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  • Writer's pictureBruce Ballantine

A Pastor's Message

Dear Friends, At precisely 12:24 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 21, summer will arrive! And for most of us, that’s a good thing. Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward seem to have gotten it right when they wrote the line, Summertime and the livin’ is easy.

School will be out and the kids can sleep in. Amusement parks will be open again, attracting customers like moths to a light bulb on a warm summer night. Swimming pools and beaches will overflow with people looking to get a nice tan and stay cool. Ice cream trucks will soon be heard cruising the streets of our neighborhoods, and Ben and Jerry’s is already busier than ever. Golf fanatics, tennis players and bicycling enthusiasts will find their way to the course, the court or the trail. Vacations, visits with relatives, daytrips to the shore and family picnics will soon dot most of our calendars. And even a losing major league baseball team such as the NY Mets will attract enough customers to stay in business.

Yes, summer is the season of relaxation and recreation. And in the rhythm of life, we need relaxation and recreation if we are to avoid burnout and remain physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy. My hope is that all of us might have an enjoyable summer. But I also hope we will remain attentive to the spiritual disciplines that will help keep us spiritually fit.

If you’re going to the shore, why not grab a book from our church library to take with you? If nothing in the library appeals to you, allow me to suggest Christ of the Celts–The Healing of Creation by J. Philip Newell (available on AmazonSmile for $14.67). You can click here to go directly to amazon!

Or why not make prayer a bigger part of your spiritual life this summer by rising 15 minute early to begin each day with God? Or perhaps you can incorporate additional prayer into your summer routine by praying as you walk on the Saddle River Pathway or as you work in your garden.

Why not get up a few minutes early, go outside and read your Bible? If you begin now and read one chapter a day in Matthew, Mark and Luke, you can finish reading these three gospels by early August.

Last but not least, let’s be sure to make participation in worship a priority this summer. I realize that sometimes we need to be away – on vacation or perhaps to visit relatives or attend a reunion. But if we make it a point to be in worship each Sunday when we’re home, most of us shouldn’t miss too many Sundays. Let’s keep in mind that in worship we re-center our lives in Christ as we confess our sin and hear the promise of forgiveness, as we offer our prayers and songs of praise, and as we listen to God’s Word as it is read and proclaimed. In Sunday morning worship, we receive direction and guidance, encouragement and hope – which sustain us throughout the week.

Therefore, in the words of Hebrews 10:25: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing .... See you on Sunday at 10:00!

Grace and peace,


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