Gear Up for the Game

[ The opening video illustration was purchased from BluefishTV ]

Gear Up for the Game

VBS is finally upon us! All the busyness, activity, setup and tear down… all for what? To provide children in our church and community 15 hours of concentrated emphasis on the Bible, which leads to new life in Jesus Christ. Many kids don’t have a church, and some that do, perhaps that church doesn’t emphasize personal faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to receive everlasting life.

Before I talk about everlasting life, let me first address THIS life.

We face so many pressures in life. Adults are juggling busy schedules, paying bills, making sure kids have what they need, and raising a family. Kids are facing pressure to perform their best in school and all their extracurricular activities. It all can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, God knows everything we face. His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3. He wants to bless us, not just in THIS life, but for all of eternity! Jesus came and paid the price for our sins so that we can know him and have eternal life. Once we know him, he has also given us his Word so that we can grow, train in our spiritual gifts, encourage one another, and share God’s gift of eternal life with others. With Jesus, we have everything we need to grow and to thrive. He is also inviting us to join him in his work. When we serve on God’s team, he uses us to make a huge difference in the lives of other people.

Today I want you to be aware of what is happening at Vacation Bible School this week. These kids are going to be taught these lessons by faithful teachers …


Jesus Cares About Me (Luke 15:1-7) Romans 5:8

The first Bible story is out of Luke 15, the story about the shepherd who left the 99 and went to search for the lost sheep. Jesus cares for us and demonstrated that love by dying on the cross to save us from our sin, and then searches for his lost sheep.

God knows everything about us, and he desires for us to live with him forever. Even though sin caused us to be separated from God, he gave his son, Jesus, so that we can experience his forgiveness and enjoy an abundant life. John 10:10.

Jesus Gives Me Hope (John 11:1-44) John 11:25

On day two, the kids are going to study from John 11, the story about the raising of Lazarus. His sisters had hope in the resurrection on the last day, but Jesus taught Mary and Martha that hope begins NOW, not later.

People are trying to find hope in many worldly things, like money, politics, relationships with people, but those sources of hope are always going to let us down. The only source of true help is Jesus. He is God, and he is perfectly faithful and trustworthy. Psalm 86:15.

Jesus Helps Me to Believe (John 20:19-31) John 20:29

On Wednesday, we are focusing on John 20, the story of doubting Thomas who would not believe that Jesus had raised from the dead until he saw and touched the Lord.

When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, he made forgiveness available to all people. Acts 2:21.

God wants us to give our lives to him and to experience eternal life. Ephesians 1:7.

When we come to Jesus, he is the one who gives us faith. Like in the story of Thomas, Jesus loves us and he meets us where we are, to help us believe. John 20:19-31; Mark 9:23–24.

Jesus Loves Me (John 13:1-35, 19:25-27, 20:1-10, 21:1-14) 1 John 3:1a

On Thursday, we are looking at John’s stories that help us see his relationship with Jesus… where he talked about “greater love has no one than this, that one would lay down his life for his friends,” where Jesus had John to care for his mother, John’s experience at the empty tomb, and seeing the resurrected Lord serving breakfast in Galilee.

Also, when we come to Jesus, it is only the BEGINNING of all that God has planned for us. He wants us to enjoy a daily relationship with him. Romans 8:38-39.

John was one of the Jesus’ closest friends on earth, and God used him to write down many things God wanted to reveal to us. This means that God wants us to enjoy the same relationship and fellowship that Jesus and John experienced together. John 13:23; 20:2.

Jesus Gives Me Joy (Acts 16:23-34) Psalm 95:1

Finally, we wrap up the week looking at the prison experience of Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail.

We are going to learn that regardless of the circumstances that come in our lives we can have JOY in knowing that God is with us. He uses us to reach people with his love, and he has a lifetime and eternity of blessings prepared for us. Jeremiah 29:11.

God wants us to stay close to him so that we can bear fruit and be filled with his joy. John 15:5.

God created us to enjoy a relationship that last forever. Our lives are going to be meaningless and without true hope until we give our life to Jesus.


I’m going to quickly share the gospel and invite you to give your life to him today. During VBS, kids and families will be introduced to what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Gospel” means good news. What is do good about it?

