The Lord is my shepherd…he makes me lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23).
All people, including God’s people, need seasons of rest. For many, the months of July and August spell v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n. Unfortunately, vacation is not always a synonym of rest. So I thought I’d share this wise column written by a former Associate Pastor of Stone Hill, John Beeson. John is now serving as the Teaching Pastor of New Life Bible Fellowship, Tucson, AZ:
I recently received an email from a friend in which she mentioned that she was going on vacation for a couple of weeks. The way she put it was, “I'm hoping to go offline for a few weeks, as I haven't had a chance to stop yet for longer than I'd care to admit.” I voiced a prayer for her as she took a break.
Since then I’ve thought about how to pray for God’s people as they take vacation. It’s an interesting line of thought, since vacation as we know it, even weekends as we know them, are relatively modern developments. You don’t find much at all in Scripture about people getting away for a weekend or a week or two. But there is plenty of information in the Scriptures about the need for rest and what it can entail. Most importantly, the Scriptures teach us that the deepest rest comes when we combine physical relaxation with spiritual renewal; that was one of the main points of the Old Testament Sabbath (Deuteronomy 5:12-15).
With that in view, here are seven prayer requests for members of the body of Christ who are on vacation:
1. Pray that they will be surrounded with divine safety as they travel: Psalm 121.
2. Pray that they will enjoy long nights of deep and satisfying sleep: Psalm 127:1-2.
3. Pray that they will experience life-giving fellowship with friends, spouse, family, or other believers: Psalm 133.
4. Pray that they will have deep communion with the Lord through his Word and prayer: Psalm 123:1-2.
5. Pray that they will be blessed by times of worship in a different venue: Psalm 122:1-2.
6. Pray that they will stand strong against expected and unexpected temptations: Psalm 125:1-2.
7. Pray that they will gain a richer perspective on current responsibilities and calling: Psalm 131.
Serve Table in the Atrium: We have many ministry opportunities for you to serve here at Stone Hill Church. There is a Serve Table in the atrium each Sunday for you to examine your spiritual gifts, survey the ministry opportunities, and find a place to serve here. Each Sunday it will feature and highlight different ministries. Stop by the Serve Table before and after services today!
Ministry to the Dying and Bereaved: Pastors and deacons minister in specific ways when someone dies, but everyone in the congregation can care for those who mourn. This class aims to encourage, educate, and equip anyone to care for fellow congregants (and family members, neighbors, and friends) in times of sickness, dying, and loss. The primary facets will be biblical theology, personal reflection, an explanation of Stone Hill Church’s practices, and practical guidance. This class will be taught by Alex Kato and meet in the Library starting August 4 at 9:30 a.m. The last class is September 1.
You Are Invited: The Henrie's small group is meeting with Brad and Stacy T, two of Stone Hill's global partners, on Tuesday, July 23. There will be a pot luck dinner at 6:00 p.m. or whenever you can get here and an update from Brad and Stacy starting promptly at 7:30 p.m. Please contact Grace if you are planning to come.
Beauty to the Block: Diane Bellamy, from Transformation Church, will be hosting the annual "Beauty To The Block " event on Saturday, August 3rd from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At this event there will be hair services, free food, clothing, hygiene bags, and health services (provided by Trenton Health Department) for the homeless population in Trenton. This year's event will take place outside of the rescue mission on Ewing Street. Donations of clothing and/or hygiene products would be greatly appreciated. They would also welcome volunteers on the day of the event, helping to show the love of Christ to those who may not know Him. There will be a donation drop off box at Stone Hill Church, by the coat closet in the atrium, through the remainder of July. Donations may also be dropped off at In His Image Hair Studio, 937 Brunswick Ave, Trenton, NJ 08638, Wednesday-Saturday.
AWANA is an evangelistic and discipleship program designed for kids from their preschool to teen years. We offer four programs: Cubbies (4-5 year old) which teaches basic truths about God, Jesus and salvation. Sparks (K-2nd) will cover Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Truth & Training (3rd-6th) guides kids to a deeper understanding of God's grace. Trekkers (teens) encourages them in their faith by mentoring and serving. Registration opens August 1st! Want to be a part of what God is doing in AWANA? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up at the Serve Table.
Backpack Drive: We are collecting all kinds of school supplies for the 10th Annual Backpack and School Supplies Drive run by Princeton Human Services for children from low-income families in our community. Please take advantage of great sales at Staples, Walmart, and other stores. You can bring in glue sticks, pencils, erasers, pens, notebooks, rulers, etc. Bins located at the children's Welcome Desk. Collection ends Sunday, August 4.