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VBS 2016 Daily News: Monday

New Sheep Herd arrives at Holy Trinity:
The Good Shepherd is leading us forever

VBS Mon 1STATE COLLEGE, PA —  School’s out so what’s a kid supposed to do? For the children of Holy Trinity Church in State College it could only mean that it’s time to go to Vacation Bible School (VBS)!  This year’s VBS theme is “I Wanna be a Sheep” and will be based on Psalm 23.

Sources close to the VBS have stated that the theme this year was selected because although the scriptures were written so that that they made sense to the peoples of the times we no longer live in an agrarian society.  However, we know that the Scriptures are timeless and we need apply them for today’s world.

VBS Mon 2Parents, teachers, and leaders need to convey to children that in Our Savior and in His scriptures we can find calm and peace and hope for the world which awaits us.  The students need to learn that the words of scripture were written for them.

Say What?

The Shepherds ultimate concern for the sheep:   He is the Way, because He leads us through Himself. He is the Door who lets us in, the Shepherd who makes us dwell in green pastures, bringing us up by waters of rest and leading us there. He protects us from wild beasts, converts the erring, brings back what was lost and binds up what was. broken. He guards the strong and brings them together into the fold beyond with words of pastoral knowledge.

— Gregory of Nazianzus, On the Son

Can You Repeat that Please?

VBS Mon 3Below are the verses we studied today and the children are to memorize: “He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”

Family Time

To make the most of this week for you and your child you will need to also be prepared to discuss Psalm 23 and the many instructional points which can be found in it.

FPO — For Parents Only

  • VBS Mon 4Question for you to discuss with your child before VBS tomorrow: What has God done to restore your soul?
  • On Wednesday, there will be Vespers at 5 p.m.  Please try to bring your children early so that we can pray together. Dinner and VBS will follow immediately.
  • On Thursday we will visit a sheep farm. We will leave @ 4:15.  Pack a dinner for your child.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2015 Daily News: Friday

Dressed and Ready for Spiritual Wars!
VBS concludes but the battle continues—Families urged to fight together.
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State College, PA — Holy Trinity’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) wrapped up today for year 2015 with a “sweet” ending in which each student gave it their best shot against evil and to “win against sin”.

Today, the students focused on studying the meaning of Ephesians 6:17 which reveals to us the last details of preparing for the good fight in which the Christian has to be ready to struggle against all temptations from the evil one: covering the head with “the helmet of Salvation” and arming with “the Sword of the Spirit”.

IMG_7300 IMG_7302As a recap, this week the kids learned how to be warriors for God. Paul tells us that we are caught in the middle of a spiritual war. He doesn’t tell us this to scare us, but to prepare us for life’s everyday battles. The VBS staff has led the preparation for their spiritual wars by showing them how to use the tools God has given us to fight a spiritual battle. All of these tools are laid out in Ephesians 6:11-18.

Now that the VBS students have learned to “put on the full armor of God” parents are expected to continue to train them (eg., put on the armor) each day to get them to be closer and closer to our Lord Jesus.

Family Time

Discuss the following questions as a family.

  • Discuss the nature of salvation. Belief in Jesus Christ and commitment to Him is vital to a happy, healthy family.
  • Ask your child to go through all the pieces of armor that they made and explain what they represent.
  • Why is salvation a helmet? Can this helmet ever come off?
  • Why is the Word of God called a sword?
  • Practice “putting on the armor of God” every day.
  • Take time everyday to pray and read the Bible with your children.

Don’t forget to pray as a family.

What’s the Big Idea?

IMG_7250The Helmet of Salvation protects us from thinking ungodly thoughts and the Sword of the Spirit guides us into a Godly way of thinking and living. It helps us be proactive in fighting Satan.

FPO —For Parents Only

  • Thank you for sharing your children with the VBS staff this week. Each day we were welcomed with enthusiasm and wonder and it was a joy to be with each of them.
  • Many thanks to the adult staff and especially for the terrific High School and Middle School helpers.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2015 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2015 Daily News: Thursday

imagejpeg_0-3Shields Up!
VBS kids say that Faith protects all from the fiery darts of the wicked!

State College, PA — The VBS students began the day worshipping together at Vespers before continuing their preparation for going into spiritual battle. Today was a day to accessorize their armor by putting on the shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

Today we discussed the Shield of Faith and its ability to move and cover weaknesses we have in our lives. Faith is the “substance” and the “evidence” of truth (Hebrews 1:11). It is not to believe that there is a God. It is to know God

Faith is not “what if…” It is who. As in every relationship, there are times when “fiery darts” of fear and doubt pierce us. To quench them, we need one shield: knowing our faith—what we believe about whom.

