Sonrise & Storms

Storms have a way of knocking you off balance.

Panic grips the human heart when the uncontrollable forces of nature froth and foam in fierce fits of gusting winds, cracking thunder, sheets of fiery lightening, torrents of rain, and tossing waves.

Derecho Storm 7-30-12 over Hamilton Mall just outside Atlantic City, NJ

Be it inland or at sea – or in the midst of the circumstances of one’s life – storms can zap the strength of the most stalwart among us.

Infrastructure can be reduced to debris . . .

Plunging all – from the greatest to the least (for storms are no respecter of persons) – into the darkness of a power outage and often permanent change of landscape.

We’ve been speaking much on the subject of storms in my neck of the woods. Or, what is left of the woods. Just before 1:00am on June 30 – two weeks ago –  a “derecho” with ninety mile an hour wind gusts and the most furious lightening I’ve ever seen, squalled across our region wreaking  havoc on trees, power lines, and homes – anything in its path – violently snapped, felled, and uprooted.

This rare and fearsome storm arrived suddenly, and ended in less than thirty minutes plunging miles of multi-state acreage into stress and panic.  Restoration of power in the aftermath took well over seven days in some parts of the area.  Tree clean-up and property damage repair and replacement will be months for many.

It was fitting then, I think, after over a week without power at our church, that our Calvary Chapel Vineland Vacation Bible School met for the first time after the storm – power restored – to kick off the next few Wednesday evening events with a story about storms last week . . .

And, the hope of the Sonrise.

VBS coordinator, Miss Brenda, welcomed over eighty youngsters ages 2 to 12 to this year’s themed program:  SONRISE NATIONAL PARK.

Talented and dedicated volunteers transformed the Kid’s Church great room into a campsite with all sorts of clever spots for discovering how Jesus can make the Sonrise in the middle of any storm!

Ranger Crystal, Ranger Stacey, and Ranger Ashley meet inside with the littlest rangers who learn their lessons and participate in age appropriate crafts in Little Bear Country and the Busy Beaver Craft Lodge.

Outside, children are assigned to one of three teams – Faithful Frogs, Righteous Raccoons, or Holy Huskies, and their Head Park Rangers who lead them to four activity stations – making great use of our wide open green acreage.

Ranger Ed can be found at the Fireside Frontier campsite where he teaches the weekly Bible story lesson in a dramatized “storytelling-around-the-campfire” kinda way.

Last week rangers learned about TRUE PEACE!

Ranger Ed told the story of the day Jesus made the storm stop during a boat ride with His disciples.  At first Jesus was actually sleeping while the storm tossed and turned the boat violently.  The disciples were afraid and woke Him thinking He didn’t care if they drowned.

They were so wrong.  JESUS WAS THERE ALL THE TIME!  That fact alone should have calmed all their fears.  Jesus showed them just how powerful He was when He spoke to the storm and silenced it immediately.

Ranger Ed told another story about eagles, too!

God made eagles to know when a storm was coming. When they sense a storm, eagles fly to the highest spot and wait for it, peacefully and safely riding the winds above the storm.

God is our Highest Spot – our refuge and strength – like the memory verse says:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  
Psalm 46:1

I love how God builds His Character and His Word into all of creation!  I will think of this every time I think of an eagle – or see and eagle – since Ed and I often go eagle spotting in our county where there are 80 nesting pairs this season!

 On a side, meditative note – our national bird is the eagle.  

 
Photo Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures from a Christian Perspective

Oh, that we would, as a nation, seek out the High Spot of God Almighty as our refuge and strength, and an ever-present help in the stormy and turbulent times our nation is weathering these days . . .
But, I digress.

Ranger Gina heads up the games segment in Glacier Bay.

This week kids played a relay game where two of them got into a hula hoop that was filling in for a boat.  They had to run around orange cones and back again to hand off the hoop to the next pair.

The fun came when Ranger Gina played the part of the storm spraying them with rain from a spray bottle as they attempted to make their way around the cones and back again. 

Great giggles – memorable object lesson:  Keep going when riding those stormy obstacles in life – the Lord will deliver you to the finish line!!

Ranger Chrissy and Ranger Kourtney lead worship at the Pine Tree Praise Center with some upbeat praise tunes and hand motions.

There’s even some cue cards to help with the words – held up by some cutie helper rangers!

Ranger MaryAnn presides over the the Blueberry Meadow Picnic Patch back inside, and further reviews the evening’s story about Jesus calming the storm. 

The idea of trading our storms for His Sonrise became a hands-on treat as youngsters sliced strawberries and arranged the slices like the rays of the sun – portrayed by an orange half. 

Once they had completed their food masterpiece – they got to eat it!

Though, we would not wish a “derecho” on anyone at anytime, it was somewhat Providential that this frightening storm experience was so fresh in everyone’s mind.  The lesson really connected with the kids – tying together their own personal stormy experience with the experience of the disciples on a stormy sea 2000 years ago. 

Nothing wasted – God is glorified IN the storms of life, as He calms the heart who trust in Him.

Sharing Sonrise & Storms this week with:

 

Comments

  1. That storm certainly had an impact! Some people still don’t have power! What a mess it made!
    But I was impressed with people helping each other, and generally being very patient, despite the extreme heat, with no electricity!
    I’m glad VBS didn’t have to be cancelled. I loved seeing the children at VBS! Oh, how much fun they are having learning about Jesus, in such a fun way, with the camp theme, campfire stories, games, crafts and refreshments. I know they will always remember this great experience,and the lessons learned, as I fondly remember VBS, the highlight of my childhood summers!
    So nice you could be a part of all that!
    Blessings, Linda

  2. Such joy working with children, sharing their day and sprinkling their lives with bits of wisdom and joy. I really like “God is our high spot”, Kathy! So glad the power is restored and clean up has begun.
    xo

  3. I just love this!! This is exactly what I would love to see at our church for VBS (and have offered to try work toward). They are determined to stay solidly inside whatever box is “assigned” for that year instead. It frustrates me.

    Sorry to grouse, but it’s true. I’m moved to pray more than I have toward a mind change. (Which I actually think will require a heart change)

    This is simply inspired, and like you I think even more meaningful so soon after the storm.

  4. Wonderful Kathy! The storm really was incredible. Man needs to see the power of God periodically to be reminded Who really DOES have the power! We had it too! As i live in an area of eagles as well.. Isaiah 40:31 is certain;y one of my favorites. Your VBS looks like a lovingly crafted thing. Blessings on CC! Our CC Sequim has one in a few weeks.
    Have a great week, my sister!
    Ruth

  5. Enjoyed these pictures so much! How wonderful! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  6. Interesting post. Great pictures. God provides in the storms of life no matter what kind of storms they are. This is a good example of that fact. Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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