At the tender age of 10 Pam walked into a VBS all on her own and heard the very first and only Bible verse in her life, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever should believe in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” She...
This Week's Life Lifter: For God loved the world so muchthat he gave his one and only Son,so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16) Think back to a time you fought for something. Was it important to you? We fight for things we...
The Cross--an instrument of cruel death--was used by God to bring life to all. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the...
At the tender age of 10 Pam walked into a VBS all on her own and heard the very first and only Bible verse in her life, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever should believe in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” She memorized those words and clung to them for the next 30 years. “VBS is what started it all, its when the seed was planted,” Pam said.
Fast forward to July of 2009. Pam brought her children to VBS at the Church at Severn Run. “I didn't really care if they learned about Jesus, I really just wanted them to go somewhere for the day so I could get a break, but God got my attention.”
As Pam walked her kids into the doors that day the verse for the week was displayed on the screens...John 3:16. She knew right then and there that God was calling her back, calling her to have a personal relationship with him. Pam began coming to church and the following year she signed up to be a leader at VBS. “I was terrified that I didn't know enough, that I wasn't qualified or ready to lead children in the discussions, but God showed up every time and I realized that he doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”
Pam looks forward to leading at VBS now, and does it every year. “I don't only find satisfaction in seeing the kids grow and learn, but I grow and learn so much by teaching the kids and listening to them.” She tells anyone and everyone about how important VBS is.
“If you can speak into their lives when they are young and plant a seed, it could change their whole life.” She hopes that one day a child will look back 30 years from now and say, “My life was changed because of that week at VBS.”
If you would like to participate in VBS this year, you can get more information here.
For God loved the world so much
that he gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Think back to a time you fought for something. Was it important to you? We fight for things we care about or feel entitled to.
What about your life? It seems like an easy question, yet Mark 8:35 says “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News (gospel message), you will save it.”
There are few things that are more miserable than hanging onto your own life when you need to let go, but listen to the words of Jesus. He says that if you do what comes natural by hanging on to your life then the most unnatural thing will happen, you will face death.
We will fight to hold on to our view of the world, to get what we want, and we get mad when life does not work out exactly how we thought it should. We will fight with all we’ve got before we die. In the spiritual realm, when we are willing to fight to the death, we are fighting against life.
The way the world views religion, Jesus is here to serve us. This view thinks that God should give us what we want in exchange for us serving him. The world says that you can be religious, but yet still harbor hateful thoughts and feelings towards others. The world says that God can have a small part of your life, and you can keep the rest.
But this is not how it works.
In the beginning or the end, your life is either kept for yourself or given completely to Jesus. You cannot be partially crucified. The given life is an “all in” kind of life. Or it isn't given at all.
This is the example that God set for us.
It says in John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
His life was THE given life.
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The Cross--an instrument of cruel death--was used by God to bring life to all.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the penalty for all of our sins.
Here is what the Bible says about Jesus on the cross:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)
And it is there where we find him to receive the gift of everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
It is a free gift when we repent in faith.
Jesus actually predicted the manner of his death in the words preceding his great promise. In John 3:14-15, we read: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Notice that verses 15 and 16 end with almost identical words. Why? Jesus was drawing a parallel between a spectacular Old Testament event with his coming sacrifice on the cross.
As recorded in Numbers 21:4-9, the ancient Israelites rebelled against God in the wilderness. God punished them with “fiery serpents” who bit them, killing many. After the people repented, God provided a means of salvation:
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
In similar fashion, whenever anyone who has sinned looks at Jesus in repentance and faith, they shall live.
Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself” (John 12:32). The next verse expressly states, “This he said, signifying by what death he would die.”
Just as Moses lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole to save all those who looked at it, God lifted up Jesus on a cross to save all those who put their faith in Him.
Let us all turn to Jesus, who beckons us with arms wide open.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)