Headlines from First Thoughts

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This past week, students, parents, senior adults, volunteers, and staff have been lost in the land of Egypt. We have brought to life a boy named Joseph, the favorite son of Israel. In the process, for the first time in three years, Casey left home and found herself in a whole new world.

Scripture nurtures the mind with the wonderful gift of heroes, heroines, and adventures that are better than any Hollywood script could write. Children don't want perfect heroes; but they do need ones who put their hope in God. Our VBS material this year focused on one of those adventures. We traveled back in time to imagine a world where a deceitful boy was betrayed by his blood brothers. A slave was chosen to become the head of a household. A banished prisoner was chosen by a Pharaoh to become prime minister.

This was a time in history when Egpyt was one of God's instruments to bring his redemptive plan to the world. Instead of the arch-enemy of Israel, or skeptical international neighbor, Egpyt's hands were God's hands to save and feed a chosen people. The great mystery and wonder of God's plan comes down to some seemingly small decisions that involved long sleepless nights, terror-filled dreams, a family needing food, a son setting aside grudges, and a ruler using an immigrant to run the highest levels of government.

Of course, it's one thing to read the story; but it's another to bring it to life. That's what over 75 volunteers did this past week. Senior adults painted hieroglyphics, middle schoolers escorted tribes, a music minister led aerobics, and together we were in Egpyt again to welcome everyone into an ancient land that seems to resonate with today's issues.

And this takes me back to a little girl. Casey was one of the first to arrive. She had never been out of her home before because she just turned 3 in February. Both of her parents work from home. Mom works full time with Casey, and her Dad runs his photography business out of a home office. She gets the blessing of 2 stay-at-home parents. Casey's parents are not members of First Baptist. As far as I know, this was their first time to come to church. For a little girl who rarely goes to babysitters and had never seen what a daycare looks like, Egpyt seemed like a pretty safe place to start on the long journey toward Christ.

We welcome 3 year olds, 13, 33, and 83 year olds into VBS because it's a good introduction to the greatest adventure of life, the life of Christ with a community called the church. Just as his story began with characters like Joseph, so ours does too. Now little Casey and her parents have a story they can always tell. Her first step of faith was a very short trip to Egpyt.

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