Yes, I'm a pastor's wife, but I suspect not all of my readers are Christian. I won't hold back on my beliefs, but I also won't shove religion at you. I try not to accept things just because they're told to me but read and research in order to make up my own mind. You'll find a random mix of stuff here, depending on what interests me at the moment. I like to read others' opinions, whether they agree with me or not, which means I love comments on my posts!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Raising Leaders

We took a group of 19 to Spiritual Boot Camp over the weekend. It was an expensive trip for our small church (over $1000) but well worth it, as we feel like it's investing in the futures of these 19 people as well as the future of our church. This group consisted of the leaders of our youth group...adults and teens who make up our core. We got to choose 3 class sessions to attend, and I went to Instructing Leaders to Lead, Sunday School Curriculum, and Finding Your Ministry. The classes were great, the worship was amazing, and the church was HUGE. Here are some highlights of what I learned:

1. Have an exit strategy for volunteers! Teachers, leaders, etc. should not feel guilted into staying in their positions. New volunteers should not be afraid to accept a position because of the fear of being stuck there for life.

2. A leader is simply one who has followers and influences others. When identifying leaders, keep in mind that it's not always the loudest or boldest. If there is a leader in your youth group who is a bad influence (leading others to do bad things), get to know and encourage them. Direct them towards being a good influence.

3. When teaching, 1 point clearly communicated is better than 3 foggy or rushed points. With multiple points, people get confused and are more likely to forget what you said.

4. People who are in visible positions must be held to a high standard. Worship leaders, teachers, etc. are representations of the church and its standards; as the body of Christ, the church represents God's standards. If the music minister is getting drunk on the weekends or teens in the youth praise band are living together as a couple, they will be seen as hypocrites by others. This hurts their testimony as well as the effectiveness of the church.

5. Teach about the Tabernacle! During the worship part of the day, the speaker told us about the Tabernacle...the different areas of it and what was required in each area. Then we encountered a bit of it ourselves. Over 100 of us stood in line waiting to enter the "Tabernacle." (So it was a gym/youth service area, but we got the symbolism of it.) Just the entrance was a curtain where we were to thank God, maybe for something He's done for us, how He's provided, or just who He is. Then was the altar to place a sacrifice, and offering buckets were on top for us to give money. During the initial part with the speaker, he stressed why there was a sacrifice at the tabernacle and that it was giving our best to God. After that was a thing of water to "cleanse" ourselves by wetting our hands and asking God for forgiveness for any sins we had committed.
Through another curtain was the Holy Place. Here we took communion and prayed for what we needed and for various people (our Pastor, Youth Pastor, etc.). The idea was to get everything off our minds before we continued through the Tabernacle. Through the last curtain was the representation of the Holy of Holies. Here we also prayed, but it was mostly for allowing us to simply be in God's presence. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

That's it for now, but there were plenty of other bullet points and discussions that I would like to bring up eventually. In the meantime, have a great week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Joyful Living - Dance Like No One's Watching

I heard a man say earlier this year that the Bible forbids dancing. He wasn't just saying the bumping and grinding where it looks like a baby might be made on the dance floor. He was talking about ALL dancing. He went on to say that there are no godly people who danced in the Bible. Well, he must have read a different Bible than the one I have.

In Exodus 15:20-21, Miriam led the other women as they danced and played tambourines after crossing the Red Sea.

In 2 Samuel 6, David danced before the Ark of the Lord as an act of worship to God.

In Jeremiah 31:13, Jeremiah foretells of a time when people will celebrate and dance with joy because of the Lord.

And my personal favorite is Ecclesiastes 3:1,4: For everything there is a season...A time to grieve and a time to dance.

I'm tired of grieving over how much I can no longer do because of my poor health (I'm recovering from toxic mold exposure) and am ready to rejoice over how much I CAN do. This is my time to dance! Sometime today I will dance like no one is watching. Will you, too? I dare you to. Dance with your child or alone in your bathroom. Blare some music or dance to the music in your head. Move for a few seconds or keep on dancing all day while you do the household chores. Twirl, jump, flail your arms, or just clap and stomp your foot. Enjoy it! Then come tell me about it. If you need some musical inspiration, I love Mercy Me's Move (video below)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Joyful Living with a Smile

Remember when the yellow smiley face logo was absolutely everywhere? I had a t-shirt with this face that read "Smile. It confuses people." As a rebellious preteen who secretly wanted to fit in, I thought it was so cool.

