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August 16, 2010

Session 7 | Day 9a

Session 7 | Day 9a

“At the foot of the cross, the ground is level.? I bowed my head, allowing speaker Mike Haley’s words to sink in. He had just finished describing his long struggle with homosexuality and his slow, painful journey back home into the loving arms of his Father—and this statement was a humbling reminder of the powerful truth that lay at the very essence of Christianity. After an exhilarating week of vigorous discussions about predestination, the precise meaning of Matthew 24, the role of Christians on campus, and more, it was refreshing to be brought back to the first and foremost reason that we teenagers had gathered from all around the world in Manitou Springs, Colorado. All of us are sinners, and our Mighty God has gone out of His way to save each and every one of us. The only reason we are at Summit and can be confident of eternal life with Him is because of His grace. I still cannot fully understand why someone so mighty would die for us sinners, but I rejoice that there is no one beyond the grace and mercy of our Christ Jesus. He is the redeemer of the homosexual, the doubter, the adulterer, the drunkard, the liar, the procrastinator—and of me. As I looked around at the 180 students sitting in the classroom that night, I thought about what my small group leader had said a few days ago: the stories of each of us sitting solemnly in the classroom may have begun a bit differently, but our testimonies share the same glorious ending because of the incomprehensible love of our wonderful savior. In the words of Peter and all God’s people: “To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.?

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August 15, 2010

Session 7 | Day 8b

Session 7 | Day 8b

As I look back over the first complete week of Session 7, 2010, only one word comes to mind: incredible. The opportunities presented here are literally unparalleled by any program in the country, regardless of its religious or academic affiliation. Students here have the chance to hear from leading professors and from those who have been able to garner some…

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August 15, 2010

Session 7 | Day 8a

Session 7 | Day 8a

It’s Sunday night, and I can’t believe the changes that have occurred in a week. Exactly a week ago I was just arriving late into student orientation after a chaotic day. I’d missed flights and been re-routed on a tour of America before landing in Colorado Springs ten hours after I was scheduled to. I came in feeling behind and…

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August 13, 2010

Session 7 | Day 6

Session 7 | Day 6

It is my first time in Manitou Springs, but I am not a stranger to Summit Ministries. I had the privilege of going to a Summit East student conference in Tennessee last year, as well as spending an amazing three months at Summit Semester in Pagosa Springs, CO. However, it is an entirely different atmosphere to be here in Manitou, the center of the Summit universe. Though I’ve heard many stories, it has been fun to actually participate in the unique traditions. I have enjoyed: the creaky character of the 107-year-old hotel and the community fostered by the close proximity we share; the ever-creative wake up calls of the Night Watch; starting class each morning with pledges, throat-clearing, and the first verse of “Amazing Grace;? the dreaded 180-question Bible exam; speed volleyball at sports time; the quirkiness of the hippie town of Manitou Springs; and of course, the brilliance and hilarious humor of Doc Noebel.

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August 13, 2010

Session 7 | Day 5

Session 7 | Day 5

I am so glad that I am here at Summit Ministries. God is teaching me a lot about how to answer some tough questions that may come up in my life. I am learning how to ask the right questions to those that may disagree with me. As I sit here today in the lobby of the Summit hotel, I…

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August 12, 2010

Session 7 | Day 4b
Train Up a Child in Wisdom

Session 7 | Day 4b

First, a little about my background. I am the classic church kid—I attended youth ministries and church services when younger, learned a lot of Bible trivia between the ages of 9 and 11, and eventually attended the high school and young adult ministries at my church as a teenager. My parents took care to teach me the Bible on their own time as well, with nightly devotions and Bible study as part of my home schooling curriculum. I accepted Christ at the age of thirteen and have been growing in my walk with Christ ever since. Proverbs 22:6, using the English Standard translation, states the following: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.? I never thought I’d find a use for trivial things such as who the first king of Israel was after the split of Israel into two nations (Jeroboam), but even that bit of knowledge came into play here at Summit. On Wednesday, during the Bible exam, this question appeared. I remembered my Sunday school teachings from 10 years ago, and Proverbs 22:6 held true—I remembered correctly. Thanks to my parents’ diligence and the teachings I received as a child, I was able to score fairly highly on this Bible exam. I am extremely grateful to my parents for being faithful in my Biblical training, even if I didn’t enjoy it at the time.

