Summer Vacation Could be Hazardous to Your Health
By Pastor Manny
Here we are again, at the beginning of another adventurous, beautiful, warm, fun-filled Iowa summer. I love summer as much as the next person, maybe more. I enjoy opening up the throttle on my boat as we race across Red Rock Lake, hitting my approach shot within a few feet of the number four pin at South Hardin Recreation Area’s golf course, and watching my kids splash around in the water at the Union pool. But, there has always been a part of summer that bothered me too—the “summer slide”. No, I’m not referring to a scary water slide at Adventureland or a leg burning steel slide at a local park, I’m talking about the shift in priorities that takes place in our churches as summer activities bog down our newly “free” schedules.
When the routine of the school year is in full force it’s not hard to be present with your spiritual community. The weather isn’t great, the kids have bed times to keep, and no one really argues with the fact that part of this routine is regular times of worship and fellowship with your spiritual family. But it seems like the warm weather, the end of school year bed times, and a shake up to our normal routine makes for the easy option to skip out on church, fellowship, and spiritual community altogether.
Let me explain what I’m not saying first; I’m not saying don’t take a vacation. Everyone needs to rest, recuperate, and have a temporary change of pace. Even Jesus took time away for rest and renewal. Vacation is a good thing. But, when that week or two of rest turns into a summer long “opt out” from your regular spiritual fellowship, infilling, and community, our spiritual health suffers.
Think about it like this—what would happen if you took the summer off of any other kind of relationship? If you took off from your marriage from June through August it probably wouldn’t do anything positive for the relationship. If you decided to stop being a parent for 3 months, your kids would probably not be in very good shape when you decided to pick back up your parental role in the fall. So, why is it that we can easily excuse our need for spiritual community because it’s nice out and I want to go fishing, camping, golfing, boating, sleep in, or any of the other things that people choose over regular meetings with their church families in the summer months?
I know what you’re thinking; “He’s a pastor, of course it bothers him when people skip church, but there’s nothing in the Bible about going to church.” Well, how about Hebrews 10:24,25, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching” (underline added). One of the biggest benefits of church attendance is the constant and much needed stream of encouragement and love. We know we shouldn’t’ be selfish with these things, instead we should commit ourselves to being “others minded” when we’re in fellowship. But, when we turn our back on church for the summer, we are turning our backs on those who need us. And, when we don’t participate, we also miss out on the love and encouragement from others when we need it most. This isn’t a guilt trip…it’s just a simple reminder that ministry within a community of believers is a two-way street and it’s necessary to spiritual health and wellbeing of the body.
There are numerous other areas in scripture that point to the importance of continual, intentional, committed fellowship and community, but instead I’d like to close with a verse that points to the character of the God we worship when we gather in these communities; “But he [Jesus] said to them, ‘My Father never stops working, and so I work too’” (John 5:17). Wrap your head around that simple and powerful truth; God never stops. He never takes time off from you. He never stops loving you. He never stops His ministry to you. He never gives up on us.
Take a vacation. Take two vacations! But, remember that the Church needs you and you need the Church. Don’t call time out on your walk with God and others because it’s sunny and warm. Rest in the reality that God desires you, that he gave himself up for you, and that he blessed you with the gift of fellow believers to journey with, grow with, and have fellowship with.
“Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.
He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit,
And he who cares for his master will be honored.
As in water face reflects face,
So the heart of man reflects man.”
-Proverbs 27-17-19 NASB
July Monthly Meeting will be held
on Sunday, June 29th after Sunday
School so all Iowa Yearly Meeting
annual reports can be approved and
mailed. All committees need to
select a chairman for the coming year
and report that also.
HOC Meal Report
On May 29th, 13 from BLFC were involved in preparing, serving and cleanup for 76 guests. Our menu was tuna salad or grilled cheese sandwiches, green beans & bacon, pasta salad, fruit salad, tostada chips with cheese or salsa, blueberry dump cakes or pudding and cookies. There were few leftovers, but many expressions of thanks. We appreciated all of our volunteers who provided food or funds, prepared, served or worked on clean up. Our next meal will be Thursday, June 26th.
