons. During the object lessons, we played three simple games and there-after the meanings behind the games were explained. The main lesson of the object lesson was that spiritual backsliding occurs slowly and quietly. As Ebenezer members, ought to look out for one another all the time for tell-tale signs of spiritual backsliding and quickly pull them back to the right path before it is too late. Thank God for the good time of fellowship we had as we could see the older ones mixing with the younger ones and everyone had fun during the games.

In conclusion, we thank God for the much learning and spiritual feeding throughout the camp. Truly we are much blessed by God’s Word and the fellowship of likeminded brethren.

In Christ,
Youth Camp Committee 2017