Something has become very clear to me lately that I really haven’t given much thought to before. I really haven’t given enough thought in the past to the influence that I have in the lives of others.
A number of things have happened recently to remind me that there are many more people who pay attention to what I do than I ever realized.
Most recently, over this weekend I have been making a very difficult decision about a job offer. It is difficult, in large part, because I realize that taking it (or not) makes a difference in not only my life, but in the lives of my potential employer, his family and other employees, and others. I won’t go into all of the details, but this is just one example of how I have come to the very real conclusion that I have more responsibility to others than I often want to acknowledge.
The Lord brought a passage to my mind this morning. The passage is specifically speaking to sexual issues, but I believe that the principles also apply here.
I Cor. 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (NKJV)
or as stated in The Message:
Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
I am not my own. As much as I want to think that I am, even as a single person with no children, the influence that I have on the families, adults and children that I know is important. Nothing that I do should be taken lightly. I am realizing that I need to act as if one of the children that I know and love is looking over my shoulder at all times, because in many ways they are and can in society today!
In this day of “social media”, we all must take more responsibility than ever for our actions because we NEVER know who is watching. NEVER. I have truly been shocked recently at the number of people who make comment that they “saw something” that I was up to or said, etc. I am also reminded that for every one who says something there are many others who don’t and won’t. They just watch silently and make whatever conclusions they want, many without me ever knowing. It’s a sobering but GREAT reminder that in a world of “social media”, we really don’t even have much control over what others are posting or including us in. I must take more responsibility than ever for myself and where I am and who I’m with, etc.
More importantly, as someone who is a Christian, God is ALWAYS with me and He is doing more than “looking over my shoulder”, He sees my very thoughts as well as my actions. That is some HEAVY stuff!
I was also reminded during our worship time this morning in Church that our natural tendencies are NOT to run to Jesus. My heart is “prone to wander” and “prone to leave the God I love”, as stated in the lyrics of a wonderful old hymn, “Come Thou Fount”. CLICK HERE to listen.
My very nature is to wander from and leave the God I love. I bear great responsibility to acknowledge that tendency in my life and fight against it, with His help and with all of my efforts.
In the end, when I stand before My Heavenly Father some day, I will have responsibility for only one person – MYSELF! I don’t want to stand before Him in shame, wishing I had conducted myself differently. I want to stand before Him and hear “Well done”!
What about you? Where have you gotten “lazy” or let your guard down? THOSE are the places Satan will jump into and take advantage of and grow in your life. DON’T LET HIM! STAND FIRM! Set your mind to it and ask both your Heavenly Father and friends and family, if needed, for help and accountability. We are not made to “do life” alone. Take responsibility for your choices and be the very best YOU that you can be! You never know who is watching or what is truly at stake!
We just finished my favorite week of the year – VBS (Vacation Bible School)!
I enjoyed VBS as a child, but I LOVE it as an adult. I love everything about it. Getting ready, learning the lessons and the music, decorating, the sights and sounds, the laughter and games, but most of all the Bible stories and watching the kids “get it”! I love watching adults drop their inhibitions and act like kids and at OUR church, I love watching the Pastoral staff jump in and participate alongside of the kiddos as crew leaders and other leadership.
Here’s our very own Pastor Tom as Chadder – a VBS tradition that he loves as much as the kids!
- And our Executive and Men’s Pastor, Duane Murray, who acted as a Crew Leader all week with a group of very active Preschool boys!
But I think what I love the most is the fact that the lessons and music, intended to teach and minister to children, touch the lives of the adults involved just as much as they do for the children attending.
I always help with our Preschool VBS program. For those reading who don’t attend TSC, we do VBS like no other church I have ever encountered! This year, on our highest attendance day, there were almost 2100 people on campus! We do separate Preschool and Elementary programs TWICE a day – morning and evening – and this year we had to split the elementary groups into 1st and 2nd Grade and 3-6 Grade in the morning in order to accommodate all of the children.
I was truly grateful one evening as I was reminded how many churches would LOVE to have JUST the 130 2nd Graders that went through the Elementary Craft room on Monday morning. Our church is truly blessed and every year it ministers to me to be a part of the events and activities of the week.
The Preschool program used Group’s curriculum this year and the theme was “EVERYTHING is possible with God!” The emphasis was on trusting God!