Seriously though, would you rather see someone smile or frown? When I'm walking down the street or through a store or wherever, my feelings are immediately uplifted for a moment if someone walks past me and smiles. It's a millisecond of shared joy.

Today I will simply smile at someone. Won't you join me? It could be someone you pass by at work, in a store, or anywhere else. If you don't leave the house today, simply offer a smile when your spouse, child, etc. walks in the door. I want to learn and show to myself that even when I don't feel like being happy, I can show and share a bit of joy. Amazingly, that bit of joy starts to lift my own 'blah' mood.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Joyful Living - Beautiful Creations

I just recently got back from a Spiritual Retreat in the mountains where there was beautiful scenery, comfortable weather, and serene quietness. The rooms had no TVs and my cell phone had no reception. I just want to was nice!

I've been battling with depression on and off for quite a few months. It was nice to have a peaceful, relaxing break from it in the mountains, and it got me thinking a lot about joy. I used to wear a bracelet all the time that read "joyful." It was my reminder that we can always be joyful with the Lord, even when we're not happy. Happiness is a feeling--an emotion that comes and goes--but we can choose to be joyful.

Psalm 4:7 says "You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine."

I want that surpasses all logic. I had that kind of joy in the mountains when I wrote this in my notebook: God says we're His bride, and He will rejoice over us as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (Isaiah 62:5). It's thrilling how the places He made--the mountains and beaches, forests and creeks--can also be the most romantic. He woos His bride every day with starry nights, sunrises and sunsets.

Today I will appreciate something beautiful that God created...a late-blooming rose, the sunset, the starry night sky, red and yellow leaves as they change colors. He didn't have to make things visually appealing, but He did it for the joy of seeing it. I will joyfully see the beauty today! How about you?

That's the view I had a few days ago. *Sigh*

This post is also linked to Homemaker in Heels.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's the Most Taboo Subject in Church?

Many people would say sex is the most taboo subject in church. It's rarely preached about, and most people blush or turn away at the thought of mentioning it in the house of God. But I think there's a subject even more taboo...gluttony.

Gluttony: Excessive eating or drinking; greedy or excessive indulgence (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Maybe I have never been to the right church at the right time, but I have never heard a pastor preach to a congregation about gluttony. Why not? Probably because we don't want to hear it. Maybe the pastor is afraid too many church members will get mad and not come back. Or maybe the pastor gives in to gluttony so much himself, that he doesn't feel right preaching about it. Or maybe we all have gotten so caught up in it, we no longer see it as wrong.

Wrong? Really? But I LOVE to eat! Really, I do...I'm not being sarcastic here. I grew up not realizing gluttony was wrong. A couple of years ago, I finally started reading the Bible on my own rather than waiting for it to be spoon-fed to me on Sundays. Here's what I found:

Romans 13:14 Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Phillipians 3:18-19 ...they are the enemies of the cross: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

Provers 23:20-21 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty...

Proverbs 25:16 Have you found honey? Eat as much as is sufficient for you, lest you be filled with it, and vomit.

No, gluttony isn't exactly in the 10 commandments (unless you count having no other gods before Him), but the Bible does speak against it. Food is meant to nourish and sustain us, but overeating beyond what's needed is giving in to the flesh. Phillipians 3:18-19 (above) says it best. Also, drunkeness is often preached against, but we fail to see that gluttons are often lumped with drunkards in Scripture.

An interesting correlation between obesity and religion in the US was found by author Tim Covell. He looked at the CalorieLab2010 report and a 2008 Gallup poll of adult Americans on how important religion was to them. He noticed that 9 out of 10 of the most overweight states are also some of the most religious. Covell admits he reports this "tongue-in-cheek" because the studies don't show why there's a correlation, if there is one at all. Maybe people in poor health come to the church for support, or maybe the obesity can be blamed on poverty rather than religion. Who knows?

Before I offend too many people, I do want to express one of my beliefs: Gluttony does not always lead to obesity, and obesity is not always caused by gluttony. Now let's move on...

If people come to the church for support or obesity is blamed on poverty, the same question comes to my mind: Where is the church's help??? We're keeping our mouths shut and offering no support. Instead, we're happily getting together to feast on roast beef, chocolate cakes, macaroni pie, etc. during Homecomings, showers, birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, fundraisers, and any other excuse we can think of to eat. Please understand I am not saying it's wrong to get together to celebrate. We need fellowship, and around the dinner table is a great way to spend time together. I just don't believe we have to stuff ourselves each time. Too often I see people lean back after a meal, rub their stomachs, and say "wow I can't believe I ate so much" or "I can't move after all of that food." When I say I see people who do this too often, I really mean I see myself rubbing my stomach and saying those things. Guilty as charged.

