- Sunday: 8:30 am, 10 am, 11:30 am
- Infant through 5th grade Sunday School classes available
- FREE Parking!
“Rest & Renewal” or “Relapse & Retreat”? That’s one of the choices I find confronting me every summer. Changes of routine can be a wonderfully refreshing thing…or they can be dangerous and downright disastrous. It all depends on what we DO with the change.
Not long ago I was in a statewide gathering of pastors committed to renewal and revival. One of the brothers began to lament what happens to his church when summer hits and the outdoors wins out over the gathering of the saints. He said, “I want to put a sign on my office door that says, “I’ll be back when you’re back!” We all chuckled.
But the more I’ve thought about it, the less I like it. Jesus was always most concerned about our hearts, not our rituals. “Going to church” on Sunday can become one of those empty rituals at any time if we’re not careful.
But a heart that longs to be in the presence of God and loves to be with God’s family, that’s another thing! And that can happen just as powerfully when, say, a Christian family is sharing a day together in the mountains as it can “in church” during our regularly scheduled teaching, fellowship and worship times. Anytime two or three of God’s children come together “in Jesus name,” God’s presence can be experienced.
But there’s the real question: when we choose not to experience life together as the church on a regular basis, what are we putting in its place? Is it really fresh, different encounters with God and his people, or just different and more activities? It’s terribly easy to substitute some fun activity that really doesn’t draw us closer to God or to His people for the consistent encounters with God and believers that He commands us to share together in church life (Hebrews 10:24, 25). Coming together “in Jesus name” means we make Him the focal point of our time and attention, not other competing gods of our age.
God is all in when it comes to “rest & renewal” that truly rests our bodies and renews our souls and spirits. But for that to happen, we need to make TIME, even in the “vacations” of summer, that actually puts God first in our day and week. Whether that is making happen an extra-special (and maybe longer) daily time of personal and/or family reading of God’s word and talking to God (prayer) or whether that is making a family worship service happen right where you are on vacation or in another local church where you gather with believers, what’s important is our hearts. Are we really renewing our hunger and thirst for God and his family?
So as you make your summer plans, be sure to plan a summer of the right kind of R&R. Otherwise you might find yourself being railroaded into the kind of R&R that leaves you farther from the heart of God and the love of the brethren.
Summertime allows us to change up a few things that we trust will “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:25 again). Here are just a few that we’ve got on the calendar.
Over the next couple of months we’ll be treated to a variety of different preachers. That’s not just so I can get some vacation (thought it certainly helps that too). I think everyone wins when more people exercise more of their gifts more of the time in the Body of Christ. We all get to hear God’s voice through different mouthpieces. And we also get to see God raise up more teachers and preachers in the church as together we seek to expand God’s church. We’ll be blessed to hear different preachers throughout the next two months like Dennis Tomlinson, Jake Young, Mike Miller and Jarrod Carter. So come with that same hungry heart to hear God’s voice every week this summer.
Praying for renewal…and rest,