Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I remember when I was a kid....

Yup...summers in Colorado, trekking each year at the urging of a friend or two to come to Vacation Bible School at a church or two or three. I vaguely remember refreshments. I remember breaks to play games. I remember singing simple songs with the piano. It was fun and simple. I got saved at one of these VBS...I spent all week reading and re-reading the gospel tracts they sent home with us, until Wednesday or Thursday night I got down on my knees in front of my closet and trusted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

Things didn't change much when, as a high school student, our children's director asked me to take the 5th grade boys group for VBS. I don't remember much, but I do remember the simplicity of it all. It was also my first taste of children's ministry.

If I had instantaneously "quantum leaped" into the future, surely my reaction would have been "wow!" Of course, I would have missed the intervening years of cultural changes. I would have not been aware of the growing movement to relate to children as children. I would not have known how seriously publishing companies and children's resource networks were taking the business of capturing the culture, engaging the kids, and adopting the methodology of now without changing the timeless message.

But there were intervening years and I did get to see the changes. Those who insist on doing children's ministries using the same methods of 50 years ago have (in my humble opinion) underestimated what has been happening in our society. The needs of the children are the same, but their backgrounds, environments, and priorities have been radically altered. The kids I hung out with as a boy would have been "shell-shocked" by the VBS our church just finished. But even the most loyal, church going kids of today would be bored silly with the VBS of my childhood.

But now, as then, children's ministries has an impact. Kids are still getting saved in VBS, just as I was. And our teens jumped right in to help this year, perhaps planting a seed in their lives to enter future ministry. God bless VBS.

And speaking of VBS......
Outdoor fun and games
Two of our teens showing the dignity and seriousness required in a VBS volunteer
Praise and worship...this is VBS at its best!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Yes, yes, yes...the calendar says July 13. But I haven't had the opportunity to sit down and share a little from our community's 4th of July celebration. So forgive me for going back a week...
(If you want a detailed description of Independence Day in our small town, you can read my
comments from last year . )

I guess the best part of the 4th of July is the parade and vendors. Main Street is blocked off early in the morning for the annual "Fun Run". Floats, bands, and other parade entries line up in the high school parking lot for judging. Vendor booths line both sides of the street, with clubs, civic organizations, churches, and businesses selling everything from artwork to hot dogs.

What would the 4th of July be without food booths?
People crowd the street (this is earlier in the day before the parade. It quickly gets filled)
Of course, there is the parade itself, with running commentary from the mayor, the county commisioner, and a local auctioneer. For first time visitors, the jokes and introductions are a little quaint. But I'm finding that the longer I live here, the more I get them. But what is really impressive about our city's 4th of July parade is at the beginning, when the color gaurd halts before the reveiw stand. At the prompting of the mayor, the crowd stands, puts their hands on their hearts, and listens as the national anthem is sung. It's stirring and sentimental and patriotic....and a reminder that there is an entire America that embraces values apart from those of certain major metropolitan areas and academic/political strongholds.
Okay, enough editorializing.....back to the parade:

The old and the new come together with vintage fire trucks and more modern equipment

Hey fellas, looking for that perfect gift for your wife? Fancy cars are also part of the 4th fun.
For the first time in many years, we did not go to the football stadium to watch the fireworks show. We have a fairly decent view from our back yard, so we decided to stay home. It still made for a late night, but an enjoyable day as we celebrated our country's birthday.