When we came together as a team to decide what the theme would be for NTS Camp 2016, we had already known we wanted to teach on the life of Joseph (Genesis 37-49) for the evening sessions. This will be our 2nd year into our 5-year vision for NTS Camp’s teaching plans. Last year we wanted to teach on the parables of Jesus, specifically the ones that correlate to the Kingdom of Heaven. We landed on the single word ‘Kingdom.’ You can read more about that here.
So in preparation for 2016’s hurricanes-of-the-mind sessions, we not only read through Genesis 37-49 multiple times, we also read through Charles Swindoll’s book on Joesph, to dig deeper into the life of Joseph and to pull out the main concepts. We then broke down Joseph’s life into segments:
- He was young, had dreams, was sold into slavery
- He was in charge of Potiphar’s house, accused of attempting to sexually assault Potiphars’ wife
- He spent time in prison, was put in charge, interpreted dreams
- Interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, put in charge of everything under Pharaoh
- Reunited with his brothers, reveals his true identity, is blessed with land for his entire family
After many weeks of discussion and research, we started to see some similar reoccurring themes throughout the entire life of Joseph. This led us to brainstorm a long, exhaustive list of words based on what we saw develop.
I won’t reveal the many words that were included on that list, as I believe it takes away from the final decision. But, none of the words were as encapsulating of the many aspects of Joseph as the word THREADS.
We landed on THREADS for three main reasons:
- If you read through the entire life of Joseph in one sitting, you may realize that a particular article of clothing was something that identified Joseph in different periods of his life. He was identified by the robe given to him by his father when he was young, he wore the cloak that Potiphar’s wife used against him, and he was dressed in robes of fine linen when he became second in command of Egypt. His threads was used to identify him.
- We also saw a number of “threads” reoccurring throughout the extensive passage, including Joseph’s attitude, integrity, and faithfulness in various circumstances. Dreams also seemed to define his youth, as well as throughout his life. The most significant thread we noticed was God proved to be WITH Joseph and was faithful as Joseph grew and learned faithfulness in multitude of situations. Things that happened later in life was connected to things early in his life. The five segments of his recorded life that was listed above was not disconnect, but woven together. The decisions that were made early in life did not just affect one person, but multiple people.
Which brings me to the third reason we chose THREADS.
- God created the world to be a fabric woven together, and he invites us to be interwoven in relationships. Relationships with each other, relationships with the world. To join what HE is already doing.Tim Keller said in a sermon on justice, on February 19, 2010, which put words to the thoughts we had in regards to THREADS:”If you were to throw thousands of threads on top of each other it wouldn’t make a fabric, the threads would be laying loosely in a pile. What makes threads into a fabric is each thread has thousands of interwoven interdependencies. Each thread has to go over, under, around, and through every other thread, they have to become interdependent. The more interwoven they are the more beautiful, the more strong, the more warm the fabric is.”
We are individual threads, but our lives are not isolated from each other. The actions, decisions, the choices we make don’t just affect ourselves, but those that are closest to us, which can ripple out to the parts of the fabric that we don’t even realize it will affect. Do we desire to see God’s faithfulness work in our lives when we decide to join Him in what He is already doing? God should be central to all that we do and who we are.
We are extremely excited with this year’s theme, not because of the word itself, but because of what is behind that word. We are excited for the truth that students will be exposed to when we dig deeper into the life of Joseph and follow the threads of his life and see how it can thread into ours, thousands of years later.
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Never The Same
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