We apologize, no Audio is available for this service.
Good morning. Upon entering today you might have noticed a few subtle alterations that have been made to our sanctuary. This past week was Vacation Bible School week.
The music portion of the VBS day was held here in the sanctuary, using music projected onto this screen. We’ve left the screen here today because we’re going to use it as we review the Bible stories that the kids had this week. We’re also going to give them a chance to share a couple of the songs they learned.
We begin our worship today in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let’s pray. Father in Heaven, thank you for blessing our church this past week during VBS. Thank you for hard working teachers, eager students, and for the light of your word. Help us all to zero in on your word this worship day. Build our faith. Renew our joy in Christ. To Your Name be the glory. Amen.
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ALPHA ONE STAR INTRO
As you’ve noticed, our VBS had a space theme this year. It was called “Space Station Salvation”. In our opening devotion we talked about what salvation means. What it means to be rescued by God.
From that point on, each day the kids blasted off to a different star to learn about a different story in God’s Word. The first star they visited was…
ALPHA ONE STAR Genesis 1:1-5, 2:2-3 (NIV)
1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The main teaching point on day one of VBS was that God made the world with His power and words.
In the first two chapters of the Bible, God tells us about the very beginning of our universe. He describes for us the way in which He created everything.
This part of the Bible is strange and wonderful. God is so different from us, and the way that He created this universe is so different than we might imagine. Some of the details God gives us about how He created still cause us to screw up our faces and wonder, what exactly does that mean?
For example, what does it mean that God “separated the light from the darkness” (verse 4)? How does one do that? What did it all look like when light and darkness were all mixed up?
And here’s another thing. If you read on in Genesis one, you find that God created light on the first day, but he didn’t create the light bearing bodies like the sun and the other stars until the fourth day. What was it like for the daylight to come and go without the Sun, because the Sun was yet to be created?
If you read over Genesis one and two, you’ll find over and over that God is immensely powerful. He made the sky, separated the muck into water and land, created the plants, the birds, the fish, and the land animals - all by just speaking the command that they begin to be. And then, forming a human shape out of the dirt, God breathed life into the first human being.
Besides showing that God is powerful, the first two chapters from Genesis reveal that God is good. He created the universe as a gift for humans to enjoy and take care of. And in the beginning, God’s universe was perfect. There was no pain, or evil because man had not yet sinned.
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The second star the kids visited was…
BETA TWO STAR Genesis 12:1-5 (NIV)
12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
The main teaching point on day two, was that God is faithful to His promises.
To begin with, the kids read about how suffering and death entered God’s perfect world. The first two human beings sinned.
People often blame God for the evil in our world. They say, look at all this suffering. God either doesn’t exist or He’s powerless. But really, the blame for the suffering in our world belongs to the first two human beings, Adam and Eve. They were the ones that disobeyed God and tainted His perfect creation with evil, suffering and death.
Even though it was their fault, God promise Adam and Eve that He would send them a Savior. Someone who would crush the devil’s power and sweep away the sins of the human race.
This is why God told Abraham “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (verse 3). The Savior of the world would be one of Abraham’s descendants!
Now, in the picture we see here Abraham is gazing up into the starry sky. When Abraham was an old man, God promised him that he’d have so many descendants that counting them would be like trying to count the stars.
God kept that promise. Abraham’s children became the Nation of Israel.
When Abraham was about a hundred years old, God promised him that a son would be born to him within the year.
God kept that promise too, and Isaac was born to the hundred-year-old Abraham and his wife.
Throughout his life, Abraham found that when God makes a promise, He keeps that promise. We can be confident of the promises God makes to us in the Bible as well. Most importantly, we are sure that our sins stand forgiven through Jesus. Because Jesus was the descendant of Abraham through whom the whole world is blessed.
Now we join in confessing our sins to God, and receiving His assurance of forgiveness. Please turn to page 4 of the bulletin.
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The third star the kids visited was…
GAMMA THREE STAR Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On day three the kids reviewed the Christmas story. The main point was that Baby Jesus born at Christmas is the Savior and the light of the world.
The Bible tells us that God the Son has always existed with the Father and the Holy Spirit. They are the Triune God. The Bible tells us that God the Son was there in the beginning, and that all things were created through Him.
Though He was used to living in glory at the Father’s side, here we see God the Son born into a dirty stable, to a set of no-name Jewish commoners.
It has been suggested that the Savior was born in such humble circumstances to show that He came to save all people, not just kings and princes, not just the important people of the world, but ALL SINNERS.
And that’s exactly what we find the Angel telling the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (verse 10).
If you’re a sinner, this Baby was born to save you. Think about that wonderful fact like Mary did, pondering it your heart. Holding onto it as treasure. And may Baby Jesus fill you with praise like He did the shepherds, who returned to their work glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
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The fourth star the kids visited was…
DELTA FOUR Mk 15:33-41, Mt 28:1-10 (NIV)
33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
28:1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Just as the Angel had said to the shepherds, the angel at the tomb told the women, “Do not be afraid”.
And when these women met the resurrected Jesus on their hurried way back to Jerusalem, He greeted them with those same words, “Do not be afraid”.
God wants us to mark these words well. DO NOT BE AFRAID. The God who made us, loves us. Even though our sins make us unworthy of being His people, through Jesus He has taken us to be His people all the same.
In the darkness on the cross, the just punishment for our sins, yours and mine, was poured out on the Son of God. There is no sin left to suffer for. They’ve all been washed away by Jesus.
In the darkness of the tomb, Jesus began to breathe after three days of lying stone cold and dead. Through His suffering and death, Jesus had done what the Father had asked, and now the Father would show the world that His Son was triumphant, that His sacrifice for all sinners had been accepted. The world had seen the Savior die, now the world would see Him rise.
Do not be afraid. He died for you, and now He lives.
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DELTA FIVE STAR Acts 8:4-8, 26-40 (NIV)
4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
On our last day of VBS we read about Philip, who shows us that believers shine like stars by living for the Lord, helping others, and sharing his saving word.
Jesus once said, “I am the light of the word”. What He meant was that He shows us the way to heaven, and the way to live this life with joy, peace and purpose.
Jesus is our guiding star, and as the light of His word shows us the way, it also begins to reflect off of us.
During His life, Jesus preached to the cities of Israel about God’s Savior, and how it was through Him that heaven is opened. So, Philip preached the same message. He reflected the message that he had received from Jesus like the moon reflects the light of the sun.
Philip wasn’t well known in the world. He was just an ordinary guy. But with the word of God, and the Holy Spirit’s direction, Philip made a big difference in the world.
Think about the man that Philip reached with the Good News on that road to Gaza. The Ethiopian man was an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Queen of Ethiopia! When he came home with the Good News in his heart, you can be sure that he reflected that message of love and forgiveness to the people of Ethiopia.
It starts this way. God loves people, so we love people. God wants people to know their Savior, so we tell them about their Savior.
And when we fail to live for the Lord, when we sin, then we can still live for the Lord. For when we trust in Him for forgiveness, we are living for the Lord also. When we come to Him, confessing our sins and expressing our confidence that in Christ we are forgiven, then we are living for the Lord.