REFLECTIONS ON FUGE: MATT FRUETEL
It’s been over a week since we were at Centrifuge, and I haven’t had to look at the schedule attached to the lanyard around my neck to know what’s next in my day. I haven’t checked the group text to verify what time we were really supposed to have breakfast. These are the small details you experience as an adult leader while at Camp Ridgecrest, but they aren’t the ones that will be remembered.
Centrifuge’s mantra is Life Changing Camp. During our five days at Ridgecrest, I can boldly state that I saw lives change. Our students left different, but I’ve found that camp is not only for kids. Even camp chaperones will leave with new perspectives; I know this one well. Upon our return, I’ve had several people ask me how I liked Fuge; here is how I’ve responded:
I was proud of our students. They were able to find the balance of having ridiculous fun and still able to quickly find serious and spiritually deep reflection. They were leaders in worship, small groups, and on the recreation fields. They were servants to each other and respectful to peer groups and authority…the majority of the time. In times like today when we have trouble finding news in the world that casts a positive spin on the future, I found hope in knowing that there are still youth in America that love Jesus and others more than themselves.
I was proud of the ClearView Student Ministers. It is difficult to find student ministers that complement each other as well as ours do. They were on 24/7 and stayed on top of the multitude of details needed to care for 150ish students. The schedules, knowing where every kid was at every minute, the medical needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs…I loved watching them at work. They work well together and always had our kids as their top priority.
I was proud of Eric and Matt…. Pastor Daddy and Pastor Papa. It was a unique gift to have the two of them leading the camp. It helped build a bond with our students that will carry over to our own campus. Both did stellar jobs of bringing the Gospel to the campers. The focus was unfolding the story of Christ in a way for Knowing Him, Embracing Him, Living for Him, and Sharing Him…Unashamed of the Gospel. This was no ‘mountain high’ experience; these were life-changing messages. We had several of our own campers come to know Christ for the very first time at Fuge.
I was wowed by the professionalism of the Ridgecrest Staff. The campus and facilities are nice at Ridgecrest, but their people make the difference. Every person I came in contact with was different, but they all had the same spark. They were servant leaders who took absolute care for their guests. I would rival their customer service skills against any leading hospitality organization in the world. The majority of the staff, college students, hold summer jobs which they would not want to run the math on $/hr. But that’s not why they are there…Ridgecrest’s staff is there to create Life Changing Camp.
I know I will never be the same. I have witnessed worship like nowhere else. I have meditated on the Good News of the Gospel in new light. I have seen lives saved from eternal hell. I have seen a glimpse of what the Church was meant to look like. I just came back from Life Changing Camp. I can’t wait to go back!
UNASHAMED: EMMA NOVAK
My name is Emma Novak, and I’m a rising senior. I attended Centrifuge over a week ago. The last day of camp is always a bittersweet moment. I’ve been attending Fuge since 6th grade, and it always ends in a similar manner. We wake up bright and early at 6 am, pack our bags, and head to breakfast. After that, we spend some of our last hours with our assigned Bible study. Students are given thoughts to dwell on, they exchange social media handles, and we hug our new friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. We finish out the week by attending a closing celebration. During this time, we watched performance tracks give it their all, Eric Geiger give his final sermon, and Matt Papa led us in singing praises to God. The events are usually the same, but this time around, they had great variation.
I was raised in a Christian home. I accepted Christ in the third grade and was baptized shortly after that. The “church high” you get, though, after becoming a believer can be hard to keep up with. As I aged, my relationship with God had its ups and downs. Very recently, this relationship was in one of its lows. But this week, that all changed.
On Monday night, Eric read Matthew 26:25. It reads, “Then Judas, his betrayer, replied, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ ‘You have said it,’ He told him.” To give this some context, this takes place at the Last Supper as Jesus describes his betrayer. Now, for me, this verse was always just a blatant lie to God. But Eric went deeper than just surface level, explaining that this proved that Judas considered Jesus to be a teacher, nothing more. Jesus was not Lord to Judas.
