June 8, 2018

Steady through the Summer

associate pastor

associate pastor

Ken Rathburn


I love the beginning of summer. Warmer weather, kids playing outside, noise from the nearby swimming pool, and the smell of fresh cut grass. All of those things are wonderful, but none of them are my favorite part. My favorite part of the beginning of summer is just that: it is the beginning. When summer starts, it seems like we have so much time ahead of us—a coming vacation, weeks off of school, plenty of time for projects we’ve been putting off. We finally have the time to do things we want to do. What will we do with all of it?

In most ways, but not all, NAPC operates on a slower schedule and a bit of a Sabbath rest through the summer. In keeping with the rhythm of a rest from school and vacation trips, we are intentional about taking a break from some of the things we normally do. This allows staff and volunteers to plan well for the Fall, and it allows for our congregation to enjoy a needed respite. 

And then it’s over—seemingly before we know it. Every year we ask ourselves where the time could of gone and how it could be Labor Day again already (as if we’re unfamiliar with the Gregorian calendar). Buckeye games return and life marches on. This raises a question: Should we just acknowledge that we feel that way at the end of every summer and accept it?

The answer can be no. The respite from formal programs at NAPC is not to be a respite from spiritual growth. In fact, that “space” created during the summer months can be a great time to engage with God more deeply—perhaps in ways you never have on your own. In John Piper’s wonderful and challenging book Don’t Waste Your Life, Piper argues that only a life lived with the purpose of enjoying God by bringing him glory in all things will be a satisfying life. He says:

God created me—and you—to live with a single, all-embracing, all-transforming passion—namely, a passion to glorify God by enjoying and displaying his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.”

It sounds like a tall order, but it is really just a more focused one. Piper echos the famous words of the Apostle Paul: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. If we live our lives for anything other than the purpose for which we were created—to know, glorify and enjoy our great God—we will at the end have regrets and there will have been waste.

If we live our lives for anything other than the purpose for which we were created—to know, glorify and enjoy our great God—we will at the end have regrets and there will have been waste

How does any of this relate to where we are in the calendar? Simple. Don’t waste your summer! Make this the summer where you get to the end having grown deeper into your relationship with Christ, learning new things and applying them with the time with which you’ve been blessed. Here’s a plan for doing that:

  • Keep attending worship — It can be so easy to take time off from coming to worship in the summer months, but worshiping the Father in the Spirit through the Son is why were created. Let us not quit meeting (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  • Pray regularly and deeply — Let those few extra minutes (yes, even while on vacation) be devoted to conversing with the Lord. Keep a list of who and what to pray for and use the model for prayer our kids learn in JAM! Praise, Repent, Ask and Yield.
  • Read, listen and study — Whether you are a “reader” or not, whether you prefer long treatises or brief audiobooks, use your time to grow in your knowledge of and closeness to God through his Word. Grab your study Bible, pick a location and start. Click here for a simple guide of questions to ask as you work through a book of the Bible. Do it together with someone else.
  • Maintain accountability — One of the best ways to ensure we follow through is to know someone is going to ask us if we have. Meet every so often with someone else from NAPC. Exchange prayer requests and share struggles. Also, commit to walking through a part of Scripture or another book and have them hold you accountable to doing it. Do the same for them (Proverbs 27:17).

Let’s no waste our summer! Instead, let’s enjoy it by using this time to grow further into the likeness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In his name,

Pastor Ken