Monday, January 17, 2011

The Downhill Slope

Its a Monday morning. A morning after our designated Sabbath day (Shabath Shalom). I wake up, go on a run with a fellow Forgie, take a shower, meet with the prayer group, fellowship with my roommates, and then begin to do my daily bible reading. You would say I live a blessed life, right? And you are so very right. I do. I am blessed beyond measure. But, it is so easy for me to not see that, and to see this as a daily routine for me. I can so easily get caught up in where I am right now, and completely forget about where the Lord has brought me out of.

Before coming to the Forge, I had no spiritual discipline what so ever. I had people encouraging me, but there were times that I even took advantage of that. I focused on doing what I needed to do in order to meet the requirements for the Christian faith. You could say that I was trying to earn God's love, every single day of my life. If I didn't do my quiet time, anything bad that happened that day was a result of God's wrath upon me for not doing my quiet time. PTL that he brought me out of that way of living.

A few months ago, if I had the same morning that I had this morning, I would have seen it as something that I had done, and as a result God was giving me a good day. Thank goodness for the renewing of my mind. I could not stop thanking the Lord this morning for blessing me with a morning that was full of joy and fellowship. There was a time that I lived in ignorance, a time that I saw my good deeds as a means of earning the love of my Savior and my God. "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all that you do, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." 1 Peter 1: 13-21

This renewing of the mind has come as a result of the process of refinining and sharpening. Point blank, I got called out on the way I was viewing the world and the way that I was viewing the love of God. My heart was not breaking for the Lord. I didn't see how I needed him in everyday life. But, I can honestly tell you that I have no idea how I was surviving those days.......but thats just it, I was surviving, I wasn't living in faith. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." Romans 1:16-17

I am blessed. You my friends are blessed. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is GOOD!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

insert creative title here

I sat at my computer for a solid 10 minutes pondering what would be a great title of this post, and I came up with nothing. I went through all the themese. I had sentemental, I had movie quotes, I had funny, I had inside jokes, and the list goes on. Clearly I couldn't decide on account of my many creative thoughts(HA!), so I just left it to your discresion what you would want the title to be!

I hope those of you reading this are doing well! I know this is a whole lot sooner than most of you expected due to my 3 weeks time period between my last two posts. I want to do a better job of posting whenever I can, so maybe this is a good start! This weekend I worked a retreat at the RANCH (WOO!) with Jarratt and Jonathan Fletcher(fellow forgie). It was a great weekend of being able to see how a retreat works and what it looks like. The work crew that was helping us this weekend were amazing. The minute they stepped out of the car they blew my mind with their joy and their excitement for coming(some them it was their 5th or 6th time to come!) Woah Nelly that's awesome! Jonathan led the work crew for the weekend and it was awesome to be able to see him serve in that way and see the Lord use his joy and his intentionality to bond with the work crew and others. He taught a lot about service and what it looks like and how Jesus is a great example of being servant. Amen to that! So Jonathan, if you are reading this, amazing job my friend! My job was helping Jarratt with the program and to host the youth group that was using the Ranch for their retreat. The group was fun and very rambunctious(hesitant on that spelling?). It was fun to be able to sit back and observe their youth group and their dynamics within the youth group. It was also really neat to be behind the scenes and there for all of the leaders if they needed us. It taught me a lot about taking intiative and seeking out ways that I can help to make things run a little smoother for them. I say that knowing that there certainly were probably more ways that I could have done that, but learning what that looks like and how I can work on that is an encouraging start.

Today I was reading through 1 Peter and 2 Peter for an assignment that we have due tomorrow(procrastination is a work in progress). As I was reading through I was blown away and encouraged by the depiction of Christ's return that Peter describes in 2 Peter. I wanted to share this with everyone as a motivation as well as a time for you to step back and look at where your motives are in your day to day life and what your sight is set upon. I know for me all of these questions came into my mind as I was reading it.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." 2 Peter 3:9-13.


Peace and Blessings. Peace and Blessings. (said like muh girl Glowzel!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I know some people are overwhelmed by a lot of words on a page, full of feelings, stories, knowledge, and possibly some funny stories. If that is you, I predict you will read halfway through and then worries, that happens to me all of the time. I want to begin this post by updating everyone on what I am learning here personally. It will be filled with stories, things that I have learned about myself as well as in the classroom, and I will end each post with prayer requests. :) So hold on tight, come one come all, children of all ages, and allow me to enlighten you on my life! YEAH! LET'S GO!

I have learned a ton about myself, both positive and negative qualities, that I would have never been able to face. On that same note, I probably would have never been pushed to discover myself more than I have here. And for that, I am thankful each day for this program. First thing that I realized is that I am overwhelmed when hit with a ton of information all at once. WOAH, big surprise right?(said with sarcasm) But in all honesty, these past three week have been filled with information about the camps, ropes courses and how to instruct them, as well as knowledge and challenges based on God's word.

