Category Archives: Vacation Bible School

Hide ’em in Your Heart

Helping a child hide a verse in their heart is burying treasure.  They might forget it’s there, but “X”  always marks the spot.  That verse will bear fruit in the Lord’s timing and in the Lord’s way.

I blogged earlier about the power of  ONE VERSE I memorized as a child during AWANAS.  I didn’t even want to memorize the verse, I wanted to sit by a cute boy.  I didn’t review the verse. I didn’t write it down.   I memorized it, walked away and had no idea what had been buried inside my 9 year old heart.

Treasure needs to be deep beneath the surface where it can’t be stolen by a thief.  Through the years, we’ve found the best memorizing success, especially for kids from the non-Christian homes, is to have a time slot of 5 – 10 minutes set aside for memory work. It’s not just enough to tell the kids to memorize a verse, or send a piece of paper home with them.  Not all kids get help at home with their Vacation Bible School and Sunday school homework.

Use a variety of tools in teaching the verse to the kids will  break up chunks in their hearts’ soil so the treasure is deep and safe.

REPETITION aids memorization.  We say the verse over and over, having the kids repeat phrase by phrase, trying to ensure the verse is  memorized before they go home.

ANIMATION aid memorization. Sometimes we whisper.  Sometimes we shout!  Sometimes we chant.  Sometimes we close our eyes.  Sometimes we follow each word with a light clap.

IMAGERY aids memorization. Other than just sending a piece of paper home with words, words, words and more words with a few numbers and a colon thrown in, I like to have a shape or picture that accents or explains the verse.  It also makes it more attractive and more likely to be pinned to the fridge or bulletin board so other family members may bury the treasure in their own hearts.

Generations ago, a scissors, glue and construction paper accomplished much in schools, homes, and Sunday schools.  Sometimes, I like to get back to the simple things in life. When I needed to make Vacation Bible School memory verse cards, I didn’t go to the Internet, I went down into a plastic shoebox in my craft room to dig for examples.

An older Christian friend, Alice,  taught Sunday School, Five Day Clubs,  and Vacation Bible School for years.  When she retired from the ministry, she gave me some of her materials.

Before the invention of computers and Microsoft Word, Alice used a manual typewriter to type her verses over and over, and hand cut all of her shapes.

The shapes in the upper left hand corner were the ones I created based on Alice’s templates.    Younger or first-time attendees only memorize the first part of each verse, although are rewarded if they memorize both.  Click on images to enlarge.

Those of you that aren’t very crafty will look at my project and say, “Hey, that’s simple, I can do that!”

Those of you that are very crafty will look at my project and say, “Hey, I can do that, but I’ll add this, and add that, and……”

The computer and the internet have exploded our creative possibilities. For any intended project, we type in the words and search thousands of options for patterns, free downloads, examples and pictures of people proudly displaying their creative successes.  Craft items like  paper punches, Cuttlebug and Cricet have also aided creativity.

It’s a simple project to bury one verse in a heart and send it home to benefit the rest of the house. Because remember,  one verse can change a life.

It Only Takes One Verse…

With Vacation Bible Schools bringing fun and faith across the United States this summer, it’s important to think of creative ways to get the Gospel message into the homes.  Sometimes the kids cram their papers into pockets, purses or backpacks, and never look at them again.  The candy will keep them from tossing it too soon.  Yea, I’m not above bribery.

In my last post on sweet ways to share the Gospel, I said  “it only takes one verse to convict the heart of sin and lead  to salvation.” Lemme’ tell you why I’m SO convinced of this theory and look for simple ways to get kids to learn at least one precious verse during Vacation Bible School.

It was the early 70’s and I was one of 22 kids living in my Helena, MT neighborhood. I’ve threatened to write a book about the kids I now refer to as The Townsend Avenue Tyrants.  We weren’t always nice kids, but in case you’re reading this, Mom, don’t worry.  We weren’t that bad!

Somehow, many of us got roped into going to AWANAS at the Hannaford Baptist Church up the street.  I’m sure there was a prize in it for someone for bringing us, but with the promise of fun and treats we were off.  At 9, I was boy crazy, I admit it, and when the group was instructed to sit on the floor,  I managed to finangle myself next to a cute boy, close enough to touch elbows, and struck up a conversation.

For some reason, a woman singled me out, and urged me to go into a room alone with her and memorize  verses for a prize.  I didn’t want a prize.  I wanted to sit by the cute boy.  She convinced me and I followed her reluctantly into the empty classroom. Although she remains faceless to me to this day, I remember her patiently repeating the verses over and over until I could recite them to her satisfaction.  As a CHUM, I memorized a C verse about Christ and the H verse, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” She praised me so much, I wondered what the big deal was.  After all, it was only a few verses from the Bible.

She gave me a piece of candy and let me out, but I wasn’t allowed to sit by the cute boy again.  I don’t remember ever going back to AWANAS. But through that visit and a few other invitations to  believers homes for some type of kids Bible club, I grew up with all the doctrine I needed to be saved.

I grew up knowing the Bible was all true.

I knew Jesus was the Son of God and was the only way of salvation.

I knew I was a sinner that deserved Hell.

