Roger That: God’s Peculiar People


Columnist Writer

Hey Everyone! I’m Roger Hamilton and I oversee the training and development of our Eagle Lake staff. I have been with the Navigators for 33 years! I love helping our staff grow in their knowledge and love of God and the Bible. One thing I don’t like are blogs. So, I prefer to call it a B-Log, as in Bible log. I’ll be back as your trusty Eagle Lake B-logger every other week, at least until you get sick of me. Did you miss the last post? Read it here!

-Roger that!



That’s a bit peculiar to the world – is it not? That we belong to God, not ourselves or anything else?

As followers of Christ in these crazy times, we often find ourselves struggling with how we can fit in with the world around us while still holding on to our faith

We’ve been told that as Christians we should be “in the world but not of the world” (see John 17:15-18).  Our world today is polarized and hypersensitive about almost everything. But that’s really nothing new! Since the first century, believers in Jesus have been trying to figure out this balance, and their world was just as jacked up as ours.

In Titus 2:14 Paul tells us that Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are HIS very own, eager to do what is good.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Paul wrote to his friend Titus to help him encourage believers in Crete to display Christlike character among those who lived far differently (just look up cretin in a dictionary). Peter wrote to believers scattered by Roman persecution who were feeling anything but special as a result.

In 1611 (no, I was not in high school then!), the King James Bible was published. The phrases bolded in the verses above are translated as “a peculiar people”.

Don’t take my word for it. Take the words I copied and pasted from the KJV below:


Titus 2:14:

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.


1 Peter 2:9:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people;


SEE!? “A peculiar people” that’s me – and you too, if you are a follower of Jesus.

Today “peculiar” refers to something or someone who is strange or odd. But it can also mean “distinctive in nature or character from others.” Back then it referred to ownership of cattle, as in “this cow belongs to me. Keep your hands off!”  Somehow that doesn’t sound quite as good as “God’s special possession.”

A change in meaning has happened over time, revealing that the same question we feel tension with today, was what Christians faced centuries ago…

Do we belong to Him or the world?

The phrases that the Bible describes our identity with are pretty amazing: chosen people, royal priesthood, God’s special possession (another translation says, “a people who are His very own”).

That’s a bit peculiar to the world – is it not? That we belong to God, not ourselves or anything else?

When we’re frustrated that we don’t quite fit in or belong with the world, that’s because WE DON’T. We’re citizens of another kingdom. A better kingdom.

Did you notice that Paul emphasizes being enthusiastic (zealous) for good works? If you read on in Peter (1 Peter 2:12), he also mentions how good deeds can lead worldly people to glorify God – BECAUSE when you or I are accused of doing wrong, people of the world may see our good deeds (I believe you could also say character – look up the Greek *hint: and glorify God. I didn’t make that up – it’s in the BIBLE.

In the world – not of the world? I think so.

So, here’s the question for all of us as the peculiar people of God:

How do we honor God with our character and conduct in such a way that people are drawn closer to Christ, rather than being repelled?  And how can we daily depend on God’s word and His indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us in living well among those who don’t yet know Christ?

Read and Journal!

Read Titus 2:11-15, 1 Peter 2:9-12 and John 17:14-19.  Check them out in several translations.

  1. What do each of these passages say about how we’re supposed to live out our faith in the world?
  2. How is the phrase “the peculiar people of God” in Titus and 1 Peter translated in other versions besides KJV and NIV? Are there any versions that grab your attention? Why?
    1. Click to look at other translations of Titus 2:14
    2. Click to look at other translations of 1 Peter 2:9
  3. How does Jesus’ message in John 17 differ from those of Paul and Peter in the verses above? To whom is Jesus speaking? Why is that significant?
  4. If you have time, you might want to read all of Jesus’ parting words to the Disciples (and us!), John 13-17.
  5. What do you think the world would say about you? What else does God say about His Children? Which one genuinely sounds better? Challenge: Ask a friend or two those questions. Have a conversation about it!

Roger That: God Stinks at Math!


Columnist Writer

Hey Everyone! I’m Roger Hamilton and I oversee the training and development of our Eagle Lake staff. I have been with the Navigators for 33 years! I love helping our staff grow in their knowledge and love of God and the Bible. One thing I don’t like are blogs. So, I prefer to call it a B-Log, as in Bible log. I’ll be back as your trusty Eagle Lake B-logger every other week, at least until you get sick of me. Did you miss the last post? Read it here!

-Roger that!



God tells Gideon that he is going to conquer an army of 135,000 with only 300 men!

Today we’re focusing on how God stinks at math, yes you heard that right. God STINKS at math (see above) – keep reading to find out why and what might supersede some equations…


In our last B-log, we learned cool stuff about Gideon in Judges 6, where God had to get past Gideon’s fears and insecurities. But He was just getting warmed up, and Judges 7 shows us that the God of the universe wouldn’t pass your little brother’s 4th grade math class!


