Soak up the Son
Right about now we start asking each other, “So, what are your summer plans?” And we have our canned responses of taking a vacation, lying poolside, or maybe taking up our favorite warm-weather hobby again. We may even throw in volunteering for VBS for one week. Mostly though, we look forward to just slowing down a bit and enjoying the season while it lasts. And that is wonderful!
But have you ever noticed how church people do summer? For some reason, there seems to be an unwritten habit of taking a break from our spiritual growth. We church-going people likely have few plans to soak up the Son this summer. However, we would be hard-pressed to find in the Bible where it encourages us to take a hiatus from growing closer to Jesus in any season.
With a little creativity and a smidge more intentionality, we can add growing closer to God to our list of summer fun. We know the Lord does not require big backyard shindigs or large corporate church events to meet with us. Here are a couple ideas to help us be more purposeful to gather together with our Christian family this summer and grow closer to the Lord.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 ESV, emphasis added).
Every week plan a “prayer date” with someone. It can be your spouse, some new friends, or even a neighbor. It can be at a park with the kids, coffee at a downtown café, or on the front porch after a long walk with some friends. The point is to weave prayer into whatever summer activity you are doing with your people. Your invitation to hang out would include a specific invitation to spend some time in prayer during the visit. By the end of the summer, imagine how much you will have seen the Lord move and how much more you will trust him when you are praying regularly.
BONUS: Keep all the prayers in one journal all summer and date each entry. Have a celebration Prayer Date at the end of the summer looking back at all the prayers. Then praise the Lord for how much he provided.
BBQ Philippians style
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
The New Testament book of Philippians is filled with encouragement and hope, which is something we can all use right now as we come out of the pandemic. It just so happens that there are only four chapters in the book of Philippians. Can you find three other friends/ couples/families who would be willing to take turns hosting a backyard BBQ throughout the summer? Or pack some lunches and meet at a summer park if that is easier. The idea is to take turns and go through a chapter of Philippians each visit. You can get creative or as simple as you like. Keep it easy with paper plates and nothing fancy. Read the chapter of Philippians together out loud during the visit and just discuss organically however the Lord leads. End the time together in prayer. Here is a suggestion of a rotation, but make it work for everyone, so no one feels a big burden.
|Rotation Plan||Week 1 Philippians 1||Week 2 Philippians 2||Week 3 Philippians 3||Week 4 Philippians 4|
|Host/Provide Main Dish||#1||#2||#3||#4|
By the end of summer, you will have grown together in fellowship, prayer, and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and eaten some yummy BBQ. So, let’s be intentional this summer—we can have some fun AND soak up the Son this summer.