Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't Waste Your Summer

It's here! Summer Vacation! Well, at least the kids are out of school and it is starting to get hot outside. AS we enter this time of summer, I wanted to ask a valid question: What are you going to do to make sure you do not waste your summer vacation? 

If we are honest with each other, we know how easy it is to waste it. It is so easy to get to the end of the summer with the kids and look back and realize that nothing significantly was accomplished. It was just many days at the pool, in front of the TV, at the park, or on the baseball field. I'm not saying those things cannot be fun or redeemed. But the summer can and should be so much more than just those things. So, how can you not waste your summer? Let me offer you several ideas:

Read the New Testament. Did you know that in just about 3-5 chapters a day, you can read the entire NT with your kids during the summer? Or better yet, set up a plan for them to read it. I have set up a 90-day schedule for Karsten to read the NT, from June 1 to August 30. It will be good for them as well as you. If you want to see the schedule, send me a message and I will send it to you.

Memorize Scripture. The summer is a great time to fill the mind of your children with Scripture (and yours as well). Moms, if you are with your kids all summer, set up a time each week to work through some passage of Scripture. My wife is taking our kids through a Psalm that I am preaching in July. Pick a longer portion, not just random verses. At the end of the summer, you could say you have memorized all of Philippians 2 or Psalm 19.

Read something of spiritual value. How about sitting with the kids one night a week and reading through a spiritual classic like The Pilgrim's Progress or the Chronicles of Narnia? Or maybe you could even get a good recording of a good Christian book and listen to it together. My younger son just finished going through 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders. It is a great opportunity with so much free time to ground them, and you, spiritually.

Serve someone outside your family. Find some family that needs some help and go minister to them as a family. Bake a meal. Help paint a house or clean a yard. Don't let the busyness of your summer overtake you, but you be in control of the schedule. Think bigger than your family this summer. Let your kids see you serving. Lead them in it.

Invest in your church ministries. Don't forget about church this summer. If you get to the end of the summer and your service of the church, let alone your attendance, has plummeted, you probably wasted your summer. So many people think summer vacation is also a time to take off from church. Use this as an opportunity to get more involved in your church, not less. Participate in VBS & other children's ministry events during this summer. It might be too late, but use some of your vacation time to take your kids on a missions trip (I have a friend that right now is on his way to China with his entire family, and it's not a vacation). Think bigger than your family, think about your church family.

Develop relationships with your neighbors (for gospel reasons). Have a neighborhood cookout at your house. Invite all your neighbors that you do not know very well. Think about ways you could be a missionary to your neighbors. Once again, don't get to the end of the summer and say, "we really meant to have our neighbors over for dinner, what happened?" What happened is that if you don't control your schedule, it will control you. Plan ahead.

There are so many other things you can do in order to not waste your summer. What are some other ideas? I would love to hear from you. How can you not waste your summer?

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