Summer Vacation and VBS
VBS Cedar Springs Baptist Church
With the school year behind them many of our area kids are attending the annual VBS held at many of our local churches. What an exciting adventure for children to learn about Jesus and have loads of fun.
Already many of our local churches have had their VBS and many others are scheduled throughout the balance of summer vacation. As I was thinking of writing this article I begin to think about my own personal experiences growing up in the cotton mill village of Tuxedo, NC.
Each year Tuxedo Baptist now Tuxedo First held a two week VBS. Although my parents attended another Baptist church, we always were invited to attend their VBS. Our schoolmates would invite us long before school let out for the summer. We could easily walk to the church each morning for VBS.VBS at Tuxedo then was of a two week duration held in the mornings. It began with a morning devotions normally given by the church Pastor.
The devotion given was very much like a normal worship service with music and a short sermon that related to the VBS theme. We recited all the pledges. There were three pledges and students were asked to hold the American flag, the Christian flag and the Bible as we recited in unison the pledges to each. Following the pledges a special offering was taken and announcements made.
Once we were dismissed to our individual classes our teachers taught us a Bible lesson.They also had us to do Bible drills! We were given a Chapter and verse from the Bible and were asked to find it in our Bibles and read it out loud to the class. To be honest in those early years not knowing the books of the Bible and their location made it difficult for me to find. I could only find Genesis and Revelations. and could not even pronounce many of the others. We were given memory verses and many of those verses still remain in my memory and now in my heart.
We were taught the gospel of Jesus. Most of us were familiar with Jesus and had heard much about Him by attending Sunday School and church each Sunday with our parents. Who was this Man who was also God that died a cruel death on a Roman cross and arose on Easter morning? Why did he have to suffer so much? What is sin, salvation, hell, heaven and other doctrines of the Christian faith?
As we studied and learned more about Jesus, we began to understand that we are all sinners. We are sinners by nature and by choice. The lessons we learned taught us that we are all sinners but could have forgiveness for our sins if we confess our sins and invite Jesus to come into our hearts.
The more we learned about Jesus and His love for us, the more we began to realize that we actually were sinners. The good news was we could come to know Him in an intimate way. Many of us began to feel uneasy in our spirits. None of us wanted to die in our sins and face eternity in hell. We learned this was conviction and that the Holy Spirit was knocking on our hearts door with a personal invitation to know Him and be forgiven. What a glad day when I invited Him to come into my heart and was saved. The abiding Presence in my heart gave me assurance that I was born again and since that day I have enjoyed His peace and His fellowship in my soul.
VBS also meant we would make crafts. My very first craft was to make a condiment shelf for my mom. I'm not sure but I think she may still have that little shelf that I made in VBS now over 60 years ago.Each day as we ended our VBS session we would have Koolaid, sandwiches and cookies!
VBS always had one session about missions. There would be a sermon or devotion on sharing the gospel with others in a foreign country. I remember one story that was told about foreign missions and a special offering that would be taken for a particular mission work. The story goes like this: "Our week of VBS was so much fun and then came the day for our foreign missions devotion. I can't remember where, all I remember is the offering!! I had a paper route and each week I earned ten cents. I had saved enough of those dimes and had gotten myself a silver dollar which kept in my right pocket. In the other was a lone dime. When the offering plate was passed I stuck my hands in my pockets trying to decide which one I would empty into the offering plate has it was passed down the aisle I was sitting. My heart was racing!!! Decisions to be made!! Then as the plate was handed to me to pass on to the next person, I put the contents of both my pockets into the plate!!! Wow! I couldn't believe that I did that!"The story goes on to say the boy who put all that he had, a silver dollar and a dime later became a millionaire.
As we have our VBS this year I am thankful for all the VBS that are in my life and the memories. God is Good.
This year my wife and I are teaching in the Nursery at the VBS in our church. We have seven precious little ones in our class. Some can't even talk yet and most are still in diapers. Why would we attempt teaching a class where the kids would not understand Biblical principles or doctrine. The reason is simple, these little folks may not realize or know all that is being explained but they do understand the love shown to them. They pray simple little prayers and seem to know that Jesus loves them.