I see 3 big problems with gluttony:
1) We indulge in greed and excessiveness, putting our physical desires first, which goes against Romans 13:14 and similar scriptures.
2) It's unhealthy to overeat because it puts a strain on our digestive system and adds excess fat for us to carry around.
3) We can't do all that God has planned for us when we're uncomfortably stuffed or unhealthy from too much food.

There are many more cartoons by Randy Glasbergen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fundraiser Success

A couple of weeks ago, we had a yard sale/breakfast/car wash as a fundraiser for the youth group. We have plans to attend a conference in February and need at least $2000 for it. When DH told me this number, I said “Huh? How much?!” We’re a small church, and $2000 is certainly not pocket change. But I know this conference is a great opportunity for our youth, especially for them to grow spiritually. Because of that, I know God will provide, but we’ll have to put in some work as well.

Yard Sale: Tables were set up outdoors for church members who wanted to rent tables. We rented by donation and collected the money at the end of the sale. This way, people who didn’t sale much wouldn’t feel gyped with the table price, and people who sold lots felt like they could donate more. It was a win-win for all of us.

Tables were also set up indoors (in the social hall) for items that were donated to us. All of the proceeds went directly to the youth. Price tags were on everything so the youth could help sell items without constantly asking the adults “how much for this?” We kept prices low with the intention of selling plenty of it rather than carting so much off later. (Whatever was left after the sale was donated).

Breakfast: Bacon or sausage links, grits (with optional cheese), biscuits and jelly, and scrambled eggs. Drink options were coffee (regular or decaf), orange juice, or milk. We charged $5 per plate, making each item $1 a piece. The local Ryan’s donated creamer, jelly, and honey butter.

The bacon and biscuits took the longest, so we were cooking about an hour before breakfast was to be started. Thankfully, there’s a warmer in the church kitchen. Notes to self: Stir grits often and add water occasionally to prevent them from clumping or drying out. Next time, buy more bacon and less sausage. Very few people requested sausage. Overall, the food must have been great because we got lots of compliments on it and sold almost everything.

We also had a small Bake Sale table which was a huge success with the lunch-time crowd. Brownies, cupcakes, cookies...YUM.

Car Wash: This was a last-minute decision when DH and I were brainstorming ideas to keep the youth busy during the sale. There is only so much help that is needed in the kitchen or to sell items. We decided to turn it into a service project (and maybe bring in more customers) by advertising a free car wash. Surprisingly, lots of people came into the social hall to donate $5, $10, or even $20 for the car wash.

The event was scheduled for 8:00 am – 1:00 pm. I won’t give an exact amount that was made, but I will say it was successful. God went above and beyond what I was expecting from it, and we’re all incredibly thankful for the support and donations from the church members and community. Hopefully, the auction in December will raise the rest of the money for our trip.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Forgive Me God for My Selfishness & Doubts

My husband and I are looking into buying a new home so we've looked at our budget to see what we can afford. DH made some stupid crazy choices in his younger days by buying a brand new truck and motorcycle. Many months of living paycheck-to-paycheck made him vow never to spend so far above his means ever again. A loan seems unavoidable, but we will need rather small monthly payments. The conclusion: a small home is best.

We still have to cut some things out of our budget and save as much as we can. One area we spend A LOT on is gas. At over $3.30 a gallon, I imagine most of you can relate. When we first bought our vehicles, gas mileage was not top on the list of "reasons to buy this one." Top reasons were more like "I love the look of it" or "that'll be fun to drive." We both ended up with trucks. Nope, not the best choice for gas mileage. But in my defense, safety was on my list as well, and we bought them before we met each other.

To cut back on gas, we have 2 obvious options:
1) Trade-in for a vehicle with better gas mileage
2) Drive less

I get nauseous rather easily in cars ever since mold reared it's ugly fuzzy head around me. I've recovered quite a bit from the effects of it but am not completely back to "normal." I don't get sick with my truck. DH's truck is also rather messed up and would not get enough of a trade-in value. He'll just have to drive it until it it falls apart, has to duck tape it, and then the tape rots off.

