VBS Demonstrates that God is Good! (6/24/19)

Posted by on Jul 14, 2019 in Bible Study, EventReport, kids, SS-kids, Vacation Bible School | 0 comments

Our 2019 Vacation Bible School took us through some tough times.  Times that were unfair, scary, and sad.  Life is wild.  And yet, through it all, God is there.  God is with us to help us through the bad times.  God is always Good!

During the week of June 24-28, 70 children, their parents, and a staff of about 30 volunteers spent their evenings “Roaring through” the wildness of life in this experience we call “Vacation Bible School.”

Here’s a quick look back at our one-week adventure exploring God’s Goodness!

 

DAY BY DAY THEMES

Our 2019 VBS followed the ROAR  curriculum published by Group:  “When Life Gets Wild, God is Good!”  Each evening, we looked at different ways in which life gets “Wild.”  Then we contrasted the “Wildness” with God’s Goodness.

Check out this video to get an overview of the program…

Click on each day to find out more about each day’s theme…

Monday

When Life is Unfair, God is Good!

Life wasn’t very fair to Joseph.  His brothers ripped off his coat, threw him into a pit, and sold him to slave traders.  Actually, life wasn’t all that fair to Joseph’s brothers either; their father treated him as his favorite.  And the whole thing wasn’t all that fair to the father (Jacob) either; his sons lied to him and made him think that his favorite son was dead.

And years later, years after Joseph had become a great leader in Egypt and then died, his decendents were forced into slavery.  And they were treated cruelly, even to the point of being beaten when they had to make a quota of bricks without a supply of straws.

And yet…

God is Good.  He sent Moses, manna, water, Joshua.  He parted the Red Sea and then the Jordan River.  In the short run, things were unfair.  But in the long run, God is Good!

Tuesday

When Life is Scary, God is Good!

Imagine being invaded by swarms of frogs, flies and locusts?  The imagine the river turning to blood?!?  Pretty scary, eh?  But that’s what the Israelites went through before they were allowed to leave Egypt.

And yet…

God had a plan for the people of Israel.  He wanted them to fill the promised land so that the Messiah could be born.  And His plan for us is that we can cross  our own “Red Sea” and enter the promise of a life in harmony with God.

Wednesday

When Life Changes, God is Good!

At least in Egypt, the Israelites had food.  They had water.  They had shelter.  But now all they have is sand, they don’t know where they’re going, and they don’t even think Moses knows where he’s going.

And yet…

God continues to lead them with a pillar of fire.  He’s always there. He’s there to lead us into the new place He wants us to be in.  Even though the Israelites kept complaining about the changes, God kept leading.

Thursday

When Life is Sad, God is Good!

On Thursday we moved from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  A lot of things were sad during Jesus’ final days on earth.  His friends fell asleep when He needed them most, one of His friends betrayed Him, and the rest of them ran away.  The disciples were sad when Jesus said He was going away, and everybody (except for the Romans and the Jewish leaders) were sad when Jesus died.

And Yet…

All of this was according to God’s plan; not to make people sad, but to give them hope.  God showed up in a big way after His Son died on the cross.  Easter morning.  Jesus rose from the dead! The curtain separating us from God was ripped in half, Angels comforted Mary, Jesus calmed His disciples, and God won!

Friday

When Life is Good, God is Good!

This might seem a bit strange.  All week we’ve been talking about bloody rivers, frogs, sand, and crucifixion.  Bad things.  God was there during the bad times, but it’s important to remember that He’s here during the good times too! 

Because…

Because God is good He likes to see you smile.  Sometimes we have to journey through the “desert” (bad times), but God is always with us.  And, He’s with us when we reach the end of the desert.  For the Israelites, God was with them as they entered the promised land.  He parted the Jordan River and the people celebrated by building a monument out of the stones that had been under water.  When God takes us through bad times, we need to thank God for the good times.

Learning by Music and Story!

We began and ended each evening in the sanctuary where Kate led us in music and introduced the evening’s theme.

Sometimes we can feel like a balloon that gets “swatted” by life.  We may have a smile on the outside, but inside we’re reeling.

But- just like the weight that the balloon’s ribbon is tied to, if we’re anchored to Christ, we’re able to keep our footing when life gets “wild”.

