VBS: How To Pray In the Days That Follow

When we speak truth to kids, we can rest assured that His Word will not return void. He will accomplish the work that He has set out to do in His time (Isaiah 55:11 paraphrased).  This reminder should be our prayer going forward.

  • That God will accomplish His work in the lives of all who were touched because of  His work at Vacation Bible School this year.

The way a kid sees God now is foundational and shapes their understanding of who God is for a lifetime. They need to see God in all his amazing power, holiness, grace, and never failing love.  We strived to do just that during our week together at VBS.  His light shone bright through all of those dedicated to the ministry.  God’s truth, power and love was poured out to the families who attended.

  • Pray they will know Him and seek community with those who know Him.

Here are a few snapshots of our week together.  We hope you will pray over these children and their families with us!

Marriage Matters: Welcome to Baseball Season

The last few days of 70-degree weather have been a blessing and also a reminder ]that not only is spring on the way but baseball season is upon us.

I have been following the game since 1950 when my Yankees beat the Phillies in the World Series. To me baseball is more than a game. It’s a life time of memories; my grandfather introduced me to the game he loved. He was a Brooklyn Dodger fan and taught me all about the game. He died in February 1955 before he saw his Dodgers win the 55-world series. Today, I have the opportunity to build memories with my grandchildren as we attend the Trenton Thunder games. It’s so much more than baseball. It’s about spending time with them and letting them know how special they are.

Too many children today do not have these special moments of building life time memories.

During the month of March Grace Point will be offering three classes on exploring the world of the developing adolescent. These classes will take place on March 12, 19, and 26 at 9AM in Rooms A1-2.

Some of the topics that we will explore are:

  • An Inside Look at the American Teenager
  • Adolescent Developmental Influences
  • The Impact of Trauma on Adolescent Development
  • Factors that Contribute to Good Psychological Health
  • Parenting Adolescents

These classes are recommended for the parents of children aged nine and above, teachers, counselors, and anyone else who lives with or works with the adolescent.

You can contact Chuck Arnold (carnold@gracepointpa.org) for additional information.

GP Kids – Important Tel Hai Camp Info

Dear Families and Friends of Grace Point,i-bdvmq8z-l

I am writing today to share with you about Tel Hai Adventure Camp week.  Over the past 11+ years that I have been at Grace Point, Tel Hai has been a highlight of ministry for GP Kids.  This away-camp week for students 8-11 years old began as a thriving opportunity for our families to send their children to a Christian camp.

Similar to many ministry endeavors, the week has had high points and low points throughout the time Grace Point has led it.  At its start, about 14 years ago, we had nearly 50 kids from Grace Point and our local area that would attend.  The week served not only our students, but local children from Honey Brooke who wished to attend, so it became an outreach opportunity as well.  Over the years, while I have led the camp, I have taken time each year to pray over and evaluate the program.  This year, when our Tel Hai leadership team (comprised of both Grace Point and Crossing Community Church leaders) evaluated the program, it became clear that God was indeed directing us to reconsider leading this program.  After much prayer, I brought these considerations to both the staff and elders and decided, with their feedback, that we would not move forward with offering and leading Tel Hai Adventure Camp as a Grace Point sponsored ministry.

i-cgp8m3b-lHere are some factors that brought us to this decision. Of the 130 kids who attended Tel Hai Adventure Camp week this year, only 8 of them were from Grace Point.  Another few students were from Crossing Community Church, but the majority of the children were from the local area of Honey Brooke, PA.  While I loved the opportunity to outreach to the Honey Brooke area, it became clear to me that continuing relationships with those students we did reach was difficult due to our removed location in Newtown, PA.  And despite our efforts over a number of years, we have not seen the number of GP children increase. In a nutshell,  the amount of time, energy, effort and finances it takes to make this one week happen were a cost outweighing the gain.

I realize this ministry has become very dear to the heart of the many leaders and students who have been a part of it, and I assure you much prayer and deliberation has gone into this decision.  I, myself, am sad to close this door.  However, I am, at the same time, excited at what we will see God do in children’s ministry at Grace Point with more time and energy to invest here.

