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       This has been a unique year for all of us.  With all of us guessing what should happen for gatherings we must plan our next steps.  There was a time that we considered moving VBS to the end of summer.  We looked at a series of times in the fall.  Then we looked into planning our own virtual VBS.  Some of the largest issues was we never knew what was next.  Can we be together?  What will it look like? How do we plan and budget?  Well time is running out for the summer, but just before I cancelled it all, I received a call that said a group of my friends in the Missouri Baptist Convention was going to use their equipment and editors to make “VBS in a Box” available to all Missouri Baptist churches.   

       I sampled out the content to many of our own families.  It is very much like VBS in the classroom, but the element of being with others cannot be replicated. That has been the only drawback. I decided to let the families decide if they want to try this virtual VBS.  The gospel is well presented in Bible Study and even if only one hears, it is worth the time and effort.  Due to great participation in the past, we wanted to offer you the opportunity to have Vacation Bible School even if we cannot do it together.  I am making this available for you to do anytime.  Please let us know how it goes.  We would like to see pictures of your VBS to put together a musical slideshow at the end of summer, or when we return to on campus classes.  

      I envisioned doing this on your way to vacation, rest times, or scheduled mornings or evenings during the week.  Make sure you do the Bible studies if nothing else. 

     The Ages: There are preschool and children’s options during the Bible story. All other content can be done by both. Preschool is 4 years to completed Kindergarten. Elementary is completed 1st to 6th grade.  

     The Cost: Free (If you want to purchase the craft kits or booklets as options, you will need to contact Lifeway for purchase) These additional options are not necessary for a great week. If you preview the craft you can get most of this at a store like Hobby Lobby.  The books and craft kits come in packets of 10, so if you go that route, you might want to do it with a friend. You always have an option of skipping a breakout, but I will always suggest doing Bible Study. 

      This year’s Teachers: Missouri Baptist children’s ministers are the presenters of the material. These leaders go throughout Missouri each spring and teach churches how to use the curriculum.  Most of the teachers are on staff at a local church. Lifeway, the curriculum company, train them to help us teach. They are now only a month away from learning how to teach next year’s VBS. 

      How to use: Each section of each day has its own video. I would choose the opening video first.  Then the child can choose which “Day 1 video they want to start with.  Then do the same with the remaining days.  It can be done all on one very long day, or it can be done over 5 weeks (one ten-minute video a day).  That is the great part of this concept.  

      Click HERE to register.  After registering, you will be given an e-mail with a secure webpage from the Missouri Baptist Convention.  Copy and paste the password in the box and you will have all the content for this adventure.  Please bookmark the page or keep the e-mail so you can return to the content, should you want to do this over several sessions. 

      This concept was not our plan for this summer, but we are truly looking forward to being back together soon.  I know that next year’s theme is going to be extremely exciting, and we want to invite you to it as well. 

     I hope you enjoy this option of Staycation Bible School and we hope to see you at church soon. 

 Jason Hoke 

Children’s Pastor 

FBC Wentzville 

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      As I write this blog, the world has changed even more drastically since my last blog in April. Then, all we were dealing with was the Coronavirus.  Now we’ve added cities and lives being torn apart because of anger and mistrust—at times it feels like there is more division and hate than ever before.  The country that was founded on God now seems bent on living in direct opposition to Him.

      In the midst of it, we may find ourselves asking: Where is God in all of this? Are we beginning to see the ushering in of the end times? How do I keep myself from being caught up in those feelings of anger and hopelessness? How can my life make a difference in a world that so blatantly needs Jesus?

        First, while we need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us, we can’t let it consume us.  We have to stop focusing on all of the hate and negativity……turn the news off and open God’s Word.

 Philippians 4:8 – a verse most of us have read and know tells us how to quit focusing on all of the turmoil around us and instead focus on:

 “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…..if anything is praiseworthyTHINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS.

     This verse reminds us to focus on things rooted in God’s love and His mercy.  When I think of all the ways God has blessed me, protected me, loved me—how can I not trust Him with things today? And, when I further think about the plans God has for our eternity, how can I not have peace, joy, and hope?

 In Colossians 3: 1 – 3 God instructs us:

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. SET YOUR MIND ON THINGS ABOVE – NOT ON EARTHLY THINGS.  For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

     Now more than ever, we need to begin filling our hearts and minds with God.  It is impossible to accurately represent something or someone that we know very little about. We need to live and breathe God’s character if we want to pattern our lives after His.  The only book we ever need to study to truly know the character of God is the only one written by His very own hand—the Bible. Bible studies and Christian books are wonderful supplements but should never take the place of spending time in His Word.

     Second, once we begin thinking on things that are true, right, holy, pure, encouraging, filled with hope and God’s love, we will begin reflecting Him to those around us. Wherever we go, people will begin to see Jesus in us. They will see His characteristics flowing out of our words and actions—words and actions that show His love, mercy, understanding, forgiveness, encouragement, concern and hope.

      Colossians 3: 12- 14; 17 states:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you……And over all these virtues……PUT ON LOVE which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

      Notice the word “clothe” yourself.  Just as we have to take time every morning to put our clothing on before we go out, God is instructing us that we need to “put on” all of those Godly characteristics found in that verse.  Oh what a difference we would make in the world around us if ALL of our words and actions reflected those characteristics of God that we had taken the time that morning to “put on” by being in His Word before we left our home to go out and mingle with the world.

        Third, we need to NEVER forget that no matter what we are seeing take place in the world around us, God is still and always will be on His throne.  He is not pacing back and forth wondering what His next plan is going to be. He is firmly and confidently on His throne and what we are seeing is His plan moving forward.  Have confidence and joy in knowing that.

       Psalm 29:10“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King FOREVER.” God had complete control when the great flood happened and He has complete control with COVID and any hate and division in the world today.

  Psalm 31:24“Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.” 

    DON’T LOSE HOPE!  We need to continually look up. Are the end times on the horizon? No one knows.  But of this we can be sure—we need to live every single day of our lives as though it is.  We don’t have time to waste in telling those around us who so desperately need to hear—Jesus loves them and is waiting for them to come to Him.

     A Pastor I knew once made this statement that has always stuck with me: “The reason our evangelism is not effective is because our lives do not reflect the Jesus we are proclaiming.” (Pastor J.D. Cook)

      As we face the coming days let us always remember as God’s people, we must always take a stand for what is right, while always remembering to act with love and mercy, and understanding of what those around us might be going through.  



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