We need your presence. The Montreat Middle School Conference in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee begins in less than two weeks. Several of our middle schoolers have registered, but we are still lacking one female chaperone. Please prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to accompany our youth to a place of great natural beauty where they can grow in Christ’s faith, love, and hope. Remember the vow you made when our middle schoolers were baptized “to support and encourage them to be faithful Christians.” Perhaps this is the way God is calling you to keep those vows! Because retreats are a time to wrestle with one’s faith, our youth need to be chaperoned by adult Christians other than their parents. Remember when you were a teenager. Remember that teacher or coach or scout master who played a different role in your life than your mom and dad played, but played an important role in its own right. Perhaps God is calling you to be that person for one of our youth.
We need your prayers. July is vacation time. We go to the lake, visit out-of-town relatives, watch fireworks, you name it. As we step out of our ordinary schedules to rest and be rejuvenated, don’t take a vacation from God. When you’re out of town, find a congregation to worship in on Sunday. Take care to maintain your regular practices of prayer and reading scripture. If you don’t pray or read the Bible on a regular basis, why not take up a new spiritual discipline on vacation and bring it home with you? The Bible gives us two reasons for keeping a holy Sabbath. One is theological, and the other is humanitarian. In Deuteronomy, God commanded Israel to rest from work because they were once slaves in Egypt. “Everyone needs a day off, and you, above all people, should know that!” God seemed to say. But in Exodus, God identified the Sabbath as the time to worship God and delight in all that God has created, just as God rested on the seventh day of creation and pronounced everything “very good.” So let this summer be a season of renewal for body and soul. Swim; fish, and sleep late. Worship; pray, and read the Bible. If each of us stay plugged into the power of the Spirit, then we as a congregation will be rejuvenated, even though we may be scattered far and abroad this month.