Fall Weekend Prep

Day 4 – Elisha’s first miracle

 2 Kings 2:19-22, “The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.”

20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.

21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” 22 And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.”


Elisha performed many miracles, but his first one consisted of purifying the water for the people of Jericho. God used Elisha to show His people how much He loved them. God often uses other people to help those in need.

Who do you know that could maybe use some type of assistance? What is something you could do to help them along?


Ask God to use you in a way that makes other people feel His love. Make time today to share with this person.


Fall Weekend Prep

Day 5: God in You

Psalm 139:7-10, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

God is everywhere, all the time and if you listen you will hear Him.

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things.”


Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Spend all of your time today asking God to simply tell you something. Write down everything you might have heard – even if you are convinced it is one of your own thoughts or distractions.


Bring this paper to Fall Weekend. It’s amazing how God tells us things in private and then confirms them through other people and worship experiences. Our prayers are that you will receive confirmations of some of the things God has spoken to you this past week.


See you at Fall Weekend ’14!!!



Fall Weekend Prep

Day 3 – Total Commitment

2 Kings 2:1-18, “When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.  Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”

 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.

 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

“Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.” Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”

And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on. Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”

“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”

 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two. Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.  “Look,” they said, “we, your servants, have fifty able men. Let them go and look for your master. Perhaps the Spirit of the Lord has picked him up and set him down on some mountain or in some valley.” “No,” Elisha replied, “do not send them.” But they persisted until he was too embarrassed to refuse. So he said, “Send them.” And they sent fifty men, who searched for three days but did not find him. When they returned to Elisha, who was staying in Jericho, he said to them, “Didn’t I tell you not to go?”

Elisha was so committed to serving God he refused Elijah’s request and went with him to Bethel.

How committed are you to God?

Are you fully committed or just committed when it’s convenient?

Spend some time asking God to speak to you about your level of commitment – 10 being crazy ridiculous and 1 being not at all. Rate yourself and then have an honest conversation with God about how you can move yourself up the scale.

Fall Weekend Prep

Day 2: The Call of Elisha

 1 Kings 19:14-21, “He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.  Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.  Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

The Call of Elisha

“So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.”

In this passage, Elijah anoints Elisha to be the prophet to replace him. Elijah finds Elisha plowing the field with a pair of oxen and immediately throws his mantle on Elisha as an invitation to follow Him. Elisha immediately obeys and burns his plow and cooks the oxen and gives it to his friends to eat. Elisha exhibited ridiculous commitment to Elijah. He wasted no time obeying.

God is calling us to a life style of ridiculous obedience. He calls to us and expects us to respond immediately.

What are some of the things God might be asking you to leave behind so you can better follow him?

Spend the rest of your time asking Him to show you anything that might be in His way.

Fall Weekend Prep

Fall Weekend ’14 is coming!!! By this time next week, believe it or not, it will be over!  Coming prepared changes things. When you walk into a room ready and expectant for God to move, you are easily moved by God. Fall Weekend is so important to the Student Union. We cram so many things into our 48 hours spent at Camp Swoneky that we sometimes leave with our heads spinning.

Your Student Union staff wants you to show up ready and expectant. Therefore, we are going to spend the week before Fall Weekend preparing our minds to understand, our eyes to see, our hands to do and our hearts to receive all God has in store. Each day this week we will post a brief devo that will give you insight to the life of Elisha. This is your opportunity to do a little prep work we believe will set you apart from the rest.

Day 1: A Gentle Whisper

1 Kings 19:10-13, “And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too. The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

Did you catch how God showed up? He showed up in the gentle whisper. At the Student Union we do things loud, especially at Fall Weekend. In fact, the louder it is the better. Because God is omnipresent and everywhere, you can bet He is in the loud,  in the powerful wind,  in the earthquake, and in the fire, but He is also in the whisper.

God had very specific instructions to hand down to His servant. Elijah needed to be tuned in and able to hear exactly what the Father was speaking.

There is a whisper that exists simply for us. God might be loud to us during things like Fall Weekend, SOS or even small groups, but He will be quiet with us in our secret place. Learning to hear God’s whisper takes time and practice. These next five days are your opportunity to hear from Him in secret and better prepare to hear from Him in the noise of Fall Weekend. Open your mind. Open your heart and ask God to speak to you in the whisper.

When’s the last time you heard God’s voice? (If you haven’t heard from God – that’s okay – that’s exactly why we are doing this.)

Spend the rest of your time today in prayer asking God to speak to you this week and prepare your heart for Fall Weekend. Write down anything you think you hear.

Fall Weekend Survival Guide

….a few reminders before you arrive at Camp Swoneky on Friday evening.

Camp Swoneky
605 Middleboro Rd.
Oregonia, OH 45054

Packing List:
Items to bring…
Pillow, sleeping bag/bedding, Bible, journal & pen, weather appropriate clothing, shower supplies (towel, shampoo, soap), Clothes that can get dirty/ruined, personal hygiene products (deodorant – Please!, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.), two large garbage bags for dirty laundry.

Any necessary prescription medications (must be in original packaging with name and dose. Put in ziploc bag with student name on the front).

Items NOT TO bring…
Laptops, jewelry, electronic devices, matches/lighters
*Camp Swoneky nor the Student Union are responsible for lost or stolen items.
Camp Drop off: 7:00pm – 8:30pm. Please DO NOT arrive at camp before 7:00pm! Our leaders and staff will be in a meeting and will not be available to greet you and check you in until 7:00pm.

When you arrive at camp, come through the main gate and follow the road until you see one of us with a flashlight. You will be greeted in your car on the road. At that time we will direct you where to proceed from there.