You may be asking yourself, what’s next then?  What could we offer by way of the camp experience some students will miss?  These are important questions I want to answer for you.  Our efforts will be poured back into the overall ministry of GP Kids at Grace Point.  It is my prayer to see the freed up time, leadership and finances used to further the ministry within our program here where the impact can be greater and lasting. Beyond that, I have begun researching other camp experiences that Grace Point would recommend for families.  We will not look to lead a week of camp as we did with Tel Hai, but we do want to offer options and opportunities that may serve you well.  To check out some camp opportunities and further updates, please use this link: https://gracepointonline.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/elementary-and-family-camp-ideas.pdf.

I care deeply about your family and any questions you might have.  Please email me questions at cdewitt@gracepointpa.org.

In love and prayer, Cassandra DeWitt

Summer Playlist

One of my favorite things about warmer weather is driving with the windows down and my favorite tunes playing on the car radio (sometimes louder than it should be). Backyard BBQs and summer parties tend to be a whole lot more enjoyable with some “tunes.” I love music.

NEEDTOBREATHE - Hard Love
NEEDTOBREATHE – Hard Love

Music has always resonated with me, and helped me to come to terms with some of the darkest times of my life. The song, “In Christ Alone” has a special significance for me. Music can help us relax, process, or simply “be still” in the midst of life’s storms. That’s one of the reasons I love that we incorporate music into our worship services.

This summer, I’m spending a lot of time with NEEDTOBREATHE‘s latest album, “Hard Love.” It came out while I was away from home, and so track 8, “Be Here Long” means a lot to me. The chorus goes like this:

Close my eyes and think of you
Go to sleep and dream of you
We don’t get to be here long
I gave you the best of me
Loved you more than anything
But we don’t get to be here long

At the risk of sounding all mushy, it made me think of my wife and my boys when I was 3,000 miles away.

What songs have meaning for you? What are you listening to this summer?

Adventures at Adventure Camp

This is a special week for many of our kids at Grace Point. There are 130 kids ages 8-11 having a great time at Adventure Camp at Camp Tel Hai. Cassandra DeWitt, our Children’s Director, Liz Coffman, our Nursery Coordinator, and 50 other leaders are leading the charge to “Walk this Way” – which is this year’s theme.

From archery to crafts, from riding horses to sitting ’round the campfire, Tel Hai is always a life-changing week for these kids. Below is a portion from earlier this week on the Adventure Camp blogCheck out the blog for a daily video!

One of our favorite meals today was tacos for TACO TUESDAY of course! To top that, as if you could, we had a treat of terrific apple crisp today too!

An even more fun treat, was our evening special where the kids got to rotate between an evening swim, hayride and mini-golf under the lights! This is a favorite night for many of the campers getting to swim under the lights, and also, having the hayride back was a special treat. You could [hear] the kids singing tunes from miles away I am sure!

Beach Vacation With Our Toddler – What Were We Thinking?!

As I’m packing up our car for our family beach vacation, tucking items in every little corner, under each seat and in the roof cargo carrier, I ask myself the question most parents with small children ask: How much stuff does this kid need?!

Of course, the reality is that she doesn’t “need” most of it but rather it’s our attempt as parents to our almost two-year daughter to be prepared for any possible scenario…..and provide opportunities to create fun, meaningful, “perfect” memories that we will cherish forever.

Then hits the reality of the endless chasing, sand eating, can’t sit still, temper tantrum and downright tiring days. My wife and I will look at each other with those eyes that say, “What were we thinking?  This is exhausting!”  But we also know that there will be many laughs, hugs, pictures and all around sweet moments together.  The combination of these not-so-perfect moments with the unplanned amazing moments, will not only strengthen our bond as a family, but turn into some of the best memories of our trip together.

Too often we consume ourselves with planning the perfect occasion or vacation and get upset when things don’t go as planned.  We say things we don’t mean or act in anger when we know we are better. We forget that these imperfect moments are what may become some of our fondest memories of our time together as family or friends.  Some of my greatest childhood memories with my dad involve trips where the boat sank, the tent blew away and the raccoons stole our food at the campsite.  In the moment, we weren’t very happy about what was happening, but now they are the fun memories I still talk about today.