Indulge me for a few moments as I run down what we learned during the week:
Day one: No matter who you are…TRUST GOD!
It was so sweet to see even the tiniest of the two-year olds singing along with the music and learning the Bible lessons! Later in the week, Ashlynne, Andrea Blair and I moved our music track into the Stone Soup (Special Needs Friends) room to help them learn the music and it really struck me how even those who are challenged in special ways that make what we call “traditional learning” hard for them can learn that they can trust God!
Zachary LOVED the music!
Day Two: No matter how you feel…TRUST GOD!
I have to admit that the motions for the songs this week were just downright aerobic exercise sessions! That was the physical side of things. Along with that this has been a ROUGH year for me. I truly don’t know what I would have done in so many situations if I didn’t have that truth to fall back on. NO MATTER HOW I FEEL!
Day Three: No matter what people do…TRUST GOD!
The preschoolers were reminded that even if their friends hurt their feelings and did things that made them sad, they could still trust God. Umm…I don’t know about you, but I really needed to hear that too. THAT is a lesson that speaks to adults just as much as children!
The words to one of our songs for the week spoke to this lesson SO VERY WELL (reckon that’s why they picked it???? 🙂
The verse says:
My mind is spinning.
I’m all confused.
I’m feeling sad and afraid
And kind of angry, too.
How can I be strong
When everything is going wrong?
God, give me strength,
And help me to find my way.
And here is the link to a clip of the chorus:
No Matter How I Feel
Day Four: No matter what happens…TRUST GOD.
Big or little, we can trust Him!
As we were getting ready to open the doors for the kids to come into the building on Monday night, a storm blew up and this is what happened:
This is what happens when two tents used for games catch a wind gust…see the white and the red tents upside down???? Thanks to two groups of people who chased them across the parking area… 🙂
Then I walked into my room and found the decorations that we had meticulously put up the day before and that HAD looked like this
had fallen down on 2/3 of the stage. NOTE: Packing tape and painters tape DO NOT work to adhere fabric to painted cement block walls. Shh….don’t tell, but hot glue sticks work very well and don’t damage the walls! But don’t tell…
Those are relatively little things, but when we know that we can trust Him in those little things, it makes it a lot easier to remember it in the BIG things!
And Day 5: No matter where you are…TRUST GOD!
I can’t think of a better time in life to start learning that we can ALWAYS TRUST GOD then as a PreSchool Child! If they can learn that truth now, they will truly never forget it!
Here are two pictures from the preschool closing program:
This is just half of the kiddos that gathered on the risers in front of the stage to celebrate what we had learned throughout the week! LOVE their faces and the sweet sound of their voices worshipping Jesus.
And here are their parents waiting to hear them sing! This was taken right after the children moved to the stage – almost all of those “holes” filled in before the program started!
For EVERYONE, some of the favorite memories of VBS are always related to the closing skits for the older kids each day. TSC does it differently than any other church I have ever seen – and I’ve been to MANY over the years! The energy and fun that happens in the sanctuary after each session is just phenomenal – you can’t really appreciate it without being there, but here is just ONE of the videos showing the skit. This is the final skit, but you can watch the others when you’re done watching this one!
Click this picture to watch the video!
Each skit engages the kids AND reinforces the Bible Point for the day. But what I REALLY love is the way the skits allow the teens and young adults of our church to participate, and ESPECIALLY this one:
There’s our Josh! He got to play the role of “Big Baby” and seemed to have a blast!
Caleb and Ashlynne also led the worship time at the beginning of each session for the older kids, morning and evening. High energy doesn’t even BEGIN to describe the atmosphere in the room during that time! It is so much fun to hear and watch all three of them as they pour into others, just the way others poured into their little lives when they were participants.
I do not, for even one second, take for granted what we have when it comes to VBS. Not only do we have dedicated volunteers that jump in and pour into the kids for the week OF VBS, but we have a staff that believes in the mission. This is not a “one week” project for TSC, it’s a year-long process of preparing and pouring into planning for the culmination of that week! I see so many churches that are either moving away from doing a VBS program or they’re shortening them and only doing weekend programs, etc. and it makes me sad. I KNOW what an impact that one week can have in the life of both the children attending and in all of those helping to make it happen.
Once again this year, it came and went too fast.
I can’t WAIT for next year!!!!
What are your memories of VBS? What does your church do that you like the most? What is your favorite part of VBS???