It is summer and time for family vacations. Amid the potential negative parts of vacation such as long drives, hot muggy days touring outdoor attractions, kids fighting over who sits by the window and grandma’s mysterious broken vase, there are so many memorable times as well.
For the Christian family, vacation can be a time to forget our spiritual life and take a vacation from God if we aren’t careful and don’t plan ahead. For instance, will you just pack play clothes and swimwear or will you throw in some decent outfits for visiting a church along the way?
Will you plan ahead for some car games that focus on Bible trivia or Scripture memory? There is a great smart phone app called “Fighter Verses” that turn Scripture memory into a game. It is worth the little bit they charge for it.
What about the DVDs you plan to bring along for the travel time? Are they all just Hollywood and Disney movies or will you grab a few from Answers in Genesis on creation or others teaching good Bible principles? If you have a Netflix or Amazon Prime movie account and a hefty data package on your phones, there are some good Christian based movies and biographies to be found there too that you could watch while driving.
If your children are older and get bored on the road trip, look up “Ungame” questions online on your smart phone. Find the Christian version and you’ll have scores of conversation starter questions to get the family talking (instead of everyone just popping earbuds in or texting the whole trip.) You might even try the Ungame questions with relatives and friends you visit with along the way.
The point is, when you take a vacation, don’t take a vacation from God. Use the time away to refresh and recharge every aspect of life including your spiritual life. Use the time to strengthen your family spiritually as well. If you’re in our area, we hope you’ll drop in for a visit. We’d love to have you.
What are some other ways you’ve kept God at the center of your family’s life on vacation? Leave a comment below.
Along these lines, I just wanted to pass on a sweet moment from a family I know. The grandparents had orchestrated a combined family vacation for themselves, their three grown-up sons, and their sons’ families. It was quite a gathering—about 20 in all. This might give you some ideas too especially if you have some younger children.
Grandpa gathered the family for a Bible time with a very practical application. Especially for the children, he taught from Ephesians 6* how to have LOTS of fun on vacation.
When mom and dad are telling you what to do—tune in. You don’t want to get to the campfire and be the one who forgot the marshmallows! Sometimes it can be a matter of safety. Sometimes it is a matter of showing respect. And it’s just good manners to listen—to really listen with thoughtful attention—to the person speaking to you, no matter who it is.
When you are told to do something, obey, obey right away, and obey with a willing spirit (or, depending on the age of the children, “obey with a happy face”).
T Think of others
When everybody has fun, you have more fun. Share. Give. Help with the work. Be a part of the family team. You don’t always have to have your own way, and selfishness takes the joy out of whatever you might get for yourself.
S Stay thankful
Say “thanks” to mom and dad, to the people who help us with the tickets, or the people who make lunch. Being thankful lets you enjoy something twice as much—first in just doing it or having it, and second in reviewing it. A thankful spirit also honors God and makes your mom and dad—and your grandma and grandpa—happy.
* Ephesians 6:1-2
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise.
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Pastor Bob Franseen, Pastor of Eagle Heights Baptist Church & Others