Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summertime observations...

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer even though around here, school isn’t out yet for a couple of weeks. Summer is one of my family’s favorite seasons as the days are longer, vacation is on the horizon, the kids are out of school, trips to the beach, possibly the mountains, the amusement park, or maybe just a run over to “Brooms Blooms” for ice cream or finding a local swimming hole make summertime a lot of fun. Much needed “R&R” for a family vacation is awaited with much anticipation or a long weekend and a chance to get away are always such a blessing. Jesus set an example for us and He withdrew from the rigors of ministry to rest and recharge with his disciples so if the Son of God needed this, we do as well.  One of the observations I’ve made that happens in church life is there is an easy tendency to take a break from church and the things of the Lord during the summer. Most churches see a decline in attendance and offerings during the summer as people travel. Offerings tend to suffer as people either forget their tithe & offering or they choose to spend that money on their leisure (of course I’m sure no one at Calvary would do that)!

I wonder what would happen if God decided one day He was going on vacation for two weeks “because He needed a break” so He cancelled all prayer requests, worship activities and He decided to withhold the usual blessings He provides because He needed “a little extra cash” for His vacation? Of course that is preposterous because one of God’s primary attributes is that He is always faithful, He does not grow tired or weary, He does not sleep or slumber. If God were to take a vacation for just one day, let alone two weeks, the end result would be disastrous.

My point is that while families and individuals who make up the church are able to take a vacation, pursue leisure and enjoy a little R&R, the church does not go on vacation and continues with ministry and the expenses that go with that. Human nature is such that it is easy to forget that the church opens her doors week in and week out and all through June, July and August. As we are coming off Memorial Day weekend, let me encourage you to be faithful to support your church. My desire for you is to enjoy your summer and your vacation; that you’ll be able to rest, recharge, renew and come back refreshed. When you’re away, don’t take a break from the Lord, draw closer to Him; find a place to go to worship and honor the Lord on the Lord’s Day if at all possible. When you’re in town, be faithful in your attendance and stay caught up on your tithes and offerings. Our offerings have started to decline a bit for several weeks and I realize we’re still gripped by tough economic times, but God is always faithful to provide when we honor Him with our tithes and offerings.

We’re about to finish our study through the Book of Ezekiel on Sunday mornings very soon. The summer message series I have planned at this point will be more topical in nature as the Lord is leading me to preach and teach on the doctrine of God. We’ll be looking at the aspects of His character so we have an accurate picture of God through what He’s revealed to us from the Scriptures and not what we imagine Him to be. If we’re not careful, we tend to get a one or two dimensional view of God and He is so much more than that! I know it will be a wonderful time as we journey through this doctrine together on Sundays and I trust you’ll have a deeper understanding of our Great God on the other side of our journey. After Labor Day, I believe the Lord would have me preach through the book of Revelation to help us understand world events going on around us. My desire is to help us with the big picture of the book of Revelation and I will conclude that by Christmas. I truly believe the Lord’s return is soon even though some so-called “preachers” have recently and very wrongly predicted when this will take place; the fact is, Jesus is coming back and we need to be about His business until He comes.

In light of Memorial Day, I would be remiss if I did not say how thankful I am for all of those who have given their lives for the cause of our freedoms. The blood of patriots and heroes has been shed so we can enjoy the freedoms we have in America, one of the most important is to worship God as we see fit. To the families of those who’ve paid the ultimate price, we are thankful for you and our prayers are with you and your families. On Sunday July 3rd we’ll honor our military and veterans with an incredible musical tribute from our choir and musicians.  I’m reminded we have an obligation to teach the next generations of the costs and sacrifices necessary to continue to secure our freedoms in this nation that was founded on Biblical truth and principle as “One nation under God.” We should never assume our children understand what this means. The story is told of boy staring at a plaque in the lobby of the church one day. He asked his mom what the plaque meant and she responded that it was in honor of the men and women who had died in the service. His surprised response: “Did they die in the 8:30 or the 11:00 o’clock service?” Let’s ensure we teach them that freedom is never free and comes from sacrifice; but let’s be faithful also to teach them where true freedom comes from, the Lord Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us. Our love and devotion to Jesus should be demonstrated to our children all the time, even in summertime. Praying you enjoy your summer, from my little corner of the world to yours…

Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
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