After Camp Journals

after-camp-journal-cover-photo.png

Growing up I had a memory problem when it came to camp. At the end of the week I would leave so excited for what God was doing in my life. I was ready to leave behind all the baggage I carried all year long. I’d have all these big ideas about what I wanted to do that next school year.

“I’m finally going to start reading my Bible.”

“I’m going to keep praying like I do at camp.”

“This next school year I’m going to tell my friends about Jesus.”

It felt so easy to draw close to God. No distractions. Service every night. I was PUMPED!

But when camp was over I’d go home to my normal life and that excitement slowly faded. The new school year would end up looking exactly like the last one. All those sins and baggage I thought I left behind at camp would creep back into my life.

I wish I had written everything down as a reminder for when things started to get hard.

That’s why I made this journal. I wanted to create a resource students could take with them to help them hold on to everything that happened at camp.

With all these students who go to camp this summer there’s going to come a time when things get tough again and they are going to question everything that happened this week. They might try to talk yourself out of all the things they felt like God was calling them to do. That is the exact moment they need to pick this journal back up and read everything they wrote in here.

They’ll get to read that excitement and passion. They’ll see the written proof that what they experienced at camp was REAL! And they can return to it at any time.

I wish I could look back at something like this for when I was in high school. We got notebooks at camp but I was a little idiot who didn’t know to take good notes. I’d write down one or two words that made no sense to me when I went back to read it a few months later.

This journal has specific prompts at the top of each page to keep you focused on what to pray about and what to write about.

After-Camp-Journal-inside-2.png
journal-inside-1.png

The best way to use this journal is to do an exercise every day and when it’s all filled up, leave it out in the open in your room. That way you can pick it back up to read and remember at random times throughout the year.

It’s really cool to see students and youth pastors get excited about using these. At one camp a youth pastor bought a copy for every one of his students and planned to meet with each one of them to discuss everything they write down.

If you’re interested in getting journals for your youth ministry, email me at contact@taylorjohnsononline.com

Little by Little

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 4.59.02 PM.png

You want to do something? You want to make something happen? There’s only one way to do it and it’s LITTLE BY LITTLE.

I need to remember that. Most of the time when I want something to change I want it right NOW. But it doesn’t work like that, no matter what our culture tells us.

In movies we can forget how long it takes to learn/grow/change/mature because it only takes the length of a song for our hero to move to the wilderness, grow a beard, climb a mountain, get super jacked, and reach deep down inside to find the inner All American strength they need to defeat the evil Russian. To us it’s only 2 minutes but if all that were to play out in real time it would be day after day of hard work for WEEKS.

Days, weeks, even years can pass in a short movie montage. It all happens so fast. Strangers fall in love, someone learns kung-fu, or the famous musician goes through rehab for their drug addiction in the length of a song.

BUT THAT’S NOT REAL LIFE! It’s just a movie. And a movie can’t be 300 hours long so they have to cut some stuff down. They’re cutting a lot of time, effort, work, and heartache that goes into making a big change.

All over the internet companies are trying to sell you your own real life movie montage. They tell you they’ve got the solution that makes your big change happen in the length of a song. Fast fixes! Quick! Lose 100 lbs in 20 minutes! Get rich by doing absolutely nothing! Be a totally different person by the time your grandma wakes up from a nap!

But nothing can be done except little by little. And that’s ok. Change takes time.

You’ll never see Facebook ads like “get over your addiction in seconds flat!” “Quick and easy steps to get over the death of a loved one.” “Forgive your father for leaving you in no time at all!” 

It all happens little by little.

The Bible says that when we make Jesus our Lord and savior we are suddenly new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are forgiven. We are covered with a new identity. But that doesn’t mean we’re suddenly perfect. There’s still a lot that needs to change.

This summer I’ve got 5 youth camps I’m a part of. I love camp.

At camp we can get SO PUMPED UP about our relationship with Jesus, which is awesome. I love camp. I grew up going to camp every summer and I had some really incredible experiences with God there. But camp is not a movie montage. One week at camp won’t fix all our problems back at home.

Everything happens little by little.

I used to leave camp thinking I would suddenly have the most incredible and consistent prayer life without having to do any real work. I thought everything in my life would just change on its own, and when it didn’t, I’d get so upset and give up. I’d go back to “normal life” until camp rolled around the next year.

I have terrible handwriting. It is so sloppy and bad. I’m embarrassed when someone has to read something I wrote.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and have a totally different handwriting. How great would that be? I snap my fingers and everything I write is suddenly perfect!

But that’s not how it works.

Little by little.

If I want to change my handwriting I can only do it one letter at a time.

