We closed the book on VBS 2016 on June 16th, and it was a great week, full of fun, learning and the Holy Spirit. I think the kids might have gotten something out of it, too! Our theme was Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love, and our key verse was, “Remember that the Lord is great and awesome.” Nehemiah 4:14b (In my mind, that verse is now permanently attached to a snip of music from one of the songs we learned that week.) Check out the photo album on our Facebook page to see some of what we were up. In list form, here were some of my takeaways from the week:
- The Holy Spirit is very real and tangible when you sit in the shade with children and pray together.
- You can knock yourself out obsessing and preparing for something, trying to imagine and prevent every single thing that might be needed, and it will still come down to grace. What you need will show up, or help will arrive in a different form. Start with gratitude and trust, prepare, and then let go and let God, with thanks.
- Get sleep when you can, eat healthier than you want to, and wear clothes you can move in.
- Youth are amazing resources. Give them responsibility. Offer them support, but let them lead. They shine.
- A person who says “Yes” to helping is one of God’s most beautiful creations.
- A little boy who steps out of a group to give a sad little girl he barely knows a hug is what Jesus was talking about when he said, “…the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16b
- Somewhere you can find the directions you need. They might be in a leader’s manual. They might be in the Bible. You probably need both.
- Watching someone open up and sacrifice a little bit of their coolness or reserve to participate in song and dance glorifying God will give you hope for the world. Doing it yourself will give you joy.
- There is a blessing to being overwhelmed. It comes when you stop trying to control something that is bigger than you are, and instead of grieving your lack, you give thanks to God for reminding you to be humble, and watch to see what comes next.
- When people forget they are beloved children of God, remind them. This can have a positive effect on behavior. This can also work on yourself.
- There are worse things to have ringing in your head than a song telling you to “shine God’s love, all over,” even if the tune does start to make you a little crazy after four days.
- Everyone loves science.
- The coolest people in the world proudly wear “Snappy the crab” headbands with no irony whatsoever. Be cool.
- Focus on the miracles, not on the mess.
- God is powerful, great and awesome. If you find yourself forgetting that, consider going to VBS, or a similar program. DON’T miss out on catching the wave of God’s amazing love!
That’s it from here for now. There are some amazing things coming up in July and August for all ages, little ones through adults, so be cool! Participate! Catch the wave and rejoice with us, remembering that even after VBS is done, God remains great and awesome!