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God’s Love Changes Us: Day Two of VBS in Martin, Slovakia

July 11, 2017

Parachute games. Holy cow, parachute games!

It was a rainy day in Martin for our second day of Vacation Bible School, but that didn’t get us down. If anything, it helped us to get down. Exhibit A? Games, led by Pastor Dave Wegner, Peter Modrich, and their Slovak helpers. Confined to the gym, they were forced to be creative. What to do? Parachute games!

I saw a group of children and leaders transformed. While others would have responded to the cramped quarters with chagrin, these folks responded with creativity and joy. The sheer exhilaration on the faces of everyone, from Pastor Dave W. on down, was a joy to behold.

No surprise here, however. After all, as we learned today, God’s love changes us. God’s love, freely gifted to us through Jesus Christ, transforms us from the inside out. It helps to see – and to grab hold of – the joy that God intends for us regardless of circumstance. So, parachute games!

Today we were also blessed to tour an exhibit featuring texts from the Reformation in Slovakia and Hungary. I was struck by my own ignorance of the history of the Reformation east of Germany. In the years following 1517, the Reformation spread in the lands beyond Germany, aided by the printing press and other circumstances including the encroachment of the Ottoman Empire and political squabbling among the nobles. The main cause, however, was nothing less than the gospel itself, for the gospel itself changes the world, one person at a time.

We were reminded that persecution for the sake of the gospel was not a twentieth-century  innovation. It has been going on for much longer than that. But in spite of (or maybe because of?) persecution and oppression, the gospel has taken deep roots in this part of the world. These deep roots lead to freedom. A freedom that enabled us to gather in joy and peace to enjoy the music of our friend, Tomáš Gulán, and his band.

To be with the good people of the CCE is to witness lives transformed by the gospel. They have staked their lives and livelihoods on the gospel of Jesus Christ, trusting that God will not only provide for them, but that God will do good, new work in this place.

What would it look like if we followed their lead, more boldly and faithfully? What would it look like if we forgot worldly acclamation and sought only to be faithful to God, no matter what anyone else thought?

Well, I have a feeling it might just be pretty amazing. It might look like the Kingdom of God. It might look like parachute games.

Sign me up. I’m ready to be transformed.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

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From → Slovakia 2017

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