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Summer is upon us! In one week we went from wearing jackets to running the air-conditioner. The air is filled with the anticipation of vacations, decreased responsibilities, and good-natured laziness. Summer is indeed a wonderful time of the year.
Yet with the relaxation of summer often comes the "relaxation" of people's relationship with God. Many churches experience a "summer slump", because so many of their people are too busy worshipping nature to remember to worship God. Certainly this is not a criticism of vacations; I intend to take one myself. However, nice weather should not be an excuse to forsake the blessings and responsibilities of the local church. It seems like some folks forget that they have a church from Memorial Day until Labor Day. While Christ surely intended for His people to "come apart and rest a while", He did not intend for His children to surrender all their service unto Him. The fields are "white already to harvest", and we don't have "four months" to wait (John 4:35).
Let me encourage you once again to be faithful to church attendance even while you are on vacation. You never know how much you can encourage a pastor in another church simply by your attendance, and you need to be under the teaching of the Word even when you are away from home. Take your Bible with you, for your devotional life shouldn't stop either. This may be a great time to reestablish the family altar, for your whole family will be together and on a similar schedule.
Don't lower your standards over the summer. As the temperature rises, the standards drop. People go to places they would never dream of going to if they were at home just because they are "away" and no one will see them. Dress standards are ignored, as if hot sun and cool water removed all Biblical injunctions concerning modesty. Outreach and evangelism are neglected because the weather is good and we need more time for recreation. Offerings drop, because vacations are "just so expensive anymore."
Summer is a wonderful time for relaxation. It can also be a great time for ministry, both within our individual families, our church, and the community at large. May the Lord bless you as you serve Him with your vacation, and with your life.
Mark J. Montgomery