They say there are only two seasons in Chicagoland: Winter and Summer. It’s never been more true than in 2011! (Just hardly ever the same from week to week, eh?) But now that things are finally heating up don’t let your journey slip into a summer drift. Make plans now to be intentional about fun and faith this season.
Summer time means great weather. Sunny Sunday mornings can involve a challenging choice. But consider the words of Holy Scripture:
“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as we see the Day appearing.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Think about the patterns you set for your family and what those choices imply to your children. Kids learn ten times more from what we actually do than from what we say. If we’re not in church very regularly as they are growing up, they will not likely attend as adults.
So, plan some fun re-creational activities, get in touch with nature, rest more than normal, get back into physical shape. But keep God at the center and keep church at the top of the priority list in summer. After all, church is usually only a 1-2 hour commitment, including travel. It’s not too hard to just build around it. The joy you experience afterwards will be deeper and richer if you worship first.
And lets remember that church is not just about what we get out of it. The big motivations in Hebrews are to respond to God’s faithfulness and to encourage OTHERS in their faith by showing our face. Being present and available is the number one way we show others (God and church members) they matter. Simply by making it to church, you make it easier for others to be faithful.
If vacation plans take you on the road, why not plan ahead to seek out a church to attend in the area? www.nazarene.org will allow you to search based on the zip code of your summer destination and find a place to worship. It will be worth it. That happened recently for my family on vacation. It took some doing, but it was a blessed way to start the day together away from home. (God even worked it out for a street parking place right in front of the main door at a downtown church! We were running very close on time and skies were threatening. We were so glad we didn’t bail on our plan…)
If no churches are reachable, still plan to worship informally as a family. Take along a bible and a hymnal or prayer guide. Spend a few minutes singing, praying, and encouraging each other. In fact, worship more at home during the week all summer long! If you have a little more time available, give a little of that time back to God. Show your friends and family that faith can be fun and is not just for Sundays! If you can involve your family & friends you will bless them immensely. You’ll be surprised how much they enjoy it, especially if they help you plan it. (this involves flexibility but reaps a great reward)
Finally, plan for regular giving patterns as well. Your church will greatly appreciate it if you can post-date a check before you head out of town. The needs still arise and the bills will still arrive, even while you’re out of town! Taking a few extra minutes to make these arrangements keeps your journey on track, even when you’re exploring new territory with family or friends.
Summertime…it’s finally here. Enjoy it, not as an escape from faith commitments, but as an extension of your eternal journey with God! Instead of becoming spiritually flabby you’ll emerge more toned; formed in faith like never before…