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Make Time for Jesus

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Summer is upon us! Now we might not always know that by the weather we’ve been experiencing.  In fact, I’m not sure exactly what to call the season that we’ve been living in, but according to the calendar, summer officially arrived on June 21st. In reality, I know that summer starts at different times for different people.  Some count Memorial Day weekend as the start of summer.  Others consider summer to start when school ends and the kids are home for summer break. 

Regardless of when you consider summer to start, there seems to be a common experience for most people during the summer.  People are busy during the summer.  There are vacations with the family, sporting events for the kids, weekends at the lake, golf leagues, outdoor projects, and the list could go on and on.

Last week my family and I went with my wife’s family on vacation to the upper peninsula of Michigan.  When our time there was done, people were heading out for more adventures.  One part of the family was heading to Hawaii for a vacation with some of their friends.  Another part of the family was heading to a little league baseball tournament for the weekend.

When you finally make it home from all of the things you’re doing during the summer, it can feel like you need a vacation from your vacation just to recover from how busy everything feels.

Unfortunately, as a pastor, I have noticed that one of the things that often doesn’t make it on the list of things for people to do during the summer is attending church.  It seems as though church attendance is strong from about Labor Day until Memorial Day and then it dwindles for three months or so before picking back up again. 

Sometimes this is understandable as it is hard to be in church on a weekend that you’re out of town or even out of state.  You can’t be in two places at once.  But I fear that for some people summer is just a chance to take an extended vacation from Jesus.  You get so busy with all of the activities and events throughout the week that Sunday becomes a good day to sleep into rest and recover from everything else that has been done throughout the past week. 

The trouble with this is that when you skip church, you’re skipping out on meeting God where he has promised to be and you’re skipping out on receiving the gifts that he has promised to give.  God has promised to come and be among us when we gather around His Word and His gifts and there’s no more important place for us to be than with God the creator of the universe.

Now I don’t want this to sound like a crotchety old pastor’s column that derides the activities of the world and makes it sound like we have to lock ourselves in church 24/7 and can’t do anything fun or go anywhere exciting.

That’s not the point.  God has made a beautiful creation that we should enjoy exploring and experiencing. He’s given us talents and abilities to play sports and do other activities outside. God most definitely believes in resting – just look at the 7thday of creation – so that’s not an issue either. 

The point is – make time for Jesus in the midst of all of your activities too. If you’re going on vacation, find a church that you can attend while you’re there.  If you’re living at the lake on weekends over the summer, do the same thing.  If your kids’ sporting events take you out of town on the weekend, plan ahead and figure out where you’re going to go to church to receive God’s gifts.  Maybe it’s on a Saturday night or maybe it’s on a Sunday morning.

In John 15, Jesus says, “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me. Those who do not remain in me are thrown out like a branch and dry up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, where they are burned.”

Make time for Jesus this summer, stay connected to the vine and receive the gifts he has to give to you.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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