IMG_7201Our physical activity was a form of dodge ball. The children used shields to protect themselves as we through balls at them. The point was to show how a shield moves to protect weaknesses.

Family Time

Discuss the following questions as a family.

  • What is the common understanding of faith?
  • What makes the shield different from the other pieces of armor?
  • Why would faith be represented by a shield?
  • What are some fears and doubts you and your family face?
  • How can the Shield of Faith help you overcome that?

IMG_7221Don’t forget to pray as a family.

What’s the Big Idea?

We all have sins and weaknesses in our lives with which we struggle. Sometimes we just fall apart because Satan finds that little weakness in our armor and aims well. The Shield of Faith moves to cover those weaknesses when we don’t have the knowledge or strength to face a situation. Our shield will never fail because God is always faithful to us.

FPO—For Parents Only

  • TOMORROW is our last day of VBS.  There will be some extra sweet things in the park.
  • Don’t forget to memorize our Bible verse with your child.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2015 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2015 Daily News: Wednesday

IMG_7119 Students Ready to Share the Good News
Kids put on the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

State College, PA — The VBS students began the day worshipping together at Vespers before continuing their preparation for going into spiritual battle. Today was a day to accessorize their armor by putting on the shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

This is a pretty big topic to cover in one day! In a nutshell, the day was all about evangelism. Gospel means good news. The good news is that Jesus came and lived a perfect life, then He was murdered for our wrongdoing. Three days later, He came back to life and ascended into Heaven. Because of these events, we can have eternal life in Heaven. This should fill us with an abounding sense of peace.

IMG_7121 IMG_7124Today we did a activity in which we all put a shoe in a pile, then we found someone else’s shoe and helped them put it on while we asked them questions about themselves. The purpose of the activity was to show that we must go to people and first listen to what they have to say before we speak.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according Your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Today the students had fun with squirt guns for some physical activity. This was to teach the students that it is important to protect your heart from being hit, because in the spiritual war we’re in, Satan likes to aim for the heart. Righteousness protects our heart and helps us stay pure from sin.

Family Time

Together, read the following passages.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

IMG_7142Discuss the following questions as a family.

  • What is the Gospel, and why does it bring us peace?
  • Why does preparation go on our feet?
  • What are we called to be prepared for?
  • How will your family prepare to share the Gospel with others?

Also work on memorizing Ephesians 6:11 and pray as a family.

What’s the Big Idea?

All warriors have to be prepared to run, because they never know when battle will hit. We always need to have on the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace so we can be prepared to share the Good News with anyone who needs to hear it.

FPO—For Parents Only

  • TOMORROW will be picture day! All students are asked to wear their VBS shirts and bring their smiles.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2015 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2015 Daily News: Tuesday

IMG_7069Students Learn to Get Right with God
“The Breastplate of Righteousness” is studied.

State College, PA — What day it was at Holy Trinity’s VBS! After a delicious dinner the students were ready to return to their spiritual training and their next piece of armor: the Breastplate of Righteousness.

Righteousness is Christian lingo that often makes non-Christians feel excluded and uncomfortable. All righteousness really means is being right with God. Psalm 119:9-11 gives us an idea on how we can do that:

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How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according Your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Today the students had fun with squirt guns for some physical activity. This was to teach the students that it is important to protect your heart from being hit, because in the spiritual war we’re in, Satan likes to aim for the heart. Righteousness protects our heart and helps us stay pure from sin.

IMG_7086Family Time

As a family, discuss this passage of Scripture and what it has to do with righteousness. Here are some guiding questions:

  • What is righteousness?
  • What do we do to stay in a right standing with God?
  • What does a breastplate protect?
  • Why would a breastplate be used to represent righteousness?
  • What are you going to do as a family to continue to strive for righteousness?

Also work on memorizing Ephesians 6:11 and pray as a family.

IMG_7095What’s the Big Idea?

Today’s big idea was that the Breastplate of Righteousness protects our hearts. Righteousness is the state of being “right with God.” It is striving to keep sins out of our hearts.

FPO—For Parents Only

  • TOMORROW there will be Vespers at 5:00 p.m. Please try to bring your children early so that we can pray together. Dinner and VBS will follow immediately.
  • The VBS will conclude each day with some fun activity at Holmes-Foster Park (unless it is raining). Please be prompt in picking up your child.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2015 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2015 Daily News: Monday

Students Put on the Armor of God
“The Belt of Truth” is the first piece of armor studied.

