Welcome Summer!

Summer officially begins Memorial Day Weekend. Students and parents are set free from the demand of daily assignments and stressful schedules. Some people go to the lake and others take long anticipated vacations. This Summer we hope to inspire you to experience God in new ways and not let your faith take a vacation. We will identify practical ways to grow your faith and grow more devoted to God as you go to the beach, on a road trip, or grill in the backyard. This series is based loosely on Barbara Brown Taylor’s book An Altar in the World.

Disrupting the normal rat race routine can be the best thing for us. Many people say nature is the best place to experience God. Most of us move so quickly through our regular routines that our surroundings become no more than the blurred scenery we fly past on our way to somewhere else. We pay attention to the speedometer, the wristwatch, the cell phone, the list of things to do, but while on vacation it becomes easier to live in the moment and pay more attention to the present.

We’ll look to the story of Jacob this Sunday as he travelled far from home and was amazed to encounter God in a new way. Imagine setting out for your destination and upon reaching a certain place along the way you decide to stop for the night. You watch the sun set and turn-in for a good night's sleep. During the night, you have a dream. Not just any dream. God speaks directly to you about how to make a direct connection with him.  Jacob experienced God in an unexpected and supernatural way. Jacob was fleeing for his life, away from his father's house, burdened with the choices he made and ignorant of the fact that God was near him and wanted to save him. A ladder was Jacob's direct connection with God like Jesus Christ is our direct connection with God. Jacob awoke from the dream and consecrated that space as holy. He secured the profound meaning of his experience by making an altar and a vow.

Could a similar experience happen for you this Summer? The last place most people look for God is right under their feet. God is close. He is in the everyday activities, accidents and encounters of life. Ask yourself what significance a trip can make to your faith. Could your soul be affected by experiencing God outside your normal routine? Consider the crises that always develop as opportunities for God's grace to work. May you wake up with a renewed sense of God's presence in your life and commit fully to his loving provision of everything you and your family will ever need.

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth. Genesis 28:20-22 NIV