We're down to 1 choice. DRIVE LESS. I've already tried cutting down on this by consolidating trips. There's no point driving 30 minutes into "town" unless I have multiple errands to complete. Some days I won't go anywhere at all. (ok...rarely. But I'm working on this!)

Quite a bit of our mileage and gas are used to pick teenagers up for church and take them home afterwards. DH drives the church bus when there are many people to pick up. If there's only 2 or 3 though, we do it ourselves. The reasoning is that the bus guzzles a whole lot more gas than our trucks do, and the bus may be on its last leg as well since it's quite a few years old. If DH takes the bus when taking kids home, that means he also has to come all the way back to the church to drop it off rather than head straight home.

But the numbers in our budget scared me. The amounts coming in and going out were too close together for us to spend much of anything on monthly home payments. I broached the driving subject to DH...what if he did use the church bus more often? Or what if the church helped pay for our gas since he is the youth pastor and is picking up the youth?

Immediately after asking, I felt guilty. Where was my faith? DH quoted back to me Matthew 6:20-21: Store your treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy, and theives do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

For a little while before this conversation, I had a hard heart about driving the teens. I did it grudgingly to help my husband, but I resented it. It was not a task I WANTED to do, particularly because of the amount of gas.

That conversation made a world of difference for me. For every trip we make, we're storing up treasures in heaven. We're also helping these youth grow closer to God because they wouldn't be able to come to church if we depended on their parents to bring them. I prayed that night for God to forgive me for my selfishness. If we're doing His work, I know He'll continue to provide for it. The trips with the teens also give me a chance to talk to 1 or 2 at a time, to really talk about whatever they're going through. I've approached it differently lately...joyfully and willingly. We'll have to cut back on some of our spending for the sake of our budget, but the amount of gas spent will remain.

It's amazing what God does after we give something over to Him. The week after I was smacked over the head with the gas situation and willingly decided to spend the money for God, $100 was handed to DH with the instructions to "take your wife out to dinner." Aww, thanks!

That's my gas-loving truck 3.5 years ago when we got married.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Marriage Advice: Arguing

My husband does marriage advising occasionally, and he likes me to join him to have a woman's perspective. We advised a couple recently who has problems with arguing. DH and I don't get into heated yelling matches so I've never given this particular problem much thought. However during the session, DH said something that really stuck with me (hopefully it stuck with the couple, too!):

Arguments are not competitions.

Arguments are not to be competitions to see who can yell the loudest or push their point the most. There is never actually a "winner." Instead, feelings often get hurt and one person finally concedes to the other because they're tired of it. The purpose of an argument (or discussion if you prefer a calmer term) should be to express your own feelings so your spouse may understand more about you. They will never understand WHY you feel that way, but they'll at least understand more of what's important to you.

So what's your take on arguments? What do you seem to argue about the most?

For more advice, check out my article on Yahoo Voices about How to Argue Without Damaging Your Relationhips.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What I Learned (VBS part 3)

I've helped at VBS at a couple of different churches for almost 7 years, but this was my first year taking over as the director. It was fun, stressful, and a complete learning experience. There was positive feedback for the most part, but I already know some things I will do differently IF I'm the director again next year. As tired as I am right now though, that's a big IF.

1. If we do water games, the buckets of water will be dumped AS SOON AS THE GAMES ARE FINISHED! Otherwise, things get a little out of hand when a kid or teen suddenly decides it would be funny to drench me with water. Stopping to change clothes was not supposed to be part of my tight schedule.

2. If anything is done outside, the kids will be moved back inside BEFORE IT GETS DARK. By the time the water games were done, it was starting to get dark and was harder to see if a child wandered off or which child was which.

3. Consider having a 13-14 (or maybe even 15) year old group. We tried using this group as helpers to the adults and older teens, but they just weren't quite mature enough for that. I felt like I spent too much of my time telling the 13 and 14 year olds what they were supposed to be doing to help out. They had just as much fun with the games and stuff, so they may as well participate as a group.

4. Have a better dismissal/check-out procedure. Fortunately, we didn't have any new kids just dropped off by parents and left, so we knew who was suppose to go home with who. However, we did have one who's parent came an hour early one night, and the young man in charge of him just took him to the car without letting any of the adults in charge know the kid was leaving. If I hadn't personally seen the car come up at a distance, this could've proved to be quite a scare as we searched for the "lost" kid.