This hit home for me. I realized that I had been thinking of God in the same manner for so long. I love history, and I subconsciously filed away all the stories and verses as just historical banter in my mind. God had become a historical figure to me instead of a loving Father and Lord. I’ll admit this: I broke down. I know that the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave you once you invite Him into your heart, but I thought it had almost faded. But I know better now.
With this realization in the forefront of my mind, I started the next two days with a different mindset. I will push to regularly begin a quiet time regimen and spend time with the Lord. I will work towards an emotional relationship of surrender rather than a general understanding of information. It will take time, but I know that God loves me and is extremely patient.
So—that was my moment. Closing Celebration on Wednesday morning just felt… different. Worship felt more real. I really thought about the lyrics instead of “just singing”. Every time the word, “Lord”, appeared on the screen, I got chills. And when Eric asked the rising seniors to stand and had the entire camp pray for us… wow.
Some things you just know are God things; this was one of them. So I will be unashamed of my testimony and my struggles. But I will also be unashamed of the Gospel and my LORD (not Rabbi), Jesus Christ. He is always patient with a headstrong girl named Emma who always thinks she knows what’s best. I’m looking forward with optimism.
Centrifuge, you did it again. Or rather, God. Unashamed.
TRUE MEANING BEHIND THE WORDS: ANDREW PACHARES
At Fuge Camp, I had a blast - from recreation, to Bible study, to worship, and everything in between. However, while all this was super fun and helped me grow closer to God, one thing stuck out to me the most.
While worshipping, I focused on the songs that we were singing and realized that all of them were about God’s love for us. That made me begin to think about just how much love Christ showed us when He died for you and me.
I realized then that we, as Christians, have become so used to the term, “Christ died for us because He loves us”, that it has just become words that we’ve memorized. We have made constant mistake after mistake and deserve nothing but eternal death in hell. But because Christ loved us more than we will ever understand, He took on all of our sin on the cross so that we could live with Him forever in heaven.
I’m so glad that Christ decided to help me realized that we should never let His love for us become just words because they are truly the reason we have hope and love today.
DISCIPLINES TRACK: MEGAN KAPERAK
During the afternoons, our students enjoy different tracks they find interesting like basketball, creative movement, and spiritual gifts. I asked Megan Kaperak, a rising 10th grader at Page High, to share her thoughts about her track time, "Disciplines".
What did you discuss in track on Monday?
"In doctrine, we talked about the Trinity. Our leader explained to us how the trinity is three individual parts of God. They are all the same yet different."
How does what you discussed change your view of the Trinity?
"I always thought the Trinity was a metaphor. It meant to me that God was everywhere and it was just Him. During the class, I realized there are three different parts of God, and they are three individual beings: God the Father, Son, and Spirit. I'm so excited to watch my relationship with God grow and how the trinity plays a role in that."
CHURCH GROUP TIME: RISING 9TH GRADE GUYS
At the end of every night at FUGE, churches are given the time for "church group". This time can be spent playing games, debriefing the day or whatever the church wants to do. On Sunday evening, I had the privilege of sitting with the middle schoolers of ClearView. We discussed our high points of the day, what the Lord taught us recently, and what God laid on our hearts. After our session, I asked a few of our rising 9th grade guys to share their thoughts:
What was the high point of the day?
Judson Butler: "One of my tracks today was knitting!"
Jack Jennings & Ben Cruz: "I've enjoyed all the laughter my friends and I have had."
Tate Magee: "Pizza!"
What did the Lord teach you today?
Tate: "Always trust in Him."
Duncan: "Be confident in my faith."
Ben: "Be unashamed of who I am in Christ."
Evan Drennan: "God has my back and I should trust in the plan He has."
Alex Beachum: "Pastor Eric walked us through the word, justified, during worship. He reminded us that what Christ did for us makes it look like I've never sinned before God."
Jack: "Keep faith in Him."
What has the Lord laid on your heart?
Duncan: "The true meaning of justification, that while I have messed up and sinned, Christ dying on the cross allows me to stand before God as if I've never sinned."
Ben: "God got me thinking about how am I ministering to those younger than me. How can I serve them? Help them growth in their faith?"
Tate: "He has me thinking about the way people act before they're a Christian versus once they've made the decision to believe. We're never going to be perfect, but we should stand out from the crowd."