VBS 2018 Program Summary

This Changes Everything

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

 “This Changes Everything” is our theme for the summer.  The theme verse comes from Ephesians, Chapter 2, verse 8:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”  God’s grace truly changes everything.  Through fun games and activities, campers will learn about the different ways God’s grace changes our lives.  It changes our hearts, our identity, our purpose, our community, and our perspective.

 Day 1:  Our Hearts

 God’s grace changes our hearts and brings new life for all.  The chosen text for the first day of camp is Luke 24:  13-35, the walk to Emmaus.  This tells about two disciples on the road to Emmaus who are sad after the death of Jesus.  Jesus approaches them, and walks with them, but they do not recognize him until he breaks bread with them.  They say, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was to talking to us on the road?”  They then go out and tell the eleven and their companions what had happened.  God’s Spirit burns in our hearts, inviting us to tell this story of new life to all the world.

 Day 2:  Our Identity

 God’s grace changes our identity by call us to align our path with God’s way, reflecting God’s love for the world.  Acts (:1-18, the conversion of Saul, is a great verse that shows how sudden and dramatic a change in identity can be when we are called to follow Jesus.  In this text Saul obtains permission from the high priest in Jerusalem to travel to Damascus and root our followers of Jesus.  On his way to Damascus, Saul falls to the ground as he is blinded by a light from Heaven.  Only when the disciple, Ananias lays his hands on Saul, does he regain his sight.  He was immediately baptized and is given a new identity as a follower of Jesus.  

 Day 3:  Our Purpose

 God’s grace changes our purpose, calling us to embody and reflect compassion and service to the most vulnerable in our midst.  Matthew 25: 31-46, describes how when Jesus returns, he will separate people from one another, the same way a shepherd might separate sheep from goats.  The sheep are those who gave him food, water, and clothes when he was hungry, thirsty, and naked.  The goats are those who did not do these things for him.  People on both sides are surprised, asking when was it that they did or did not do these things for him.  Jesus responds, say “just as you did (did not) do these things to the least of these who are members of my family, you did (did not) do these things to me.”  

Day 4:  Our community

 God’s grace changes our community into one that is filled with love for everyone.  When we love like God, we create a new community where all people are welcomed and where our differences are valued.  The chosen text for the fourth day of camp is Matthew 15: 21-28, the Canaanite woman.  This short story tells of how a Canaanite woman, considered to be an outsider, asks Jesus to help her daughter.  At first, Jesus refuses, insisting he was sent only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  As she persists, Jesus recognizes her faith, and realizes that his mission extends beyond the house of Israel.  The community grows to include everyone, reflecting both the unity and the diversity of God’s creation.

Day 5:  Our Perspective

 God’s grace changes our perspective, moving us to view the world through God’s loving eyes.  The parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15: 11-32, tells of a son who asked his father for his inheritance before his death, then squanders it all in dissolute living.  When a famine strikes, he returns home, hoping to work for his father as a servant, so that he might have food to eat.  Instead of disowning his son, like might have been expected, the father embraces him and kisses him.  The father welcomes his lost son with robes, a ring, and a feast, saying “for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!”  This father’s unconditional love for his son is representative of God’s grace – God’s unconditional love for the creation.

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