PUMC Embarks on a Virtual VBS! (6/22/20)

Posted by on Jul 5, 2020 in Bible Study, EventReport, kids, Vacation Bible School | 1 comment

Vacation Bible School is one of the “biggies” on our annual schedule. Usually the sanctuary is filled with over 100 kids, parents, and volunteers. It’s a joyous time with music, Bible Stories, and skits. In this “season of Covid-19”, nothing is “usual.” But, we still had VBS!

Instead of the sanctuary being filled with people, a small gathering of worship leaders and video technicans led the sessions while the crowds of people were huddled behind the other side of our Live Stream camera. Instead of shouts and clapping, the empty sanctuary echoed with the voices of the leaders and recorded music.


Our 2020 Vacation Bible School was live streamed from our empty sanctuary during the week of Monday June 22 through Friday June 26. We didn’t break out by age groups into classes (or “crews”), and we couldn’t play games on the lawn, but we were still able to learn more about God and to worship Him from the Covid Safety of our homes. The Social Distancing was bridged by computers, phones, tablets and the gift of our Live Stream system.


Trust Jesus!

Each day between 2 and 3 PM, stay-at-homeVBS’ers (of all ages) fired up their computers to watch Stef, Kate, and Lance lead the program. The theme of this year’s VBS came from the VBS Pro curriculum called “Rocky Railway: Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through!”

During each 45 minute session (or “broadcast”), we learned a different aspect of Jesus’ power, sang some new songs, heard a “Totally True and Awesome Bible Story”, and then wound up with the day’s “Rocky Wrapup.” After the broadcast, we looked for God Sightings and posted them on social media (#PumcVbsGodsightings).

Throughout the week, we learned that Jesus’ Power Pulls us Through, just like a powerful steam engine. Regardless of the situation, we can look to God and Trust Jesus! to pull us through the rough hills and valleys.

If you missed our VBS, click to below button to view the recordings on the Live Stream page.

Live Stream



Monday: Jesus’ Power Helps Us to Do Hard Things

There’s this radical named Saul who hates anyone who is following “The Way” (the word “Christian” hadn’t been invented yet!). He doesn’t believe in Jesus and thinks that it’s his duty to squash this movement by jailing anyone who claims that this Jesus is anything but a fraud.

Imagine that you’re one of those believers. You’re living in Damascus and you hear that this dreaded Saul is headed to your neighborhood. He’s after anyone in your city who believes in Jesus; and that includes your friends, your family, and YOU. Your reaction is to lay low. The last thing you’d want to do is to walk up to this man and tell him that you’re a Christian. But that’s what God asked you to do.

This really happened! Acts 9:1-19 tells how Saul encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus and how his life was changed. In a vision, Jesus appeared to a man named Anainas and told him to go to Saul, heal his blindness, and give him a message. And, by the way, tell this persecutor of Christians that YOU are a Christian!

That’s a hard thing to do!

Getting through this virus, not being able to see your friends or family. Not able to go to the shore or do the things you normally do during the summer. That’s hard too!

We’re not alone. We all have to do hard things.

But when we trust Jesus and do what He wants (instead of giving into our fears), we discover that He’s always there to help us through. He’s like the friend standing behind us who will catch us if we fall backwards into His arms. If it’s Jesus who is calling us to do a hard thing, we can trust Him to not only catch us and keep us safe, but He will help us to finish the job. As long as we are obeying God and trusting Jesus, there’s no reason to worry when we’re called to do a hard thing.

For more about God’s Presence in the midst of hard times, click this button: God’s Presence

Trust Jesus!



Tuesday: Jesus’ Power Gives Us Hope

Sometimes, the work is overwhelming. There’s so much that needs to be done and we feel that we’re “running out of steam.” No matter how much “coal you shovel” you never see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes, it all just feels so hopeless!

After his conversion, Paul ran into a lot of situations that seemed hopeless. Many times he was beaten, stoned, and run out of town (Paul describes some of his “hopeless” situations in 2 Corinthians 11:21-33). Towards the end of his ministry, Paul was arrested and taken to Rome to stand trial. On the way, a fierce storm came up and they had to abandon ship. The winds were howling, the ship was being smashed apart by the waves, and it seemed totally hopeless (see Acts 27). How could we ever survive?

