Confession 349: VBS and Acts 2 Living

All the believers were united and shared everything.  They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them.  Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity.  They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.  Acts 2:44-47

Last week was our annual VBS week.  I have to confess, I LOVE VBS week!  I love the energy and excitement.  I love the eager anticipation and  expectation.  I love the festive transformation our church always undergoes through bright and colorful decorations–even the ceilings!  I love the cooperation and teamwork.  I love that all of the leaders bring their best with them–a willingness to work, a positive outlook, and engaging smiles.

As I was walking into the sanctuary to help lead music one evening, it struck me.  VBS is a perfect model of Acts 2 living.

In Acts 2, we see that all the believers were united and shared everything.  VBS unites our congregation under one common mission–to give kids in our community the opportunity to experience God and grow in faith.  Over half of our congregation participates in some way in VBS.  We all share the responsibility–from cleaning and decorating, preparing meals, and handing out invitations to leading groups, teaching, and participating in mission projects–everyone takes an active role.  Everyone gives of their time, their talents, their energy, and even their money in order to create the wonderful experience kids around the community have come to know and love.

In Acts 2, we also see that the believers daily meet together, eat together, worship together, and pray together.  The same is true during VBS week.  Those who participate in VBS meet together daily.  We share a meal.  We worship.  We pray.  We become a community within a community.  And, like the believers in Acts 2, we do all of this in order to demonstrate God’s goodness to everyone.

I often wonder what would happen if we carried our focus, our determination, our sense of unity and purpose, our willingness to serve, and our excitement for sharing God’s goodness beyond VBS week.  What would our churches look like if we approached every week like VBS week?  What if our church mission statements became our focus and fueled our purpose?  What if we always served with excitement and passion?  What if we were always willing to offer our time, our resources, and our talents to any endeavor our churches might be pursuing?  What if we brought an open mind and positive outlook to each ministry of the church?  What if everyone in the congregation participated in the daily life of the church, from cleaning and decorating to teaching and serving, in order to demonstrate God’s goodness to everyone?

Acts 2 tells us that by actively working together, by sharing all they had, by worshipping together, by having a singular purpose and mission, the Lord added daily to their numbers.  The message is clear: if we want our churches to be vibrant, to be growing…if we want to help others come to know Christ…then we need to make every week VBS week.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

Confession 347: Do What You’re Supposed To Do

Therefore, my loved ones, just as you always obey me, not just when I am present but now even more while I am away, carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes.  Philippians 2:12-13 (CEB)

This past week, I started working through Reuben Job’s book on prayer entitled Listen: Praying in a Noisy World.  I love it, because it sets out a daily pattern and rhythm of prayer that helps my scattered and unorganized mind focus in on God’s voice.  My times of meditation and prayer this week have reiterated something I have heard God saying to me for quite a while now: “Focus only on the work I have placed in front of you.  Do what you’re supposed to do.”

The trouble is, I want to do everyone’s else’s stuff, too.  Let me explain. . .

This weekend, my four year old niece was playing soccer.  Well, she was supposed to be playing soccer.  What she actually did was spend most of the game following her coach up and down the field commentating on what everyone else was doing wrong.  At one point, as a girl from the other team ran the ball toward a goal, I heard my niece’s little voice say, “She’s not supposed to do that!  She’s supposed to share!!”  And while that might have been true, it was not my niece’s job to tell her that.  At the end of the game my niece came over to us, her face downcast.  “I only scored three goals,” she said.  In focusing on what everyone else was or wasn’t doing, my niece didn’t play to her full potential.

The truth is, we adults rarely play to our full potential either.  We’re so focused on what everyone else is doing, or not doing, that we completely ignore the work God has put in front of us to do.  We get so caught up in neighborhood gossip, workplace drama, and Facebook posts that we sometimes miss out on living our own lives.  Moreover, we miss out on the opportunities God is giving us to do his work, which is the entire purpose of our being.

In the book of Philippians, God is encouraging the Philippian church to continue in their work.  “Press on,” Paul tells them.  “Run the race God has set out for you.”  In order to run that race, we need to focus our eyes, our energy, our resources, and our time on those things God has asked us to do.  If you’re unsure as to what those things are, then ask God to remind you.

This weekend, as my niece struggled to stay focused on what she was supposed to do, our family called out words of encouragement from the sidelines.  “Follow the ball!  Get in there!  You’ve got this!  Keep going!”  This week, know that God is telling you the same thing.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara