Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elijah Was Just like Us

Panda is a little dirty, but proud and happy.  

Our porch this morning

I was starting to get used to praying and receiving just what we needed.  All week, the rain held off just for the times that our Vacation Bible School was running in the park.  Yesterday evening, it was even sunny and there were blue skies.  This morning, there was a sullen drip hanging from every porch rail and blade of grass.  I had specifically prayed for no rain from the hours of 9AM-12, so I wasn't too worried.  As the morning wore on, I realized I might have to actually have a plan to work with the rain.  Maybe the rain had a purpose, after all.  Maybe it was going to sift our VBS attendees, so that the ones who really needed to be there would come.

Hello Sun!
I decided I would find an encouraging benediction type verse to inspire our volunteers during our morning prayer time, and was prompted in my mind that it might be in James.  The only Bible I could find was a Kid's version, but its wording ended up being perfect.  Having verses come to my mind is weird for me, because I do not remember Bible books, nor do I have the contents of the Bible memorized and catalogued.  I went to the end of James, and my sought after verse was not there, but this one was. 

 "Elijah was just like us. He prayed hard that it wouldn't rain. And it didn't rain on the land for three and a half years. 
 Then he prayed again. That time it rained. And the earth produced its crops."
James 5:17 

This verse is particularly beautiful, because Elijah had been a main character during one of our Bible story times.  The theme of the day was "God listens to you!"  We had learned about when Elijah had asked God to burn up a sacrifice in front of the prophets of the false god, Baal, so that they and the people would see Who is the One true God.  He prayed, and God answered immediately, burning up the sacrifice and everything around and beneath it!  

We have been like Elijah this week, praying very hard that it wouldn't rain.  It didn't rain for 3 days of VBS, and then on the fourth day, we prayed again, but it rained.  But it only rained lots just up till VBS began.  Dan, our music guy, said, maybe God just wanted us to surrender to the rain before He took it away.  I thought that was a pretty good conjecture.  

I overexposed Josie so that we could see that yes, indeed, there was SUN!

We learned about the Christian symbols early Christians would have to secretly use to avoid persecution.

Rachel's sand pile

There were pretzels wrapped in these napkins.  The kids could build a cross and remember Jesus' sacrifice

More "God loves you no matter what"...this time with water bottles!

Looking for the hidden Christian symbols around the tent, and learning about how we are glad we can worship Jesus in public

Christian Symbol...the fish

Peter bursts into the tent!

The tent looked like a cross

Lisa Shares from the Bible

A budding photographer saved this snail so i could take a picture of him.  Reminds me of that kids' song "Have Patience, Have Patience, Don't be in such a hurry..."

Had to explain why I gave everyone these chocolate bars for sacrificing their time.  Sometimes ideas I get when I am tired don't come across. It was supposed to go with the Elijah story, where the kids had sacrificed chocolate on their "altar"



I LOVE this park!

Our volunteers! I love these people!

"And the Earth Produced its Crops" : I think there were "crops" produced in the rain today, and they were among both children and adults.  Two five year olds were very matter of fact when we exclaimed about the sun coming out, saying, "I already prayed for that today."   We adults, who had been praying for a specific sun schedule, just needed to be reminded that timing is, after all, in God's hands.  I really was starting to doubt that the sun could even come out today. But it certainly did, and the kids were delighted, and the faith of the adults was hugely bolstered.

"God Loves You No Matter what"  (even if it's a leaf blower shooting a ball in the air)
The Bible story today was talking about Peter denying he knew Jesus.  The kids got to hide in a small place, like early Christians had to do, and a person dressed up as Peter came in and shared how sad he was that he had denied Jesus.  Peter talked about how Jesus had died on the cross, and that he was alive again, but he wasn't sure he was forgiven.  The kids got to tell him that Jesus forgave him.  The theme for this day was "God loves you no matter what."   Our kids' pastor, Abby, has had the sense that God is doing secret things, and I agree.  I don't know yet if any of the kids invited Jesus into their hearts today.  I do know they sure got to know Him better, and are pointed His direction.  I know this because of the way He has worked this week through his beautiful creation in the park, His orchestration of the weather, His Word, and His people.   

See how kids think?

Peace Out!

 I'll close with the benediction I was originally looking for this morning.  I found it, and it's totally appropriate. 

Ephesians 3:20

 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

or, the Kid's Bible version:

  20 God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us.




  1. Awesome park! (love the trees and snail too) I would be careful about exposing your friends though ;-) Great times! Pat was bragging on you tonight at the board meeting...

  2. God is so good! He has been so faithful to His Promises this week! I have to agree with Pastor Abby when she said, "God is doing secret things". In the days to come I believe we will see the crops that he has produced from the PandaMania VBS at Terrace Park in Arlington and all the other VBS groups. What a prophetic scripture:
    "Elijah was just like us. He prayed hard that it wouldn't rain. And it didn't rain on the land for three and a half years. Then he prayed again. That time it rained. And the earth produced its crops."
    James 5:17
    Just a side note. The song that you mentioned the snail reminded you of Angie brought back precious memories of when I would sing the AgapeLand Fruits of the Spirit songs to my children....of which Have patience, Have patience, don't be in such a hurray, when you get in patient you only start to worry.....remember, remember, that God has patience too.....was one of their favorites.
    To God Be the Glory Great Things He has Done and is Doing, Prayers are being answered and God is doing things in secret that will be revealed in the days, months, and years to come.
    With many thanks to you Angie and your VBS team, and may you all be richly blessed for your deep commitment and obedience to the Lord.

    Rebekah Johnston
    Stanwood, WA


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