My Facebook newsfeed is clogged with pictures of the Jazz Club in Reading. Sweaty undergrads and Graduands with mouths open and fingers pointing. It's not a pretty sight, but it makes me happy. But it does mean one serious thing. Summer is here. Summer, rolling meadows, endless days filled with idle distractions, getting a summer job, getting a real job, finding your tent for Forum. Summer is a wonderful time. There is nowhere better than the Chiltern Hills in June and July. I can't wait to show my wife.
Summer is dangerous though, and so without much apology, and only some editing, here's something i wrote just over two years ago... don't waste your summer, use it for Jesus:
John Piper writes this about summer:
Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute. If the mailman brings you a love letter from your fiancé, don’t fall in love with the mailman. That’s what summer is: God’s messenger with a sun-soaked, tree-green, flower-blooming, lake-glistening letter of love to show us what he is planning for us in the age to come—“things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man, God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). Don’t fall in love with the video preview, and find yourself unable to love the coming reality.
What can we do this summer to set our minds, and keep our minds on the things above?
Keep reading the Bible.
I know this sounds like an obvious point, but once there is little work to be done, there is little routine to be kept to...and i need routine to keep me reading the Bible. last year my Graduand period (the bit in between finishing your finals and getting to wear a mortarboard) passed in a haze of barbeques, football and bucky 'o hare. And none of that is bad in itself, we need refreshing after working hard, but to seek refreshment away from the Bible, away from Christ is only to turn your back on what will refresh you. Sit in the sun, read slowly, read lots, read Galatians over and over again. Enjoy the birdsong, enjoy the Word.
Read good books.
I don't think i'm ever going to have as much time on my hands as i did last summer. What a great opportunity to read and read well. Reading Christian books must never become a substitute for reading the Bible, and it must never start to become a dry intellectual fact collecting exercise. But good books can make you long for more of Christ in your life, drive you back to the Bible to bathe in things you hadn't noticed before. Good books can strengthen your faith and your love for the Lord. Take time to read them and think about them and apply them.
Make the most of time with your friends.
especially if you're graduating, and all being flung across the four corners of the country. Spend time with people, enjoy time with people, sit in a beer garden, lie on the grass outside mojos. enjoy the fellowship of your Christian mates, but seek out and don't waste time with your non Christian mates. Use this time to explode for Christ in your house or hall. Use this time to be braver than you've been before. Use this time to live with your non Christian friends to demonstrate that Christ is the greatest, best and most fulfilling reality there is. Pray for them lots.
Prepare for whats next.
Leaving uni is really hard. Going back home for a long time is really hard. Starting a job, even one that you love is really hard. So get ready for it. Pray into it. Think about how you're going to work for Christ next year, or study even better for Christ next year, and delight in Christ with your family. Don't waste time wishing you were back at uni, enjoy the time you've got the prepare for what's happening next...doing the other things in this list should help a bit.
It's terribly easy to waste summer. When the sun comes out i really struggle to remember the eternal battle we're all in, to keep my eyes focused on Heaven and not on the earthly pleasures summer brings us. Use free time wisely for Christ...don't waste your summer.
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