Remember that Teacher Who Gave Homework Over Summer?

When I was a kid, the last thing I wanted to start the summer with was a homework assignment! Even though I would have nearly three months to read three books the mere thought that I had homework over the summer was thoroughly demoralizing! 

Well, guess what. I'm 'bout to lay some summer homework on ya! But, don't worry; it's for your own good! ;-)

Maybe it's because I grew up in the South where we never had four seasons (we only had two: DADGUM-I'M-ABOUT-TO-DIE-HOT and mildly chilly) I've never planned my year according to seasons but semesters. So, three times a year I think about the next four months and ask "what I would like to see happen?" during that time period in my personal life, my family, and in my job.

And, this morning I crossed off one of the goals I wrote down in May: Learn to Surf

Writing down these goals is obviously easier than accomplishing them and sometimes I believe that I can do in four months what is more reasonable to think about tackling in four years. Still, it's so helpful to wake up each morning and have a goal-oriented filter to do triage on all the urgencies that pounce on me during morning coffee.

I don't want the "urgent" to constantly squeeze out the "important", nor allow one area of life dominate the others, but this takes a plan. 

As you can tell from the goal above, even though I'm a pastor this plan isn't just a bunch of spiritual stuff! In reality, all of life is spiritual, so surfing counts as working on my devotional life! Now before you go thinking your pastor is a pagan with no real sacred ambition, I'm about to lay the "Summer Homework" on you – and it involves some Bible reading!

We're beginning a study of the "Psalms of Ascent" tomorrow morning.* This grouping of Psalms: from 120-134, are thought to be songs that were sung as Jewish pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem three times a year for special celebrations.

So, what I'd like you to do first is to write down a handful of goals for the summer. You can use the categories I listed above or choose your own. Don't overthink it and don't shoot for the moon, just come up with a few specific goals that would help you move towards becoming more of the person that God designed you to be. Then, pick a day each week where you can carve out a few minutes to read through the Psalm from the previous Sunday a few times in a row. This won't take that long; they're all very short. Next, just see what happens: maybe you you choose to take a few more minutes to meditate upon or pray through the Psalm, or you might want to share an observation on our Facebook page, or perhaps you keep a journal of reflections and thus have a record of how your plan in part one goes throughout the summer. 

And, let's just see what God does okay? I'll bring it back up again; I don't want to be too overly prescriptive right out of the blocks. 

* This post was first published as an email on Saturday night, June, 16th.