Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lessons Learned in VBS - Part 2

This week we're doing a "top" 8 of the lessons learned in VBS. Monday we looked at our first three lessons (you can check them out here). Here are the next three. Sorry for the delay. VBS and a funeral this week made posting on Wednesday impossible. So here we go.

5. To respect my country and my faith.
During VBS kids get their first taste of patriotism and respect for our country’s flag. Each night at VBS we salute and pledge allegiance to the American flag, along with the Christian Flag and the Bible. We hope they realize that without the brave men and women who served under the American flag, those who follow the Christian Flag and the Bible wouldn't be able to worship freely. By doing the pledges we teach our children the importance of national pride and appreciation for those who have fought to give us the religious freedoms we have here. 

4. To give an offering to God.
When I was growing up, we were always given some money to put in the plate when the offering plate was passed around. That is one of the joys of childhood, getting to put money in the offering plate whether it’s in worship or at VBS. Sometimes kids rob their piggy banks, search under couch cushions or ask mom and dad for some money to put in the offering at VBS. I spoke to a child just last week that said they were bringing all their money to give to the offering at VBS so their team could win the competition between boys and girls. Many of the kids who give to the offering at VBS are like the Macedonians that Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (NIV). Kids generally have no income and have to scrape, scrounge and scavenge for every penny they find. That makes their offering to God all the more special. We’re told in 1 Samuel 16 that God looks at the heart not the outward appearance of man. With God’s unique view of the hearts of these children's giving, we know He sees the joy and elation they get from giving to the offering. We as adults should view our opportunity to give to God with the same joy and excitement that we did when we were children. Instead of viewing it as we “have to” or that we need to “pay” our tithe we should be reminded of that child-like excitement when we have the chance to give. I realize the financial burdens of this life can rob us of the joy we had as a child but we can still have joy and be excited at knowing that God will do great things with our offering. 

3. Missions are important.
It was always exciting as a kid to have a real life missionary come share with our church about the work they were doing to tell people about Jesus in some distant land or jungle village.  During VBS we have a class where the kids learn about missions and missionaries around the world. This class helps to introduce kids to the importance of missions. For many kids this helps them see that this world is much bigger than the few miles they drive to school. This is where we help kids understand the primary objective of the church and that is to spread the gospel. Jesus tells us in Mark 16 that we are to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." This is the most important command Jesus ever gave us as believers and we teach it to our kids at VBS.

Friday we will end our series on Lessons Learned in VBS with our final two lessons.

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