This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Marti Wiegman, Northpoint’s Director of Women’s Ministries.
“So do you have any plans for the summer?”
It’s a question you hear a lot this time of year. The kids will be out of school in a matter of days and summer is just around the corner.
One sure sign of summer at Northpoint is the string of celebration events as many of our weekly ministries wrap up the ministry year and take a much-needed break—just in time for us to fill our calendars with graduation parties, trips to visit family, and outings to the beach. (I suddenly have the soundtrack from the movie Jaws running through my head!)
Most of us start making our summer vacation plans months in advance. We search the internet for possible locations, hunt for the cheapest airfare, coordinate schedules, and book early to ensure the best deals. Then we plan our itinerary for each and every day. My family is no exception: Tom and I leave in nine days (but who’s counting?) for a cruise that we booked back in January.
But there are other summer plans we need to be making that often get overlooked. I’m thinking of plans to be in the Word, to be growing spiritually, and deepening our relationships with the Lord and one another. Because without a plan—without focused effort—it’s unlikely these things will just happen.
Every year when Women of the Word resumes in the fall I hear, “I’m so glad WOW is starting up again. I’ve hardly been in the Word all summer.” Just because our ministries take a break from meeting formally during the next few months, doesn’t have to mean our spiritual lives have to go stagnant. With a little planning, it can actually be a rich season of spiritual refreshment.
Here are just a few ideas. (Warning: These are really basic, like eat right and exercise more. But these fundamental things provide a vital foundation.)
PLAN TO BE IN THE WORD—
Is there a book of the Bible you’ve been wanting to know more about, one you’ve never studied at all, or maybe a favorite you haven’t returned to in a long while? This is a perfect time to feast on the Word in the places where you are hungering most. Pastor John’s sermon series through the book of Proverbs has given me a thirst to read through these wise words again. And the ladies of WOW have been challenged to read through the Gospel of Luke in preparation for our study next year.
The toughest part of staying in the Word during the summer months isn’t deciding what to read, but determining when to do it—and then sticking with your plan. It’s a strange thing: the more free we are of the rigorous routines we live in most of the year, the more difficult it is to make time to be in the Word. That’s where having a plan can make all the difference.
PLAN TO SPEND TIME WITH OTHER BELIEVERS—
Have you ever been at church and thought, I would really like to get to know so-and-so better, but then never find the time to make it happen? Summer is a perfect opportunity to build and deepen relationships. Think about those blocks of time you usually devote to regular weekly ministries. Set a goal to use this time to meet someone for coffee. Or invite a couple to lunch after church, or schedule an outing with another family.
PLAN TO READ A GOOD BOOK—
Before picking up that bestselling murder mystery this summer, choose a spiritually strengthening book. I just downloaded a book on my Kindle that I can’t wait to read titled If I Had Two Lives: The Extraordinary Life and Faith of Costas Macris. Costas Macris is the father of our very own Northpoint missionary, Manon Mahalios.
Costas has been described as “an ordinary man who abandoned himself, without reservation, to an extraordinary God.” A pioneer Greek missionary, Costas was used by God to bring the gospel to cannibalistic headhunters in Indonesia and later return home to launch a bold evangelistic work in Greece. If you are interested in learning more, check it out at ifihadtwolives.com.
With some planning and God’s great grace, we can stay strong in the Word, grow in our relationships with one another, and be challenged in our spiritual lives. It is our joy as his workmanship to use every day for his glory.
Serving him together,