Come join this fun night of service and fellowship.
Ideas to “Live Love” during the Summer:
~June 15th is National Smile Power Day. Give everyone you see a big, friendly,
“I like you” smile. Spend the whole day with a big, bright smile on your face. Flash a toothy smile to everyone you encounter. You never know, it just might turn someone’s day around. It’s actually easier to smile than to frown.
~July 1st is International Joke Day.
Everybody needs a good laugh now and then. Spread some laughter by telling a joke or sharing a funny YouTube video. Here are a few good ones to get you started:
Ideas for Living Love in Your Family:
~Buy a “Just Because I Love You” gift for a family member.
~Make a CD of their favorite things…even if the songs are not your favorites.
~Give Mom & Dad a break - kids fix an easy supper once a month.
Ideas for Living Love in Your Church Family:
~Call someone who has not attended for a few weeks. Let them know you missed being in worship with them. Share with them any church news they may have missed and ask if there is anything you can do to encourage their return to your fellowship.
~Attend a child or youth’s ball game and cheer them on.
Ideas for Living Love in Your Community:
~Celebrate your birthday or honor a friend’s birthday by doing acts of kindness for each year you are celebrating. For example: 42 years old…go to a day care and hand out 42 chocolate kisses. You’ll get hugs in return!
June Mission Emphasis:
Nathan & Brianna Martin, Cambodia
God has now rooted Nathan and Brianna’s hearts in Snoul, Cambodia, so that it truly feels like home to them. Snoul is close to the Vietnamese border and on the main road from Phnom Pen. It is centered around a market area close to their home. Thousands work in huge rubber plantations which provide the main source of income.
The team has been warmly received into the local community. Their main work consists of friendship building and basic gospel sharing along with the literacy and library projects. Above all they need people praying with them for a spiritual awakening among the Khmer people, that they would have a desire to seek and know the true and living God.
Pray for those striving to be saved through offerings and ceremonies to find the freedom of grace in Jesus. Pray for God to break down the barriers of fear and shame. Pray the Martin’s gain refreshment while on Home Assignment; for their kids to travel well; for God to raise up new prayer and financial partners.
The Martin’s will be sharing in our worship on June 29th. Please be generous in your support as we encourage them in their ministry to the Cambodian people.
Weird Animals VBS
Where God’s love is one-of-a-kind!
This VBS is going to reach today’s kids. The lively, inspiring music, exciting Bible adventures, energizing games and Bible Buddy apps are all designed to connect children’s minds and hearts to one simple daily Bible Point about God’s love.
You don’t want to miss the fun during the evenings of July 20-24. Kids, age 3–grade 6, invite your friends on this adventure! Teens & adults, pray about how you can share your God-given gifts with this vital ministry to children and their families. All you need is God’s love! Let Margaret or Jenalee know how you’d like to help. You don’t want to miss seeing how God will work!
Save These Parade Dates!
Sat, June 14 - Conrad Black Dirt Days
Sat, June 21 - State Center Rose Festival
Fri, July 4 - Gifford
Sat, Aug. 2 - Union Tar Heel Days
We will be appearing in all of these parades with our float built in 2013.
Summer is upon us, and the weather has turned beautiful! I’m very excited to see what God is going to do in our lives over the summer! With the coming of warmer weather, summer brings rain and storms!
I am not one who loves storms, maybe because I have seen some of the destruction a powerful storm causes, first hand! In 2007, Amber and I were living in Haviland when an EF-5 tornado ripped through Greensburg, KS (only 10 miles to the west of Haviland) changing people’s lives forever. In fact, we were in Greensburg enjoying an evening of pizza, some shopping, and washing the car only about an hour before the tornado came and destroyed about 90% of the town! We were also living in Chandler, when a devastating tornado came about 10 miles to the north of town and destroyed a home of some of our friends (who were safe). The next night tornadoes ripped through the city of Moore (about 40 miles to the southwest of Chandler) and caused massive destruction as well. And that’s not to mention the countless other instances where a storm has caused destruction and loss of life!
