As I write this those days in April that remind us winter isn’t quite gone yet are fast giving way to sunny days filled with warmth and sunshine. It won t be much longer and days that were pleasantly warm become days that are really uncomfortable and just too hot to be outside. Summer is upon us. That brings some good things - like more time for family as kids are out of school. But summer brings some additional troubles and temptations for the disciple. This issue of Abundant Life takes a hard look at some matters we need to think seriously about as summer approaches. The matter of modest clothing (see page 4) continues to be a terrible problem, and not just in the world but among Christians who seem oblivious to what God’s word says about it. Josh Kirby works with those lazy feelings of summer on page 2. This article seeks to encourage some thought about our vacationing, as we think we a little about the reasons we should worship with faithful brethren when we are on vacation. Too many Christians return from a weekend away at some fun destination but when asked Where did you worship? Did you hear some good preaching? mumble something about no church being there or have to admit they just didn t go to services. Think about this with me carefully. Why should you worship when on vacation?
<h2> We should worship while on vacation because God commands it. </h2> <p>One sentence is all we need to cover this subject. If God says to do so then His faithful servants will do as He instructs. What other choice is there? And make no mistake about it: God does command it! In 1 Cor 11:24 Paul records Jesus saying this do in remembrance of Me. We are to take the Supper in memory of Christ and the example of the New Testament church is clear that we must do so each first day of the week. Paul was on the road and yet waited seven days just so he could this very thing (Acts 20:6). If an apostle thought this mattered enough to delay his trip on to Jerusalem to do it what of you and I today? How can fun and frolic suddenly come before our duty to God?</p> <h2> We should worship while on vacation because our God is not a hometown </h2> <p>God.</p>
In ancient times people believe their god had power over only a certain territory. Thus Jephthah speaks of the Amroites and the land their god Chemosh has given them (Judges 11:24). 1 Kings 20:23 finds the same mentality when the servants of the king of Syria said to him, Their gods are gods of the hills, and so they were stronger than we. But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they. Today some seem to echo this kind of thinking, apparently believing God is only God when they are within the city limits! Where ever you are the Lord is there (Psalm 139:7ff), and where ever you are you are obligated to honor and serve Him!
<h2> We should worship while on vacation because it makes a huge impact on our children. </h2> <p>Going to church certainly is not the sum total of our Christianity but it is a very public and very obvious part of our discipleship. As we teach our children to put the Lord first what do they see in our lives that clearly lives that out? Our attendance on Sunday is a major marker for kids of this very point. A sister in Christ recently wrote about their attendance of church services while on vacation. Her daughter was only four years old. As the family packed for the trip the youngster asked Mommy, are we missing any churches? Her mother remarked later Think she would have noticed if we had skipped services while on vacation? Her son listed going to that little church as one of the best things about their entire vacation. Think he would have noticed if they had skipped services? We always brag on how smart our children are. What makes us think they are stupid as to not notice when mom and dad say one thing about how important worshiping God is and then do something very different?</p> <h2> We should worship while on vacation because it encourages the brethren in that place. </h2> <p>Often times visiting services elsewhere is an adventure. The brethren may be renting facilities or even meeting in a home. Finding them, taking note of times of services, stopping vacation and getting ready for services - it all takes a lot of effort. That effort is rewarded in the here and now by the wonderful reception those brethren will give you when you come through the door. As soon as you introduce yourself and they learn where you are from they know the major effort you made, and they know you value and honor God. What encouragement that is to them! Here they are assembling because they love the Lord - and now here is someone just like them, who wants to do the very same thing. This is like precious faith indeed! Sometimes we assemble with just a few saints (once when I was hunting our group doubled the size of the congregation as we trooped in one frosty Sunday morning). Those brethren may be at the point of discouragement, they may wonder why they are continuing on - and you being there reminds them of all that matters in serving God. Hebrews 10:25 is the famous passage on attendance but few know its context: Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works (verse 24). You do just this when you worship with brethren on vacation.</p>
These reasons, and many others, should give us a powerful incentive to plan carefully so that we can be with brethren on the Lord’s Day. The Internet contains church directories that are easily found, and with email it is easy to verify times of services and get directions to the meetings house. Here at Westside you can ask Bill or Marlo Sharp. They have information about where the saints meet literally all over the world. Decide now that you won t take vacation from your obligation (and privilege) of worshiping God. Plan to worship while on vacation!