In Judges 6:14 God tells Gideon to “go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.” So Gideon gathers his army of 32,000 men to fight 135,000 Midianites and their allies.

Already the numbers don’t add up: the Israelites are down 103,000! God wants to make sure the people don’t try to take credit, so He tells Gideon, “You have too many men. Let anyone who trembles with fear go home,” and 22,000 Israelites leave. Then He tells Gideon to separate his troops by how they drink water: one group has 300, one group has 9,700.

Equation 1: Midianites of 135,000 > Gideon’s Israelites of 32,000.


Does God command Gideon to send 300 home and keep 9,700? No! He sends 9,700 home and keeps only 300.

Equation 2: 9,700 > 300


Now God tells Gideon that he is going to conquer an army of 135,000 with only 300 men! To put it in perspective, each Israelite would be responsible for defeating 450 Midianites. Knowing Gideon’s fearful tendencies, God kindly encourages Gideon to go down to the Midian camp and listen. Gideon hears a man talking about his dream, in which “God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.”

Equation 3: Ratio 1 man to 450 men…bad odds.


And that’s just one of MANY situations in the Bible where the numbers don’t add up. Jesus feeds 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:13-21). BUT then he needs 7 loaves and a few fish to feed in Matthew 15.


Equation 4:  5+2=5,000

Equation 5: 7+ a few=4,000


Is Jesus slipping a bit in His ability to do a miracle? No! Clearly the math here is not important.

What IS important is that God glorifies Himself in our challenges and difficulties by making it impossible for us to take the credit.

Lynn (my wife) and I have seen this clearly in our 33 years of ministry with the Navigators! When our autistic son was 3 years old, we were offered a spot in a therapy program that we knew would help him tremendously. Only one problem: it was going to cost TWICE our annual salary! We didn’t even have the required $1,000 for the initial consult with the psychologist.

I was in Colorado for a meeting when Lynn called me from our home in Wisconsin to tell me some incredible news. My college roommate Dave and his wife called and asked Lynn, “Do you need $1,000? God is telling us to give you $1,000 and we don’t know why.”

From there God provided every penny we needed for our son’s therapy- for two and half years!

Have you seen God do something wild and crazy in your life? With your family? Did you give Him the credit? Is there something you will soon be facing that only God can figure out?

God delights in doing “immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.” This makes me rejoice. What about you?

Read and Journal!

  1. Read the following passages and journal your observations and key lessons: Matthew 14:13-21 and 15:29-39; Isaiah 43:1-5.
  2. Pray through a Psalm like Psalm 27 or Psalm 86. Can you relate to the emotions conveyed by the author? Is there math in your life that seems too complicated for even God to solve?
  3. Is the Lord bringing someone to mind who needs to be encouraged or comforted by what you’ve been learning about His faithfulness and miraculous provision? Make a plan to reach out to them this week!

This has been the second B-Log in an ongoing series of ROGER THAT. If you found this interesting, share it below!


At Summer Camp I Learned To Meet People Where They Are At.

When I decided to go to work at camp last summer (2018) I thought nothing of it. I had applied to be a Rezident Camp Counselor, spending days in the mountains while ministering to kids. I thought it would just be another summer. Little did I know God had BIG plans for me. Driving to camp I was so nervous!  I didn’t know what to expect: it was a new place, and I didn’t really know anyone there.  When I got there one of the Program Coaches, Tali, introduced herself to me and we started talking for a while. As it turned out, we had a lot in common! Before long I had a friend and someone who would field ALL of my questions.

Camp Counselors hug in front of Eagle Lake.

Summer at camp was full of new people and new places.  I was working with peers I never would have met and pouring into kids I never thought I would know, but in all this I learned a valuable lesson.  I learned to meet people where they are at. Not only campers, but anyone and everyone. Sometimes it meant painting rocks at the A-Frame or paddle boarding on the lake or going down the zip-line or even sitting together and talking about hard questions and difficult things.  Coming into the summer, this was something that scared me.  What if I wasn’t liked? What if we couldn’t relate? What if I didn’t have the right answers? But as camp went on the Lord provided me opportunities to learn what it means to meet people where they are at.Camp Counselor and camper go paddle boarding and pose for a picture!

