If you’re anything like me, summer means less structure. That might equal more free time, but it also might mean your group Bible study has taken a break till fall. Or maybe your church holds a group study, but your VBS commitment, kids’ softball schedule, or a road trip make participation impossible. How will you stay in the Word when pools and grills are in use? Whatever your situation, get active, not passive. Here are my suggestions for a great summer in the Scriptures:
1. Pray. Ask, “Lord, please guide me. What part of your Word do I most need? Trust the Spirit to show you. Should you gather a small group at a coffee shop? Read on your own? With your kids, if you're a parent?
2. Make a plan to plan. Set aside a little time this week to select your guide—what reading plan will you choose on YouVersion, or what Bible study will you purchase? Perhaps you can make these decisions over a cup of coffee. I’m working through Crickett Keeth’s new study, On Bended Knee. (I'll send a free copy of my Earl Grey with Ephesians study to the first three people who leave a comment below telling us your favorite study.) Peruse and purchase—and don’t wait till Independence Day to do so. Also, a word of advice: select a study that keeps you mostly in the Word rather than mostly reading an author’s thoughts.
3. Schedule appointments with God on your calendar. Is one time of day better than another for you to dig into the Word? Or do you need to flex? For people living in Old Testament times, the day started at sundown. Maybe it should for you, too. Perhaps driving a child to swim team lessons at 6 A.M. makes mornings an impractical option for you, but evenings after dinner work. Or perhaps mid-afternoon is better, as you must sit on the bleachers waiting for a ball practice to end? Or when you’re taking an invalid parent to see a doctor? It’s possible you need one plan for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and a different one for Tuesdays and Thursdays. What about the weekends? Get times with God and his Word—whether solo or group—on your schedule now, as you would any other appointments.
4. Prepare the car. Should you download an audio Bible for that long car trip? This might be a great summer for listening to the book of Judges with junior high kids. Or Psalms with your mate. Or plowing through the historical books as you make your weekday commute. Throw a blanket or lawn chair in your vehicle, and—along with the Granola bars and a bottle of water for the homeless—include a copy of your study. When you’re stuck waiting, have something meaningful planned to take the edge off your aggravation.
5. Get music. Create a play list of songs based on the Scriptures you’re studying. The more senses you can engage in your relationship with God, the better. Supplement reading and discussion with memory-engaging music that will lead you to worship.
A little planning now can prevent an autumn of regret. So schedule a date with your calendar—perhaps while having a getting-ready-for-sandals pedicure. And take the insanity out of the summer so you can be a blessing rather than a harried mess. Use the change in seasons as an opportunity to connect with the Lord. In the process you just might find yourself being transformed more and more into the image of Christ.