Dear Hyde Park Family,

5 days.
400 children.
220 volunteers.
And one amazing spirit of joy and gladness.

That’s the numerical summary of our Hyde Park campus this week, as we have been experiencing yet another incredible Vacation Bible School. Themed “Maker Fun Factory: Created by God, Built for a Purpose,” every building has been transformed into an imaginative and immersive place for our children to experience God’s love for them.

Kudos, of course, go to our stellar Children’s Ministry staff and their huge team of adult and youth volunteers. Running an operation of this magnitude has required months of preparation and weeks of gathering, building, and fine-tuning every little detail to make this an unforgettable experience. And thank you for your faithful and generous stewardship that makes these kinds of programs possible.

We remember that the goal of VBS is not just to entertain and amuse. The reason this church puts such a high priority on this week is that each morning, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., our children are learning vital spiritual truths that can shape their lives for years to come.

Last week, during staff prayer time, Kathy DiRaimo, our Administrative Assistant for Children and Youth Ministries, offered a statement that captures the heart of why this week is so important. This is what we hope each child learns by week’s end:

You were made and designed specifically and amazingly to fulfill a great purpose in God’s Kingdom. You were born for this moment, and we want you to know your worth and believe it! Know that God is for you and you are not alone. You never have to wonder if somebody (or Somebody) loves you.

That is a powerful message, not just for our children, but for each of us. Take a second to read that statement again, this time for yourself. Then consider each of the following daily Bible points from this week, for what it might mean to you.

Monday’s Bible Point: God made you.
Key Verse: “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!” (Psalm 139:14)
The children learned the story of God’s creation of human beings in Genesis 1 and 2, and remembered that each of us is made in God’s image, with unique qualities that make us each special. That includes you. When God made you, God did not make a mistake.

Tuesday’s Bible Point: God is for you.
Key Verse: “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
Here the kids heard the story of Joshua, who was called by God to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Despite fears of the massive Canaanite army, Joshua claimed the promise that God was for them. You might feel that the odds are against you. But God is for you.

Wednesday’s Bible Point: God is always with you.
Key Verse: “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
The children learned about Gideon, one of my favorite characters in the entire Old Testament. He was called by God to an improbable task, to lead the Israelites to victory against the powerful Midianites. But God gave him assurance when he doubted, and displayed power in surprising and creative ways. And all Gideon had to do was trust that God was always with them. Let that be a word of encouragement to you.

Thursday’s Bible Point: God will always love you.
Key Verse: “Your unfailing love will last forever.” (Psalm 89:2)
This morning, the children heard the good news of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Because of his self-sacrificial love for the world, Jesus offered a way for us to be in a new relationship with God. No matter what you have done in your past, and no matter what struggles you may have in the future, God will always love you.

Friday’s Bible Point: God made you for a reason.
Key Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Tomorrow, the children will learn about Abigail, the wife of a mean-spirited man named Nabal. When David, the king of the Israelites, came into a conflict with Nabal that was headed toward certain bloodshed, Abigail stepped in to intervene and broker peace. Her life is a reminder that you have a purpose: to bear a message of peace and love in a world filled with bitter division.

As you venture into the rest of your summer, take a moment to give thanks for another wonderful Vacation Bible School, and for all the people that made it happen. More importantly, continue to revisit these five Bible points for yourself. And allow the power of an imaginative, redemptive God to create something new within you.


MIDWEEK MESSAGE TO RESUME IN AUGUST
I’ll be taking a brief break from writing the Midweek Message during the month of July, and will look forward to resuming them in August. In case you missed any prior messages, they are available on our website.

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