Friday, July 17, 2009


Of course, any believer knows that the Church of Christ (aka Christianity) will survive because we believe prophecy.

But there's another reason: At least 150 kids came to our church's VBS (Vacation Bible School) this week. 97 was the biggest single evening attendance --this is at least 20 more than last year.

Did the atheists have such an event this summer? Granted, public school and TV can be daily secular indoctrination. But the message at VBS and other church children's ministries is unique among cultural messages and always includes the fact that Jesus Christ died for our sins that we might be forgiven and inherit eternal life. No other message can compare.

This year, we were the underground church --with a scary Roman guard lurking here and there (Mayor Yunker's son.) We had a "cave" classroom, created by Sue Conklin where Gail Hulbert Warton, dressed as a first c. Roman Christian, used power point to tell the stories of Paul, the greatest Christian missionary of the first century.

Sue also created ivy-draped "marble" Roman columns and a marketplace with "ancient" fabrics --the prize corner --prizes for bringing friends and being a visitor.

Stephanie Rohrs Hulbert directed the music, aided by her sister, Christine. These were wonderful songs, including, "They will know we are Christians by our love," "Grace Flows Down and Covers Me," "To God be the Glory" performed by the 3rd and 4th grade as puppeteers," a new song on God's Love in Jewish style, with the girls doing a Jewish folk dance and the boys playing rhythm instruments (grades 5-8), and an old standard revived, "Come into my heart, come into my heart, come into my heart, Lord Jesus....Come in today; come in to stay; come into my heart Lord Jesus." All the children learned a dance-game with a Jewish flavor. Many of the songs were taught with sign language or other motions. Stephanie also emphasized the evening's memory verse each night. There were a couple of effective puppet shows, too, by the Hulberts, Bruce, Scott, Gail and STephanie. Chrissy rattled the jail and opened the jail door for Paul and Silas --who were cute as could be in their Bible clothes.

We also had wonderful visits from Lucia and Marcus (the DeMatteos, our own acting duo) --two first c. Christians who cautioned us to be very quiet lest the guards find our church cave.

After a kids' supper for all provided by the church ladies headed by Sarah Hand, the classes rotated through the story time with Gail, a professional educator, the craft time with several ladies helping, including at least one professional education-trained Sue Conklin--they made very cute brick doorstops. They had recreation with Cory and Eva Fritch (he's a professional elem. science educator), and also Dave Simpson and John Ringger doing the jr. high recreation, and music with Hulbert and Rohrs, both professional music educators.

The Junior High had a week planned by yours truly with a Pregnancy Center RSVP (Responsible Sexual Values Program) speaker, an Afr. American lady who did a fine job with a sensitive topic. She spoke 3 days; on the first day we were in sync with the rest of the Bible School's theme and read Paul's testimony from the Bible, telling of his conversion from a persecutor of Christians to a passionate disciple. We concluded in the final session with a reflection on the persecuted church today and a Ray Vander Lann film segment that took place in the underground church in the caves of Capadocia --during the persecution by the Emperors in the early 4th century B.C. --which included quotes on the martyrs of those days. It was very moving. We also discussed why Christians are persecuted, noting that even Paul thought he was doing the right thing for Judaism by persecuting Christians --until He met Jesus on the Damascus Road. Then "he saw the light!!" And where he was once blind, now he could see!

All in all, a very enjoyable week, reinforcing faith of the faithful, and sharing the Good News of Christ with those who haven't heard.

Secular pop culture is very influential on people today --but so is the church --and we have the Holy Spirit who is greater than Satan any day --but it takes knowledge of the Word and the preaching of the Gospel to reach each future generation. We must do it.

Let us not be weary of well-doing. Next week, 19 Trail Blazers go to our church camp in Somerset, Michigan for 3 days. They will again have opportunity to hear about Christ and the challenge to run the race of faith to the finish.

It's neat to see the children of the church grow up to take their place in passing on the baton of faith. All of the VBS leaders were raised in the church and in Christian homes. We are still passing on the truth --that Jesus rose from the grave --and said all who believe this and follow Him will inherit eternal life.

Credit to Director Jenni King and her helper, Inga Wood --and all their cooperative children --8 between them --who brought many friends!

As the church loves and reaches out, so she grows!!!

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


matthew said...

Glad to hear it went so well. Teaching our children is the most important thing we can do.

And, of course, Christianity will remain forever because Jesus is risen and reigns from the right hand of the Father.

A comment from me wouldn't be complete without one little quibble, though, would it? :) Why do you feel the need to include the former names of women along with their current ones?

Barb said...

In mentioning the two maiden names, it's not a "need." I was connecting those two people as relatives --for the sake of relatives and/or friends of mine who might not know one or the other by married name. Take my brother --he wouldn't know Gail Warton, but he'd figure out who Gail Hulbert Warton is. As for my kids, I still claim them as family, married or not. They were called the R family in a recent wedding though one has a married name; the label was not my doing.

I find connections to be of human interest, as well as complete identifiers to the interested. Depends on who the audience is as to whether or not the maiden name is of interest or helpful--whether or not they might recognize the person as someone they knew from the past if the maiden name is included.

I started using my maiden name in publishing letters to the editor as an identifier to any who knew me before marriage. I also thought it implied a contemporary mindset for a contemporary world --even though my message is always timeless when based on Christian values.

BTW, there is nothing particularly more Christian about women dropping or keeping their maiden names, either as a middle name or as a hyphenated prefix --though I think the latter is more geneologically and alphabetically confusing for record-keeping and naming children.

In the Bible, we hear of cities as identifiers for men, "Saul of Tarsus," rather than sir-names.

