Monday, July 01, 2019

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of June 30, 2019

Sermon: “When Life is Wild…God is Good!”
Text: Nahum 1:7

This past week almost 150 kids came to Bethany for Vacation Bible School.  Every day was filled with laughter and song, story and snack as the kids learned that when life is wild…God is good.

Honestly, it is one of my favorite weeks of the year.  Sure, the days start early and run long, but to see God at work is amazing.  I hope the kids all had a roaring good time as they learned all about the goodness of God.  I hope you too will encounter God’s goodness as he comes to you in these words and that you may know that no matter what comes in life, that God is good!

I have some vivid memories of Vacation Bible School as a child.  I remember singing songs and playing, hearing stories and making crafts but the most powerful memory I have of VBS is from when I was about 5 years old.  I remember sitting on the floor of a room at church with red shag carpet and my mother telling us stories of the Bible using a flannel graph.  I can smell the paste as we stuck Popsicle sticks together for the craft, and most importantly I remember the feeling of eating a half dozen Oreo cookies, washing them down with about a liter of red punch and then swinging on the swings outside.  It was glorious, and magical.  About that time I fell in love with VBS. It is my prayer that many of the kids who came this year not only fell in love with VBS but came to know the love and goodness of God as well. 

This morning I want to give you an overview of our week, to have you glimpse what took place here so that your faith might be strengthened and that you might have a deeper love for the goodness of God. 

The theme verse for VBS this week was from the Old Testament prophet Nahum who writes, “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes.” (Nahum 1:7) 

All week we heard about the goodness of God and on Monday we learned that when life is unfair…God is good!

The kids experienced a little bit about what life was like for God’s people who were in slavery in Egypt. 
They encountered some of the Egyptian slave drivers who made them work and put unrealistic expectations upon them.  They felt how unfair it was for them to have to work so hard and were destined for failure.  Slavery was terrible and demoralizing. 

But, it’s our existence too.  We are all slaves to sin.  Satan spins lies that say we need to work to earn God’s love.  He has blinded us by unrealistic expectations and we have lost sight of our true identity.  In Christ we find refuge and strength.  In Christ we see the goodness of God in the flesh and as the Israelites were freed from their captivity, we too have been freed from the slavery of sin and by grace we have been saved through faith, so when trouble comes we find our refuge in Jesus and we come to understand that when life is unfair…God is good!

On Tuesday the kids heard the story of the plagues that were sent to Egypt and learned that when life is scary…God is good!

As the plagues decimated the land, it was a scary time, but the kids heard some wonderful words of King David, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” (Psalm 23:4)

The last of the plagues was the most devastating.  The angel of death was to pass through the land, killing the first born in every family.  This plague was the one to finally convince hardhearted Pharaoh to let God’s people go.

In a bit of prophetic and divine foreshadowing, the Israelites were saved by the blood of a lamb who took the place of the firstborn and as the blood was shed and placed on the doorframes of the houses, it became a refuge of strength for the people as the angel of death passed over.

It was Jesus who became our spotless lamb as he willingly gave up his life and shed his blood and became our one true refuge and strength.  By his blood we are saved; through his blood we are strengthened and nourished and washed clean.  This is the goodness of God!  Now we know and have experienced that even when life is scary…God is good!

On Wednesday the story was about God’s people leaving Egypt and entering the wilderness as they learned that when life changes…God is good!

There is an old joke that asks, “How many Lutheran’s does it take to change a light bulb?  The answer is 10; one to do it, and nine to say how much they liked the old one better.”  It’s funny, because it’s true.  We don't do well with change.

Change can be hard.  Even though the people of God were slaves in Egypt and had been granted freedom, they soon began to worry and complain.  Some even wanted to go back to Egypt.  They lost sight of what God had done for them.  Life was different in the desert.  Even though God provided, they wanted more. 

We do the same thing.  Even after we have been brought to faith, we still doubt.  When life changes we feel as if God has abandon us.

Yes, life changes but God did the most amazing change inside us.  Through water and the word our hearts were changed, we were washed clean and we can sing along with the Psalmist, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.”  (Psalm 106:1)  Changes will come, but God’s faithful love will never change so even when life changes…God is good!

On Thursday the kids heard the story of salvation found in Jesus and that when life is sad…God is good!
Our lives are filled with brokenness.  Our lives have been broken by sin; our hearts are broken by loneliness or anger, or guilt…But as the kids heard from Psalm 34, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:18)

Sin separates us from God; sin brought sadness and suffering into the world.  Often times we find ourselves feeling sad because things didn't turn out the way we wanted or because we are feeling the effects and the guilt of sin.  There are times where sadness overwhelms us as a loved one passes away and tears stream down our faces. But God did something about that.  It was on a Friday that we call, “Good” where it all changed.  On that day Jesus paid the penalty for all sin and he rose again to defeat death. 

In Him we have new life and as He rises, we too rise and He promises that when He calls us home, “He will wipe every tear from our eyes.” (Revelation 21:4)

While there will be things that will bring sadness to us in this world, we know that even when life is sad…God is good!

On Friday the kids took time to remember.  In their Bible Adventures they carried the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan River and set up a stone of remembrance as they celebrated the goodness of God who had brought them into the Promised Land and heard that when life is good…God is good!

They learned that Jacob, Joshua and Samuel all set up stones as symbols to remember God’s good and gracious acts done for His people.   The kids confessed along with Nehemiah, “Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious.” (Nehemiah 4:14)

We all have reasons to remember and to celebrate.  It is one of the reasons we are gathered here on the Lord’s Day.  Through worship and song we remember the works of the Lord.  We praise Him for what He has done for us.  In this place we remember the mighty works of the Lord who in love sent Jesus as a sacrifice.  We put up crosses, an instrument of torture, because we remember what took place there.

We set stones upon one another as buildings are built, not to bring glory to us, but to remember that one stone that was rolled away.  We hear the Word of the Lord proclaimed here to remember and to celebrate the goodness of God. We take and eat the bread and we drink the cup in remembrance of Jesus, the light of the world, the true Son of God, our savior, who in love did the good work of the Father so that we can know that when life is good…God is good!

It was an amazing week and through this VBS we hope that many kids will remember the goodness of God and that they will never forget about His love.  May the same be said for us today because when life is wild… God is good!
-Pr. Seth Moorman

Please NOTE:

The Bethany Bullet will go dark the week of July 7, 14, & 21.
The Bullet will resume the week of July 28.


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