Friday, June 28, 2013

Jesus died to save sinners.... like me.

I haven't been blogging much lately. This week in particular has been very busy. The girls and I helped at Higher Ground Church of God at their vacation Bible school. We helped out last year and so when it was coming up my girls asked if they could help out this year. Last year I just sent them primarily.

Despite what I think about VBS, Sunday schools, and children's church, I must commend Pastor Josh for his ability to convey the Gospel to folks who don't know. I was impressed that although they had a curriculum that laid out the messages to be presented about serving, Josh was not satisfied with just another list of do's and don'ts. While the children learned some practical ways to serve their families, neighbors, community, and Jesus, they also learned the whole Gospel in five simple words:

Jesus died to save sinners.

Quite simple really. It's only five words. The children, ages 3 to 12 really dug in and got this. 

A little boy in crafts asked me: "what is a sinner?" I told him every person ever born was a sinner except Jesus. So, this little one said "Jesus died to save everybody." Yes. Yes, He did. Every single one of us are sinners. It's in our blood. It's passed down from our parents and even as far back as our first parents, Adam and Eve, who lived in a world without sin but chose to have their own way rather than God's way.

I thought at the beginning of the week of having my own way: dropping off my girls and having the evenings to myself, coming up with a reason I needed to be somewhere else. This week's lessons were all about serving others. I wanted to serve myself. I already know what I think about VBS and children's programs at church and how it's parents who are told repeatedly to teach their children about the Lord. I still believe that God has charged parents with that responsibility and holds us responsible for what our little ones learn about Him. I didn't want to be part of a system that takes that responsibility out of the hands of parents.... somehow makes it seem like they can "leave it to the professionals" just like school, health, and a host of other things that take our children out of our households and put them into the care of people who don't care for them. 

I also have been getting to know Josh and Michelle. They seem to really actually care about these kids, but most importantly they really love Yeshua and love to share it with others. For them this doesn't seem like a "job" like it does with some pastors and their wives. They have presented themselves open to being looked at under a microscope and they really want to get to know folks. While we may not agree in every aspect of Biblical doctrine, I can clearly see their zeal for Yeshua.

Knowing my prejudice for things like this I prayed and asked YHWH to change my heart throughout this week if it was His will and His way of reaching people. I didn't ask Him to make me stay the same if He wasn't, but in my heart I felt that it was my fleece to test to see if He was in this. Did I want to see the things I have seen this week? Maybe not. I wanted to be right in my opinion though I also wanted for Josh and Michelle to be genuine at the same time. 

The first day, Josh actually got the workers together and told us he was not satisfied with the curriculum because it neglected the Gospel. He resolved throughout the week to come and share the Great News with everyone. I could see it in his eyes: he was desperate to get the message taught to these kids this week. It's such a short amount of time, but the message is so very important- it's life and death!

Tuesday, my sweet girl Miriam had to go to the doctor, and we discovered she was very sick but not with anything contagious. Jasmine went ahead of us, riding with family members who went also. Miriam could have stayed home. I recommended it to her and that I would stay home with her. She said to me: "Mama, my kids need me. There won't be anyone there to make sure they get to the right place." So, ashamedly I took her to get her little 1st-3rd graders so they would make it to classes on time. Although she has been on medicine all week that has made her feel awful- almost as bad as the illness- she has been so diligent to care for and serve this little group of children. I  learned from her that serving others, even when we feel terrible, is serving Yeshua. Really it was the lesson for the week. 

Tonight, we went to the cookout. The girls looked forward to it because they got to see the little children they served all week. They don't get anything out of helping little ones wash their hands, stopping fights, passing out things for the teachers, policing children who would not even consider following the rules, and the like. They weren't looking forward to winning some sort of prize for being "good" or memorizing the scripture. They even struggled themselves at times with some more difficult children [Jasmine (17) had the 3-5 year olds and Miriam (15) had the 1st - 3rd graders]. In fact, Jasmine told me that there was at least one child who didn't even like her and let her know as much, but she was determined to reach him this week. 

All I can say is WOW! God has shown me so much this week! I have learned about being humble no matter what my opinion is and maybe I should change my opinion. I have learned about service- not only from the lessons, but from my own girls. I have learned that God's ways are not my ways, and I cannot  put Him in a box. I have learned that I am the worst of sinners, yet, Yeshua died for me too. How grateful I am for VBS this week! I have been so touched! I have seen things with new eyes! And yes, I do believe that God has answered my prayers about this topic. I believe that He is always faithful to disciple us if we will just be quiet and listen.