This is Joe Gagliardi give’n you the latest and greatest news from our own “Big Apple Adventure!” Last night was awesome baby! We received 90 precious children into our event to learn more about how they could “connect with faith” (Romans 10:17) in the story of the Roman Centurion who had great faith. The expressions on the children’s faces by the end of the evening were beautiful because I could tell they loved the time they had spent here in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of you who worked so diligently to make these moments possible are to be highly commended; youz guys did an excellent job in every situation. Congrats! My prayer is for this week to be monumental in your own life and in the children we teach for the Kingdom of Christ.
Now, let me cover a few things that need to be discussed:
1) For tonight, we need more information from the registration forms on several of our learners. Last night we only got names and some sparse information. It is very critical for parents/guardians to completely fill out their registration as much as possible. This may take some extra time, but it is essential for us to keep good records (primarily for the purpose of follow-up) and to have good emergency contact information if by chance we have that situation arise (and we pray it does not). All those helping Annette, Tina, Vicki, and Cindy with registration please help us with this vital information at check-in.
2) Also concerning registration, tonight we start counting for which child or family of children brings the most guests. At the registration table, if you will ask each child if they brought a guest or guests and note how many they brought, then give that information to Annette so we can get an accurate count, that would be much appreciated. I have offered up the challenge to get 135 kids here for an evening, and we are praying that will happen.
3) I know last night was difficult at registration with the noise from the music and children coming in and I apologize for the inconvenience. Tonight we will start the music right at 6:30 as we normally do. Last night we needed some extra time for introductions and briefing. The good thing is that we were able to get out to our rotations in time. If we go over the rest of the week in the worship rally, I will stagger the rotations in an attempt to give each station equal time. This probably will not be an issue tonight, but on Tuesday night with the gospel presentation we will probably go a bit long. My advice is to jump into your rotation with full energy and quickness. When you hear my blow horn that is the time to dismiss. Please teach up until that time, use every moment God gives you with these children. We need to be prepared so that we run out of time before we run out of things to do with our kids.
4) Tonight, for those of us who can make it by this time, we will meet in the fellowship hall at 5:30pm to pray over the evening. After that, we will be having pizza, some chicken, and other light dinner items.
5) Teenagers (parents of teenagers reading this please share with your helpers), we need to get seated in your section and stay there once we start the worship rally. Moving around is a big distraction to the kids and we do not want to hinder their opportunity to get into the things we are doing on stage. There was a lot of movement last evening and much of it was youth who could have been more stationary. Thank you for your help in this.
6) Adults in the back and on the sides need to watch for being a distraction as well. There seemed to be a lot of peripheral noise in the sanctuary last evening. We need to do everything we can to create an atmosphere where children can hear and receive the instruction and worship that is being given to them from the stage area. Thanks for your help in these matters, your cooperation will be a benefit to what the Lord wants to do this week in our midst.
7) Please promote giving to the homeless as we go through the week. We will be blessing the Beautiful Feet Ministry of Ft. Worth with the gifts we receive this week in VBS.
Now it’s devotion time:
Meditate for a moment on this idea from Scripture in Hebrews 12:1-2. We need to lay aside every weight (or encumbrance) and the sin, which can so easily entangle and ensnare us. And, we need to run with endurance the race that is set before us, especially as it pertains to this week in VBS. We need to look to Jesus, the author and completer (perfecter, finisher) of our faith. Jesus considered all things joy and went the extra mile to make sure that God’s will was completed. He even endured the shame and rejection, all for our sake.
Laying aside the weights, or encumbrances, of our lives has to do with proper priorities. If we are going to be filled with Christ, we must reject even some unsinful things in our lives that tend to drag us down and render us ineffective for His work. Of course we also need to be mindful of our sin and confess those things that offend God each and every day knowing that He hears, is gracious, is faithful and forgives (1 John 1:9).
Endurance has to do with sticking with it till its completion. Don’t grow weary in well doing, you will eventually reap want you sow (Galatians 6:9). We cannot afford to “flame out,” or quit in the work of the Lord. He has no pleasure in that (Hebrews 10:38).
Keep your eyes on Jesus, work in unity with each other. If there are interpersonal issues that you need to work out with individuals, be mature enough in your Christian walk to do that for the purpose of your own growth in the Lord, your peace, and His blessings on our work here this week and on into the future (Matthew 5:22-24). The last thing we want to do as His people is grieve and quench His Holy Spirit from doing as He desires among us. God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to humble (1 Peter 5:5).
Have a blessed day, let us gather tonight with one purpose: “Connect with Love!”