IMG_7016State College, PA — It’s been almost exactly a year since the students last gathered for Vacation Bible School (VBS), and the students returned this year “ready for battle”. The 2015 VBS theme this year is based upon Ephesians 6:10-18—the Armor of God.

This week the students will learn how to be warriors for God. Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are caught in the middle of a spiritual war. He doesn’t tell us this to scare us, but to prepare us for life’s everyday battles.

Parents are responsible for leading children in this war by showing them how to use the tools God has given us to fight a spiritual battle. VBS will get the students starting in their training learning how to “put on the full armor of God” by participating in discussions, playing games, crafts, praying and reading their Bibles.

Family Time

As a family, read Ephesians 6:11-18 and discuss the following questions:

  • Why is it important to know and “wear” the armor of God?
  • Name all six pieces of armor.
  • What is truth?
  • How do the world and Christians view truth differently?
  • What do tool belts do?
  • Why is truth represented as a Roman soldier’s belt?
  • How can you as a family practice putting on the Belt of Truth?

IMG_7036Get it in Your Head

Each child is expected to have Ephesians 6:11 memorized by the end of the week. Parents can memorize it along with them:

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

What’s the Big Idea?

Today’s big idea was that Satan is known as the Great Deceiver. He is a master at lying to us, so we need to be trained in the Truth. The Belt of Truth helps us to defend against Satan’s lies.

FPO—For Parents Only

  • TOMORROW the VBS will have a water game so the kids may get a little wet. Please have your child bring a small towel to dry off.
  • On Wednesday, there will be Vespers at 5:00 p.m. Please try to bring your children early so that we can pray together. Dinner and VBS will follow immediately.

Learn More

For more recaps, pictures, and information, visit the 2016 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2014 Daily News: Friday

Narnia Kids Return—VBS Kids Ready for Battle!

VBS concludes with students outfitted with the armor of God

IMG_2812State College, PA — Today, Holy Trinity’s VBS concluded with the climatic finish of our themed story—The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  Through the use of symbols, the students realized that the plot and chronology of the story portrays the history, fall, and plan unfolding in the world as well.

As we left the story yesterday Lucy and Susan were watching what was happening at the Stone Table in absolute horror and sat crying. We picked up the story as the girls came out from behind the bushes after the Witch left and tried to untie the ropes that bound Aslan, but they could not. Suddenly hundreds of little mice came out from the tall grass and nibbled away at every single rope until they were all gone.  Still the great Aslan laid there.

When the dawn of early morning came the girls heard a huge cracking and they turned to see the Stone Table had cracked into two pieces and that Aslan himself was standing beside it … complete with a full mane!  Aslan quickly explained to the girls that the White Witch was right about the Deep Magic which said that she had the right to have a blood sacrifice for Edmund’s sin, but there was a deeper magic which she did not know. It says that if a willing victim who had committed no treachery was sacrificed instead of the traitor, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.

IMG_5445Aslan, flying along at the greatest speed with the girls on his back, reached the Witch’s castle and jumped right over the gates into the courtyard filled with stone statues and began breathing on each statue until each was restored to life again.  At the same time, in the valley just below the Stone Table, Peter and his faithful little army were fighting for their lives with Edmund bravely fighting along side his brother.  He knew if he could just get the wand out of the Witch’s hand she would be defenseless. Soon he had his opportunity and he destroyed her instrument of power with his sword. When Aslan arrived with his fresh troops, they quickly joined the battle and he killed the White Witch himself With the death of their leader, the wicked creatures who made up the Queen’s army were defeated.  Then  Lucy gave Edmund, who was badly wounded, a few drops of the special juice from the fire-flowers to revive him.

The next day at the castle of Cair Paravel,  Aslan crowned the four children as King Peter, QueenSusan, King Edmund and Queen Lucy.  They were then seated upon the thrones as prophecy was fulfilled.  These two Kings and two Queens governed Narnia well and long … and happy was their reign.

IMG_2745One day, the Kings and Queens decided to hunt for the White Stag when they  a lamp-post. As they continued down the path, they found themselves no longer making their way through tree branches, but through coats! Suddenly, they were coming out of the Wardrobe and they were just Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy.

And that would have been the very end of the story except for the Professor who was a very remarkable man.  He tells them they are not likely to get back to Narnia through the same route but they will, indeed, return someday for once a King or Queen in Narnia, you will always be one.

Meet the Characters

Lamp post  — is what shows Lucy, and all others that visit Narnia, the way.  It is the only light that greets a visitor in an otherwise grey and cloudy world. Under its light, things become clearer. In a sense, those who teach you how to study the Bible are providing you the light from which you can see the meaning of God’s Word more clearly.

