Our Vacation Bible School is just around the corner–next Monday through Thursday in fact–and we’re excited about another wonderful opportunity to share the love of Christ with the children of our church and our community. And we’re especially excited, in light of the last year, to be back on campus for our VBS this summer!
As you may know, for the last several years we have developed our own original and unique VBS materials for Bible teaching, worship, missions, crafts, recreation and even snacks, all following a theme that helps keep the kids’ attention so we can communicate the gospel effectively. We are blessed to have some very gifted and creative people in our church body who have put this together every year, and this year is no different.
I’m sure if you have seen the signs, banners and social media posts promoting this year’s VBS you know that our theme this year is “Messy.” Just to clarify, we are not going to be teaching your children how to be messy. I suspect that most of them have already perfected that art. We will be having some messy fun, hopefully to pick up on the larger lesson that God is able to make beautiful things out of the messes we make with our lives.
That’s something we all need to be reminded of sometimes. That we have a God who has a long track record of taking messed up people, with all their failures, mistakes and struggles and weaving from those messes a tapestry of grace that becomes a testimony of His goodness. The Scriptures are full of those accounts, of imperfect people encountering a perfect God, and coming out better for having done so.
One of the most quoted–and often most misquoted–verses in all of the Bible is Romans 8:28. One translation says it this way: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB). Some people stop reading that verse too quickly, and think it means that “God causes all things,” as if we are all just puppets and He is up in heaven pulling all the strings.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to understand God and His providence, and how His sovereign will interacts with our free will. But it’s not hard to understand that God is not responsible for the messes we make, and most of the times it is our choices that get us into trouble. Somehow, still, God is able to take the bad and make something good from it. He doesn’t cause all things, but He does pull the broken pieces of our lives together to make something good–in spite of us.
That’s the lesson of the gospel, from beginning to end, how God makes messy things right. And that will be the wonderful, hopeful, grace-filled message that we hope the kids will be picking up on this week as they have a fun, albeit messy time in our Vacation Bible School.
I hope you’ll be praying for God’s work in the lives of the children as well as in those youth and adults who will be serving in this important ministry. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us. In the mean time, I look forward to seeing each of you on Sunday.