Well it may be hard to believe but it is true. Time waits on no man and it does seem to fly when you are having fun and when you get older. I am in the middle of both. God has blessed me with a life of joy and blessing and I am getting older with the tic and the tock of each passing second, so my time is flying fast.
You maybe feeling a little surprised that it is indeed this time again so soon as well. The years move fast for all of us, unless you are a child in school waiting on summer to arrive…lol. I want to share briefly about three things that cause me to stop and say, “it’s that time again, already?” And these things may have you surprised or may have snuck upon you too.
First of all, Spring Break is happening all around us or you may have already had yours. But Spring has sprung and Summer is rapidly approaching. As I guess you have noticed, I am not here in church with you today, that is because we are gone of a short vacation. It is Shari’s spring break and so we have gone to see her and spend a little R&R with her. So I am talking about Vacation Time! It is hard to believe that it is that time again already, but here it is.
Everybody needs a vacation once in a while. You shouldn’t feel guilty for taking one and enjoying some relaxation and time with family. But can I also say that when you vacate, don’t vacate from God, and remember your church when you plan your time away. Sometimes we suffer from some diseases in the summer and at vacation time and I want to warn you again about them.
The first summer disease is Vacation-itis. This is when we are so worn out from work and other of life’s activities that we feel we just must “get away from it all.” The problem is we get away from work, but we leave God out and forget about the church. We go on a trip and forget when Sunday comes that the Lord never stops or takes a break from caring for us, so we should worship Him wherever we are. We also often forget to make sure our post are covered back at the church. We leave, go on our nice get away and forget that the class we teach will not have a prepared teacher due to our forgetfulness brought on by vacation-itis. So check for symptoms before your vacation come and remember to cover your posts of service before you leave so that no job is left undone and remember to plan where you will worship on your trip so the forgetfulness of vacation-itis does not cause you to forget to thank God for His blessing you with this wonderful get away. BTW Becky and I are getting to visit in Shari’s new place of worship where she has settled, pray for the services there. By the way, Vacation-itis if not treated immediately will often lead to the second disease of summer church goers.
The second summer disease is “morbus Sabbaticus.” An anonymous author described the condition of regularly missing church as “morbus Sabbaticus” or better, “Sunday sickness.” He said that this is a disease peculiar to some church members. The symptoms vary, but are generally observed and never last more than twenty four hours. Symptoms usually happen more in the summer months that other times of the year. The symptoms never interfere with the appetite, nor affect the eyes. The Sunday paper can be read with no pain. TV seems to help the eyes. No doctor is ever called. The patient begins to improve almost immediately after the services start. No symptoms are usually felt on Saturday. The patient sleeps well and wakes feeling well. He eats a hearty Sunday Breakfast, but then the attack comes and lasts until services are over for the morning. The patient then feels better and the problem seems to go away. The patient feels better and eats a solid dinner. After dinner, he takes a nap, and then watches one or two pro football games on TV. He may go fishing or work in his yard and feels well enough to do what he pleases. He may take a walk before supper and stop and chat with neighbors. If there are church services scheduled for Sunday evenings, he will likely have a relapse about an hour before service time. Invariably, he will wake up on Monday morning and rush off to work with no ill effects from the attack the day before. The symptoms will surely appear again the afternoon of the midweek service and probably the following Sunday as well. After a few of these “attacks” at weekly intervals, the disease seems to become chronic, it becomes worse and, for some, even terminal. Some are so affected that they quit going to church altogether.
The only cure for “morbus Sabbaticus” is to first repent of the sin of unfaithfulness and disobedience to Christ’s commands. You see it is sin and disobedience for a child of God to shun the church and fail to be at their appointed place and time. Before a Christian can become faithful and get back in fellowship with God they must confess their sin, and then God will give them strength to overcome their failure (1 John 1:9). The second part of the cure is to make the decision once and for all time, to be faithful to the Lord. Once the decision is made, you will not have to make it again.
So summer is upon us. Vacations are coming as is pretty weather, so guard your heart and watch out for these deadly diseases.
Now the second thing that makes me say, “Is it that time again already” is tax time. Yes, it is about that time again. As they say, “Behold the tax man cometh!” Well, I hope when you file your taxes, unlike me, who always has to pay, I hope you get a refund this year. If you do, I would like to share some tips that can help you use your tax refund to change your future.