If I try to write a word like “FART” (a word I write often), at first I can only focus on making sure the F is as good as it can be. I don’t need to worry about any other letters. F is first. Make it perfect. Then comes A, and I need to put all my effort into making it the best A possible. If I do that with every letter, my handwriting will improve.

God can really blow your mind at camp. He can get you so excited for what life can be like when you get home.

But if you want to change your life after camp you can only do it one day at a time. Make sure it’s the best day possible. Focus on those 24 hours. Get to know Jesus. Spend time with other people trying to get to know Jesus.

And do the same the next day. And the next. And the next.

Make it the best day. Forgive. Pray for people you think are annoying. Be kind.

It's ok if it doesn't all happen at once.

Little by little.

Cleaning a van sucks

I spent most of tonight cleaning my car. Camp season is about to start. It'll be chaotic and exciting and if I'm not careful my car will become a horrifying mess that'll just get worse and worse all summer.

When I lived in my van I had a real hard time keeping it clean. I would let it get super dirty until I hit rock bottom and then I'd be like "ok this has gone too far" and I'd clean. That's also my process with haircuts.

Luckily my new car doesn't have as much space as my Honda Odyssey so cleaning doesn't take ALL DAY. Here's an old video of me cleaning out my van before my house show tour. Watching it brought back a lot of wonderful memories. I used to live in my van. How weird is that?

Talking Mental Health at Church

33585814_10156269589243815_1959253549451837440_o.jpg

Last week I saw a church sign that was so good it convinced me to visit their Sunday morning service. That has NEVER happened to me before.

Church signs never interest me. I’ve never seen a joke on a church sign and thought “I GOTTA BE A PART OF THAT!” I’m sure it could happen as long as the joke was incredible. Like, it would have to be the greatest joke I’ve ever seen in my life. One of those “crash your car because you’re laughing so hard” good.

This sign didn’t have joke.

“TALKING MENTAL HEALTH” is what caught my eye. Yes. Yes. Yes. How awesome is that? I even pulled into the church parking lot so I could take a picture and post it on social media with the caption “more churches need to do this!”

The service the next day was really good too. Pastor Bobby Contreras was super open and honest and had a lot of great things to say.

 

“If we don’t have this conversation in church, where we to have it.”

 

Yes and amen.

It’s like when parents are nervous having the sex talk with their kids but they convince themselves it’s the right thing to do because who knows what those little perverts at school are telling them. If they don’t get to have that conversation with you, they’ll look for someone else to have it with. And those other people could be spreading toxic garbage.

The church needs to address the uncomfortable topics EVEN IF NO ONE IN THE CHURCH IS CURRENTLY DEALING WITH IT. 

1. (ONE) They might not be dealing with it now but who knows what tomorrow will hold.

2. (TWO) Someone could be dealing with mental health issues without realizing that’s what it is. It might take someone else talking about it for them to realize “oh shoot that sounds like what I’ve been going through.”

3. (THREE) Everyone who isn’t struggling with their mental health is still going out into the world and interacting with people who are. They can learn from the church how to talk about the issue and how to love someone going through it.

A newsletter is better than social media

newsletter pic.png

Sign up to get this stinkin' newsletter

Hey.

Social media is the worst way to stay connected with people. Algorithms screw up your time line and show you 5 week old posts from complete strangers before you get to see anything from people you actually wanted to follow.

I try to post any time I have a new announcement/project/video/juggling tutorial (I know the demand is high for this right now) but there's no way people are seeing everything.

If you like me or what I do and you REALLY want to stay connected, sign up for my newsletter.

You'll get a new hot fresh free email in your inbox every single Tuesday until I die.

I try to keep it funny/entertaining/enlightening/educational/emotional/inspiring/transcendent/eco-friendly/gluten free/safe for grandmas

You'll get updates on what I'm doing, links to things I've made/written, links to things I think you'll find funny, and MORE.

Don't rely on social media. You might not ever hear from me again. What if I get beat up by wild geese and there's a hilarious video of the attack but it gets lost in your timeline and you never see it?! Why take that risk?! You might miss out completely on the new podcast I'm working on. You could miss out on new videos, free stuff, weird projects, and more. What if I meet a ghost?

Sign up for the newsletter.

Thank You Paris, TX

Paris, TX was the best. I spoke 6 times in 3 days. 2 school assemblies, confession training for leaders, outreach event, Sunday morning service, and graduation banquet. Bethel Baptist Church, thank you for letting me be a part of what you’re doing.

I knew it was going to be a busy weekend so I made sure I planned out my Sabbath ahead of time.

At the schools I was reminded of my favorite part of doing assemblies.

Oh, and did I mention I was in the Paris newspaper?! How ridiculous is that?

Now I have to go record my Patreon exclusive podcast, How Did it Go Tonight, where I recap all the wonderful stories that come from my live shows.