Some years earlier, Jesus’ disciples must have been feeling the same thing. Luke 8:22-25 tells how the disciples were in a boat when a brutal storm came up. The waves were filling the boat with water and they thought for sure they were going to drown. It was hopeless. But they called to Jesus and He calmed the storm. With Jesus there is hope.

For articles about Hope, click this button:

Trust Jesus!



Wednesday: Jesus’ Power Helps Us to be Bold

Train whistles are used to communicate. Short and long blasts of “toots” from a train mean different things. For example, three short blasts means that the train is backing up. One long blast means that the brakes are on. Just as a train communicates with us in ways that take practice to understand, God communicates with us in quiet ways; we need to learn to listen and understand. But when we know we’re hearing God, we’re empowered to be bold. When we know we’re doing God’s will, we can step out of our comfort zones and stand up for God.

Acts chapter 3 tells us about a crippled man who was totally dependent on his friends to carry him around. There were no wheelchairs in Jerusalem those days! If you couldn’t walk, all you could do was to beg for the tidbits that passersby might throw at you as they walked by.

But one day, two men (Peter and John) came to him, but they didn’t walk on past him. He expected them to hand him some money, but that’s not what Peter and John did.

Tossing a few coins would have been the expected thing to do. It would have been easy. But, instead, Peter said something really bold: He told the crippled man to stand up! “In the name of Jesus get up and walk!” And the man did stand up, and he started praising God!

That attracted a big crowed, but Peter and John did another bold thing: they started preaching about Jesus! Remember, this happened only a few weeks after the people of Jerusalem shouted “Cricufy Him” and the religious leaders put Jesus to death. It wasn’t very safe for Peter and John to stand up for Jesus. But Jesus’ power healed the beggar, and they knew that His power would also protect them.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about Jesus, but Jesus’ power helps you be bold!

On our own, we can’t be very bold. A single sheet of paper held on one end won’t support a train (even a model train!). But if two people hold each end of the paper and boldly stretch it out, the train rolls over the paper as if it were made of steel.

Jesus’ power stretches us out. If we listen, we can hear Him when He calls us to come out of our comfort zone. But then He gives us the power to be bold and to stand up for Him. Jesus’ power helps you be bold!

To read more about the power from God that can help you be bold, click this button:

Trust Jesus!



Thursday: Jesus’ Power Lets Us Live Forever

To make a train go faster, it needs more steam. To get more steam, you have to keep shoveling in more and more coal. But when the coal runs out, the train stops. Just like a train, our life’s journey has a beginning and an end. Eventually our bodies run out of steam and we reach “the end of the line.”

But God really loves us. He created each of us and made each of us in His own image!

God loves us so much that He “extended the track” so that we could be with Him forever. Just like the “golden spike” that connected the Eastern and Western halves of the country, the cross connected us with God. Because Jesus became a human and died on that cross, the line doesn’t end. Instead, the track continues right into heaven and lasts an eternity!

Our human minds just can’t understand this. Somehow we always think that we have to earn anything that’s good. We fall for the lie that we have to be “good enough” to deserve love. But God’s gift of eternal life isn’t because we did anything good to deserve it. It’s all because of God’s immense love. Here are some verses from the Bible that talk about God’s amazing gift:

1 Peter 2:22-25

22 He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss.

23 They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.

Ephesians 2:7-9

7 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!

9 We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!

Matthew 28:2-6

2 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.

5 The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.

John 3:16-17

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

All of the above quotes are from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.

We can’t to cling to our trophies and earn our way into God’s good graces. Jesus’ power did it all!

Our bodies may wear out, but that’s not the end of the line! Our souls will live with God forever and some day we’ll get brand new bodies that won’t wear out. “This train is bound for glory!”

To read more about how God can be trusted forever, click this button:



Trust Jesus!



