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The Idle American
Summers With New Adjectives….
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 • Posted July 9, 2014

A half-century ago, the late Nat “King” Cole crooned about the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer. The lyrics probably “fit” US life in the early ‘60s, but hardly so today.

Current summers seem jam-packed. There are “wall-to-wall” activities, early ‘til late, particularly for youngsters.

In this piece, we’ll zero in on boys and girls of summer, many of whom attend vacation Bible school early on, thus avoiding conflicts with vacations, sports leagues, and many other activities. All told, they cause summer days to extend far into summer nights. Much is high tech, and most of the goings-on warrant collaboration and coordination. Today, there’s little lazy about summers. Some haziness remains, and craziness—in various degrees—still is in vogue….

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For most churches, VBS now is a budgeted item. String, paste, bottle caps, egg cartons and such rarely are “saved up” to use in VBS anymore.

In many churches, though, “VBS Kool-Aid” (we called it “Polly Pop” back in the day) still is very much in play.

How does VBS Kool-Aid differ from the ordinary stuff? One packet makes two quarts, according to the label. Historically, VBS leaders have altered the directions--a package will also make a gallon….

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I mentioned “collaboration” earlier. At our church, considerable time and resources are committed to feeding the poor. To introduce this massive project to our youngsters, they’ve been asked to write verses, scriptures and/or short messages on the sides of little brown bags. The bags then are filled with lunches delivered to children throughout the neighborhood all summer long.

It’s a nice touch, whether or not the messages make any impact on the hungry youngsters who tear into the bags to retrieve sandwiches, fruit and cookies.

Though she will remain nameless, I am happy to report that the youngest of our half-dozen grandchildren, now seven years of age, happily accepted the little writing assignment. And she took it on at full gallop with no holds barred, unencumbered by political correctness….

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Serious as a funeral, she pondered for several minutes before writing her multi-colored message, mostly with crayon, with some “magic marker” for emphasis.

Please keep this in mind: Following is her Sunday school teacher’s report on the personalized writing assignment. I am merely the messenger, hoping not to be shot.

As a granddad, I’m proud of her, and applaud her courage, frankness and sincerity, given that as she gets older, a bit more tact on some subjects should perhaps be considered….

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“Dear Friend,” the bag message began. “I hope you will let Jesus into your heart. If you do, when you die, you will get to live with Him in heaven. If you don’t, you will go to hell.”

I’m not sure the bag was used; I didn’t ask. If it was, perhaps they covered the last eight words with stick-on hearts, flowers and shepherds.

Or maybe not….

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Children have always been—and hopefully always will be—spontaneous. It is never more apparent than during children’s sermons—particularly at holiday observances. On Easter Sunday at New Braunfels Presbyterian Church, worship began with a huge wooden cross at the altar, behind which were beautiful flowers. The children were to gather the flowers, follow the men carrying the cross outdoors, then decorate it.

They did so, parading back inside with the cross to close the service. They were singing an Easter hymn; all went swimmingly—until the moment the pastor raised his hands to pronounce the benediction. A booming voice—well, booming for a five-year-old—emitted from the group of two dozen children, “Now, let’s sing Jingle Bells.” Needless to say, “church was out.” The benediction was lost in the laughter….

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Another five-year-old, standing behind a makeshift lectern, was “preaching” to neighborhood friends and a couple of pets. Questioned by his mother about the scriptural topic, he quickly answered, “The book of Temptations.”

The Holy Bible is clear about Jesus’ love for children. Matthew 19:14 (RSV) reads: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Chris and Cindy Liebrum—without grandchildren until this year—now have two. They’re ecstatic and can hardly wait to respond favorably to grandchildren’s requests made to “Lolli” and “Pop.”…

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Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury.

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