5. Have a WORKERS' MEETING before VBS. Job descriptions need to be addressed so each person knows exactly what they are supposed to do. I tried just telling them briefly once they arrived, but that wasn't enough time for them to fully grasp it. The workers also need to know what others' are doing so they know who to turn to with various questions or issues.

6. If anything is done outside, get a bull-horn. I just can't yell quite loud enough.

7. When beginning VBS preparations, form a committee. It was too stressful to try to do it all on my own, delegating things after I figured them out. I need help with the planning, not just the execution.

8. Set a time for the workers to eat. This will likely have to be done in shifts, but they're volunteering their time and shouldn't be neglected.

What we'll do again:
1. Postcards for advertising. It was something simple that church members could take with them to give to their neighbors, friends, etc. I created the image in Photoshop and used to print them.

2. Serve dinner instead of snacks. If it starts at 6:30, it's hard for many parents to come home from work, feed their kids, and get them to VBS on time. Some kids did eat a little late - Friday in particular - but I'd rather have a late meal than give a bunch of sugary Debbie cakes or caffeinated sodas to them at night.

WATER! (VBS part 2)

Friday's games deserve their own separate post just because of how much I enjoyed watching them. The kids looked like they had a blast with them, though a few did forget to bring towels. There were 6 stations of games with teen workers at each station. Pizza, chips, watermelon, and cookies were served outside in shifts. That left around 40 minutes for water games and 20 minutes to eat.

For my own personal reference so I can see next year what we did, here was our schedule for Friday:
6:30 Opening session in gym. Youth praise band led praise and worship.
7:00 Lesson in the gym for everyone
7:20 Alter call and sign banner
7:40 Dismiss by groups to go outside. 5-7 year olds eat dinner while the rest go to water games.
8:00 8-9 year olds ate
8:20 10-12 year olds ate
8:40 SLIME the loser of the offering
8:50 Everyone inside to change clothes and dry off
9:10 Outside for popsicles and fireworks
9:30 Dismissed

The 6 water stations:
1. Water slide - the favorite by far. A large tarp, a water hose, and a few bottles of dish detergent to make it more slippery. Need I say more?
2. Water balloon toss - At the end, I gave prizes to the ones in each age group who backed up the farthest. 5 year olds couldn't really grasp the concept of a water balloon toss.
3. Dry, Dry, Wet - It's just like duck, duck, goose, but whoever is "it" has a cup of water. They tap the other kids' heads while saying "Dry...dry...dry..." When they get to the one they want to be "it" next, they say "Wet!" and dump the cup of water on their head before running around the circle. It surprised me how much even the 10-12 year olds liked this one.
4. Raindrops on my Head - The group at this station was divided into 2 teams, who each formed a line. At one end of the line was a bucket of water. At the other end was a large empty bowl. The person at the beginning of each line was given a Ziploc bag with holes poked in it. They had to fill it with water and pass it over their head to the next person in line. It continued being passed over their heads until it was dumped in the empty bowl at the end of the line. The team to fill the bowl first won. To avoid kids trying to plug the holes with their hands, I cut the tops of the bags off. This meant they had to hold the tops of the bags with both hands to prevent them from spilling over.
5. Wet T-Shirt relay - Once again, the group formed 2 teams. A bucket a water and t-shirts was at the start of the relay. The first player had to put on a wet t-shirt, run to a chair that was a ways in front of them, take off the wet t-shirt, and drop it on the chair. They had to run back to the next person in line who did the same thing. We learned 2 things about this game...5-7 year olds can't really put on wet t-shirts. It worked better for them to just hold the shirt over their heads and run while it dripped on them. Secondly, someone needed to be at the empty chairs in case shirts needed to be held down while the wet t-shirt was pulled off. Otherwise, you could get flashed.
6. Bursting Lungs - This was more for the 10-12 year olds, but anyone could do it. Basically, a large trash can was filled with water, and the kids (1 at a time) were timed to see how long they could dunk their head underwater. An adult had to be at this station just to make sure no one tried to hold each others' head under water.

Everything's More Fun in the Dark (VBS 2011)

Vacation Bible School is over, thank you God! It was fun but stressful, and I'm ready for a break. As I said earlier, the theme was Light of the World, based off of John 8:12 that reads Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” Here's the postcard I had printed up, though I did grey-out the personal info:

After the initial opening session, the kids were divided into 3 groups - ages 5-7, 8-9, and 10-12. From there, they alternately went to the lesson, games, or dinner. The lessons were taught in a room lit by only blacklights, so the kids thought that was really cool. The gym was the main room where we had opening and closing sessions and ate dinner. The overhead lights were off except 2 dim lights so the lit decorations showed up well. White christmas lights crisscrossed along the ceiling of the hallway entrance as "stars," a cross made of white Christmas lights was on one wall, and the stage was lit by another string of white lights. 2 huge black fabric panels were donated, so we painted Light of the World on one with yellow and white. On the other, I painted a cross and crown. Those 2 flanked the projector screen.

