VBS 2017 has come to a close and it has me thinking about what I saw. I caught glimpse of more than 30 adults coming together to minister to over 110 youth from our area. No ministry at SMCC can happen without great committed volunteers. But who are the lucky few who fit that description. You might be surprised to see its you, me and a bunch of other sitting on the same bench for Sunday morning service.
Check out these 6 cliches and see if they describe you. Maybe God just wants you to step up and take a chance, minister to our family here at SMCC.
1. God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called (2 Timothy 3:17).
This phrase is common in religious circles. The truth in the statement goes back to Moses, Abraham, Joseph, David… just about everyone used by God for big things who, on physical examination, didn’t have the degrees, stature, or qualification for the jobs that needed to be done.
You’ve never spoken in public, acted in a skit, or led a Bible study? You may be right where the Lord wants you, so get ready for Him to donate His qualification onto you.
It also works in reverse, you think you’re qualified for one thing, God has a different purpose.
2. If you want to learn something, teach it (Exodus 18:20).
The Lord gives you what you need via your willing heart, teaching what you don’t know very well can potentially have great rewards. I need to remember this the next time I involve my son in a home fix-it project neither of us has tackled before.
3. The kid with the toughest exterior is the one who’ll be hugging you the hardest (Matthew 19:14; Romans 12:9-10).
“Get with your kids.” That’s what I’d hear from a camp dean if it was free time and was caught chatting with my adult peers. “Love on those kids; don’t indoctrinate them.” That was the answer if a counselor had an issue with a controversial subject. “Put your arms around these kids, put their arms around the Word.” That was the goal. All the above boiled down to time. Youth of any age watch how you spend your time. They learn quickly how important they are to you. They all have their issues but they all know when they’re being loved and they all respond to it… in time. So give them that
4. Life and Christianity are so much more than Do's and Don’ts (Galatians 5:13).
“Don’t drink, don’t do drugs, don’t have sex.” Unquestionably good advice, but why not? There were already plenty of them who weren’t practicing these “greater sins.” What, instead, could we show them about, say, rebellion, disobedience, jealousy, and poor self-image? It seemed to me that when I did encounter those who were involved with alcohol, drugs, or sex, they were using the temporary gratification of those activities to fill holes caused by, well, rebellion, disobedience, jealousy and poor self-image.
Living out your faith without inhibitions in front of young people is about as bold, yet genuine, as you can be. Modeling the truth of the Word eliminates the need for do’s and don’ts, removes the need to ask, “Why live this way?” It’s obvious when your joy requires no illegal substances, and when your love is unattached from lust.
5. It’s good to be alive (Romans 8:6; John 10:10)
You make no money volunteering at church, worked round work schedules with the hope of impacting a bunches of boys and girls. You have hundreds of responsibilities, lost track of movies and the baseball standings and never felt better, or were never more fulfilled. Life isn’t about building to a place where we can do what we want all the time, that goal ends in becoming our own little gods. Life happens outdoors, with other people, by God's strength, in God’s presence, for God’s purposes. It’s a gift, even when difficult.
6. We ARE the body (1 Corinthians 7:17; 1 Corinthians 12:12).
It isn’t difficult to understand the frustrations that volunteers often have about whether or not they were being used by God. Sometimes, you volunteer to clean a bathroom or a classroom because you have a heart for the Lord and His Church. These are the thankless jobs, out of the limelight. Away from the fun. But none of the great things that happened would have been possible without every part of the body working together for the greater mission. It takes all kinds. Especially the 'kind' you think you are
See you Sunday!
“Can I get a drumroll please…” the emcee baited.
Little hands frantically fist pounded their seats while beads of summer glistened off their sweaty skin. “And the winner is…” Every child’s eyes were wide with the suspense of possible victory.
“Collecting over $150 for our week’s mission…” Jaws dropped at such an unimaginable amount of money.
The crowded pews of kids erupted, half in thrilled shrieks and the other half in an “awwwww…” But all of them experienced the blessing.
Parenting is tough stuff. Summertime can put an extra stress on schedules that don’t allow for stay-at-home-parent down time, and tax the juggling working parents. The absence of structured school days challenge “teachable moment” opportunities. Here are five reasons you should bring your son and/or daughter to VBS 2017, I hope it helps.
1. The Lessons
“Teach a child how to follow the right way; even when he is old, he will stay on course.”
VBS teaches kids to relate everything back to God, which is healthy. It’s not something they’re going to learn outside of church, but it’s the core of our faith.
Some points on the childhood map can be plotted in absence of the parent watch. A brief stint away from home can allow the opportunity for a teacher or leader to repeat words of wisdom into your child’s ears. Parents can repeat the same wisdom, but when their favorite group leader, preacher or teacher echo’s the same ideas, ears perk up and seeds are watered.
2. The Friends
“A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times.”
