10 Jul

If you don’t already know it, I am a huge fan of Vacation Bible School.  I loved it as a kid! I remember having a good time singing songs, making crafts, playing games, and eating cookies and punch to my hearts content.

I remember VBS as being a great deal of fun when I was a kid growing up in Big Spring.

Our Vacation Bible School here is always a fun time. At least I think our folks here have a fun time with it, and I think the kids have a fun time as well.

But it’s also a lot of work. I can’t begin to count the hours that so many volunteers put into this deal so that your kids and our kids could learn about Jesus in a fun atmosphere.

Why do people work all day and then come to volunteer in the evening for that week? It’s not like they don’t have other things to do.

We don’t pay them to do it, so it’s not dreams of being able to buy a bass boat from what they get.

There’s really only one reason we do this:

Because people need Jesus.

Maybe you expected me to say that we have Vacation Bible School because children need Jesus.

And you’re right – to an extent.

Obviously, Vacation Bible School is geared to kids.

But children aren’t the only people we’re hoping to reach with the news that Jesus died for their sins and makes heaven available.

We want to reach families. We want to reach moms and dad, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas.

We want to reach friends and neighbors of these children.

Vacation Bible School is just one of the ways we try to make that happen.

1 John 5:11-12 –

God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Most of us grew up hearing that Jesus died for our sins, right?

And if you’re like me, you grew up believing that if you did a few things right, you’d go to heaven.

Things like being baptized, confessing your sins, taking communion, going to church, or whatever. I grew up believing that these things would get me to heaven.

But again, if you’re like me, you couldn’t really say that Jesus was part of who you were – He didn’t have much of a presence or an influence in your life.

This passage from the Bible says that if a person “has” Jesus in his or her life, then they have “eternal life.”

What’s eternal life? The bottom line is that it means Heaven. Forever.

And how do we get that eternal life? By having Jesus in your life. This says that if we have Jesus, we have eternal life.

So what does it mean to “have Jesus?”

You have Jesus when you believe with your life and not just with your head.

What do I mean by that?

Let me start by stating that I am deathly afraid of heights. Just hang on, and you’ll get why I’m saying that, okay?

Have you ever been bungee jumping?

My buddy Brett Willis was getting married.  We had some major plans for his bachelor party. We were going to go bungee jumping.

Have I mentioned that I’m afraid of heights?

Yet, strangely enough, I had always wanted to go bungee jumping just to say I had done it.

And I wasn’t about to let those guys know that I was scared.

We got to what was at the time known as “Wet and Wild” and is now known as “Hurricane Harbor”. They had a 150 foot tower with an elevator that went to the top.  There was a tiny net below.

But I couldn’t show these guys I was scared. No way.

They put the bungee cords around our legs. The guy starts doing something to mine. I inquire and he says he’s repairing the cord. I ask him if he fixed and eh replies that he really doesn’t know since he’s never repaired one before.

I was determined not to show any fear but my heart was going like a trip hammer. But I was determined not to act scared.

Brett jumped. No problem.

Mike jumped. No problem.

Then it’s my turn.

Got to the top of the elevator and the guy opens the gate.

I tell him to give me a second. Then I ask him to push me. He says he can’t because of fear of lawsuits.

I kept putting off the actual jumping off the elevator. The whole crown down below begins to shout “Jump, jump jump!”

I finally gave in and jumped .. feet first.

That was a new experience.

I could have studied up all about aerodynamics and such to figure out how bungee jumping worked. But that wasn’t bungee jumping.

I could have talked to the attendant about this record on the job and how many successful jumps he had actually seen happen.

But it wasn’t until I actually put my life on the line and jumped off that makeshift elevator that my belief was shown to be real.

I had to believe with my life and not just my head if I wanted to make it successfully.

It’s the same thing with Jesus and getting to heaven.

I could believe Jesus with my head, like I did growing up.

I could talk to the pastor and believe that Jesus would get me to heaven.

I could read my Bible and believe that Jesus would get me to heaven.

But it’s not until I believe with my life – putting all of my hope and faith into Jesus and what He did for me on the cross that I will really have heaven.

Let me give you a quick “good news/bad news” deal.

The Bible is very clear that all of us have sinned and deserve hell. You may not be as bad as the next guy or gal, but the Bible says that if you’ve broken one law, you’ve broken them all, and since you’ve broken God’s law, you can’t get into heaven based on your own efforts, no matter how religious you might be.

None of us can.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that because of Jesus, we can have our sins forgiven and enter into heaven when we die.

The Bible says that Jesus came to pay the penalty we deserve for our sins by offering Himself on the cross.

You’ve heard it before –

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God loves you – more than you’ll ever know, and that love drove Jesus to the cross, because He’d rather die than spend eternity without you with Him in heaven.

He wants to be in your life as your Savior and as your Boss – the master of your life.

Let me give you very quickly just three benefits that come with taking Jesus for yourself. I’d love to talk more on each one of these, but we just don’t have the time today, so if you want to know more about these, get hold of me, and I’d be glad to discuss them with you in more detail.

1. Forgiveness of sins, no matter how great or small.
2. Guarantee of heaven.
3. God living in you to help you live for Him.

Because of what Jesus did for you, you can leave here today knowing that eternity is squared away for you, and that God Himself is living in you to help you through the grind of living – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Would you like to go to bed tonight knowing that your sins are taken care of, and that God Himself is living in you to help you live a life of fulfillment, significance, and meaning?

It’s not an issue of “which church to go to.” There are some really great churches in this area of different denominations who would tell you exactly what I’m telling you today, and I’m glad to recommend any of them.

It’s an issue of putting your faith in Christ – believing with your life and not just your head. By receiving Christ for yourself, so that you can have Christ and eternal life.

I’m going to say a prayer that you can pray with me in your heart. You don’t have to pray it out loud, because God hears your heart.

This prayer will basically say that you know and understand that you’ve blown it – you’ve sinned against God by breaking His laws.

This prayer will say that you believe that Jesus died for your sins so that you could be forgiven and have eternal life from this point forward.

And this prayer will say that you want Jesus for yourself – that as much as you can understand it, you’re believing in Jesus with your heart, and not just your head.

And that’s why we do VBS!


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