One thing that Eagle Lake encourages is life-on-life discipleship, which often translates to meeting with campers one-on-one where each camper gets to spend time with their counselor and do something fun and unique. These turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the week and some of my most memorable one-on-ones happened with campers I never thought I could relate to.  As I sat there on each one-on-one, I learned to be present and just listen. Soon enough, our conversations blossomed and by the end of my time with each camper, I had learned something new about them and we were friends!  After spending time with each camper it was amazing to see the ways they would grow over the course of the week.  Everyone grew differently.  Some learned about confidence and stepped out of their comfort zone to try something new and others took BIG steps in their faith and learned something new about God. That is why I love one-on-ones, because I knew that whatever growth I saw in them was NOT because of me.  Only the Lord can do those crazy things and I would never have been able to plan or orchestrate anything that spectacular. I was able to meet campers where they were at and show them the love of Jesus and then sit back and watch the ways the God moved in their lives, even in the course of a short week. 

In our staff Bible study this summer, led by Tali, we talked about abiding in God and the fruits that come with that.  In John 15:4 Jesus says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  At camp I could have stayed in the mindset of ‘what if’s’ and stayed in my comfort zone. Instead I took the step of faith out of it and leaned into what God had prepared for me there.  The Lord met me where I was at in my fear and hesitation. He gave me courage and He taught me so much about his faithfulness and how He provides in ways I could never imagine.  Camp forces you outside your comfort zone and pushes you to do things you never thought you could.  I didn’t think I could be a good counselor and I didn’t think I would love it as much as I did. But God does crazy things, and while you don’t have to be at camp to experience that, it’s a cool place to see him work.

Camp Counselors play messy games at Shock week.Camp Counselors pose with flowers in front of Thunder Dome.Camp Counselors hike to the Cross at Eagle Lake Camps.Camp Counselor participates in throw-ins!

Had it not been for Tali walking up to me and introducing herself, the first few days, and even the later hours of camp would have been SO MUCH HARDER.  Just knowing someone, even a little, in a new, scary place meant the world to me.  I learned so much about what it means to meet people where they are at and I still get to learn about it even now that I am back at school. I get to meet my friends and strangers where they’re at and show them the love of Jesus regardless of their situation. It’s still scary but Lord has taught me the value of sitting and listing to someone’s story, because each one is important!

At Summer Camp I Learned The Simple Gospel

Coming into the summer I did not know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to share the gospel with kids. Before camp I was working at an elementary school and so deeply wanted to tell them about the hope they could have in Christ, but I was not allowed to. My ears were full of stories about broken homes, split families, basic needs not being met; hard stories told through the mouths of my students. The biggest hope they can have is Jesus, but I could not tell them that. I just had to say it’s going to be okay, but I could never tell them why. I was looking forward to a summer of sitting down with the children like the ones in my classroom, looking them in the eye and saying “Life is hard but what we have hope for is Heaven and we have the Holy Spirit and Jesus to get us through hard things.” And that is exactly what I got to do. I also dressed up like a pirate, a lot. Here is our team:

Eagle Lake Camp counselors dressed as pirates preparing to welcome campers to a church property!

As I sat and shared the Gospel with kids during the summer, God moved in my own heart (no surprise). I knew that Jesus had died for me, that I was set free, but if I’m honest the list of “read your bible, don’t forget to pray, do the right thing” was on habitual repeat in my mind. As I watched other counselors share with campers again and again JUST HOW MUCH JESUS LOVES them, I realized I had been complicating the Gospel for myself. All of a sudden a switch flicked on in my mind. Something changed and I realized, “OH! This so much easier than I am making it out to be!” I began to believe the gospel in the simple way I wanted these kids to understand it.

Eagle Lake Camp Counselor helps camper jump on the Bungee Trampoline! Camp Counselor High Fives a Camper during free time at Day Camp On Location!

The highlight of my whole summer was a camper named Emily*. Have you ever seen someone and just immediately loved them? This happened when I saw Emily. The minute I saw her I thought, this girl HAS to be in my bible study group. We had a busy week, loads of campers, and normally we don’t request specific campers in our bible studies, but I sought our leadership team to see if was possible to move her into my group, they said yes, and I was ecstatic. Emily had down syndrome.

Emily* was so sweet and talked about how much she loved Jesus. Every day, she would tell each person in our group that she loved them. She would look at me and my co-leader and tell us she loved us. She didn’t just say it and move on, she would look us in the eye, say she loved us and mean it. She is a testament to how people with disabilities can perfectly understand and love Jesus. It was so beautiful to see Jesus at work in her life. People with disabilities get underestimated and pushed aside, but each of us are children of God’s and he wants us in his family and has a seat at His table for all. The gospel is simple for me, just like the gospel is simple for Emily*.

As I’m back in school and work I’m applying the lesson I learned at the beginning of the summer, believing the simple gospel. I serve the junior high students where I live and my goal now is: before I talk about reading the Bible to know Jesus, praying to know Jesus, or (God forbid) I say anything regarding that doing the right thing will bring you to Jesus… I’ve begun sharing the most important thing first: Jesus loves us right where we are at no matter what. I’ve learned that is the “why” behind everything in our relationship with Him.

*Name Changed