Vacation Bible School

Ah! Vacation Bible School. With the week upon us, can’t you just hear the high-pitched voices of the children roaming through the church hallways, catching up with friends from school and from last year’s VBS? And then there are the teachers and helpers, smiling and enthusiastic, a bit bedraggled by Wednesday or Thursday, but still smiling (a smile that turns into a relieved grin when the last child departs with parents or grandparents on Friday). Yes, it’s VBS week, and we are excited. Excited about the children and families who will be touched by our ministry this week. Excited about all the volunteers who will be helping out with this mammoth endeavor. Excited for the chaos that clutches the church during these few short summer days. But most of all we are excited about the story of Jesus and the Heavenly Father that will be told, retold and absorbed this week.

Personally, I am excited to be looking to the stars for the evidence of God’s existence, His love, and His provision that will be our focus this year with the help of LifeWay’s “Galactic Starveyers” VBS material. If we are in doubt about the existence of a Creator-God who loves us, we can simply look to the skies and see the evidence of His Majesty. If we can’t get our eyes on the stars, we can gaze at the world around us and see His handiwork proclaiming His perfection. And if we don’t find any of the natural world in our scope of vision, we can make a quick examination of ourselves—we are designed to breathe automatically; our blood flows unaided by a thought (unless we have gone out of our way to damage our heart); even our fingertips shout out to us that the One True God had a design because each one of us can claim the uniqueness of personal fingerprints. So, this week let’s look (if we can) to the stars and discover the God of the universe.

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good indeed.”  —Genesis 1:31a


[My annual Post-VBS Post]

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

This has been the inner instruction for myself and all of the volunteer workers this week as we tried to keep up with the children in Vacation Bible School. We now have another successful year of VBS behind us. Children roamed the halls of the church, spent time in worship, ate interesting-looking snacks, and studied some of the fun and ancient Bible stories. Stories about Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, Nicodemus, a blind man, and the children, were highlighted by Jesus’ presence and understanding. During the week, seven children came to know Christ, we averaged 66 children for the week, and attenders gave over $300 to benefit the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services. In the midst of all of this we learned some new songs that linked our Bible stories to the over-all theme of “Submerged! Find the Truth Below the Surface.”

Interestingly enough, the new songs highlighting the old stories brought to my mind some of the old songs that I learned as a boy. You may remember some of them, too. Songs like: “I May never March in the Infantry,” “Deep and Wide,” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children” helped me to learn some really deep truths about God, His Son, His love, and how He desires to be a part of even the most “insignificant” of lives.

That will lead us to a study of some of the great Sunday school songs from childhood. Hopefully, we will be inspired by some familiar verses over the next few weeks. In the meantime, breathe, breathe, breathe.

 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God”    (Psalm 20:7)

Many a Bible study teacher has confided in me that he feels he is learning more about applying the scripture to life than his students are. Or she might say that she discovers more studying for the lesson than she ever had when she simply participated in the class. I’ve found this to be true myself—discovering greater, deeper truths when I’m preparing for teaching than a cursory reading of the Bible would grant.

This week our halls will be filled with children who will be challenged to dig below the surface. Old familiar stories—Jesus & Zacchaeus, Jesus & the Woman at the Well, Jesus & Nicodemus, Jesus & a Blind Man, and Jesus & the Children—will be presented with the goal of finding more than the surface meaning behind the story. Our hope is that children will come to see that Christianity and life are much deeper than what they seem on the surface, and that Jesus cares about those deeper parts of our lives.

Perhaps with this in mind we can help our children (and maybe even challenge ourselves) to be more than just casual in our approach to living our faith in the real world. As Eddie DeGarmo and Dana Key sang several years ago, “I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna be a casual Christian/I don’t wanna live, I don’t wanna live a lukewarm life/Because I wanna light up the night/With an everlasting light/ I don’t wanna live the casual Christian life.”

“Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food.”   (Hebrews 5:12)