Our church hosted the community Vacation Bible School (VBS) last week. This year’s theme was “Life Is Wild, God Is Good.” The “adventure” was an African Safari and the children learned about God being good regardless of how life may be treating us in the moment. Each day, a particular animal would give a few details about itself and then share about an issue that relates to the daily VBS theme. The Bible story for the week centered around the Israelites and their exodus from Egypt.
On Sunday, we hosted a service for the children to sing their songs and read the daily Scripture. Pastor Andy provided a small synopsis of each day and a short teaching on each Bible story for that day.
This week’s blog post captures the essence of how the lessons were presented to the children, their parents and guests, and others at the service on Sunday.
God IS good. That is what the kids learned this week. That is what the adults were reminded of this week. Let’s face it, in our day to day struggles, sometimes we forget how good God is. But whether we remember or not, and even whether we choose to believe it or not – the truth is God is good.
We had a rhino named Mack who taught us that life is not always fair. People hunt rhinos for their horns because they think they have healing powers, but their horns are made of the same material as our fingernails. Thus, many rhinos have been killed for no reason, which is unfair. But even: When life is unfair, God is good.
The memory verse for this day was Nahum 1.7: “The Lord is good a strong refuge when trouble comes.” (READ BY CHILD)
The Bible teaching for the day was about the Israelites being slaves in Egypt. The people felt forgotten and that their situation was unfair. But God did not forget this group of people and had a plan to free them so they could better follow Him.
The second animal was a talking bird named Hooper. He really couldn’t talk, but he was named after the sound he makes. When Hooper becomes afraid, the feathers on the top of his head stand on end. But we were reminded that: When life is scary, God is good.
The memory verse for this day was Psalm 23.4: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” (READ BY CHILD)
The Bible teaching for the day was about the plagues that came upon the Egyptians. Even though the Israelites lived in the same area, they were not affected by the plagues like the Egyptians were. God was showing how much He cared for them and how good He was (and IS) so they would learn to trust Him and follow Him.
Because of our four-day week, we had to combine lessons on one of the days. We chose to combine what would have been Day 3 and Day 5 together and do those on Friday our fourth day. However, I am going to break them apart and keep them in order for this service.
Our third animal was a wildebeest named Marge. Marge was an African buffalo. Like other animals, her herd has to move often to find water and grass to eat. Like her horns, sometimes life is up and sometimes it is down, but Marge’s story reminds us that: When life changes, God is good.
The memory verse for this day was Psalm 106.1: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever!” (READ BY CHILD)
The Bible teaching for the day was about the Israelites leaving the place which had been their home for a few centuries. Some debate exists on the actual time frame, but it was somewhere between 200-400 years. Even though they were slaves, it was their home, but now they had to leave, and that meant change. Two facts are true about change. First, most people don’t like it. Second, change is inevitable. It was true for the Israelites, and it is true for us.
The fourth day for most VBS weeks focuses on the sacrificial death and then resurrection of Christ.
The animal for the fourth day was a lion named Zion. As a lion, Zion is strong and powerful, but Zion wanted us to know that there is someone stronger and more powerful than a lion. That someone is Jesus. And Jesus had to die so that we could be forgiven. When Jesus died, many people were sad, but God had a plan that no one understood. So, Zion helped us to know that: When life is sad, God is good!
The memory verse for this day was Psalm 34.18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” (READ BY CHILD)
The Bible teaching for the day was from John 16-21 which focuses on the promise that God would send His Spirit to come to guide the people, but for that to happen, Jesus had to leave. The story continues with Jesus praying for unity of those who believe, and then the arrest, trial, beatings, and death of Jesus. But When life is sad, God is good! The death of Jesus was not the end, because He rose from the dead. And then in John 21, we have Jesus talking to some of His disciples, and then particularly to Jesus to help Him overcome his guilt.
Again, we had to combine a couple of days, but the fifth day featured a giraffe named Savanna. As a giraffe, she can see a long way. When we look back on our life, we can often see that some of the hard things have helped us over time. That can help us know that the future can be good even when go through challenges as well. Thus, we can look forward to the good and as Savannah taught us: When life is good, God is good.
The memory verse for this day was Nehemiah 4.14: “Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious.” (READ BY CHILD)
The Bible teaching for the day was from Joshua 3-4. A new generation of Israelites were ready to enter the Promised Land. But before they did, they needed to pass through the water like their parents and grandparents had 40 years earlier. Furthermore, they were instructed to place stones in the river that would serve as a reminder of God’s goodness. Sometimes we are ready to cry out for God’s help when times are tough, but we need to remember to thank Him and praise Him when life is good as well.
The JOURNEY letter for today is: JOURNEY.
Like the Israelites we are on a journey. We may not think we see great miracles like they did then, but we do have the opportunity to remember God’s goodness. Just like the Israelites used a group of stones to help remember God’s goodness, we can do the same. Sometimes we cannot see it clearly, but that is because we are often looking through a small hole in time as opposed to a wide-angle lens that we can only see the results over time. So, remember, God is good. No matter what is happening in our life, God is good. And because of that we can ROAR and let His goodness be known.