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The Pastor’s Piece – June 27, 2021


June 27, 2021  

You come from dust and to dust you will return. This is why I don’t dust. It could be someone I know.

Summertime means kids, lemonade and cookies, popsicles, ice cream, and Vacation Bible School! 

Great little story – We thought we were going to need to send out an all points bulletin on the need for more cookies for VBS. But then, on Monday afternoon my phone rang. It was from a lady who lives in Lexington, Illinois and is the bookkeeper for Fellowship of Christian Farmers International (FCFI) – an organization I’m involved with. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Hi Kevin, this is Judy from FCFI. I’m in Martintown.”

Then the call was dropped and the phone went dead. A minute later she called back.

“I’m here in Martintown and I have cookies for VBS.”

I asked incredulously: “You’re in Martintown right now?”  

“Yes, I’m here from Lexington with cookies.”

“Ok,” I saId, “we’ll be right over.”

Cindy and I hustled right over to the church where Judy had delivered 20 dozen homemade cookies for our VBS. Turns out, Dennis Schlagel, FCFI’s Executive Director is a Martintown Community Church cyber member. For the past sixteen months, he and his wife Jan, have worshiped with us at 8 o’clock every Sunday morning via Facebook. He heard me say a few weeks back that we needed cookies. He mentioned that to Judy, who works in the FCFI office as a bookkeeper.  Judy went to her church lady’s group in Lexington and they got together for a cookie bake. She took the freshly baked cookies into the office on Monday with the intention of boxing them up and mailing them to us, thinking our VBS was next week. Dennis told her they would arrive too late if she did that. She said, “Ok, I’ll drive them up there today.” Which she did – 6 hour round trip (188 miles). Incredible!

God is good …

It’s been a pretty great week VBS-wise. It started on Monday when all those cookies showed up unexpectedly from Lexington, IL. Actually it started before that, when everybody started filing in for Vacation Bible School. We had an army of volunteers ready to spring into action to assist them as they came in the door. There were moms and grandmas and adopted grandmas and grandpas and their children moving from one activity to the next. We had a full house. We had been praying that God would speak to the hearts of the leaders as well as those of the children. God answered our prayers. New friendships were made. Adults were drawn in as much as the children were – drawn into the message of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. So much laughter and fun. 

We had a fun contest where we raised money for the Freeport, Illinois Pregnancy Center. We put together two teams (or they put themselves together – not sure how they were formed) and we competed all week to see who could raise the most cash. The leader whose team brought in the most money got to give the other leader a pie in the face. This is always a major attraction. I’m one leader and the other team picked another leader. My team won the contest but somehow we both got a pie in the face – much to the joy of everyone. 

Who threw those pies?

There was so much raw energy. And we encouraged that raw energy. We got everybody fired up the first thing every morning with a team cheer. We got the blood flowing and the energy amped up. We didn’t need caffeine or sugar. It was natural energy. We played games, made crafts, ate snacks, read Bible stories and talked about God and Jesus and we talked about the Bible being God’s message to us. We talked about what it means to be obedient to God by following His Word and making choices in our lives based on what God’s Word says is right and wrong. Choices that will define who we are in life. 

Sometimes I wonder how much children can understand what we are teaching. But I am reminded again and again,“unless you have faith like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Jesus said, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” 

We wrapped the 2021 VBS campaign with a program on Sunday and a food truck picnic afterward – complete with soft serve ice cream. 

It was a great week. We are blessed. 

God’s best to you all.  

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).