This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Scott Williams, Northpoint’s Pastor of Adults and Families.
A VBS for Scallywags Like You and Me
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
– Ephesians 2:8–9
I am so very excited for this year’s VBS and the opportunity to not only have a great time with the kids here at Northpoint, but to teach them about God’s grace. This year, our VBS is called PROOF Pirates: Finding the Treasure of God’s Amazing Grace.
Let’s read what Pastor Jared Kennedy, PROOF Pirates co-author, writes about this wonderful curriculum:
So much in life tells us that it is our performance that makes us who we are. This is especially true for kids. Chore charts, report cards, standardized tests, recitals, and athletic banquets all give the overwhelming message that, “If you do well, you will be rewarded; if you do not do well, you will lose your reward, and you may even be punished.” Performance—work and reward—is one of the basic structures of our lives. As a result, kids grow up thinking, “I am what I am because of what I do . . . or because of what I’ve failed to do.”
Have you ever thought about how different this message of performance is from the Bible’s message of redemption? In 1 Corinthians 15:10, Paul says, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” In this PROOF Pirates curriculum, kids will explore Ephesians and learn about how God saves scallywags like you and me.
What better message for our children to hear than the PROOF of God’s grace! This exploration of Ephesians 1–2 reveals five never-to-be-forgotten elements of God’s grace:
Ephesians 1:4-5a tells us, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us …” Before God made the heavens and earth, He mapped out salvation for His people. When teaching this deep truth to kids, we use a treasure map. We ask each child to map out the most significant events in his/her life. Then we search their story for evidence of where God has been at work—evidence of His grace.
The Bible says that we cannot follow God without His help. We are like dead skeletons. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5). Dead skeletons have no muscles, no brain, and no heart. They have no power to move on their own. But God makes people dead in their sins to live again. God can make dead men and women and boys and girls walk in obedience to Him.
Ephesians also teaches us that in Christ we have redemption (Ephesians 1:7). To redeem something means to buy it back—to pay a price so you can have it back. God paid the price for our sins by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross. Jesus gives us the riches of God’s grace. We can’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. We teach the richness of Jesus’ free gift by taking kids on a treasure hunt where the cross marks the spot.
God does for us what we can’t do for ourselves. He changes our pirate flag of rebellion into a white flag of complete surrender (Ephesians 2:8-10). God gives us His Spirit to overcome our sin and make us His masterpiece.
We use an anchor to teach about how God’s grace keeps Christians safe. Even though life is sometimes like sailing on a stormy sea, God is with us, and He protects us. He brings us back to Himself like a boat guided safely to shore. Ephesians 1:13-14 says, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” Because of the Holy Spirit, God’s people are marked as His children forever. God always finishes the work He begins in us. He protects His children so they can never be lost.
We want our kids to know their Savior—to know that it’s God’s grace that makes them who they are. We want to show kids that discovering God’s grace is a great adventure that should overwhelm them and fill them with a sense of wonder. Our hope is that our children will never cease to be amazed that God reached down and saved scallywags like us. We want them to know Jesus as their greatest treasure.
Northpoint’s PROOF Pirates VBS is coming July 11-15, and we can’t pull it off without your help! This Sunday, we’ll be in the Foyer ready to sign up volunteers eager to help make disciples, or as we pirates say, to help turn “scallywags” into disciples. See you then.
Pastor Scott Williams