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!!
We all have scars. I have a few from ministry. Some of those scars are seen and others are right in the middle of my face. But scars can be a good thing if they are done for the sake of the Gospel.
This past week we had an amazing VBS. We had more kids attend VBS this year than any of the past 5. We capped it off by collecting 545 items for food pantries in our area. This led to my most recent scar. I told the kids if they collected 500 canned goods I would jump into a pool of ice. It was going to be awesome. The kids were cheering, and excited when we brought them out to watch it. They were cheering me on. I thought the worst that could happen was get some bumps or bruises jumping into the kiddy pool. I leaped and was in the water. The pain wasn’t that bad but when I came out of the water I saw blood. My wife gave me the look that said “you did something very wrong to your face.” She grabbed my hat off my head and shoved it into my face so the children wouldn’t be further traumatized. It was not my best moment in ministry. Something that seemed so promising had gone so bad in a matter of seconds.
But I wouldn’t change a thing. I did get bandaged up and was able to walk back inside and share with kids I was alright and lead them in a prayer. One of the themes for the week was Jesus heals us and so I tied it all together. It turned into a good moment to share Jesus. I am someone who will jump in a pool of ice water if I think it will let me talk about Jesus with a kid. Heck the scar was a great story in the ER when I got my 11 stitches. I got to share Jesus with a doctor, nurse and three paper work people. I don’t mind the scars in ministry because another family, kid, student, adult or whoever got to hear the good news of Jesus. They got to see some crazy grown kid stand up and share Jesus. Who knows if they will ever be a believer in Christ. The Holy Spirit does that work anyway. I never even know if the scar is worth it.
I do know this however, I would take all the scars in the world if it meant one more kid or family might know Jesus. So for all of you in ministry, either volunteer or paid professional lets make more scars so others can know this Jesus who loves and cares for us. Lets tell the world even if it means some pain and scars.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Psalm 51:8 ESV