"Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mark 10:14b
At our previous church, First Baptist Waldron, AR, I served as the VBS director for many years. I (and later older youth like Natalie and Andrew) would sit by the computer on "release" night from Lifeway for the following year's VBS theme. I (we )would start planning, training, painting, shopping, painting some more, and some more, and sewing puppet clothes as soon as the Christmas decorations were put up after Christmas! Later in our ministry there, Warren and I felt a huge burden to have an evangelism rotation. Gospel presentation using object lessons. Loved it! I loved standing in the back of the room and watching the lessons each night.
"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;" Romans 10:9
As I was thinking about memories of VBS, I couldn't help but think of my own children at VBS. All 3 of our kids have been to VBS since they were born. They have spent many VBS prep hours at church. I am sure at some point, deep down, I wondered if they would be willing to serve when they were older because of the hundreds of hours they spent on and at VBS when they were younger.
|Tyler (18 mos.) and me at VBS at Parkside Baptist Church in Denison, Texas|
I remember when Lifeway put out their "10 year" theme song CD a couple of years back. My kids, well to be honest, Warren and me too, loved thinking about the "movements" and memories with VBS from each these song's year. There was the London theme, sports, Arctic, Rambling Roadtrip, SpaceQuest, and the Japan theme to name a few.
|Tyler, Elise, and Ethan at VBS|
|Tyler, Ethan, and Elise. This was Elise's first VBS. She was 7 months.|
This year's theme at IBC is "Sky." Elise is having a great time. Tyler is too. And much praise goes to the Lord, I do believe he is having more fun than the kids attending as he serves the Lord at VBS this year.
He's the silly camel at the entrance welcoming each vehicle that turns in to come. Each night I just smile as I watch him welcome the cars. I love that heart of his. Thankful. I am so thankful.
"and you shall teach them (God's Word) diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."
Seasons of life. That's what God continues to teach and show me.
As Tyler, and now Ethan pass me in height, the seasons become even more evident.
No longer do I carry a diaper bag, car seat, wipes, sippy cups, and Tylenol for teething with me everywhere.
No longer does our vehicles look like the Thomas the Train store exploded in the floor.
No longer do we choose our eating destination based on happy meal toys or do we break down and make the promise of a toy for good behavior in Wal-Mart.
We are now taxi driver's. Pretty sure we should have gotten a yellow suburban.
We are now carrying baseball/softball equipment, track shoes, basketballs, football equipment, campfire girls, friends, backpacks and lots of dirt and sand on shoes.
We make boundaries on ipods and phones.
We eat at restaurants we like and constantly train our kids to be on their own, soon.
We now disciple our 3 children who Jesus has saved (Thanks be to God!). Knowing that nothing else matters but their walk with the Lord and love for others.
As I was thinking about these seasons of life this morning while watering my plants, God showed me something really great. The ground is so dry. My plants just absorb every drop of water before I even get to the next one. The clouds looked a little dark and I thought to myself, "I hope it doesn't rain on VBS tonight!" Then, I remembered thinking that last night with ball games, "Oh, I hope it doesn't rain the games out. The season is almost over!" Or even better, I will want the rain, but on my terms. "Rain this morning, so the dust will settle for VBS tonight" or" rain during the night when we are sleeping." I find myself saying that a lot in our busyness. We NEED the rain, but this season of life is too busy for it. So, I find myself being content with "artificial" rain. Also known as a water hose.
"...there was no rain in the land." 1 Kings 17:7b
I thought back to past years, when my flowers looked so great. It rained lots then. Lots and lots. It was during years when the spring rains were plentiful. The red geraniums were beautiful. The dogwood's white blooms were magnificent. The miniature pink roses were so pretty. They loved the rain. And they received it. It was also a different season of life. Maybe somewhat less busy.
This year it hasn't rained much. Things are so dusty. My flowers are blooming, but you could not say they are beautiful!
God reminded me that as we enter or continue in seasons of life, that we are careful not to get so busy or content with life that we don't long for spiritual rain. True rain. His showers of blessings, and showers of strength, and love, and leading. Floods of mercy, grace, and kindness. We need the downpour of His Spirit on our lives. We need it so. We can't keep putting it off until "tomorrow." We don't need just a little during the night or early morning. We need floods. God, Pour out the spiritual rains today!
"For I will pour out water on a thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring,
And blessings on your descendants..."
It's those rains that will help us to continue to put deep roots in our families.
Rain to help the family grow and flourish.
Rain for generational change to follow Jesus completely.
Rain for others to take notice and say, I want their God.
There is a time for everything. Time for a burp cloth. Time for a potty chair.
Time for Little League. Time for algebra. Time for college plans.
Time to lead our families closer to Him. Everyday.
Through it all, we need Him.
We need a daily downpour of what only He can give us. Jesus.
"And he will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers."
Praying a flood of spiritual rain on VBS this summer. Praying for a downpour on our families.
Rain, Rain, come today. Come today, we need YOU so!