-- Proverbs 17:17
VBS encourages children to request prayer, and pray for others. It helps them grow their bedtime and mealtime prayers into something connected to current situations. It welcomes them into the Christian friendship of praying for each other. There’s nothing sweeter than little voices praying into big microphones.
In a safe place, where the judgment gloves are off and the forgiveness hats are on, friendship in faith is forged. Jesus didn’t favor one friend over the other. He was kind, but did not let others waver His ethics. Our personal best friend, He will never leave us alone.
Humanity bonds us together in the roller-coaster of relationships, but we are never alone. Youth need to know how to lean on each other, their parents and mentors, and most importantly for those moments to expose Jesus. It’s a crucial concept for kids to grasp.
3. The Songs
“Deep within me I have hidden Your word so that I will never sin against You.”
VBS allows them to opportunity to experience the joy of worship, and begin to connect the power of singing those songs to lifting their spirits. The songs my kids learn at VBS every year get stuck in their head and hidden in their hearts. They teach the songs to their friends, to me, to the stuffed animals, to their robots. I hear them singing them as they play, in the bath, all over.
Singing praise teaches them be joyful and thankful for the world they live in. Smile, laugh, dance, and sing! God knows why the truth of those verses are tucked inside of their souls. He will bring to the surface those treasured childhood lyrics one day when their hearts are desperate for a joyful song.
4. The Change of Hearts
“If you were full of goodness within, you could overflow with generosity from within, and if you did that, everything would be clean for you.”
VBS teaches generosity. The mark of a Christian is their search to help others rather than be helped. Children need a chance to live this out in basic ways so that they can make a healthy transition from parental dependency. They are all God’s children, and VBS is a fantastic way for parents to lead them back to Jesus' feet.
He’s got a plan for each of our kids. Each one is designed to serve His Kingdom. By getting them involved in VBS, they can start feeling the tugs on their heart that are wired from within. Dropping them into that environment opens their eyes and stirs their hearts. It’s fun to watch them want to give and help. It reminds us that we are all created in His image.
5. The Peace (and Quiet)
“I want you to know that the Eternal your God is the only true God. He’s the faithful God who keeps His covenants and shows loyal love for a thousand generations to those who in return love Him and keep His commands.”
VBS provides a peace in knowing your kids are absorbing truth in your absence. God blesses obedience, and I believe that when we place our kids within His walls and are willing to “let go” and let Him take over for a little bit, our efforts are blessed and our hearts experience His peace.
Parenting is hard. Christian parenting is even harder. God didn’t promise it would be easy, but He did promise it would be worth it and He does assure us that we don’t ever have to do it all alone.
Remembering that my children are actually His removes the pressure I place on my parenting. An annual step aside from teaching the lesson allows them space to absorb it from Him… and my mind a moment of peace to process the blessing of His providence.
Check out more details about VBS 2017 in the SMCC bulletin. Check it out: www.thesouthmillschurch.com
Ever had a disagreement? Most of us have, at one time or another, argued with friends, co-workers, bosses, or family members. Often couples argue over the checkbook, who is in control, what is spent and how much is spent. It sometimes takes another to step in and help us come together and reconcile our differences.
When a checkbook doesn’t balance, it is because the number of purchases override the amount of deposits we make into our accounts. When this occurs, we should figure out where we went wrong and correct the situation. That’s called reconciling, or balancing your checkbook. When we cannot find the error, often we write off a few cents or dollars to make it balance. That is what we need to do with relationships. Sometimes when we cannot see eye-to-eye, or we have grievances that another cannot understand, we need to “write off” the wrong to reconcile the relationship. We need to forgive. As humans, we make mistakes. Sometimes they are unintentional, sometimes intentional.
“We all sin and come short of the glory of God.”
This sin separates us from God. And there is no way to balance our account with God without a reconciliation. We have that through Jesus. Jesus atoned for our indebtedness to God. His death paid our sin-debt.
“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy
in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
You may have committed some sin you think is irreconcilable. The truth is, you are right. You cannot reconcile your sin. You cannot make up for your mistake. You cannot fix it by helping others, by giving out more than you owe, or even by shaking hands and forgiving another person who has wronged you. Your reconciliation to God comes through Jesus. He has reconciled you. He presents you as holy, without blemish, free from accusation. It is Jesus who does it all. God has the checkbook of your life. Jesus is the pen in God’s hand to correct and change the figures to balance your life. Jesus.
What joy there is in knowing this. What freedom we have in Christ. We no longer have to struggle to be righteous. Oh, the Bible reminds us that all Christians must pursue righteousness in how we live out our faith each day.
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace,
along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
2 Timothy 2:22
But, how God views us is simple, Jesus made us righteous by His spilt blood and broken body. We need let Him handle the charges our sins bring against us. He erased them with His sacrifice on Calvary. He casts them into the deepest sea. And unlike us, who tend to remember the errors, Jesus erases the crime. It’s gone. Cannot be brought back up to weigh us down and destroy the peace of God. We can trust the LORD to do right, to make things right that are wrong.