The Psalm 24 Generation
Living a Radical Life for Jesus Christ
July 28, 2008 - As the sun sets at the end of a crooked gravel road in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, N.C., 130 middle school students, ages 11–15, gather in a simple wooden dining hall to lift their hands and voices in praise to God.
by Ann Marie Chilton
They clap to the beat as they sing to guitar music, “My King is the Rock, and the Rock is the Lamb, and the Lamb is the One who died for our sins; and He is holy!”
From 16 states across the country, these young people are attending Camp Daniel, a weeklong, outdoor adventure camp where they grow in their Christian faith. The campers are all part of Team Dare to Be a Daniel, which means that they have completed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Dare to Be a Daniel training course.
To date, there are more than 10,000 trained Daniels in America.
Inspired by the biblical story of Daniel, a teenage prophet who dared to stand for God in the midst of a perverse culture, Dare to Be a Daniel equips tweens to live out the Christian faith, dares them to love others like Jesus did, and trains them to share the Gospel with their friends.
Anyone can complete the course online or implement the training in their churches with the Dare to Be a Daniel 13-Session Training Resource. Campers at Camp Daniel receive an additional week of encouragement and daily training sessions to go even deeper in their knowledge of the Bible and their boldness for Christ.
On this last night of the camp week, the young Daniels enjoy a time of music and worship before the final training session. The session is about Psalm 24, a passage in the Bible that describes a generation of people who seek after God with their whole hearts.
The scripture says:
The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. …
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD?
Who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false. …
Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek Your face, O God of Jacob.
Four things, according to speaker Nick Hall, characterize a Psalm 24 Generation, the type of generation that seeks to know God and ushers a spiritual awakening into their culture:
1. They Live a Life of Worship
Bryce, 11-years-old, has enjoyed his first week at Camp Daniel. And before the evening service began he demonstrated the first characteristic of the Psalm 24 Generation.
“I love the worship,” Bryce said, “to actually sing it and look at the words because it actually means something. You keep singing it over and over, and it just gets in your mind, and you’re going, like, wow!”
With a smile on his face, Bryce is eager to talk about his camp week.
“Our counselors here, they’re really nice and loving and they tell you right from wrong," Bryce shares. "You may get in trouble, but they help you learn. The Holy Spirit is like a big counselor.”
With his his joy in learning the meaning of praise, and his ability to recognize the role of the Holy Spirit, Bryce is already living a life of worship.
2. They Seek Christ Daily
Lauren, a 12-year-old camper, has had some struggles in her life, but as she completed the Dare to Be a Daniel course and began attending church, she started growing in her faith. She shows the second characteristic of the Psalm 24 Generation.
Sitting on the porch of her cabin earlier today, Lauren said, “I came here mainly to learn more about God because I’ve had a bad life. … When I was young I never got to go to church. I wanted to come here and learn something but hopefully have fun while doing it.”
Scripture teaches that a person who actively desires to learn more about God will have her prayers answered. The Bible says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV).
3. They Live Life to the Fullest
Don’t be mistaken; Camp Daniel kids aren’t all serious. They have been playing every day, which is another valuable way to live like the Psalm 24 Generation.
Before lunch, the campers competed in a belly flop contest in the camp’s Olympic-size swimming pool. Later they held an impromptu dance party in the outdoor pavilion. They even ate kiwi-strawberry popsicles at 10:30 last night.
Earlier in the week, each cabin group hiked to a remote spot in the woods, made their own campfire, cooked their own dinner, and slept in a tent that they pitched.
“I ate about like 22 s’mores,” says 11-year-old Zach.
Sarah, 13-years-old, couldn’t decide her favorite activity of the week because there were so many. “It’s a really good combination of fun and learning,” she says. “I don’t want to leave at all.”
4. They Dare to Dream
With campers from all parts of the country, Camp Daniel has taught many of these young people that they are not alone, and more importantly, that they can overcome the obstacles placed in front of them.
Joy is the camp nurse this week, but she’s also the mother of a camper. “I’ve seen a lot of kids really just encourage one another,” she says.
“Zach, my son, was just telling me about a boy in his cabin who said that he lives and goes to school where there are a lot of gangs and violence. It’s been nice for all those kids to come together, to meet other kids and then go their separate ways but still encourage each other.”
Many of the Daniels log on to the Dare to Be a Daniel Web site to communicate with each other on the message boards and find encouragement for life's struggles.
When she gets home from camp, Hannah, a rising eighth grader, has a dream that she will be able to better love and befriend those who are experiencing difficult times.
“This camp helps me with understanding how to be a better person to witness Christ to your friends,” Hannah says. “I liked the one [session] about helping a friend in crisis. … At my school this past year, an eighth grader, her dad died. I didn’t really know what to do, but Camp Daniel has helped me. I know not many friends at our school helped her out. I’m going to try to give her stuff that will encourage her.”
With valuable training, lifelong friendships, and eternal encouragement in their hands, many young people return to their hometowns this week to influence the world around them for Jesus Christ.
God used Daniel to influence his culture long ago; and Daniel's simple devotion to God changed the hearts of an empire. Imagine what God can do through an entire generation that is surrendered to Him.