I knew it and believed it all and accepted Jesus into my heart every time the offer came forward.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I had a life-changing meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ. As a freshman at the University of North Dakota, I started doing two things  ~ going to every party I could find and going to every Bible study I could find.  The battle for my soul didn’t last long.

In October, after a weekend of partying, I was in my room  physically and spiritually miserable. Hoping to relieve the burden, I grabbed my Bible and started reading the Love Chapter,  I Corinthians 13, the only chapter I knew. When I finished that, I kept reading.  The Word of God awakened everything I’d heard, seen and done and put it into spiritual perspective.  By the time I got to 2 Corinthians 5:10 I trembled in fear of a Holy God, knowing I would  stand before Him in judgement.  My life  passed before my eyes, for the first time, viewing my life from the Lord’s holy perspective. I kept thinking  I’d been given a life  and I was poisoning it with sin. Over and over, a Voice I was learning to hear and love, repeated,   “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”

By the time I got to verse 17, I experienced what it said.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

I was a new creation, a Born-Again Christian,  because I had finally been convicted of my sinful, wicked heart. It was that one  AWANA verse,  stored away in some dark corner of my heart, festering conviction until it bore salvation’s fruit.

This is why I love thinking of creative ways to get the Gospel message into hearts and homes. It only takes one verse to convict the heart of sin and lead to salvation.  Many times I’ve distributed the Gospel message with the following candies and the instruction card tucked into plastic bags.  I’ve used them for VBS, Bible camp and Halloween. Each type of candy represents a different part of the Gospel message.  (I always use individually wrapped candy.)

LIFE SAVER – Being born into a Christian family or going to church doesn’t get you to Heaven. But, the Lord loves you and longs for you to be with Him forever. Put your faith in Christ, who alone can save you from your sins.  Acts 16:31,“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”

HOT TAMALES– This spicy candy represents Hell, the punishment we deserve for sin, or disobeying God. Revelation 20:15, says, “Whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Smarties Candy Rolls

SMARTIES – Make smart decisions. Daily read the Bible and accept the Lord’s forgiveness and salvation. 2 Timothy 3:15, “The Holy Scriptures make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Now and Later Candy 18 Piece Classic Bar 24 Bars

NOW AND LATER– – Make the decision for Christ now, not later. You will have joy now and can look forward to an eternity with Jesus in heaven later. 2 Corinthians 6:2b “Behold, NOW is the day of salvation!”

 

(click to enlarge) 

This is the Word document I created using New>Templates>Certificates>Gift Certificates>Gift Certificate for Restaurant.  You can easily use this template for creating other verse cards for spiritual adventures.

When you pass away these sweet Gospel messages please remember, you are only sowing seed.  The Lord will make sure the seed is watered, nurtured and cultivated. Not only do we have a sweet message, we have a life-changing message ~ a message that brings eternal life.

Maybe, someday when I’m in Heaven looking for that dear faceless sister who taught me the verse that led to my salvation, there will be other souls looking to meet you. Isn’t that sweet?

The Sweet Gospel Message -Vacation Bible School Idea

For Vacation Bible School I decided even the candy treats should proclaim the glory of the Lord. It only takes one verse to convict the heart of sin and lead  to salvation. If we pass verses into their hands and their houses,  it might enter  their hearts.
Each day of Vacation Bible School we send goodie bags home  that include a Gospel tract, a small gift for attending,  and a candy treat, and an invitation for the next day to pass out to a friend.
All templates were from Microsoft Word. They’re so easy to use!
(click on any picture to enlarge)
This was actually a template to label garden plants.
Under New choose
Templates,
then Labels,
then Other Labels,
then Herb Garden Plant Markers. Their  words and Genesis 24:26 was inserted.
I love making these little gifts! Wrapping box after box of Nerds can be challenging, tying tiny bows can drive you crazy, but they sweetly illustrate the Gospel verse Ephesians 2:8. I hot glue the box on the card.
I used a Word document, not a template, cutting and pasting 2 Timothy 3:15 over and over. I punched a hole in the corner and tie two Smarties on with curling ribbon.
This is a business card from Word templates. I  added Ephesians 3:19, punched the holes, and slid the suckers through.
I was grasping at straws, and used the comparison of candy fillled with chocolate to being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Other years, I have typed up this paragraph below and filled celophane gift bags with the text
and individually wrapped types of candy listed.

THINK ABOUT IT

     RED HOTS – Hell is real. Hell is forever. Hell is the punishment you deserve for your sins. The hardships and sufferings on earth are nothing compared to the eternal suffering in Hell. Revelation 20:15, says, “and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
LIFE SAVER – there is nothing you can do to save yourself from an eternity in Hell. Christ alone can save you from your sins. John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”
SMARTIES – Make the smart decision. Accept the Lord’s free gift of salvation. 2 Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
NOW NOT LATER – II Corinthians 6:2b “Behold NOW is the day of salvation!”
Yea, His Words are sweeter than candy.

Psalm 119:103

How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!

When we pass out sweet Gospel treats, I love to tell the kids  the Word of God is sweeter.

I would love hearing  any ideas you have for making sweet Gospel messages!