Sermons

Summary: Evangelistic message to follow up our VBS from the previous week. We knew we would have some unchurched families, and we did!

Why Do We Have Vacation Bible School?

1 John 5:11-12

August 3, 2008

Introduction

Part of my time growing up was spent in Pine Ridge, SD, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

And our church didn’t have Vacation Bible School, so we went to VBS at a little church just across the border in White Clay, NE.

I don’t remember the name of the church, or what denomination it was. Doesn’t matter, I remember having a good time singing songs, making crafts, playing softball, and eating lunch out of a real big lunchbox with a thermos in it.

I remember VBS as being a great deal of fun when I was a kid growing up on the reservation.

Our Vacation Bible School here a fun time. At least I think our folks here had a fun time with it, and I think the kids had a fun time as well.

But it’s also a lot of work. I can’t begin to count the hours that Jolene and all her volunteers put into this deal so that your kids and our kids could learn about Jesus in a fun atmosphere.

Why do people work all day and then come to volunteer in the evening for this week? It’s not like they don’t have other things to do.

We don’t pay them to do it, so it’s not dreams of being able to buy a bass boat from what they get.

There’s really only one reason we do this:

Because people need Jesus.

Maybe you expected me to say that we have Vacation Bible School because children need Jesus.

And you’re right – to an extent.

Obviously, Vacation Bible School is geared to kids.

But children aren’t the only people we’re hoping to reach with the news that Jesus died for their sins and makes heaven available.

We want to reach families. We want to reach moms and dad, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas.

We want to reach friends and neighbors of these children.

Vacation Bible School is just one of the ways we try to make that happen.

We’ve printed a Bible passage in your note-taking guide that really sits at the heart of what we’re trying to accomplish through VBS and what we’re trying to accomplish through the ministries of Aberdeen Wesleyan Church.

1 John 5:11-12

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Most of us grew up hearing that Jesus died for our sins, right?

And if you’re like me, you grew up believing that if you did a few things right, you’d go to heaven.

Things like being baptized, confessing your sins, taking communion, going to church, or whatever. I grew up believing that these things would get me to heaven.

But again, if you’re like me, you couldn’t really say that Jesus was part of who you were – He didn’t have much of a presence or an influence in your life.

This passage from the Bible says that if a person “has” Jesus in his or her life, then they have “eternal life.”

What’s eternal life? The bottom line is that it means Heaven. Forever.

And how do we get that eternal life? By having Jesus in your life. This says that if we have Jesus, we have eternal life.

So what does it mean to “have Jesus?”

You have Jesus when you believe with your life and not just with your head. (Note: don’t know where I heard/read that, but I borrowed it - wish I had thought of it!)

What do I mean by that?

Let me start by stating that I am deathly afraid of heights. Just hang on, and you’ll get why I’m saying that, okay?

Have any of you been to the Royal Gorge in Colorado?

It’s the home of the world’s highest suspension bridge - 1053 ft. above the Arkansas River.

My wife and I went there about 20 years ago with some friends when we were working in Colorado.

The bridge itself only a quarter of a mile long, but because it’s a suspension bridge, there’s a lot of movement due to the winds.

One of the attractions there is their Arial Tram, which is a cable car that goes across the canyon. The Arial Tram is another 125 feet above the canyon floor.

My wife, bless her heart, decides she wants to go across on the Tram.

Have I mentioned that I’m afraid of heights?

But, being the manly guy that I am, I said, “Sure, honey!”

I looked at the sign on the side of the engine room or whatever it’s called, and it says, “So many passengers carried without an accident.”

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