So we are just now starting to hear about the country opening back up to a more normal state of being. I imagine many of us are thinking about the things we cant wait to get back to. Hugging loved ones, going to the beach, playing group sports and most important of them all sitting at the bar talking about how amazing the Star-wars movies really are…ok maybe not that last one but you get the point. I have been online and seen a number of people posting about all the things they a can’t wait to do again.
Last week I was on the phone with a parent and she said something that made me think. She talked about with all the things wiped clean from her schedule what things was she doing now that she wants to keep after the quarantine has ended? So here is our question. What things are you going to keep? Is it going to be sitting with family for meals. Maybe checking in our your parents, friends or family. Maybe you have been better about going to worship every week, it was in your pj’s, but you have been consistent. Maybe it is getting more exercise by taking walks as a family. I know the dog would love for less than 7 a day but maybe keeping up with it as family on a daily basis is more doable now. We all have things we have changed over these past weeks maybe we can keep some of the good habits going.
For me it is going to be reading my bible. I also want to help my family make this a new habit as well. I want us to get in the word and talk about it on a weekly basis and really see what God has to say. So here is my challenge to all of you if you are looking for this as I am. Would you join us? I am going to be starting an online bible study for families on Thursday nights at 6:30pm. All you need is a bible and a computer/phone. It will be a time to get in the word. You can join us on a zoom call if you want or you can read with us and submit me some questions at a later point. The first 5 weeks are going to be on Galatians. We start Thursday April 30th. Lets start a new pattern in the word together as a family. You certainly don’t have to but do keep up going to Church at least, even if it is in your pj’s!
I love VBS. Now that I have that off my chest… For some people VBS is a painful experience they have to live through. For some youth workers VBS is some of the hardest times of their lives. That is not me. I love VBS. I love those 15 hours of pure joy over five wonderful days. I love the laughter, joy and Jesus we get to share with students for that week. It is some of the best times in the world.
I probably love VBS so much because it taught me something about Jesus that I will never forget and still love today. You see I came from a Church that did VBS over the top awesome. For a Church that worshiped 300 on a Sunday we had well over 550 students at VBS. We packed the place to where we had kids everywhere and adults had to stand because you couldn’t sit is a pew. (Luckily the fire marshal never showed up because I am sure we broke fire code) But seriously, VBS to this day still brings me back to some amazing times in my faith journey and I learned some amazing things about Jesus those weeks.. We are now 20 days from VBS here at St. John and I can’t wait.
I learned one very important thing at VBS growing up that I pray is something I teach kids every year. I learned Loving Jesus is fun. Knowing Jesus is fun. Singing and dancing for Jesus is fun. Jesus brings us joy. Once when I was a teen at VBS serving in music leading I was walking in late to the morning program because I was picking up my friend. When we walked in the kids were singing and the walls were literally shacking. Not the speakers were cranking… The kids were singing so loud you could see the walls shake. To this day I cannot get that image out of my head. I want my kids and all kids to sing so loud for Jesus the walls shake. I want them to know him so much that the joy of His grace spreads to our community and world. I look forward to sharing in the joy of the Lord in a few short weeks. I am almost giddy with excitement.
Today as you walk with Jesus remember the joy we have in Christ. Share that Joy with others. Maybe you aren’t in that season of Joy but I pray you can get there. I pray you can see the walls shaking because the joy of Jesus is being shared….Oh and if you are in Rochester Michigan come join us as we share Jesus with some amazing kids. I promise you will hear a joyful noise!!
I like to dress up for Lutheran schools week. My goal each year for this week is to dress up as much as possible. I am all about “going big or going home”. My favorite part is watching peoples reactions when I walk in the building. I know I look like a nut. I know I should probably never go out in public like this but I do. I do it all because I love to draw attention to myself….(ok that sounds really narcissistic when you write it that way but keep reading so you don’t think too poorly of me.)
The reason I dress this way is so you notice me. I want you to notice me SO THAT I can share with you this guy who has made me nuts. This guy who made me dress up in costumes, dye my hair pink and go all out for Lutheran Schools weeks each year. I want you to know this Jesus guy who ruined my life SO THAT I can no longer miss opportunities to share with you Jesus. The one who loved me so much He gave Himself for me. He loved me. This awkward kid who was not the coolest kid in the world. A guy who was bald and 26 and has very little filter when talking with others. A guy who is trying to follow Jesus.
So tomorrow or the next day when you see me walking around its ok to stare. I don’t mind if you laugh. I don’t mind much of anything. I just hope you know I really am not doing these crazy things for me. I am doing them SO THAT you might know Jesus and the joy he gives me every day. So lets all think about ways we can share Jesus and the joy we have in Him.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV
Last night my family sat down to dinner together. We started sharing stories of our day. It was one of those good times at dinner. We can be loud and, well, fairly weird. At one point it got so loud my wife made the kids raise their hands to tell a story or joke. She was going around the table pointing at each kid in turn. I had an idea for a funny. I find the unexpected moment or joke brings levity and joy to a situation. So I looked her straight in the eyes and rose my hand. She gave me that look of what are you doing and she lost it in laughter. It was a good moment.
Often in life we forget the joys of simple laughter. We get so busy with life, its challenges, it tragities, its struggles. I will be honest. I have the issue of being someone who tries to make everything funny. My go to mechanism for dealing with life is laughter. I love to laugh. I love to bring people joy through a smile or laughter. I am surprised by the humor God can provide when we allow the unexpected.
So this week, in a world filled with tragedy, find time to laugh. Find time to see the joy in the world. Find time to laugh with loved ones. Find time to have someone point you to the greatest joy in the world. Look for the unexpected way God can bring you humor. Find time to hear about Jesus. Find time to look to the cross where you can see the joy of the world sacrificed for you.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:4 NIV