Wardrobe — we all start out in an imaginary innocent world oblivious to the real picture of what is going on here, unless by faith, in Christ, who is the only Door  (the wardrobe) we enter into and are illuminated, revealing the kingdom of God.  It is the entry way to the spiritual kingdoms.

What’s in the Book

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. — Ezekiel 11:19

When at last she was free to come back to Edmund, she found him standing on his feet and not only healed of his wounds, but looking better than she had seen him look in-oh, ages;  in fact ever since his first term in that horrid school which was where he had begun to go wrong.  He had become his old self again and could look you in the face again.  And there on the field of battle Aslan made him a Knight. — p. 146-147

Appreciation

Many thanks to all of the teachers, cooks, mural painters, helpers, and extra hands.  It is through their stewardship that the VBS is able to be conducted.  Most especially,  thanks to the students for their enthusiasm and willingness to learn (and their parents who brought them).

Learn More

For more recaps and pictures, visit the 2014 Vacation Bible School homepage.

 

VBS 2014 Daily News: Thursday

Aslan is On the Move

IMG_2652State College, PA — The VBS students gathered on this rainy  then sunny day to continue following the exciting adventures of children in Narnia and seeing Aslan on the move.  Additionally, to bring some of the excitement to real life the students were able to create their own shield of faith.

The students picked up the story when the four children reunited in the presence of Aslan. But even though Edmund is rescued, he is not really safe from the White Witch. He was guilty of being a traitor and there were laws about what must be done about such a sin. If the laws were not followed, all of Narnia would be destroyed by fire and water. So, just when everyone was celebrating Edmund’s return, the White Witch stormed into Aslan’s camp to demand the life of Edmund. She reminded Aslan that Edmund’s sin must be punished by the shedding of his blood at her hand.

Everyone waited for a very long time while Aslan and the Witch went off to talk alone. At last Aslan returned and announced that the wicked Witch renounced the claim on Edmund’s life. He then ordered the moving of their camp to a new location. As they packed up the camp and moved it down the hill from the Stone Table, Aslan took Peter aside to instruct him on another upcoming battle with the Witch and her army. Peter was alarmed when

IMG_2621Aslan said he could not promise to be a part of this battle. He, as well as his two sisters, became concerned about Aslan because he seemed very sad.

After dinner everyone fell asleep except for Susan and Lucy. When they looked out of their tent, they saw Aslan leaving the camp so they decided to follow him. After a while he noticed the two sisters and, as he was very sad and lonely, he let them walk with him and comfort him by stroking his long beautiful mane. He made them promise they would leave him when he asked them to. He did this as they came to the edge of the place of the Stone Table. From their hiding place in the bushes, the girls watch Aslan walk into a great crowd of evil-looking ogres, wolves, and spirits of evil trees, poisonous plants and other indescribable creatures. And right in the middle, standing by the Table, stood the White Witch herself.

What’s in the Book

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.1After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. — Matthew 27:27‑31

“The fool!” she cried.  “The fool has come. Bind him fast.” Everyone was at him now. Those who had been afraid to come near him even after he was bound began to find their courage, and for a few minutes the two girls could not even see him – so thickly was he surrounded by the whole crowd of creatures kicking him,hitting him, spitting on him, jeering at him.  — p. 123ff

Learn More

For more recaps and pictures, visit the 2014 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2014 Daily News: Wednesday

SPRING ARRIVES IN NARNIA: Fr. Christmas and Aslan greeted; Peter fights first battle

IMG_2512State College, PA — The excitement in Narnia continued to build today as two prominent characters—Father Christmas and Aslan—made their first appearances.

After traveling by foot by moonlight across the backside of the dam (where the White Witch could not travel by sleigh) the Beaver’s and children fell asleep in a dry cave.  When the small group woke up, they were greeted by sleigh-bells and Father Christmas in a red robe bringing magnificent gifts! He also brought good news that the Queen’s evil magic was weakening as this was the first Christmas to happen in Narnia in a very long time.

Fr.  Christmas brought special gifts for each of the three children. To Peter he gave a shield engraved with a lion and a sword. Susan’s gift was a bow and arrows that would never miss and an ivory horn to summon help. To Lucy he gave a small bottle of juice from the fire-flowers to restore the life of a friend and a small dagger to defend herself.  Before departing, he shouts out, “Merry Christmas! Long live the true King!”

