They are back … the days when ‘reading, writin’, and ‘rithmatic matter. The children no longer have free days and frankly they no longer have many free nights with all of the homework kids get these days.
St. Paul’s seems to be about numbers lately … first there were those large red SEVENTY FIVES that were posted around the church. A challenge to each of us to spread the word about our Vacation Bible School program, THE SURF SHACK.
When I randomly decided on 75 as the number of children I hoped to see at our VBS it represented an increase from last year’s numbers of about 17%. In these days of churches abandoning VBS programs and of parents being so busy that their kids never make it to church I wasn’t sure if we could get to 75 but still I wanted to challenge all of you.
Well, St. Paul’s Family … you have met the challenge and shot right past 75 kids into the 80s! While the numbers mean a lot it is the impact for a lifetime that really matters. Our church has provided more than 80 children with God’s Word and Jesus’ love. They will remember their week here for the rest of their lives.
My next number is ONE but actually it is connected to the number FOUR. This involves another challenge but one whose results I will never know. On Sunday August 20th, I challenged those in worship to read FIRST JOHN. I pushed and prodded and cajoled the more than 120 seated in the pews to give up just a little time for God by reading the FOUR pages that make up this important letter from God’s Word. John’s words provide an essential set of directions for living as Christians. In fact, John Wesley use First John chapter 3 and verse 9 as the source of his sermon entitled, “The Great Privilege of Those That Are Born of God.” If we are to grow as a church and experience God’s vision for us we have to be digging into God’s Word!
So what does this all add up to? I think we are a church on the move! We have had more baptisms than I can count during this past year and we are seeing new faces in the pews almost every week (eight new members this spring and more coming this autumn). We went on our first Red Bird Mission trip in a number of years and next year’s is already planned for August 5 to August 11. More kids … more families … more older folks … a time to be praying to God for God’s vision where we go next.
This summer we have had people sharing worship with us via Facebook in Italy, Kenya, the Carolinas, New York, Florida, and even in New Jersey. We even received an online offering from someone watching our services live.
Be the light … be a child of God who reads God’s Word … be a missionary who invites someone to worship with us live or online … Bible studies are about to start on Wednesday (12:30 & 7) and Thursday (11am). Join one! Stay for Sunday School after church … pray to God for where God wants you to go next!
Most of you know that Chris Bailey and I have an agreement. The Sunday morning when our church is filled with people will be the Sunday morning that Chris will dump a bucket of Gatorade over my head after church in celebration. Make sure you are in church that week and have brought a guest with you!