June 2017 Volume 40 Number 7
VBS: Choose God’s Kingdom
Ninety-seven excited children enjoyed Kingdom Chronicles at VBS June 5 through 9. The church was decorated like a medieval castle with a 26-foot-tall tower in the patio, banners and flags and a King’s Manor in the chapel.
Our theme was “Be Strong in the Lord.” The children learned about putting on the whole armor of God so that they would be ready to withstand the attacks of Satan, with Ephesians 6:11-18 as the memory verses. The younger children learned simplified verses with motions to help them learn the verses. Eighty children said all their memory work, earning a sand pail and shovel for the 4-5 year old classes and water swords for the older children.
After attendance in their rooms, VBS was opened with singing in the chapel with the children learning six new songs. The offering goal was $1000 for Freedom International Ministries. They have a school in Dominican Republic. They are building more classrooms so more children can attend. We had a special visit from Ava, Blakeley and Karysn Pyle and saw pictures and heard about a few of the Haitian children attending this school.
There were four stations that the children rotated through: Learn-a-lot Chambers, Craft Courtyard, Sir Gavin’s Games and Cook’s Kitchen.
In Learn-a-lot Chambers, Lady Learn-a-lot taught the Bible lesson and introduced the memory verses. On Monday we learned about ‘Truth or Error.’
(VBS continued on page 3)
Your Summer Midweek Invitation!
This is your summer invitation to Wednesday evenings at First Mennonite. We’re taking the month of July off to slow down and take a summer break—but in August, don’t forget to rejoin us for Wednesday evenings the whole month long.
August 2 – Dave Shuey
August 9 – Tom Fox
August 16 – Church family potluck and volleyball at Lehman Park
August 23 – Dots in Blue Water
August 30 – Fall midweek kickoff with comedy-illusionist Jim Barron. †
Event on Sunday, August 13
A not-to-be-missed evening is planned for Sunday, August 13, when our guest will be Robert Rogers. Robert experienced a tragedy of biblical proportions when he lost his precious wife and all four children in a flash flood in Kansas in 2003. Robert’s journey through this unimaginable sorrow and God’s faithfulness to help him continue living with purpose and peace is told in his book, “Into the Deep.” Put this on your calendar. Plan to come and hear this amazing and inspiring story. Watch for more information in next month’s Update. †
Are Your Prayers Powerful?
Prayer is something I believe Christians desire to do, but many times fall short in this area. Maybe it’s because we don’t know how to pray, or we feel we are always asking God for something. Or maybe some of our prayers are not answered in the ways we desire, and we wonder, “Does prayer really make a difference?” This past spring I had the privilege of attending a Wednesday evening elective class as we studied Susie Larson’s book “Your Powerful Prayers.” It was very beneficial to me as it reminded me that I can pray with confidence, approaching God as His beloved child. Ephesians 3:12 reads, “In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
In her book Susie Larson challenged us as to how we come to God with our prayers. As Christians we have been adopted into the family of God which makes us His heirs. Yet many times we come to God as orphans, and not heirs. Susie stated that spiritual orphans beg and plead, while heirs pray and believe. I want to bring my prayers before God, praying and believing that He will answer, yet allowing God to answer in His way and in His time. There have been times in the past that I have called it “praying,” but really it was more telling God how I thought my prayers should be answered. As if I knew better than God. How thankful I have been many times that God did not answer my prayers in the way I thought best, but in the way He knew best!
We know it is through the tests and trials of life that we grow the most spiritually. Yet so many times we want God to grant our request so we feel relief from the difficult circumstances. We want to be relieved from the pain and heartache. Yet as many of us have experienced, there will be more difficult circumstances down the road. So what if we would look at the tests and trials of life and ask God what He would like us to learn from them? Not just to get through them but to grow and spiritually mature in the process. God many times is more concerned about changing us than changing our circumstances.
Powerful prayers do not need to be long and eloquent; they can be simple and to the point. I believe that God looks at the attitude of the heart when we pray. I like the story of a new Christian who was at a prayer meeting for his first time. He prayed, “Lord, this is Jim. I’m the one who met you last Thursday night. I’m sorry, Lord, because I can’t say it the way the rest of these people do, but I want to tell you the best I know how. I love you, Lord. I really do. Thanks a lot. I’ll see you later.”