Week 1: The first week we were here, we had a day that we were able to go over, on a very surface level basis, everything that we are going to be doing and what we will be required to do. Let's just say after that day, if I hadn't felt it already, I knew I was supposed to be here. And on that note, I have been affirmed more and more literally everyday that I am supposed to be here and nowhere else. So thank you all for the prayers and the love you have sent. Okay, so back to week 1. We then learned a lot about the basics of how to utilize our community when it comes to responsibilities and encouragement. Very encouraging all around. We also were able to go on some surprise meals with certain people. Because they were a surprise for us, I am not going to state who they were, incase any potential Forgies are going to be reading this. But we were exposed to a lot of hospitality, love, wisdom, and insight into the heart behind the ministry of Pine Cove as well as the heart behind why they love their families and how they love their families. The biggest lesson that I learned this week, which really isn't a lesson but more of something that we need to be continually reminded of daily, that God is big and he is working in the hearts of many men and women around the world. In that, I want to share a vision that I have heard many times from many people across the U.S., and that is the vision of AWAKENING A GENERATION. Before I moved here to Tyler, Texas, I was encouraged by everything that the Lord was doing back in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It seemed like everywhere I turned, I was watching the Lord work in ways that I could not even imagine. I had numerous conversations with people the consisted of us acknowledging the mighty work God was beginning to do on Alabama's campus. He is making himself known and I cannot wait to see where he is taking that campus this year. And then, coming here and seeing that he is working the same way in the hearts of those here on the Pine Cove staff and how they are wanting to reach out to those who haven't been reached and utilizing every resource they have in order to get the name of Jesus out to everyone in this country. My hope and prayer is that this vision is in the hearts of all of my brothers and sisters in Christ around this world. And that we may stand up and speak out. I do not know what this awakening a generation is going to look like, but I see the Lord working and he is wanting to use us. Let's go.

Week 2: WOO! This week was CRAAAZY! We had ropes training all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And I know what you are thinking, all day is TORTURE! It was tough. No doubt. But, we were blessed to have 3 amazing instructors that were passionate about what they did and were interested in getting to know us and loving on us. There were a good amount of us that had done ropes training, but the coolest part was being able to walk through the training with those who had not and who were also somewhat fearful of heights and/or extremely terrified. One great story was one of the girls, Melissa Hester, who would get terrified of climbing a tall tree to hook something up or going off the zip line. But she was tenacious in that she continually put herself in those situations in order to push herself. I saw so much determination in her this week that I was encouraged to go climb a mountain......MT. EVERST ANYONE? Haha kidding......for now.  But honestly, I saw God work in her life and many others by constantly placing them in uncomfortable places and then using us as a community to encourage them.

I was also able to have a great conversation with a lot of the resident staff girls and some Forge girls at lunch one day. Carrie, a girl that works full time at the Shores(she's legit, if you get a chance to meet her take it), and some of the other girls sat down and started to share about a study of Abraham that they went through with someone else. I do not have the scripture in front of me, but basically we walked through a lot of trials that Abraham went through and failed in. He tried to take matters into his own hands and tried to direct himself whenever God would give him just a glimpse of what He was going to do in Abraham's life. But even though Abraham was disobedient, he was still seen as righteous because he believed. At this point we sat back and tried to unpack everything, and the only thing I could focus on is the question of, if he was disobedient how was he still believing? I don't know if some of you had that same question, but I did, and what i discovered is so simple but something I completely lost sight of. What I discovered through some of the girls explaining to me and using scripture is basically it isn't what we do or the way that we obey that defines our beliefs. Even though we are disobedient, that doesn't mean that we don't believe or that we are straying away from our faith or our beliefs. We place our faith in who God is. He is the creator. He is my creator and he is your creator. Without him there is no way that we can survive today. We believe in God and who He is. And for that we are seen as righteous. We are also made holy, not because of what we can achieve or who we are. We are made holy because God has made us holy. We don't deserve it, there is nothing we can do to attain this holiness, we definitely cannot earn it. 1 Peter 1:13-15 states, " Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."(also found in Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2) I am constantly having to surrender my thoughts of wanting to earn this title of holiness and righteousness. It amazed me that even though I have heard this all throughout my life, my sinful nature still wants to do this on my own. But I know that I can't. Amen.