Learning by Doing

After the opening time of music in the sanctuary, the kids (grouped by age into “crews”) rotated through different stations where we did a lot of cool stuff to learn about the theme of the day.  We had a total of 10 “crews”, ranging from 2 years old through 6th grade. 

During the evening, we visited stations such as kidvid, imagination station, hungry herd cafe, stampede sports, wild bible adventures, play and sing.

We’re so used to turning to God when things are going bad that we sometimes forget God when things are going good.  On Friday, we learned how to thank God with a loud “Roar!” when things are going good.

On our first day together, we played with Tumble drums and learned that “God Is Good!” no matter what happens.  We stood these drums up on one end and then took turns knocking them down.  And then- we stood them back up again.   

Just like life:  When life knocks us down or is unfair… God is good and will help us get back up again.

On Day 2 we learned that “When Life Changes, God is Good!”

For the Israelites, life sure changed when Moses came along.  After more than 400 years of slavery, God sent a bunch of plagues, Moses told Pharaho “Let My People Go”, and life for the Hebrew slaves changed radically.

In this picture, Pharaoh Lance is appearing before the Crew…

Life is full of change.  Sometimes that change is so dramatic and sudden that it feels like life is catapulting us into a new situation.  The old is gone and all of a sudden the new has come.  The crew built catapults to show that life can change in an instant.  

Learning by Adventure!

In the “Wild Bible Adventures” station, we learned that God is Good… even when life is scary.  Imagine being in the desert with the Hebrew people.  They had just escaped from Egypt and from their slavery.  This guy Moses is leading them to… who knows where (does Moses even know where he’s going?!?

All of a sudden you look forward and you see that you’re standing in front of the Red Sea.  You’re not going any further.  But then you look behind you, and you see the whole Egyptian army approaching!  You’re trapped.  Life sure got scary!

But God is Good… He is always present.

And God provided a way out in a very unique way.  He caused the Red Sea to part, and the Hebrews could escape the approaching chariots. 

Sounds hard to imagine?  We built our own version of the Red  Sea in our fellowship Hall, and the kids were able to escape to safety between the gathered walls of water…

Learning by Playing!

We weren’t cooped up inside all evening!  Each “crew” got a chance to go outside and play some games.  The games weren’t only fun (and sometimes wet), they also illustrated the things that we were learning indoors.

In this sequence of pictures, the crew is trying to see which team can be the first to fill a bucket with water.  They dip their cup into the pool, race to their bucket, empty their cup, and then race back to the pool for another cup of water.

The catch though, is that one team’s cup is bigger than the other team’s!  It’s a rigged game.  It’s not fair!  As expected, the team with the bigger cup always won the race.  Life is unfair. And yet- God is there to help us through these rough times. 

The kids enjoyed the game.  Even the “losing team” laughed, and the “winning team” felt bad about the unfairness.  God’s Spirit of love was there, even when things were unfair.  And, the kids did get a second chance when the teams swapped cups.

.     .     .     .     .     .      .

In another game, the crew demonstrated the difficulties that come when life changes. 

In this “race”,  they’re receiving a sponge from the person in front of them, and passing it to the person behind them.  The twist though, is that the position of the sponge keeps changing between “high” and “low.”  If the person in front of you passes the sponge to you through their legs, you have to pass it to the person behind you over your head.

Just like the up and down motion of the sponge, life keeps taking sudden changes.  Just as you can’t count on passing a sponge in the same way as the person in front of you, you can’t expect things to be the same today as they were yesterday. 

And yet- God is Good… the race gets finished and the sponge reaches its destination.

Learning by Eating!

All of that adventure and playing works up an appetite! 

So during the evening, each crew had a chance to visit the  “Hungry Herd Cafe.”   We had some tasty snacks, but the snacks also reminded us that when life is wild, God is good!

On one day, we made “bugs” out of pretzel sticks and candy to remind us of the things in life that “bug” us. But, as we enjoyed the snack, we were reminded that God is good.  He can turn the unfair things into good things.

