Hot Days, Fresh Thoughts

By Mark A. Taylor

It’s summer, when days are long and nights are hot and every instinct says, “Slow down.” Some of us follow that lead, interrupting the grind of weekly production by taking breaks from school-year routines.

It’s not that we stop thinking in summertime. In fact we may come across deeper insights when freed from the taskmaster of our assignment-laden, appointment-filled Day-Timers. Sipping iced-tea in the shade with our feet propped up and a good book or the Good Book on our lap, we decide afresh where to go and what God wants us to do.

What should a magazine offer readers in such a season? We hope this week’s offerings fill the bill.

Dan Schantz’s reflections connect with experiences common to many of us. He makes the point John Sloper reinforces with his more traditional Bible study: worship can be—should be—a weeklong pursuit. Maybe some readers will reflect on these articles and reconsider their Sunday-morning experiences in light of how God wants to work in our lives every day.

Summertime is a good time to stop and look around. Consider the magnificent variety of the creation that surrounds you—it’s true whether you’re standing by the ocean or driving up a mountain or even sitting under puffy white clouds with the bumble bees and birds in your own backyard. Surely the God who gave all this wants to inspire some creativity in our Sunday-morning experiences, too.

Worship with the Woodmont Hills Church of Christ one Sunday earlier this summer offered a few breaks with the expected. Dean Barham, the preaching minister, divided his exhortation into three sections. Each was punctuated with congregational singing and personal testimonies from church members whose stories encouraged all of us not to quit our walk with God. At one point we were invited to kneel at one of several prayer stations around the outside of the auditorium or to pray with one of the church’s elders who stood nearby.

The combined experience offered a fresh sense of the Spirit’s presence, like the cool gusts that come with a summer thunderstorm. The Spirit is waiting to bless all who gather in his name every Sunday, all year long. Maybe this summer we can think afresh about the worship we lead. Maybe we’ll be bold enough to seek summer breezes even in the middle of winter cold.

Bob Wetzel’s story is as engaging as Schantz’s litany. Wetzel invites us to stand back and relax with the truth of the Scripture, encouraging those who disagree to take up their argument with God instead of us. He reminds us that fighting wastes too much energy—especially in the summer, but in fact, all year long.

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