  1. God Rules: The Bible tells us that God created everything, including you and me, and he is in charge of everything (Genesis 1:1, Revelation 4:11, Colossians 1:16-17)
  2. We Sinned: Since the time of Adam and Eve, everyone has chosen to disobey God (Romans 3:23). The Bible calls this sin. Because God is holy and cannot tolerate sin, we have a problem. Sin is that which separates up from God, no matter how hard we try to reach him. We deserve punishment and death (Romans 6:23).
  3. God Provided: To deal with our sin problem, God provided a way to forgive sin. Sin could not just be forgiven and swept under the rug, it has to be paid for. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve and could never pay on our own. Jesus saves us (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9).
  4. Jesus Gives: Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose from the dead. Since he gave up his life for us, we can be welcomed into God’s forever family. This is the best gift ever (Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18).

What can I do now? Learn Your ABCs

  1. Admit to God that you are a sinner. Tell God you messed up and are sorry for doing your own thing. Repent, and turn away from your sin and turn to God. Stop doing bad things and start doing good things. Turn to Jesus, the only one who can save you.
  2. Believe that Jesus is God’s Son and receive his free gift of forgiveness from sin. Only Jesus can save us from our sin problem. Not even praying, going to church, or reading your Bible can save you. We trust in Jesus, his death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead to bring salvation.
  3. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Tell God and then tell others what you believe about Jesus. When Jesus is your Savior, you are trusting in him only for your salvation. He is your Savior and he is your Lord, Boss, and Master. You follow him because of what we read in the Bible. We are born again into new life and will be with God forever (Romans 10:9-10, 13).


  1. Noticed how many lives are Christian Life Begins with Faith (2 Peter 1:1–4)
    1. This faith is in a person (2 Peter 1:1–2) – our faith is never in a set of beliefs or doctrines, but in the person of Jesus Christ. Christianity is a personal religious system that means nothing if God is an impersonal force or if salvation is based on believing or reciting a set of propositional truths.
    2. This faith involves God’s power (2 Peter 1:3) – How do we get everything we need for life and godliness, it is by his divine power. And God does not want us to be ignorant of him, so our faith is strengthened through knowledge of God and recognizing his glory.
    3. This faith involves God’s promises (2 Peter 1:4) – This book is full of precious and very great promises given for a reason, so we will escape the corruption that is in this world, and become a part of the divine nature.
  2. Faith Results in Spiritual Growth (2 Peter 1:5–9)
    1. The Path of Diligence – Positive (2 Peter 1:5-8)
      1. We must not only believe, we must behave (2 Peter 1:5a)
      2. We must not only have integrity, we must be informed (2 Peter 1:5b)
      3. We must not only be taught, we must be temperate (2 Peter 1:6a)
      4. We must not only be in possession, we must be patient (2 Peter 1:6b)
      5. We must not only be good, we must be godly (2 Peter 1:6c)
      6. We must not only be holy, we must be helpful (2 Peter 1:7a)
      7. We must not only be liberal (in kindness), we must be lovable (2 Peter 1:7b)
    2. The Path of Delusion – Negative (2 Peter 1:9) – if you lack these qualities, you are blind and short-sighted…
      1. We can lose sight of our condition (2 Peter 1:9a) – that our eyes have been opened to the reality of Christ
      2. We can lose sight of our conversion (2 Peter 1:9b) – that we are cleansed from our sins, meaning, some people are not acting like they are God’s people.
  3. Spiritual Growth Brings Practical Results (2 Peter 1:10–11)
    1. Steadfastness (2 Peter 1:10a) – be all the MORE diligent
      1. His Calling (2 Peter 1:10b) – to what has he called you? Giftedness, Serving, calling to Membership? Calling to Ministry?
      2. His Choosing (2 Peter 1:10c) – To be picked to play on his team. What is your position? What are you good at? What bring you joy as you do his work? What types of things do you do where people tell you that you really ministered to them?
    2. Stability (2 Peter 1:10d) – You will never stumble.
    3. Salvation (2 Peter 1:11) – Entrance into the eternal kingdom of Jesus, will be fully supplied.

Don’t you want to meet Jesus fully prepared and matured, rather than limping along like you’re nursing an old sports injury? Don’t let the world and its distractions keep you from all that God has for you. He has promised everything from the very beginning.

  • Don’t just sit in the stadium – you are not a spectator. Church is not a spectator sport.
  • Don’t dress out and just sit on the sidelines – be ready to get in the only game that counts.


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