summer

Summer Plans – Are you also planning ways to renew your soul?

By: Dan Seale

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Summer is often a time to rest, relax, and change up the schedule.  Unfortunately, sometimes those changes can work against spiritual growth unless we are intentional.

 What is your strategy to make this summer a time of spiritual growth and renewal?

Here is my plan for summer renewal.

Delight in God’s Word.  Enjoy God’s creation.  Read for fun.  Laugh with family and friends.

Delight in God’s Word

I thought Isaac Shaw asked a great question on Sunday – “What is your strategy to internalize the Word of God?”  If we do not have a plan, we can spend time trying to figure out what to do or just do nothing.  It can be helpful to set up a routine – a regular time and place to be in God’s Word.  However, there is no magical hour, nor one routine that is mandated by the Bible.  For some of you, it may mean listening to the Bible versus reading the Bible.  Feel free to experiment and see what actually helps you meet with God and internalize His Word.

My plan is to continue in our Community Bible Reading Journal in the mornings and to read from Tim Keller’s Devotional on Psalms.  Both of these help me not just read the Bible but commune with God.

Enjoy God’s Creation

I’ve learned that being outside is very renewing for me and some recent brain research supports my personal experience. The beauty of creation, the time to think, and the physical exercise are all part of that experience.  I plan to take some hikes and day trips to the beach and a long weekend at a lake with family.

Read for Fun

There are countless “great books” to read.  But there is also great value in reading for fun.  J.I. Packer, a great thinker and theologian, loved to read mystery novels because they relaxed him.  Here is a short excerpt from an article he wrote about this topic.

Do I urge everyone to read detective and cowboy and spy stories? No. If they do not relax your mind when overheated, you have no reason to touch them. Light reading is not for killing time (that’s ungodly), but for refitting the mind to tackle life’s heavy tasks (that’s the Protestant work ethic, and it’s true).

 [J. I. Packer, “From the Senior Editors: ’Tecs, Thrillers, and Westerns,” Christianity Today(Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, 1985), 12.]

This summer I want to reread To Kill a Mockingbird and one or two other “fun” novels.  Feel free to send me your suggestions.

If you already have some relaxing books and you want to tackle a good read on growing in holiness, pick up Sinclair Ferguson’s Devoted to God: Blueprints for Sanctification.  It will be worth your investment of time.

Laugh with Family and Friends

I want to be intentional about making time to be with family and friends and laugh.  It does my soul good to be with friends and family and reflect and enjoy life. 

Lastly, I’ve been really enjoying various podcasts as I drive, do yard work, or odd jobs around the house.  Here are a few of the one’s I’ve been listening to lately.  I’m always looking for new suggestions.

Podcasts:

  • Knowing Faith by the Village church featuring Jen Wilkins

  • Help me teach the Bible – The Gospel Coalition – featuring Nancy Guthrie and various guests

  • Typology with Ian Cron – It explores the mystery of the human personality through the Enneagram typing system. 

  • Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine – a tour of all the dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people

  • Parenting Today – Reformed Youth Ministries

  • The Briefing with Al Mohler – cultural commentary from a Biblical perspective

  • Pastors and Preachers – helping you live faithfully and lead fruitfully

  • The Argument – Explaining arguments from across the political spectrum

 

Series on Rest (pt. 1): Summer is no Vacation

By: Rachel Rogers

I love summer time!  It’s the promise of a break: from gray, colorless days and lifeless trees, from heavy winter clothes and chasing mittens on cold mornings.  Every kid knows that “summer” is equal to replacing homework and lunchboxes with swimming pools and popsicles. Many of us even change up our normal routine for a trip or a vacation along the way. Isn’t that the lure of summer?  A rest, a vacation, or at least a break from the normal? Does your heart long for a deep rest like mine? Are you disappointed, like me, when summer schedules and trips start to feel hectic and overwhelming?

Kathryn Butler’s article “Summer Vacation is No Sabbath” reminded me recently that it is not summer vacation my heart is actually longing for.  No, we were created for a different, deeper rest than any season or trip can offer. It’s actually when my soul learns to rest in the finished work of Christ that I find the shalom I seek.  It was a timely and helpful article; I hope it will encourage you too.  I’ll still be enjoying my homework-free evenings while the popsicles drip and my kids splash in the pool; and if you see me there, please remind me to keep searching deeper, for real soul rest in Jesus.  (Read the article here)