RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–During Fuge Week at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center June 24-29, camp pastor Tony Merida nightly exhorted students to seek out ministries to the needy, poor and the unreached.
The theme of the combo camp week, “The Underground,” served as a metaphor for tunnels or subways that house many of the world’s downtrodden.
The associate professor of preaching and dean of chapel at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Merida said he is praying for a generation of Bible-believing, Jesus-following, Gospel-sharing missionaries who follow God at all costs. He challenged the crowd of 2,200 students to redeem their time on earth.
“Don’t throw away your life on the American dream,” he said. “Be filled with spirit and truth.”
Merida outlined six ways students can “reach out without selling out,” drawn from verses in 1 Peter. In order to maintain holiness, he said, students should:
1. Realize they are in a spiritual war (1 Peter 1:13-14).
2. Embrace their high calling of holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16).
3. Remember they have been redeemed (1 Peter 1:18-25).
4. Meditate on God’s Word (1 Peter 2:1-2).
5. Believe that God is, in the words of Merida, “better than sin” (1 Peter 2:3). Merida told the students, “Holiness is not just about saying ‘no,’ but to say ‘yes’ to God. We need to prefer God over sin because in His presence is the fullness of joy ever more. There is a culture that is saying, ‘This is the way to live,’ but God is always better than sin.”
6. Declare and display God’s glory to the world (1 Peter 2:9-12). “God made us alive in Him; abstain from the passions of the flesh and declare His excellence,” he added.