Remember…“Prayer is the place where burdens change shoulders.” †
Among Our People
Carolee Nussbaum was admitted to Lutheran Hospital April 28 for tests. She returned home May 5. She was admitted to Adams Memorial Hospital May 11 for further testing and returned home May 15.
Ruth Mary Liechty entered Lutheran Hospital May 18 for tests. She was transferred to rehab at Swiss Village May 21. She went home June 17.
Bonnie Sprunger was taken to Parkview Hospital May 20 following a head injury. She returned home May 23.
Twyla Sprunger had a hip replacement at Adams Memorial Hospital May 22. She was moved to rehab at Swiss Village May 25.
Harry Yoder entered Adams Memorial May 22 for tests and returned to Swiss Village May 25.
Dan Wenger was admitted to Lutheran Hospital May 25 for treatment of an infection. He returned home May 29.
Dianne VonGunten had heart surgery June 5 at Lutheran Hospital. June 12 she had a light stroke followed by surgery. She returned home June 16.
Karen Lehman had outpatient surgery at Adams Memorial Hospital June 12. †
(VBS continued from page 1)
We learned about God creating the world and how Satan tricked Adam and Eve into believing a lie. Tuesday’s lesson was ‘Choose Truth’. She taught us that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, but we need to choose Him as our Lord and Savior. Wednesday’s lesson was ‘Obey Truth’. We learned about Josiah becoming king when he was 8 and of his commanding the cleaning of the temple where they found a scroll of God’s Word. They realized they had not been obeying God and needed to obey the truth and change their actions. Thursday found us learning to ‘Think Truth’. Solomon had asked for wisdom from God, and God made Solomon the wisest man. Solomon had many treasures and animals, but he also wanted many wives. Solomon was foolish when he started to worship the idols his foreign wives worshiped. ‘Speak Truth’ was Friday’s lesson. We learned how Jesus used Scripture to defeat Satan during the 40 days in the wilderness when He was tempted by Satan. We need to read and memorize Scripture so we can be ready for Satan’s attacks.
In the Craft Courtyard we made suits of armor for ourselves. We made a shield of faith, a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, a helmet of salvation, the shoes of the gospel of peace and the sword of the Spirit. The kids wore their armor at the program. We learned most of the armor is for our protection, with only the sword of the Spirit being a weapon, and it is the Bible.
In Sir Gavin’s games, they ran off energy playing fun games with a castle theme.
In Cook’s Kitchen, we enjoyed a snack each day. I especially liked the dragon scales, claws and tongue while other people liked the castle moats (root beer floats) or royal cups (pudding with whipped cream and a cherry on top) better.
We would assemble in the chapel at the end of the day for the drama about King’s Manor. Good King Kristopher was concerned about his sons Richard and Robert learning to make wise choices. He left for vacation, leaving Sir Gavin the knight to watch over the royal princes. They had a pet dragon named Flame, which we never saw but did hear on occasion. The princes were having fun but almost were tricked by good Queen Linda of the paginates, who said she was from a country far away, but she was really the bad Queen Morinda who had been banished from the kingdom before the princes were born. She wanted to take over the manor and rule the kingdom. The princes had to fight and defeat her knights even though outnumbered. When she knew she was defeated she tried to steal the king’s treasure only to have Flame scare her away.
This year church people gave a short testimony each day. Michael Mosser talked about strength. He showed us football uniform pieces and related them to God’s armor. Anita Wenger talked about the belt of truth. We need to know the truth (Bible) and speak the truth. We will remember the boy who hid his sister’s doll in the ground behind the barn only to later see wheat growing in the outline of a doll. Only then did he confess to taking the doll. Pastor Jeff reminded us that we should have on the shoes of the gospel of peace, that we should be ready to tell others about Jesus and that He died for them. Ryan Mounsey showed us some of his equipment. He related his equipment with the suit of armor God has given us for our protection. Neil Reusser finished out the week talking about Bible memorization. If we memorize Scripture we will always have it with us to use to fight Satan when he tempts us.
There was an offering contest between the boys and girls. The chapel would get loud as the total for the offerings were announced. This year the boys won by giving $1,443.21 and the girls $1,265.90 for a total of $2,709.11, way surpassing their $1000 goal. The children got to vote for who they wanted to be in the dunk tank after the program on Friday night. They chose the bad Queen Miranda first and added the princes to get wet.
Sixty-six volunteers helped make VBS a lot of fun for the children. Let them remember to choose truth and God’s kingdom. †