Friday: Jesus’ Power Helps Us be Good Friends

Kam (“Kam Track”… aka Lance) had a crew member who never stopped talking. He was really annoying and the trip was really, really long! But what if… What if Kam could see this annoying crew member the way Jesus sees him? It would really be difficult to see past the flaws and to see him as someone to love… even worth dying for. But that’s how Jesus sees him.

Being a good friend can be really, really hard. But Jesus’ power helps us to be good friends!

Imagine how you would feel if you were with your friends and all of them were given a balloon… except you? It’s only a balloon, but… you’d feel left out. You’d feel as if you weren’t as important as the others. Maybe your friends didn’t mean to hurt you, but they did. You have to pay attention to other people’s feelings to be a good friend. Being a good friend isn’t easy.

In the “Totally True and Awesome Bible Story”, Stef talked about the early church. Acts chapter 4 tells us how the early Christians shared everything they had. They didn’t see their “stuff” as their own. They saw possessions as things that God gave for the benefit of everyone. And, they didn’t keep Jesus all to themselves. They spread the news and told other people. Jesus’ power helped those first Christians to be generous and to be good friends.

Being a good friend doesn’t just mean to tolerate somebody who talks too much. Being a good friend means sharing your possessions with them. After all, Jesus shared His perfect life with us so that we could be declared completely innocent. Now, THAT’S being a really good friend!

Jesus gave us an invitation. He wants to be friends with us! And one of the ways that we can be a good friend is to share that invitation with others. So when we stay connected with other friends of Jesus, He gives us the power to reach out to people who aren’t friends with Jesus yet. Jesus power helps us to be good friends!

For Kam to be a good friend to his crew mate, he had to be a good listener. For us, we frequently meet someone who’s different from us, or who is new, or is a different age from us. How can we be good friends with them? To do that, we need Jesus’ power. When we pray, try to be like Jesus, and try to see others like Jesus sees them, we begin to see how we can listen to them, or share things, or be patient with them. Just like a chemical being added to our lives, things change. There’s steam. There’s heat. There’s power! Looking to Jesus can change us. Jesus’ power can help us to show His goodness and kindness to the world. Jesus changes the world through us. When we trust Jesus, we can be good friends.

To read more about friendship, click this button:


Trust Jesus!



When we trust Jesus, His power can help us do hard things. He gives us hope, helps us be bold, and to be good friends. And then He gives us life that lasts forever. Jesus’ power powers us through all situations and gives us hope and courage.

With Jesus to lead us we’re on the right track!


For more information about this year’s VBS, here’s the announcement…

2020 VBS Announcment

There’s a pandemic going on and our church building is closed!  How can we ever have a Vacation Bible School this year???

The church building may be closed, but our Church (the people) is far from closed.   The pandemic will prevent us from holding our regular VBS in the church building this year, but we won’t let that stop us!   Instead, we’re going to hold a stay at home “Virtual VBS! “

To sign up (or for more details), click this button:

Rocky Railway VBS Itinerary and Registration


2020 Vacation Bible School

Dates:   June 22 through June 26

Times:   2-3 PM (EDT)

Theme:  Jesus Pulls Us Through the Ups and Downs

Cost:      Free!

Registration:   Strongly recommended! (see above button)


How’s this “Virtual VBS” Really Gonna Work???

This year’s VBS will happen entirely over our Live Stream service!  At the beginning of each session (see times above), we will broadcast the daily lesson from our sanctuary.  It will be a fun time of music and  stories, and it will wrap up with some cool experiments to demonstrate how “Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through.”

You can click this button to go to our Live Stream page:      Live Stream  

It’s all online, but please register anyway!  Registration will make your experience more meaningful… Use the button at the top of this post.


What is the Rocky Railway???

We aren’t doing the normal “face-to-face in the church building” activities, but we are following the “Rocky Railway” material.  Check out the following video for a preview of our trip….

(Note:  This video comes from the perspective of in person meetings, but we’ll be doing things a bit differently).



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For more information about our Christian Education opportunities, click this button:   Christian Education  


One Comment

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  1. Natalie Oman

    VBS God Sighting

    Pulling up carrots that have grown in our garden!

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