More than half of Americans will receive a tax refund this year. The IRS reports the average refund this year is more than $3,000. According to the 2014 Taxes and Savings Survey conducted by Capital One Bank, those planning to spend their refunds are buying electronic devices, new clothing or other everyday needs. Many people also use their refund to cover the cost of a vacation.
If you’re receiving a refund this year, why not skip the shopping spree and use the money to beef up your financial security instead? Here are five tips to use today’s refund to change your future.
1. Fund your retirement
Almost half of Americans are not confident they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement. Boost your confidence by investing this year’s tax refund toward your retirement by adding to your individual retirement account (IRA). If you don’t already have an IRA, use your refund to open one for you or your spouse.
2. Tackle your debt
• The average American household has $15,270 in unsecured debt.
• Individuals with student loans owe an average of $32,258.
• The average mortgage balance is $149,925.
Using your tax refund to pay down your debt can save you hundreds, or even thousands, in interest charges. That means you will get to keep more of your monthly budget.
3. Prepare for the unexpected
Life brings lots of unpleasant financial surprises. Cars break down. Roofs leak. Jobs change or are eliminated. A robust savings account can help you weather many of these storms. If you don’t have an emergency fund, use your tax refund to start one. The next time an emergency hits, you’ll be thankful for your financial cushion.
4. Make it personal
Setting a personal goal can motivate you to save more. For example, you might want to save for a down payment on a house or plan ahead for a major event, such as an overseas mission trip.
5. Prepare for college
The College Board reports the average cost of four years of tuition at a public university is $34,620. That cost jumps to $116,224 for a private college. Additionally, your future student will need money for books and housing. Start setting aside money now in a 529 College Savings Plan to lessen the financial burden during the college years.
This information should not be considered tax or legal advice. Thanks GuideStone Financial Resources for such good, insightful counsel.
And now for the third, “It’s that time again already?” Some days it seems all I do is eat. I feel like I just finish breakfast and it’s time for lunch then turn around twice and it’s time for supper. Just ask Becky and she will tell you that she often calls me to eat lunch or supper and I am amazed it is that time again.
But did you realize that sharing the evening meal together with your family has tremendous benefits for you and your family? In fact, studies have shown that Family mealtime can be key to healthier and happier families.
Can spaghetti prevent childhood obesity? How do grilled chicken and vegetables teach boys and girls better social skills? When will tacos keep a teen out of trouble?
Multiple studies suggest that regular family mealtimes can strengthen family bonds. And it’s no secret that healthy, well-adjusted children come from strong families.
However, most parents admit that our modern lifestyles make it a challenge to pull off family mealtimes. Here are some tips to help your family nurture togetherness over the kitchen table.
If music lessons, sports practice and other after-school activities interfere with your family mealtimes, this is a good opportunity to be flexible.
Try serving the meal earlier or later to accommodate individual schedule. If the entire family is at a child’s ball game, pack a dinner of sandwiches, carrots and apples and turn your family meal into a tailgate party at the ball field.
Complicated preparation will make meal preparation seem like a chore and cut into the time spent at the table. Stick to simple-to-prepare meals that can get from the stove to the table in a minimal amount of time.
If you’ve got extra time on the weekends, do some advance preparation so you’ll spend less time in the kitchen on weeknights. Having a casserole or meatloaf prepared in advance can be a lifesaver on busy weeknights.
Involve everyone Give each family member an age-appropriate job. Older children can help with the food preparation. Younger kids can set the table. Everyone can pitch in to clean up after the meal. Let family members take turns planning the menu and helping shop for ingredients.
Work, school and recreation schedules might keep you apart at mealtime so family dinners may not happen every evening. That’s okay. Gather as often as you can.
Weekends can also be a difficult time to get everyone together, so be flexible in choosing what time to have your family meal. Maybe it needs to be breakfast on Saturday or lunch on Sunday.
Make family mealtimes a positive experience. Don’t use this as a time to dole out punishment or deliver lectures. Instead, talk about the highlights of your day. Encourage family members to share the items for which they’re thankful. Talk about your faith. It’s even a good time to share jokes and funny stories.
Remember, the most important thing about family mealtimes is the people gathered around you.
And oh, it’s past time to end this pastor’s pen, so bye for now!
In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,