Meanwhile, Edmund is forced to get into the White Witch’s sled without even a coat to keep him warm. They are off to find his brother and sisters before they reach the Stone Table.  The Wicked Witch knew that not only was Spring here, but so was Aslan.

IMG_2552As they soon learned there was in the very middle of an open hilltop the Stone Table – a big grey slab on top of four big corner-stones. While they looked at this very old stone, they heard music and there was the great Lion, Aslan.

Aslan wanted to speak to Peter alone about the battle ahead against evil. He took him to the very top of the hilltop to look out over the Kingdom and to see the castle of Cair Paravel. It was here, Aslan said, that there were four and that the four children would sit on the thrones. As Aslan was talking with Peter, Susan’s horn sounded the call for help. The Battle had begun.

Meet the Characters

The Stone Table — the Narnian equivalent to the cross Jesus was crucified on, however it goes beyond this and resembles strongly the end of the “Law” also, or the stone tablets, and the breaking of the temple curtain at Christ’s death.

Lucy’s Healing Potion — Christ’s blood, which heals our infirmities

Helmet — Salvation

Shield — Faith

Sword — the Spirit within us

Susan’s horn prayer before God

What’s in the Book

Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well. If you have the gift of speaking, preach God’s message. If you have the gift of helping others, do it with the strength that God supplies. Everything should be done in a way that will bring honor to God because of Jesus Christ, who is glorious and powerful forever. Amen.  — 1 Peter 4:10-11

“Peter, Adam’s son,” said Father Christmas.  “Here, Sir,” said Peter.  “These are your presents” was the answer, “and they are tools, not toys.  The time to use them is perhaps near at hand.  Bear them well.” — pg. 87

FPO—For Parents Only

  • The VBS Daily News is prepared especially for YOU.  In each issue, you will read about the major topics and themes for the day. Take time to read it (particularly the scriptural references) and discuss it with your child.
  • FYI … There may be some water game on Friday.

Learn More

For more recaps and pictures, visit the 2014 Vacation Bible School homepage.

VBS 2014 Daily News: Tuesday

Truth or Consequences: Students learn truth is not what is seems but what it is

IMG_2496State College, PA — When it comes to tough choices, Holy Trinity VBS students learned that not everything comes easy and that we often find ourselves struggling and challenged to do what is right.

The students picked up the story as Edmund reluctantly returns to the wardrobe and the Old Professor’s house. Lucy was so happy to find someone who believed her story because he was there, but when they caught up with their older siblings, Edmund betrayed her and said the whole story was still a figment of her imagination.

Finally, a day came that would convince Peter and Susan once and for all who was telling the truth—Lucy or Edmund. It so happened that some visitors came to the old historic house for a tour and all four children were told to stay out of the way. They decided to play upstairs, and when they heard the visitors coming up, the children hid in the old wardrobe. Instantly they found themselves in the dark woods of Narnia. When Edmund directs them to the lamp-post, Peter and Susan realize that he had, in fact, been there before.

Once in Narnia, Lucy wanted to introduce everyone to her friend, Mr. Tumnus, but when they reached his small house he was gone. With no idea where to find the castle, they asked a beautiful, bright, red-breasted robin for guidance. She set out leading the way until eventually they met the Beavers. They were to be the chilren’s guide to a special place to meet Aslan. IMG_2440

At the mention of Aslan’s name, with no idea just exactly who Aslan was, each child had a curious reaction. Edmund felt terrified, Peter felt brave and adventurous, Susan felt as if some delicious smell or beautiful music had just floated by her, and Lucy got the feeling you have when it’s the beginning of a vacation or summer.

Meet the Characters

Aslan  (which means lion in Turkish) — Jesus Christ.  He is the creator of Narnia. He symbolizes Jesus Christ and the power of good. Queen Jadis, the White Witch (Lucifer) — who rules Narnia, represents the power of Satan or evil in the world.

What’s in the Book

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours. — Luke 4:5-7

“It is a lovely place, my house,” said the Queen. “I am sure you would like it. There are whole rooms full of Turkish Delight, and what’s more, I have no children of my own. I want a nice boy who I can bring up as prince and who would be King of Narnia when I am gone. While he was Prince he would wear a gold crown and eat Turkish Delight all day long; and you are much the cleverest and handsomest young man I’ve ever met. I think I would like to make you Prince-some day, when you bring the others to visit me.” — The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, p. 30

FPO—For Parents Only

  • Don’t forget that TOMMOROW (WEDNESDAY) there will be Vespers at 5:00 p.m.  Bring your kids early for worship (dinner will be served following).

Learn More

For more recaps and pictures, visit the 2014 Vacation Bible School homepage.