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Summary: This is a sermon summarizing the stories learned by the children during Vacation Bible School, looked at through the "tests" that each individual endured. How, through the power given by God, ordinary people accomplished extraordinary things. Stories in

August 18, 2002

VBS Wrap-Up Sermon

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Late Friday night, I was in this room recording the opening for this morning’s radio broadcast.

We had just completed this years VBS and I think I can speak for all those that participated…at least all of those over…..and I’ll be kind….30….I was beat. I was exhausted.

I walked over to the Altar and retrieved the copies of last week’s bulletin that I had left in my hymnal and looked at the front cover. I don’t know if many of you remember last week’s sermon, let alone last weeks bulletin cover, so I had it blown up…..I couldn’t help but laugh. There were more than a few times this past week where I think those very words, Lord Save Me, were uttered by some of the adults helping at VBS.

I say that mostly in jest. However, there are perhaps some people sitting here this morning or listening to the radio broadcast that might think of VBS as a waste of time and energy and talent and funds.

A few common quips that you hear about VBS is that is primarily a baby-sitting chore that the church carries out during the summer months, or that the kids don’t really learn anything, or couldn’t we do something better in terms of evangelism.

I’m going to give you three quick answers to those statements.

Is it a baby-sitting function? Who cares! The children are in the House of the Lord!

The kids don’t learn anything. That’s wrong….just ask the kids.

Couldn’t we do something better? For this one, I think I’ll quote Jesus. From the Gospel of Matthew 19:14: Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

For those of you here and those of you listening at home, I would like to share briefly what happened during the course of our week of VBS.

The “title” of this year’s program was Godzwerkus Circus. The theme was a “circus school”, if you will, where young people were taught the basics of circus performing. These circus acts all required certain skills such as weightlifting, to build up your strength. There was also tightrope walking, twirling fiery batons, clowns and their makeup, and of course, lion taming.

I can tell by the looks on your faces that you’re wondering what that has to do with the Bible. After all, it is Vacation BIBLE School.

Well, each one of these skills or traits was related to a Biblical story, a Biblical character.

I’m going to tell you a little about each one of these stories, but I want to do it in the light of phrase that Martin Luther used, "oratio, meditatio, tentatio", that’s Latin for prayer, study, testing. Prayer and study sound great, though we don’t nearly do enough of either one. But testing means suffering and humiliation and bearing the cross, and nobody wants that.

So I thought this morning we would look at the stories the young people heard this past week in relation to testing. How were these individuals tested in their relationship to God?

The first story is a well-known story about a well-known individual. At the time this story took place, however, this person wasn’t well known at all. In fact, he was just a young boy who tended his father’s sheep.

The boy, of course, was David. Strength was the “skill” of the day, however, it wasn’t so much outward strength; it was an inner strength and an invisible armor provided by God as David went out to do battle with Goliath.

All of us here know full well the outcome of that battle. David, with just one trusty shot from his sling fell the giant Goliath and went on to become the greatest King, the greatest leader that Israel has ever known.

But what was the test here? To be truthful, the test for me would be not turning and running at the sight of this giant. But David knew that he was not alone. He knew that he had been prepared by God for this very day. He was confident of the outcome.

His test came afterward. The people of Israel grew to love and respect David, but King Saul became jealous of him. Saul set out to kill David. David knew that the Lord had plans for him but he also knew that Saul had been anointed King by the Lord. So David’s test became very much like the test our Lord Jesus had to endure.

People wanted to make Jesus an earthly King, but Jesus knew that His Father had other plans.

David’s ultimate test was to not succumb to the wants and desires of the people, but to follow the will of God.

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