I say all this because I was reminded by a song on the radio by Casting Crowns called Praise You in this Storm. Even when our lives seem to be going great, there is almost always a storm that comes, whether it be a fight, a loss of a loved one, or whatever it may be. As I listened to the song and reread the lyrics, I was constantly focusing on the chorus!!
“I will praise You in this storm!
And I will lift my hands!
For You are who You are!
No matter where I am!
And every tear I've cried!
You hold in Your hand!
You never left my side!
And though my heart is torn!
I will praise You in this storm!”
How true that is. Even though our situation, our storm, may seem destructive and cause hurt, we still need to praise Him through it. Psalm 34:6 (NLT) says, “In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles”!
Trust the Lord. Pray to God. Love Jesus. His word says that if you call to Him, He will listen and even in the worst storm, He will save you from all your troubles.
-Kris Smitherman, Youth Pastor
From Friends United Meeting
Robert Wafula, a Friends pastor, a Christian leader, a scholar of religion, a social scientist and an educator, has been appointed/called to serve as Principal of Friends Theological College, Kaimosi, Kenya. He is a graduate of FTC and has long held a special love for the College. He will be succeeding Ann Riggs once his support has been raised. He and his wife Nancy are excited to return to Kenya to give back to their community. Let’s remember to pray for Robert and Nancy and support them as we are able.
Study Groups to Join
-Study Group meets at Glenwood Place,
in Marshalltown, the 1st & 3rd Monday
afternoons at 2 pm.
-Molded Bible Study meets the 2nd & 4th
Monday evenings at BLFC at 7 pm.
-Men’s Bible Study group meets the 2nd &
4th Thursday evenings at BLFC, 7 pm.
On June 17 ladies will gather at the China Buffet on Center St. in Marshalltown at 12:30 for lunch and fellowship before touring the Quakerdale Van Orman House with Emma Macy at 2:00. Any women interested would be welcome to join us for lunch and/or for the tour. The address of the Van Orman House is 1909 Summit. It is a place where women in crisis can get practical and spiritual assistance to move forward.
Ladies will meet at Culver’s in Marshalltown at 11:30 am on Thursday, June 19th. The Liberty School Alumni Banquet will be discussed. The USFW will prepare and serve the banquet on Saturday, June 29th at BLFC Church.
BLFC Youth Group continues to meet during the summer months – Check with Pastor Kris for a schedule of events if you have not received one.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
Iowa Yearly Meeting
July 30- August 2, 2014 at Oskaloosa
IAYM is sponsoring a Meals from the Heartland Event on Saturday, Aug 2 from 9-11 am during annual sessions. Rice/soy meals and Mac & Cheese meals will be packed. This is an exciting opportunity to connect with other members of all ages.
In order to make this happen, we need donations to pay for the raw ingredients to make the food packages. Would you consider a contribution of $25 or more to help with the cost? Approximately $4,000 is needed for the raw ingredients to make our goal. Please send contributions to IAYM, PO Box 657, Oskaloosa IA 52577.
Library Ledge – Father’s Day
June is the month we officially thank our fathers for all the things they do for us. Many of the things they do, we may never realize, just as our Father in Heaven watches over us. So let us thank our fathers, as well as our Father in Heaven for the many things they do to protect us and to get us through tough times. Thank you, fathers, and thank you, Father in Heaven!
While we are doing that, try a book from our library. A few we have on the ledge are: Building a Home, The Kid-Friendly Dad, The Power of a Promise Kept, and Kisses from the Father. We also have several from the USFW added to our library, or try one of the other 60 plus books new to our library. Sit in a chair on your porch, or lay in the hammock, anywhere to relax with a good book and enjoy the day!