Another incredible year of Kids Fun Club (also known as Vacation Bible School or VBS). Arguably the best week of the year at Crossroads Community Church. I love how our church comes together and everyone brings their gifts, talents and abilities and collectively, willingly, joyfully, extravagantly blesses the kids and adults who participate.
One of the ideas we’ve implemented at Crossroads is a coffee connection tent for mom’s and interested adults. We set out Starbucks coffee (donated by the great folks at “my Starbucks” around the corner), juices, a wide variety of homemade baked deliciousness, fruit for those who want healthy stuff, decorations and a creative assortment of daily events designed to encourage mom’s. We gather under two pop up canopies off to the side, under the shade, away but still with the VBS activities and the kids. All those loud, active, wiggly kids. God bless them.
This year we had mini-massages on Tuesday by a professional masseuse, Elaine, whose amazing hands are matched by an equally amazing heart. The next day we learned to make and consume tasty Vietnamese spring rolls. The cooking demonstration was taught by Brenda, who shared her desire to bless our church and the mom’s out of an overflow of gratitude to God as she has battled health issues and experienced His tenderness in the midst of immense suffering. Thursday we put together a nativity scene craft by the incredible Missy. Her leadership, vision and attention to detail is at the core of the coffee connection time. Finally we topped it all off with a lemon/lemonade theme where we made lemon sugar scrub, and ate and drank lemon everything and, of course, consumed more delicious food. The week was a terrific blend of fun and connection and refreshment.
My contribution was teaching the mom’s the Bible passages the kids studied but more in-depth. I promised I would post on this blog the notes from our time. (For the mom’s who attended: If I forget any important points, please feel free to add them in the comment section.)
The overarching theme for all of the lessons: Trust God. The first morning we read from John 11:1-44. The story was about the siblings Martha, Mary and Lazarus who were among Jesus’ close friends. Lazarus falls ill. The sisters send for Jesus who was in a nearby city about two miles away and He remains in the city an additional two days. Lazarus dies. When he finally arrives Lazarus has been in the tomb four days. Martha runs out to meet Jesus. Both Martha and Mary knew Jesus was God, sat close as He taught in their living room, had witnessed Him perform miracles and heard stories of Jesus’ power over the weather, congenital health issues, and knew nothing was impossible with Him. They said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.” It is in this passage of the Bible where Jesus says,
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (verse 25-26)
Jesus asks to be taken to the place where Lazarus’ body was laid. As He comes to the tomb, he joins all the others who loved Lazarus and his family and weeps. Then He gives instructions for the removing of the stone from the entrance of the tomb. He calls out for Lazarus to come forth. And Lazarus is raised from the dead.
A few observations and applications:
- Jesus connected with those He loved and was emotionally present with them. Even though He knew the outcome and even told the disciples and Martha what He was going to do, when He was with those sitting in their grief He joined them. He didn’t talk them out of their feelings. As parents, and people, we often are quick to try to push down our feelings or our children’s feelings. We talk ourselves out of how we feel with “it could be worse, Martha, because Mary could have died, too” or “think positive, Mary, you will see Lazarus in heaven one day” or “you should be grateful you even had a brother.” Often when we don’t know how to navigate our emotions we try to numb out our feelings through eating, shopping, working, alcohol, the internet, ministry, cleaning, etc. At the root of many addictions is trying to find comfort through a thing rather than through connection with God and others. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is learning how to identify our feelings, feel our feelings, and move towards relationship rather than isolation and to teach the same to our kids.
- Trusting God is difficult when we are unsure of His character. It’s the fall back with legs straight into the arms of the person behind you exercise. It’s pointless to fall back if the person catching you doesn’t have your best in mind and despises you, or isn’t strong enough to hold your weight or isn’t around to know you’re falling. God can be trusted. He has our best in mind because He loves us. He is all-powerful so He can catch us and He is all-knowing so He knows when we fall. Somewhere along the way I heard someone share the following truths about God. I’ve listed them below along with some verses.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. ” Psalm 139:1-3
“Then Hagar called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, El Roi (You are the God who sees me);” Genesis 16:13
“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even those may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” Isaiah 49:15-16
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness (hesed: Hebrew for loyal love), O LORD is everlasting. Psalm 138:8
“He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:8-9
He knows. He sees. He cares. He can. He will.
What of those five do you most need to remember right now?
*I’ll post the rest of the nuggets every few days over the next two weeks. Please pass them along if you find them helpful