My awesome husband took care of the lessons, so I honestly don't know much about what he talked about...

Day 1: The verse for this lesson was Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. To go along with this, we built a maze for the game. Tables were set up in 1 of the Sunday School rooms, and boxes were taped underneath to create a maze with a few dead ends. Kids went through it first with the lights on. The 2nd time, they began at the exit of the maze and the lights were off. Going backwards prevented them from memorizing too much of the maze. Even the teenage workers had a blast with the maze, especially in the dark. The point, though, was that it's a whole lot easier to see where you're going when you have light. Without Jesus, we're just feeling around in the dark, hitting a few dead ends along the way. We may find the end goal, but it'll take much longer. Prizes were given to the fastest in each age group.

Day 2: For the lesson, the scripture was John 8:12 (the basis for VBS). DH taught about how Jesus is the light in you, so He's always there. You can talk to him about anything, even those deep dark secrets because He already knows them and still loves you. The game was hide & seek in the dark. Whoever was "it" used a flashlight to shine on people when they found them. As a filler, we also played musical chairs. Glow sticks were taped to every other chair, and prizes were given for the last player of musical chairs and the last one found in hide & seek. They might typically be kid games, but even the older group enjoyed's all more fun in the dark.

Day 3: Final day! It was also Water Day for the games, so for the sake of time and convenience, the kids all stayed in the gym to be taught the lesson at the same time. The verse for the lesson was Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. We talked about how to portray Christ-like behavior so that we could be the light of the world. An altar call was given each night, but this one was made out to be a bigger deal. After the altar call, I talked a little about being brothers and sisters in Christ. I had used a paint pen to sign my name to the banner with the cross and crown and invited anyone who would confess that Jesus is their Savior to sign the banner as well. It was to be a Family Banner as well as a public declaration of faith in Jesus. DH got permission to leave the banner hanging in the gym for awhile, which is also where the youth group has service on Wednesday nights and DH preaches the Contemporary Service on Sunday mornings. We'll give the teens who didn't help at VBS a chance to sign it on Wednesday.

We also took up an offering each day to pay for VBS. I'll be fundraising before next summer so that we actually have a VBS fund. To turn the offering into a competition, 2 of the teen helpers were good enough sports to participate in a sliming. If the girls brought in the most money, the male helper would be slimed. If the boys brought in the most, the female helper would be slimed. Girls won by a long shot :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

God Blesses People to Bless Others

I'm in charge of Vacation Bible School this year, and I'll admit it...I'm kind of nervous. I just recently found out that I don't have a budget! That doesn't mean unlimited funds. It means NO FUNDS. I'm expected to raise enough money during VBS Penny Wars to cover anything I bought for it. Now for a little background on me - I like numbers. I like figuring out budgets and how to maximize the amount of money available. I enjoy the thrill of finding a good deal on something I actually need (or want...). This means I don't do well without a budget. I get stressed at the thought of not knowing how much money I'm allowed to spend on VBS.

The theme this year is Light of the World. We're going to do glow-in-the-dark decorations while learning of how Jesus is the light. The last night, I really want to shoot fireworks. It just makes sense with this theme, right? Fireworks are far from cheap, but I figured I could spend maybe $100 on them. Seriously though, how much could I really get for that amount? I told a young man at a TNT stand what I wanted (just something to shoot towards the sky that will last longer than 30 seconds, but under $100), and he showed me some options. The box that looked really cool with 36 shots was $128. Ouch. But once he heard it was for VBS and how much trouble I was having with the budget, he sold me the 36 shot and 3 more cubes of fireworks for $80 total! My husband asked him if he was sure he wanted to do that and if he was getting enough of a cut from it. His response: "God has really blessed us this year, so I'm glad to help out a church."

I can't express through here how excited I am by these fireworks! I feel like God really blessed us with them, but I know the discount was possible because of how much He blessed the business at that particular TNT stand. God often blesses others (or us) so that they (or we) can be a blessing to someone else.