Bible Reading: Mark 9:2-13

This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.   Mark 9:7

The knot in Jacki’s stomach tied tighter and tighter during the long ride back to real­ity from the weeklong summer camp put on by her church. “I want to stay up there,” she moaned. “It’s so easy to be a Christian. It’s so cool there. The mountains look like heaven. The Bible lessons are great. Everyone tries to get along. Jesus is so real up there.”

If you’ve ever been to a Christian camp, you know how hard it can be to go home. When Bible lessons, quiet times, and Christian friendships happen so easily, who would ever want to go home?

Peter, James, and John got a taste of church-camp high in a big way. As Jesus’ three closest disciples stared at him in amazement, they saw a bright glow. Then Eli­jah and Moses showed up. It was a touch of heaven, just like camp. Then God’s voice shook from the clouds and the mountaintop experience ended.

Isn’t that the way it is when you get away to a Christian camp or retreat? Great music, a God-charged atmosphere—Christianity couldn’t be easier. On the ride home you might sing camp songs until you’re hoarse. Everything is rosy and bright. But then, thud! Your alarm clock nags you out of bed, the clothes you want are still dirty from camp, and your mom once again feeds you oatmeal for breakfast. You hate oatmeal—though you happily ate it up on the mountain.

Face it: Life is back with all its realities, good and bad.

But wait! Look back at Mark 9:9. There are four figures winding their way back to the valley from that peak experience. Peter, James, John—and Jesus!

That’s a truth you might forget when you slide down from camp, vacation Bible school, or any other spiritual high. Jesus isn’t chained to a mountaintop lodge, a woodsy chapel, or even the youth room in your church basement. He travels with you into everyday life to help you with nagging alarm clocks, grungy clothes, and gloppy oatmeal.

The disciples were no doubt glad to climb the mountain and glimpse Jesus’ glory. Those rare experiences can charge your spiritual batteries—and even permanently change you. The bad news is that everyday life isn’t lived on the mountain-top. The good news is that if you just look around the valley, you’ll find Jesus—hanging out with you, helping you live out the mountaintop glow!

TALK: What can you and your Christian friends do to make everyday life at home a little more like heaven?

PRAY: Jesus, thanks for being with us at home. We want you to hang out with us on the mountaintop—and in the valleys of life.

ACT: Are you headed to a Christian camp or a week of vacation Bible school, or have you recently been to one? What’s your plan for keeping Jesus close?