Ben Baylis


I came into this summer knowing that Jesus had almost audibly told me to change my plans for myself and be a counselor. I knew that it was exactly where He wanted me to be during this summer of my life. It didn’t make sense. It didn’t add up in my head, but I knew Lake Forest was where the Lord was leading me again. At the same time, I also had a stronghold in my mind that what I was doing wasn’t as much me being used by Jesus as it was me doing something for Jesus that He needed from me. That was an idea straight from my flesh and had no backing from who the Father really is or what Scripture says about the life we get to live in Him. The Father has been intervening in my life in some real ways in the past few years, and none of it made sense to me with who I was, but it now makes perfect sense to me considering who I am in Christ. He gave me a new heart and a new spirit from Himself. I haven’t been done away with so that Christ can cover me up, but there was a marriage that happened when Christ came to live in me so that it’s now all Him and all me together as one. That new me has a heart for the things that Jesus has a heart for, and one of the biggest pieces of evidence of that is me being here. With all that truth that I already knew in my heart, I still believed in some places of my mind that this was still my duty to do for God, and strangely the same God who I know created the universe and allowed not even sin and hell to be a factor in my relationship with Him. I still thought I had to muster up some real strength of my own and just try really hard to love these kids and students and supposedly step out of my comfort zone. Going into Kids Camp A, I was still clinging to this thought process. I had 10 of the oldest boys at camp in my cabin. I knew these were guys who were all from church groups, and who had grown up in church their entire lives and had heard the Gospel who knows how many times. That thought only served to lessen my faith in what the Father was doing then. I had the idea that it wasn’t quite as important that I was there because the Gospel wasn’t needed. And if it was needed, I was thinking that I was going to have dress it up in an extraordinary way so that thirteen year old guys who have heard about Jesus will like it even more. Fast forward to the second night of camp, and I’m walking my guys through LFR after Dark, our visual gospel presentation for the summer. We got to the last station of the night, where we get to show them a mirror of words that are true of us once we are in Christ. I was working through explaining that message to them one by one, and honestly getting into a routine of words that I was saying to them. I had walked through what that meant to nine out of ten of them and was ready to finish up with the last one and head back to the cabin. The Lord had a slightly different plan. The one camper who I was most certain was not lost and without Christ said to me, “that’s what I want. I want to get saved.” That really took me off guard, but the Lord gave me the strength to say His words, and pray with him to receive Him into his heart. That was amazing enough, but the next day, I was hanging out with another one of my guys, and the Lord continued to show me how much this is His deal and not mine. I was with him at the ropes course, and he proceeded to yell at me whilst still attached to the rock wall thirty feet up what I talked about in one of my previous hangout times with another camper. As soon we started walking away from the ropes course together, he eagerly changed the subject in order to ask me what I was talking about last night at LFR after Dark at the last station. I told him that I was talking about a relationship with Jesus, to which he quickly replied, “Yeah! Yeah. That’s what I want. I want a relationship with Jesus.” Again undone by the Father’s working in their lives, I still was given the words to speak into Him and invite Jesus into his heart. Through both instances with these guys, I saw how much Jesus’ promise, “It is Finished” really is true; I’ve had the word “tetelestai” on my wrist for over three years, but the Lord is continuing to give that word new meaning for me, and show me how much I can actually trust that it is the truth. It wasn’t ever me being here in hopes of generating or finishing something myself. It was always Jesus, and it has always been Jesus. Hebrews 4 says that His works were finished from the foundation of the world. I’ve been seeing that so much, but I got to experience it tangibly and in a real way during those couple of days. I don’t have to bring anything to the table. I never brought anything in the first place…Romans 3:23. Instead, I get to walk in works that the Father set up from the foundation of the world. Not because I was good enough for them, but because Jesus made me good enough for them. Tetelestai.