No, we're not talking about the weather! But over the summer as midweek bible study groups take a break (shame!) and holidays happen (huzzah!) we want to encourage the CCM church family to take some Preventative Medicine in order to avoid the Summer Dryness.
Summer Dryness /sʌmə ˈdrɪft/n Seasonal malady afflicting a number of Christians. Symptoms may include: spiritual lassitude, lack of bible reading/prayer, drop in church attendance, fall in spiritual zeal. Causes: disruption of routine; holidays may be viewed as ‘vacations from the Christian life’; reduced regular contact with other church family members. Possible outcomes: lower resistance to sin and temptation, cold heart towards the Lord and other believers, and in the worst cases, ‘forsaking your first love’ (Revelation 2:4) completely.
We’re not in the business of scaremongering but we are concerned for all in the church family to keep going over the summer when things can be tougher spiritually. So, what treatments might we suggest? In summary: stay connected; stay close.
Stay close to the Lord and don’t be complacent. Be on your guard (1 Peter 5:8), put on your spiritual armour (Ephesians 6:10-18), ask for the Lord’s help and protection (e.g. Psalm 141:1-4) and ask a friend to pray for you.
Practically, it’s important to keep feeding on God’s Word, the Bible – if Jesus needed it, how much more do we, his followers? He said:“It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matt 4:4. You might want a break from your usual pattern of bible reading and prayer or you might be aware that the busyness of ‘normal life’ has meant you've had no usual pattern of late or even for a long while - why not see the summer as an opportunity to give your devotional life some CPR? So over the summer why not choose something different/start again with something which will be refreshing and holiday-ish in a healthy way i.e. not nothing? For instance, a Psalm a day (maybe don’t start with 119. Or 117 come to that…). Or a little bible study booklet that covers a month such as The Good Book Guides (from The Good Book Company) on either a bible book e.g. Galatians, or a topic such as Contentment or The Holy Spirit. Or (a shameless second plug for one of our favourite devotionals) Spurgeon’s ‘Chequebook of the Bank of Faith’ –a bible promise for every day with a few encouraging thoughts from Charles himself.
Put a Christian book in your suitcase/on your Kindle (other e-readers are available) along with all the high-brow classics we’re sure you’ll be planning to read on the beach. It doesn’t have to be a deep and worthy (but stodgy and, frankly, heavy) theological tome – what about one of the titles reviewed in church in July? Take something you’re likely to read!
Keep praying – wherever we are, a prayer of thanksgiving as we lay our weary heads on our pillows last thing at night and a prayer committing the day to the Lord before we even open our eyes in the morning shouldn’t be beyond us at the least. For a bit of variety (and Ye Olde English), why not use a book of prayers such as ‘The Valley of Vision’? To use the technical term, they’re totes amazing.
Download some sermons from a bible-teaching church such as Christ Church Mayfair (others are available…) www.christchurchmayfair.org/our-talks so that you could listen to one or two on the plane/by the pool/beside the seaside (beside the sea). Do whatever it takes, but take action!
Part 2 (stay close to other Christians) will appear next week...