I have never rankled over getting a new name with marriage; I'm happy to be who I am, wife of my husband, no matter what you call me.

I did a church newsletter article once which was quite entertaining showing all the relationships in our church in an amusing way--Ralph Borror used to comment on wanting a copy it so amused him --but it's in the dustbins of history somewhere.

Barb said...

AS I understand it, Matthew, Muslims give their children their father's first name as a middle name so his whole name follows their first name.
That's a nice custom, I think, identifying the father of the children.

Barb said...

BTW, your mom helped with the food at the VBS. It's a lot of work but part of a total ministry package to feed the kids. It helps the teachers too, to not have to feed their kids before they come. Some churches do this for their Wednesday night program --have a all-church potluck or dinner. To me, it would get old to be in charge of it --but for some women, food ministry is as enjoyable and as much work as music ministry and teaching are for my family members. It's work; it may get old; but it's a valuable ministry. Maybe we should do this on Wednesday--but I don't want to have that responsibility myself.

Barb said...

BTW, you might also ask, why I mentioned that all our teachers this year were professional educators --that's for Mudrake & Co. who tend to think educated and intelligent people couldn't possibly be real believers.

Actually, I know that people with h.s. diplomas --and people with degrees other than education--can be excellent youth and children's workers --and teachers of adults. Quite often, however, those who aspire to teach do so because they enjoy and excel at it --and are equipped and called --and not because it was a mere job option.

matthew said...

Your use of maiden names in this article caught my attention because in past articles you've mentioned family members by only their first names so as to not reveal too much personal information about them (at least that was my assumption). Seemed prudent, particularly with head cases like Mudrake on the loose. But this time you went to the other extreme which I thought was interesting.

I agree that it can be helpful to include the maiden name in some cases. Sarah uses her maiden name, for instance, on Facebook because there are lots of people from her college days that wouldn't know her by her new name. One of the great things about Facebook is reconnecting with people from your past.

Hyphenated names should not be used, though, as it implies something far different than convenience and need for clarity. Obviously I wouldn't say that Christian women who use a hyphen are not Christians so don't take my next statement too far but... it is sub-Christian to hyphenate your name. What would you think of someone who called himself a heathen-Christian? Since a woman's relationship to her husband is a picture of the whole church's relationship to Christ it should be obvious to all that hyphenating names is unbiblical. Men who allow their wives to do this speak lies about Christ, as well. Christ does not approve of his bride dabbling in their past lives.

This is one of those issues where you can't go to any one proof-text but the entire Word of God shouts it loud and clear.

Again, I'm glad the VBS went so well. Our church's Backyard Bible Clubs have gone very well, too. I think there are only one or two out of eight left to go. The one on our street was pretty well attended - I think we had about 30 kids each day. The one at the Simpson's house had over 100 each day! Altogether I'm told we've had about 500 kids at the clubs. We follow up with parents as the summer goes on and invite them to church and church functions. God has been good and we really need to get our building started. Hopefully we'll break ground in the Fall...

Rob R said...

Matt, biblical characters don't always have two names and they weren't always named for their family (Saul of Tarsus). I don't see biblical grounding for a naming legalism.

Barb said...

Well, a real student of this blog will know who we all are --because it has only been with Mudrake that we had a concern. He always knew who we were and has made it clear who I am. He has printed names with address, phone numbers, and in a context of "This lady is a bigot and I'm crazed, so she has something to fear from meeeeeee!!!!and deserves something baaaaad to happen!!!! "

I have printed whole names before --as in tribute to church women series. Just as would be in a news article about a church event. I see my church articles as history recorded while the events are fresh in my mind.

Christ does not approve of his bride dabbling in their past lives.

Is that what a wife's hyphenated name would be -dabbling in one's past life? That's in the Bible? I didn't think they had any way of naming people that resembled our practices today. I am, however, a traditionalist, and believe we have "evolved" this system of naming wife and kids after the husband based on our Biblical beliefs that the husband is the head of the home --and it is just convenient and orderly to have a uniform system of naming people. It's crazy today, however, with kids taking mother's maiden names --and changing names back to mother's after divorce, etc. I tend to be annoyed with people who have to make a point of being different and anti-traditional --as with those evangelicals who stress their freedom to use alcohol since it IS in the Bible --even though protestant fundamentalists and evangelicals had an anti-alcohol stance for decades because of its great harms to society via MVA's and domestic violence --and the possibility of health and marriage-threatening addiction.

I don't see marriage between man and wife as quite the same in all aspects of the analogy -- Though the church is sanctified by marriage to Christ --I don't see that the woman has abandoned a past sinful life in order to come to her husband as her savior!

I just don't see a shouting loud and clear in the Bible against hyphenated last names!

Where will your new church be located?

That is amazing to think of 100 kids in a back yard club? sounds huge! It filled two sections of our worship center --that's a lot of kids.

We are doing a music program sunday am at 10:45.

matthew said...


That's not surprising. You don't see much of anything that I see.


Our church will be on Central Avenue about three miles west of Centennial. We have twenty acres on the corner of Murd Road. This summer we're raising funds and we'll start building as soon as God allows.

Rob R said...

And you don't demonstrate much of anything.

good day to you sir.

kateb said...

I think it's remember that we are to be joined in the Spirit. We'll always disagree with the details (which are all man's creation past the message - and man makes so many rules, regulations and distinctions that often the message is lost), but we are to love one another.

And if we agree on the message of salvation - to fight past that is not in God's will for us. We didn't hear the message that we shall 'like one another' - did we? Really? Seriously?

Follow the direction and you'll end up in the desired destination :-)