As a tribute to my love of Vacation Bible School, both as a child and as an adult, I started this end of summer series a few years back. At least one of you all loves it as much as I do (you know who you are) and she carries enough enthusiasm for ten people, so I am always encouraged to continue.
If you didn’t have the pleasure of attending VBS as a child, or volunteering as an adult, I am so sorry. There is something about having a place to go from 9-11 for five days and following a set schedule where you move from the opening gathering to various stations that include themed crafts, snacks, lessons and games that feels so good after a summer full of non-structure.
Here on the Journey, we have the lesson and sometimes an activity offered, but the snacks are on you as are the arts and crafts, songs and skits. I can only do so much. Also you don’t have to clean up goldfish crackers and try to track down the last few kids who didn’t pick up their felt rendition of an ark…so that’s a positive as well.
So without further ado, here is the 2020 version of AVBSWTG&G (Adult Vacation Bible School Without the Glue and Glitter)
This week our theme will center on how God is not surprised by 2020 and how we can find help to cope in His Word.
Welcome back to VBS!
I had lunch with a young friend yesterday and we had a wonderful time laughing and reminiscing about our VBS experiences. She reminded me how you attend for all those years and then hit sixth grade and become a leader. Oh happy day!
But this should be a pattern for all of us. We start out being spoon fed the Gospel. As we grow and mature in faith, taking our own detours and experiencing His faithfulness, we need to graduate into being leaders. It is, of course, a process and all of our journeys will be a mixture of being a learner and being a leader. Every single one of us has influence over other people.
Our passages today help us understand how we can apply God’s Word to our daily lives so that we are examples to others – believers and non-believers.
This morning we will start by reading through the book of Titus. This is a short book with only three chapters and it fits on two pages in my Bible with ample note-taking at the bottom. You can read it quickly. You can access it here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Titus%201&version=NIV or go get your own Bible and be ready to take notes.
It is interesting how much this book is packed with practical application and yet my post-modern, politically correct trained ears can get side-tracked because of not understanding both God’s heart and the people and times in which this book was written.
Let me stress most firmly that God’s truth is not something that fluctuates as we become culturally “enlightened.” His Word is truth and it does not change. Our cultures shift and the things that are morally acceptable in one culture may become outmoded or even immoral as times and human leaders shift; but God’s Word is eternal.
I want to point out that when you read about instructions to “slaves” don’t jump to a view of slavery that we are all too familiar with here in our country. Don’t turn off to God’s word because of the pain and oppression and anger that we see here in America in 2020. Notice that God is not giving a law about slavery, but is giving instruction for those people who were seeking to follow Him and WERE slaves in this time and place in history.
God doesn’t promote oppression. In fact, He is quite set on the business of freeing slaves. I happen to be one of them. So put aside your convictions about current settings and prayerfully glean instructions on how to live as one who has been set free.
There are so many good passages in our reading this morning, but for our time together I am focusing on some clear instructions that are given for how to live that we can most definitely apply to our lives here today:
Based on Titus 2:11-13:
We are to live sensible lives. Our attitudes and actions should look different than those who deny the existence of God. IN THIS PRESENT age. Today. Wherever you live on this globe. Whatever you watch on TV or talk about with your friends. The words you post on social media. The activities you engage in. The way you spend your money and resources. All of it should reflect your belief that Christ brought salvation to EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING and because of that, you and your people live differently than those who don’t believe. We who follow Christ are waiting for His return. We are not waiting for our candidate to win the election, or our rights to be celebrated or our ship to come in. We are waiting for the return of our Blessed Savior and God, Jesus Christ. This is our Hope and this is our promise.
Based on Titus 2: 14
We have been redeemed from lawlessness and we have been redeemed to do good works. Even if the world around us is seeking to abolish any laws and even if there are daily reports of those who are bent on destruction – WE who follow Christ have been purchased back from such a life. We do not live like the lawless, not because of a set of laws BUT BECAUSE we have been saved BY GRACE from this kind of life. This is a joy! This is a blessed gift! To raise our children to be so filled with the love of God that it is a blessing to obey! This is how we live differently. To set the example ourselves of obedience because of the joy of having been delivered from a life of lawlessness. We are eager to do good works because of HIS redemption worked in us. What freedom we have in this truth!
Based on Titus 3: 1-11
We can bullet point the instructions here. They are so clearly stated:
- Submit to rulers and authorities to obey
- Be ready for every good work
- Do not slander anyone
- Avoid fighting
- Be kind
- Show gentleness to all people
- Avoid foolish debates
- Reject a divisive person after the first or second warning
Most of all:
- Remember how you were once foolish, deceived, disobedient; a slave to your passions and lusts, filled with envy, malice, hate
- Remember Christ who saved you from all of that and cleanses you
- Model His kindness and love
Well that should keep us busy for the rest of the day. Or lives…
But seriously, go back over that list and prayerfully ask God to show you how you are doing with some of these things. Consider applying the Word of God and the promise that His redemption of you will empower you to live a godly life. If you come upon one and it smacks you in the face, acknowledge your error and repent and ask for/receive His forgiveness and then let Him work change in you based on HIS WORD.
You and I cannot do this on our own strength. We have been promised the help of the Holy Spirit to live differently in the present age. I pray we will be diligent to honor Him.
Get some rest and I will see you tomorrow for our final day of VBS <3