Please make sure your student eats dinner BEFORE arriving to camp.

Please pack weather appropriate clothing. Students will be indoors for the talk sessions and cabin time, but will also be outside during the warm of the day and the cold of the late evening.

We will be playing games, so please pack old clothes and shoes that can get dirty. It is also a good idea to send a large garbage bag for these dirty clothes, etc.

Camp pick up on Sunday: 12:30pm – 1:00pm

Staff contacts (in case of an emergency):
Mat Milthaler 937-231-9856
Kristan Dooley 513-594-6287 (High School)
Heather Gentzel 419-577-0156 (Middle School)
Jen Johnson 513-594-3481

Lie #4 – I am what I do

By: Kristan Dooley

One of my favorite memories growing up was with my grandpa. My grandpa was my biggest fan. He never missed a soccer or basketball game. He was always there, always watching, always cheering me on. He was the first person I looked for with every goal scored. He was the one I ran off the field towards, either cheering in victory or sulking in defeat. I remember those tough high school soccer games that left me heart broken after tough loss. His arms were always there ready to receive me as I wept.

It’s easy to associate love with victories. Love is evident in high times, fun, celebration, and in work. Love is evident in the doing. Though I associated love in the victory and celebration, love was also present in the midst of the defeats.

God’s love is not depended on what we do. He is the Father, eagerly waiting for us to run into His arms celebrating in victory or crash into Him weeping over defeat.

I don’t know about you, but for most of my life it has been hard for me to simply receive the love Jesus offers to me. There is something in me compelled to earn it.

After all, I don’t deserve it. I have betrayed him, forsaken him, I have chosen myself. I did it in the past, I’ve done it this week and I will do it in the future. My human nature is to live for myself, do what I want to do, when I want to do it and not take him into consideration at all.

Though I sometimes struggle to consider Him, He doesn’t struggle to consider me. He considered me as He made me. He considered my future, my past. He considered all He knew I would do and He still died for me. He loved me so much He gave up His life anyways. He died so I could have full access to His love for the rest of my life.

It’s already done – He paid the ultimate price for every sin I have committed and every sin I will commit. It is a gift that doesn’t make sense. It is a gift we can never earn and will never fully be able to repay. It is ours for the taking, simply because we are alive and breathing. Nothing I do makes me more qualified for it than you. Nothing you do makes you more qualified than me.


Nothing I can do earns me more of His love. Perhaps, maybe the best thing I can “do” is learn to receive the gift He is offering to me.

Psalm 81:10, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it”

It is out of my receiving that I will then do. Because He loves me and His love overflows in my life I will spend myself endlessly for His purposes.

 It is a game-changer when you learn to receive His love and do out of what you have received. When’s the last time you opened your mouth and waited for Him to fill it?



Lie #3- I am not good enough

By: Dajah Siplin

We’ve all been there before. We start to believe the lie that we’re not good enough. Whether that be through lies that the enemy puts in our minds, or hurtful lies that others speak over us that we believe to be true.

Romans 12:21 says: “Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good”


In those times where we don’t feel like we are good enough this is so important to remember.

For me personally, this is something that I have just now begun to understand. I believed for years that I did not look good enough, that my relationship with God was not good enough, that I wasn’t good enough in school-the list went on.

Then I read, 1 Peter 3:3-4 which says, “Don’t depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful. Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last and God considers it very special.”


After reading this passage, I started to pray and ask God what He was teaching me. I started to understand that God made me and for that reason alone I AM good enough! Not by anyone else’s standards-simply by what my Creator says to be true.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 it says, “But he replied, My gift of undeserved grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak. So if Christ keeps giving me His power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am.”

What great truth! In those moments where we feel like we are not good enough, by recognizing that we need God to give us strength He does just that. He tells us that We ARE good enough. God does not create things that are less than, or sub par. I’m reading a book right now called “Love Does” by Bob Goff. In it there’s a quote that he writes that I love that says “I’ve never read in Genesis that God created “typical” and called it good. Instead, I think men who were bored made up typical and called it, if not good, at least acceptable. People who follow Jesus, though, are no longer typical- God is constantly inviting them into a life that moves away from typical.” So you see you are good enough, above average, not typical.

What are some lies that the enemy has put into your life? Invite God to show you scriptures that reveal who you really are and how amazing He created you to be.



Lie #2 – This is just the way I am

By: Kristan Dooley

Ephesians 5:8-13, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”

 In this passage Paul has approached the Church of Ephesus with some concerns. The Ephesian Christians are having a hard time remembering who they are. They used to live in darkness, stripped of the ability to produce any type of fruit, but now they are children of the light. Now they have the opportunity to know Jesus and to show Him to the community they are a part of.

Paul simply puts it, “Stop living like you were and start living like you are.”

Sometimes I catch myself in this same rut, living like the slave I used to be instead of the daughter of the King I am.

We were once in darkness. We were once lost. We were once stuck in sin. But, now we are children of light. We have been found and handed the inheritance of the King.

I wonder if Paul’s words might still ring true in our lives, “Stop living like you were and start living like you are.”

This is good news! With Jesus we never have to stay the way we are. With Jesus there is always hope for change.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Emphasis is on “ALL THINGS”. There is nothing you cannot accomplish with the assistance of the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Partner with Him and change the impossible. You used to have no power. You used to live defeated and alone, empty of all possibility of change. But, now you are children of the light, heirs to the throne. Therefore, embrace the inner strength you have been given and move towards change.

Where is it you need the power of the Holy Spirit to produce a change in you? Invite Him in, ask Him where to start, ask Him which way to turn. Then take a step in the right direction.