Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spiritual Opportunities this Summer

What a wonderful time of year! The sun is shining, the grass is growing, and opportunities abound for all types of outdoor activities, vacations, and more. I love the warmer weather and the longer days. We live in a beautiful country and we are so blessed to have the freedom we do to travel and experience good times with our families.

We not only have theme parks and ballparks and lakes and rivers and beaches and mountains that we can visit - we also have congregations, VBS, and Christian camps we can attend. So I would like to spend a couple of minutes encouraging you to make the most of your summer by inviting God to reside at the top of your schedule.

1. Send your children to Bible camp. Go as a counselor if you can. A good Christian camp can enhance a child's view of spiritual things. They see God's creation. They stay active outdoors (and off of the technology for a week). They receive mentoring from Christian adults and young adults who can relate to them. They have Bible classes and devotionals and singing all week! Bible camp can be the spiritual highlight of their year. Don't pass it up!

2. When traveling never miss a worship service! My family has learned that the best experience of our vacation is often where we visit God's people for worship. It is healthy for you to have a plan on your itinerary for God. If you don't, then what are you saying to your children about what you value most? Investigate your city of travel and where the Lord's people meet. Worship and be encouraged by your brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. It will remind you that the church is strong and that you are a part of the eternal kingdom of Christ. A different order of worship, a different preacher, different Bible classes - are all good for your spiritual growth. You will be a more faithful and more well-rounded spiritual individual when you worship with God's people while on vacation.

3. Take your children to VBS. My children have never missed one night of VBS at our local congregation. In fact, I like to take them every once in a while to at least one night of a VBS that is going on in the brotherhood. I would like to caution you however, about allowing your child to attend VBS where the truth is not taught. Don't do it! I have known many members of the church who allowed their child to go with a friend to a VBS at another place that they knew did not teach the truth. (They think it is "no big deal just once"). Think, people! Sometimes the children come back having been "saved" according to the doctrine of that other group without their parents even being a part of it. Then there is a great deal of "unteaching" needed. Don't let VBS be a summer babysitter for your children. Go with them yourself. Attend the adult Bible classes when you visit. Go out for ice cream afterward. Make it enjoyable and celebrate a spiritual summer with your kids.

I know my dad cannot read this now, and that my mom lives some distance from our town. But I am going to end my article in a different way than I usually do. I want to personally thank Jim and Cindy Tatum for making my summers wonderful. Thanks for taking me and my sister all over the country on neat vacations in different locations. Thanks for making sure we had family time to look forward to every year. Thanks most of all for never allowing us to forget about our commitment to God even while on vacation. I realize we can do all of the fun things summer offers and still put God first. It is simply a matter of loving God more than anything else.

"And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." ~ Daniel 2:21

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