The Hungry Herd Cafe included a “watering hole” filled with blue fruit punch.  The kids were given animal crackers and were invited to imagine caring for the animals by giving them a drink at the watering hole (just as God helped the Israelites in the desert by giving them manna and water).

Learning by Splashing!

The 5th and 6th graders had a special opportunity to spend each evening at a local pool. 

After a quick lesson, we dove into the water, cooled off, and enjoyed each other’s company. 

After drying off, we returned to the church for the closing songs and wrap up.

 

 

God is Good… So That’s What we Want to Be

Let us not become weary in doing good…  as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.

From Galatians 6:9-10

Note:  The images shown below are “slide Shows.”  To manually change pictures, hover over the picture and click an arrow (or tap either edge of the picture)….

=== God Sightings ===

During the week, the children thought of times and places where they’ve seen God.  They wrote these “God Sightings” on an elephant cutout, and these cutouts were displayed along the sanctuary wall.  During our daily closing sessions, Kate walked a mic through the pews to give the kids a chance to describe their God sightings.

The kids reported seeing God in things such as family, bunnies, prayer, and teachers.  

=== Missions ===

Not only did we learn that God is good, but we also learned that we have opportunities to imitate His goodness.  Whenever we see that life is unfair or scary for others, we can step in and help.

Throughout the week, we collected school supplies (such as paper, pencils, scissors, etc.) for children who can’t afford these items.  These items were assembled into “school supply kits.”  We also used a coin drop bucket to fund the purchase of items needed to complete the partial kits.  We completed 14 kits and raised enough money and donations to complete an additional 36 kits.

A Church-full of Support

Volunteers

VBS is all about the kids.  But it’s the entire church which gets behind the effort.  For months we’ve been planning this event, and it took greeters, teachers, people in the kitchen, tons of decorations, and our tech team to run the sound board and on-screen videos.

In addition to the “official staff” of 30 teachers and other volunteers, many others contributed before the week began.  The entire church was behind the VBS with their prayers and support in many unseen ways.

And- VBS couldn’t be a success without the love and dedication of the parents!  Our prayers and gratitude go out to all of the parents who entrusted PUMC with their kids and brought them out for each night’s session.

VBS wouldn’t be possible without all of the volunteers, but it’s also true that it whouldn’t have happened without Stef Kier who organized and directed VBS.  She also took many of the pictures in this article (although she wasn’t too crazy about being photographed herself)!

Learning by…Living!

Our Vacation Bible School was a lot of fun.  We got to sing a lot of new songs, play games, and learn new things.  When Life Gets Wild… now we KNOW that God is Good!

But we continue to learn as we hit the “wild” times (when life isn’t fair, when it changes, when it’s scary… even when it’s good).

Life teaches us new things when we remember old things and when we’re surrounded by friends and family.

So VBS wasn’t only about learning.  It was about growing relationships with people you know and helping people you don’t know.

 

Mr. Softie

We wrapped up the week by inviting Mr. Softie to our church!  Everyone got a ticket which allowed them to enjoy an ice cream cone from NJ’s ubiquitous summer treat.

Going to the Dogs!

One of the friends always present was Max!  In this picture he’s helping us with our nametag lanyards.

 

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What’s Next?

Vacation Bible School is always an awesome way to start the summer.  If you’re looking for additional family events throughout the year, here are some more opportunities to keep in mind.  The following buttons will take you to other pages on our website…

 

Preschool

Enrollment for the 2019-2020 session of Our Father’s House is nearly full, but if your child is 1-3 years old it’s never too soon to be thinking about next year.  To learn more about Our Fathers House, click this button:

OFH Preschool

 

Trunk or Treat

An annual tradition at PUMC is our Trunk or Treat event, which is held at the end of October.  Tour the decorated cars on the outside, collect candy, then head inside for more fun and games.  To learn about last year’s Trunk or Treat, click the below button:

Trunk or Treat 

Easter Egg Hunt

Easter may be a long ways off, but our Easter Egg Hunt is another annual tradition to keep in mind.  To get a taste of this year’s Hunt, click this button:

Easter Egg Hunt

Throughout the Year

You don’t have to wait for special seasons to give your kids a nurturing Christian experience.  To learn more about our Christian Education Team, click this button:     

Sunday School  

 

 

 

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