Mark A. Taylor
Summer’s here—or almost, anyway. And by June, most of us, unfortunately, have given up on all those resolutions we considered January 1.
Well, how about a fresh start? Summertime is the perfect time to try something new or do something special. Break the routine and give your spiritual life a boost.
Here are six possibilities for fresh air this summer.
1. Spend the summer with Jesus. If you’ve bogged down on the Bible-reading plan you began in January, set yourself a summer goal. The Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John contain 89 chapters. Start this week reading one chapter per day, and you’ll have read all four books by soon after Labor Day.
Keep a notebook as you read. Jot down thoughts under these headings:
• Something new I’m learning about Jesus
• Something challenging I’m hearing Jesus say
• How I’m like—and different from—those who reacted to Jesus
2. Take your preacher to lunch. Or invite him and his family for a Friday-night supper. Have no agenda other than to know him better and encourage him in his work. A minister’s schedule and demands can create exhaustion and discouragement. Say thank-you to your minister with a special, no-stress meal.
3. Buy an elder a book. Even more ignored than preachers are elders. They silently serve in the background, dealing with difficult decisions (and, sometimes, difficult people!) without fanfare or publicity. Find a good book on a Christian topic and give it to an elder with a note expressing your gratitude for his service.
4. Send a missionary a gift. Maybe you do this at Christmastime. But you can surprise and encourage a worker in a far-off land with something to tell them now that you’re thinking about and praying for them. They might like a current magazine they can’t find overseas. Or your favorite candy. Or a note describing what’s happening at your church.
5. Invite your neighbors to a cookout. In fact, you might want to invite several neighbors to several cookouts. Be alert to needs they might express; your first priority is to be a friend. Let these get-togethers be steps toward building a relationship that will allow you eventually to talk with them about your faith.
6. Give a subscription to CHRISTIAN STANDARD. Your minister, an elder, a recent Christian college graduate, a friend who’s retired but moved out of town—all these folks would enjoy CHRISTIAN STANDARD. And this month you can purchase that subscription for our low, 150th-anniversary special price of only $15. You can order online here. (If you’re giving a gift, just click the box that says, “Ship to a different address.”)
Of course, maybe you’d like to receive all of CHRISTIAN STANDARD every month in your own mailbox. That’s a refresher that will begin this summer and then last all year long!