Ecclesiastes 1: 12-18
LUKE 12:13-21

July 31, 2022

As we look back on an exciting vibrant week of Vacation Bible School … together, we can celebrate the fact that 75 children came to St Paul’s for a faith-related experience and they kept on coming. These last few days were days when St. Paul’s hallways were filled with joy-energized children experiencing “Christmas in July” are moments that these children will always remember … they will know because of what they heard this week and what they learned this week that Jesus is the reason for everyone in EVERY SINGLE season and not just a bumper sticker themed message for a few weeks in December when loud bullying voices again complain that store clerks are not using the phrase they feel must be stated at the end of every sales’ transaction … instead these children have heard the history of God’s loving actions through God’s Son that have given us and given every past generation hope for our forevers and directions for living our every day lives as God intends us to do.

These kids were loud and they were focused. They kept coming back night after night and as I prepared to head home after Thursday’s awesome celebration, which by the way you can watch on our FACEBOOK page as many times as you would like, I was thrilled when 3 of the older boys cornered me and asked … “Can we have a Vacation Bible School this fall … maybe on a weekend?’

CAN WE HAVE A VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL THIS FALL … on a weekend? We DO offer weekly Sunday School but the kids can’t drive themselves to church every Sunday morning … it takes parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and parents of children’s friends to bring them in. It takes adults placing a value on growing the faith life of children with joy, love and happiness rather than grumbling rejectionist the Holy.

Friends, the kids who were here … pre-K through sixth grade … Friends, the volunteers who were witnesses each night … this pastor who protected his snowman in a Sunday night recreation game, played kickball, and did some water soaking of my own … we all soaked in the truth … the children of God when presented with the realities of God and Jesus Christ became wrapped up WITH and IN JOY WANTING MORE JESUS! These children are curious and focused and they loved being with their friends who were discovering God’s truth with them … they would be here every season … all the time … because they realized for this one week … there is JOY in declaring that JESUS IS THE REASON for EVERY SEASON!

They heard the Gospel truth of how inclusive God’s love is … that God loves each person equally. Joy was associated with faith … caring for others was the essence of God’s message to the kids, which begins with God’s love for every single human being through Jesus Christ. The kids loved the God connection because the truth … when the truth of the Gospels is shared … when Jesus’ message is actually looked at … the message is not about judgment … the message is not about exclusivity nor division nor limits nor rejection of some … the message is about love. Love of all and love of God, which results in an action of people of faith that Paul declares as reflective of faith to both the church in Philippi and Thessaloniki in two of his letters that have been included in our Scriptures … [1]REJOICE in the LORD ALWAYS! Give THANKS in EVERY SITUATION because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus! DO NOT SUPPRESS THE SPIRIT!!” REJOICE ALWAYS! GIVE THANKS IN EVERY SITUATION … do not suppress the Spirit.

And, I can tell you that the joy of the Lord was happening here this past week … the kids energized rejoicing in the Christmas truth were expressing with loud happiness that JESUS matters and God is alive! These kids definitely did not suppress the spirit and we might want to have a roofing company check out the roof above this sanctuary because the decibel level in here reached rock concert proportions every single night as they declared with smiles on their faces … JESUS IS THE REASON NO MATTER THE SEASON!!!!

So, what about you … are you focused on the wrapping paper, the wrapped gifts, the stuff you want for you or Jesus? In your life … for the days you walk on this planet which would you choose as your personal spirit of Christmas, the wrapped gift or Jesus?

Are you allowing the Spirit of the Lord to flow through you so that you are rejoicing in the Lord always? If called to be expressive … would you, as an adult, be ready to lift the roof off of the sanctuary with shouts of joy and songs of celebration because of God’s love? Or, are you searching for an earthly gift for your life that will enrich your bank accounts, give you a better position in your job or allow your friends with no faith to think you have no God-connection so that you can fit in comfortably with them?

I am under the assumption that none of you were in the State of Illinois the last few days and are not waiting to turn in a slip of paper with some very specific numbers on it … or perhaps one of you has it and worship still matters.

Isn’t it amazing how many people excitedly worshiped the MEGA MILLIONS firmly establishing dreams of what they would do with all that wealth and refusing to think that somehow their tickets would NOT be amongst the other THREE HUNDRED and TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PLUS losing tickets. The MEGA MILLION’s BILLIONS were not a wrapped gift for any person to count on … nor for any person to dream about as if the billions, well actually about 365 million after taxes if you took that cash out, could actually give you joy and provide for an eternal life in heaven …. But do you put the same amount of faith in God and in Jesus Christ as in the lottery machine at the WAWA?

If you look at your bulletins this morning, there is a cartoon that Trista discovered this week. It showcases the age old challenge for humans … the man wanting to know the ‘meaning of life.’ Solomon in Ecclesiastes talks about his attempt to find the meaning of life through the world … through his studies … through his observations but he found that the world did not give him his answers. He was a very wealthy and powerful king but on his own he writes, “When I set my mind to understand wisdom, and also understand madness and folly, I realized that this too was just wind chasing.”

He didn’t have the benefit of Google …. Google in answering the question ‘What is the meaning of life’ refers people to Wikipedia, which states “the meaning of life, as we perceive it, is derived from philosophical and religious contemplation of and scientific inquiries about existence, social ties, consciousness, and happiness.”

Interesting because Solomon writes a little later in Ecclesiastes [2]“I have observed the task that God has given human beings. I know that there’s nothing better for them but to do good while they live. God has made everything fitting in its times, but has also placed eternity in their hearts. I know that whatever God does lasts forever. God has done this so that people are reverent before God. Worship God and keep God’s commandments because this is what everyone must do.”

In our Gospel lesson today … one that should be very familiar to all of us, Jesus talks about those humans who are overly focused on their worldly gains and profits. We all know people like those Jesus is describing … some folks previously attended church before what they wanted and needed from the world overrode the very idea of worshiping God … some television folks even contradict Jesus by saying people of faith are supposed to get rich in the world. But Jesus made it clear in the parable as He talked about storing up more and more for the future to come … “WATCH OUT! One’s life is not determined by one’s possessions … those who hoard things for themselves aren’t rich towards God.” And, Jesus shares that the rich man who had stored up all that grain died … the grain going to waste and to others but the man as he faced eternity had never prepared himself to face God.

So, what is your choice? The wrapped gift under the tree or living for Jesus? Are you comfortable in showing joy in your faith? And, in letting the Spirit of God free to be showcased through you and how you live your life? Are you ready to teach Sunday School this fall so we can invite more children back each week? How is God calling you?


And, I know we’d all love to sing lots of Christmas songs but I hope you have heard the angels on high so please stand with me to sing ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH …

Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o’er the plains, and the mountains in reply

echoing their joyous strains.

Refrain: Gloria, gloria, gloria, gloria, in excelsis Deo! Gloria, gloria, gloria, gloria,

in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, shy this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heavenly song?


Come to Bethlehem and see Christ whose birth the angels sing, come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn King.


See him in a manger laid, whom the choirs of angels praise, Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while our hearts in love we raise.


[1] 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19
[2] Ecclesiastes 3:10 -12 & 14-15 and 12: 13

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