This past weekend, I was also able to go and spend some time with my aunt and uncle and cousin that live in Longview, Texas(about an hour away from Tyler.) I go to see my lovely cousin Shannon walk across the field at homecoming in her gorgeous dress because she was a part of the homecoming court. I am so proud to call that girl my cousin. The fact that she can look drop dead gorgeous in anything and then go and dominate on the volleyball and basketball court says something right there....that she is a BALLER! I also got to just spend some good quality time with all of them, girls time on Saturday afternoon and then watching the Alabama game together as well.(in case  you need a reminder, that we the Duke which we smashed them to the ground........ROLL TIDE.)

Week 3: WOOOAAAHHHH WEEK 3 OF THE FORGE! This week has been insane! We started our first class on Monday and have had classes all week. We have had classes that have to do with Leadership Theory, Bible Study Methods, Survival Training, and Systematic Theology. Hold up, I did all of that this week? And how much information do I just want to throw up all over this page right now? I'll tell you, a lot......but that might turn this post into an essay or a small book. So if you are interested, please call and ask me, or email me, I would love to share with you what is going on in those classes. Also, a small side not, if you are interested in the Forge or want to come to a class or two, please let me know cuz I would love to bring you alongside the community I am able to be a part of and expose you to the knowledge we are blessed to hear each day!

One thing that I have absolutely loved is what we call P2. It stands for Prayer and Physical activity. Tuesdays-Fridays we get up and work out at 6:45 altogether for about 45 minutes. We have done a lot of running, a lot of core exercises, as well as lunges and push-ups and speed exercises. The speed exercises were probably the hardest thing for me.......because I am as slow as Christmas(which I am anticipating the arrival of that lovely holiday, get here NOW!) But it has been an amazing experience, and I have loved working out with the other 24.....theres something about working out with a community that is encouraging and uplifting.

The last thing I will update y'all on is our covenant. Each class has an assignment to make up a covenant for the next 8 months. We all have to be in unity over any decision that is final about the covenant. 25 of us. All in agreement. Needless to has been a stretching experience for all of us and a very humbling experience. Having said that, I will move into prayer requests!

1. That each and everyone of us will be constantly pursuing the Lord. If we are not spending time in his word and with God intimately daily, then none of us with be able to love, honor, and encourage each other with the Love of God.
2. Our covenant.
3. That we will all be good stewards of our time. (I know I am personally struggling with this and trying to learn how to do this.)
4. Stacy Bell, she recently had surgery to get her appendix taken out and is recovering from that.
5. My family, cuz I love them and we always need prayer :)
6. Fundraising. We are asked to contribute $11,000 each to the program and we can do that through working and through fundraising. If you are interested and would like a fundraising letter that I made explaining more about The Forge I would love to send you one!

I hope you all have enjoyed this little update, let me know if anything is missing! I love you all and I want to thank y'all for encouraging me and investing in this time for me at The Forge.

"It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:13-15

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Okay, let me just say that I am exstatic about using this blog to keep everyone updated this year. Who knows, if its a big hit then maybe I'll continue after the year? Keep that in mind :)

Well, let me update you on where I am at the moment. I am beginning the packing process, 2 days before I leave. Pretty smart right? I feel like that's the only way I'll get everything packed and done if I am in a time crunch. Can I get an Amen? I am also not starting til now because I have been so blessed to be surrounded by an amazing community for this past month that I completely forgot I actually needed to pack up my life in order to survive/not smell/look halfway decent while living with my new community this next year.

Being caught up in the community here has been a blessing and an answered prayer. At the beginning of spring semester I began to pray that the Lord show me what community looks like and how to go about investing and building that community on a college campus. Boy oh boy did he answer that after I got back from camp this summer. My friendships from freshman year are beginning to go deeper along with friendships that began last year. All in all, the Lord heard my cry along with many other college students on the UofA campus for community. I am overwhelmed with the prayers the Lord is continuing to answer each and every day, and the fact that I am being able to witness these praises is a blessing in itself. The Lord is moving in a mighty way on this campus, and I have a feeling that its because we are actually allowing it to happen and believers on this campus are being compelled by the spirit instead of our selfish desires. Continue to be compelled by the Holy Spirit brothers and sisters. The Lord has a plan, let's follow it!

These last two days in Tuscaloosa are insane but such a blessing. I want to thank my brother for a great weekend of fun, sweat, food, and LeBron James t-shirts. (pictures to come soon) Thank you again to the amazing community of friends who have prayed for me, encouraged me, and loved on me. I don't deserve any of it, you guys are amazing and an example of love everyday.

Sorry that this one was all over the place! The address for pine cove is at the bottom of the blog, and I'm sure I'll post it everywhere else too. I love letters, so send em' fools :)

Cameron Spruell
c/o Pine Cove Forge
PO Box 9055
Tyler, TX 75711 


Cameron Spruell
c/o Pine Cove Forge
15791 County Road 1113
Tyler, TX 75703