What are your plans for the rest of this summer?   Whether it’s a family vacation, BBQ with friends, or a day trip to a park, I hope that the greatest memories are made not just because everything was planned and went perfectly, but that you and your loved ones are able to stop and laugh at the not-so-perfect moments.

So when you are in that situation where you ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” shake it off and just roll with it.  Life can be messy.  Have fun with it!

Geocaching: Take Your Tech Fun Outdoors

Several years ago our family discovered geocaching. Geocaching is like a high-tech treasure hunt game using an app on your phone to locate hidden containers, called geocaches. We have found geocaches in coffee cans in the woods, buried under a fence in a local park, and wedged into an old stone bridge.

What makes it challenging is that your phone’s GPS will only get you within 10-15 feet, so you have some work to do from there. Often you need to patiently scour the area, and occasionally get help from a cleverly-worded hint.

Some geocaches contain a small treasure like a coin or small toy, which you may take with you, but then you must leave something of equal or greater value. Other geocaches hold nothing more than a paper log where you can write your personal geocache ID and the date you found it. The real treasure is the success of the find!

We have found this a great family activity that gets us out, active, and enjoying some fresh air any time of year. To top it off, the app is free! For more info, search “Geocaching” where you find your apps, or check out my favorite geocaching website.

VBS – Act Two

Have you ever thought about VBS as a play or a theatrical production? I see the actual week of VBS like “Act One.”  Not in the sense of what we are doing is like putting on a show, but in the sense that VBS has multiple acts, scenes, or parts.

Act One introduces the characters and the plot. Act Two is where you find the important completion to the story.

Right now we are in the intermission portion of the production.  We have completed the week of VBS (Act One) having introduced the children to the Word of Truth and having created new relationships between children, youth, and adults all involved in VBS.  This is great! This is a huge praise and boy, are we thankful for everyone who was a part of this special week. So, what happens next?

Act Two is where we follow up.  It is equally as important as Act One.  Will you follow up with a child, youth, or adult with whom you connected at VBS?  It’s easy! Maybe you can do this on a Sunday morning?  Great!  Go for it.  Maybe you don’t know how to begin, that’s where I would love to offer help.  I have postcards that could be sent.  I have email addresses that you could send to.  Let me know how you would like to follow up, and I would be more than happy to help.  Remember, many hands make easy work.

So, will you help there be an Act Two and help us reach even more in the name of Jesus Christ?

Questions, contact: Cassandra at cdewitt@gracepointpa.org

VBS – A Great Week!

We had a great week at VBS! Thank you to the many volunteers and leaders who helped our 135 (average daily attendance) kids to have a great week!

Joseph helped us to learn that:

  • God gives us hope – even in our darkest, saddest, and scariest days.DSC_4335
  • God gives us special abilities – things that help make us special and we all have a spiritual gift from God.
  • God gives us wisdom – when we ask for it, God promises to give us wisdom to make good, wise decisions.
  • God gives us forgiveness – we don’t always get things right, and need God’s forgiveness when we mess up.
  • God gives us family – whether it’s our immediate family or a large family like a church family, God gives us special people to love and care for us.

DSC_4341What was your (or your kid’s) favorite part of VBS?

 

VBS – Midweek Update

We’ve had a great week at Vacation Bible School, as we’ve followed Joseph’s journey from prison to palace!

Joseph in Prison
Joseph in Prison

The kids have enjoyed making their own multi-colored “coats” – just like Joseph’s! Today we worked on shoebox dioramas depicting Joseph’s jail cell and the palace. Also, today was water day for games and from the looks of it, the kids had lots of fun! (I think the leader’s did, too!)


We love the music and lessons we’ve been learning. Parents, we’re anxious to show you what we’ve been learning. Join us Friday for our closing program at 11:00AM.

Each morning we’ve been hearing from Joseph, himself, as he tells his story and truths from the Bible, including: God gives us hope and wisdom. Tomorrow we learn about……I guess you’ll have to wait and see!