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August 12, 2010

Session 7 | Day 4a

Session 7 | Day 4a

Hello, friends, family, and random acquaintances of Summit students! (Yeah, that’s the best way I came up with to start this post. Give me a break, I’ve never blogged before!) I guess you’re all here to see how Summit’s going. Well, so far, it’s been pretty epic—at least for me. I’ll be honest, I started out apathetic—it’s not that I…

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August 10, 2010

Session 7 | Day 3

Session 7 | Day 3

“We as Christians can tend to form very strong opinions about things we really know very little about. We should be very careful with that. It can often be a lack of humility and even a presence of arrogance.? These words, spoken by Kevin Bywater, a lecturer here at Summit, resounded within me with a painful conviction. So often we as Christians fear that ultimate statement of defeat in conversing with our secular friends: “I don’t know.? So, to protect our credibility when faced with other religious beliefs, we often quickly form uneducated ideas, which we then defend with all our strength, and in the process we often lose the very thing we were trying to save. While Summit’s purpose is to equip young adults with the knowledge and understanding to intellectually discuss a variety of worldviews with those of differing convictions, Mr. Bywater reminds us that, no matter how much we have studied, when we simply do not know a topic well enough to discuss it, the advantages of admitting our need for continued study far outweighs the harms of forming a poorly thought out stance. Coming from this brilliant speaker who knows pseudo-Christian religions up and down, this statement of gentle humility can speak to us all. Here at Summit, I’m grateful to not only learn how to defend my faith, but also how to grow in humility, faith, and wisdom in the process.

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August 09, 2010

Session 7 | Day 2b

Boom boom boom! I awoke to the sound of feet on the old, creaky wood of the 1800s’ Summit hotel, and yet the noise was one that made me giddy. I have been to Summit before, and all the memories come flooding back with the smell of the place, the steep stairs up to the girls’ rooms on the fourth floor, and the moose head on the wall in the dining room. I get so pumped thinking that this is only the first day of camp since it has been SOO long. Boom boom BOOM! The thunder has been rolling almost all day. Running through the rain, dodging lightning, winning the first room check, and eating custard from downtown Manitou have already been “good times, good times.? Now I am sitting on the bottom bunk of my bed in room 417 (the best room in the history of Summit rooms, by the way!) looking at a pile of shoes (lately fallen out of the closet) and some great friends that I’m sure I will keep for the rest of my days. One would think that waking up EARLY to get a hot shower, cleaning your room military style, sitting under professors for seven hours a day, and staying in an old, creaky 1800s’ hotel with no air conditioning or heat would be as tough as eating green beans, but strangely, it’s not. Even with the overcast skies and the rain falling down the windows in tear-like veins, this place is one of the most exciting, amazing places I’ve ever been. I’m sure that the rest of the time here is going to be nothing less than boom boom boom-shucka-lucka. Best quote of the day: “Your mommie’s a commie!! (Dr. Mike Adams)

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August 09, 2010

Session 7 | Day 2a

Session 7 | Day 2a

Greetings and salutations from a soggy Manitou Springs, Colorado! My name is Joel Pankratz, and I will be your host for this evening. It has been a whirlwind of a first day, but I suppose this session really got started yesterday. We began with a quick session of getting to know the staff and some of the professors, learning what…

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August 06, 2010

Session 6 | Day 13

Session 6 | Day 13

My dear friends, I am writing to tell you of my experience at Summit. This is the night before I leave, and I am deeply saddened to depart from this wonderful place. I wish it could be longer! However, I believe it is time to take what I have learned home to engage and challenge those around me to be…

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August 05, 2010

Session 6 | Day 12

Session 6 | Day 12

Dear interested family and friends, First off, I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy summer to read what I have to say about Summit. You’re awesome. Today was our last day to frolic at Bear Creek Park for sports time. My team and I won a speed volleyball tournament, so I feel like I just might have accomplished something here at Summit. Of course, there are all of the things that my fellow classmates and I are learning as well. Today was slightly special since Chuck Asay, a political cartoonist, shared some of his work and experiences with us. As we go through the final days of this two-week session, there has also been a strong focus on men being men and women being women. With such a powerful “feminoid? movement in America, we men must remember to pursue the Biblical picture of manhood, not what the culture sells us.

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August 04, 2010

Session 6 | Day 11

One of the single most powerful tools that Summit provides students with is the ability to simplify arguments and uncover the underlying beliefs and foundations. Once exposed to the light, students are then equipped with techniques with which to defend their Biblical worldview and challenge any that are in opposition to the Truth. For example, students were given an hour-and-a-half…

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August 03, 2010

Session 6 | Day 10

Session 6 | Day 10

There have been so many awesome speakers these two weeks, and it is a sad thought that this experience will soon be finished. I know that I have learned a lot about the world and what it really means to live out my Christian worldview in the circumstances in which I have found myself. It has also been fascinating to learn about where our country is heading because of the views that dominate our culture today. The best piece of advice that Dr. Noebel offered has to be, and I quote (as he quoted from somewhere else): “If you want to be a leader, you have to be a reader of good books.? This is especially important in the world we live in today, even though other forms of entertainment threaten to replace books all together. After all the things that have gone on, I know that I will truly never be the same student.

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August 02, 2010

Session 6 | Day 9b

Session 6 | Day 9b

Today I experienced my first real day in Manitou. After Take Two of the Bible Exam (going for the 130 I need for the Excellence program), I ventured down to the vibrant town to experience the afternoon life. I met up with another group of Summit students, and we went from store to store, not really shopping, just enjoying the…

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