We've been having a wonderful time this week at Vacation Bible School. The theme is "Shipwrecked" and the lesson each night is that when we're lonely... when we worry... when we struggle... when we do wrong... - Jesus rescues! These are all very practical issues young people wrestle with and it's good to know that Jesus cares about us and rescues us. He's always there in our times of need.
This Sunday in worship , you'll see some of what happened this week in Vacation Bible School. In my sermon I will tell the story of Dismas, the thief on cross next to Jesus. Dismas did a lot of things in his life that were very wrong. He found himself hung to a cross to pay for his mistakes. But in Jesus he found a man who claimed to be the Messiah, the Son of God, who was loving and compassionate. Dismas asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise." In the last minutes of his life, Dismas turned to Jesus in faith, and found his sins forgiven and he was saved.
All of us have done a lot of wrong things in this life. We rebel against God, doing things we know we shouldn't do and not doing things God has clearly told us to do. We've hurt other people, maybe even those we love the most. We're selfish and do what we want even when we know it isn't right. None of us deserve forgiveness. None of us are good enough in this lifetime to deserve to be saved. However, at any point in our lives, if we turn to Jesus, confess our sins, and put our faith in Jesus, he forgives us and saves us. What a wonderful promise!
Even Christians do wrong things. We feel guilty and unworthy to receive God's grace. When that happens we need to hear once again the message of hope and salvation. if Jesus could forgive Dismas for the things he did wrong, he can and will forgive us. If you're looking for hope and encouragement, you'll find it this Sunday when we worship at First Baptist Riverside. Join us at our Traditional Worship (hymns and choir) at 9:00 a.m. or Contemporary Worship (worship team and praise music) at 10:45 a.m.