Summer Time Intentionality

I hope your making time for those you love the most this summer. Often I walk into summer with big dreams of how I will spend my time and who I am going to be with... then way too often it seems August is upon us and I've barely scratched the surface of my big dreams. How about you?

What were you most hoping for this summer?

What are you doing to reach toward those hopes?

For me, I began the summer asking myself what I most hoped for this summer. I knew I wanted to spend time with my family and friends this summer. You see, my parents are growing older and my kids are fast approaching adulthood... so I am feeling a bit of urgency to make the most of my days. I walked into the summer knowing I needed a plan that began with being less hurried. Almost everyday, I must be diligent in what I say YES to and what I am say NO to.

Truthfully, it's already been a challenge to be wise in how I spend my time. My parents live 2 hours east and my oldest son is living 4 hours west, not to mention all the things we are committed to here at home. I am constantly asking:

Is this what I want or need to spend my time doing?
How is this "thing" going to invest in the lives of those I love the most?
If I choose not to do this or that, will I look back and regret it one day?

Psalm 90:12 says this...
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of

My prayer is that we will see our days as an amazing opportunity to be with God and be with others in ways that truly make a difference.
So What About You?
Name one thing you are hoping for this summer and one specific thing you are doing to make this hope a reality. Post your comments below!

Open to God through His Word

I don't know about you, but I have a great need and desire to hear from God. I am thankful God is a God of communication and words. Deep inside us, he has planted the desire to know him. And in respone to our need for God, he has chosen to speak to us through the words and images we find in the Bible and through the promptings of his spirit.
Fortunately, as we read and reflect on Scripture, we see God speaking so that we may gain insight into who he is, who we are, and why we are here.

Scripture is a primary way that the Holy Spirit opens us up to the God who is beyond us. In the Bible God reveals to us both our sin and our belovedness. Our desires for nourishment, strength, comfort, and joy are all addressed in Scripture. Reading God's word, listening to Scripture puts us in a place to attend to the God who speaks. God is still speaking today and guiding us personally and intimately through the word. Regularly being with God in scripture is a way we open ourselves to truths and guidance outside us. excerpt adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

How do I know what God has to say? How does Scripture intersect with my life?

These are great questions. So let's take a practical look at connecting with God through scripture.

Let's begin by reading and responding to a few specific scriptures which reflect the heart behind our need to get in God's word.

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another--showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. 2 Timothy 3:16 The Message

Let the word of Christ--the Message--have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Colossians 3:16 The Message

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 New International Version

Think about it. Based on these verses, why would you spend your time reading scripture?

Engaging with God through Scripture

Here are a few suggestions for engaging with God through scripture. Try and different method each day for the next week. I am confident you'll find God speaking to you!

The Artist Method

Read a passage of scripture, considering these three questions as you read.

  1. What speaks to my heart? Draw a heart beside the word that speaks to your heart.
  2. What new thought or idea comes to me? Draw a light bulb beside the new thought or idea.
  3. What does scripture move me to do? Draw a hand beside the action you want to take.
  4. Now, consider how you can apply one of your insights today and take action.

The Detective Method
Read a short narrative passage of scripture from one of the Gospels. Let the story take shape in your mind's eye.

  1. Imagine the scene.
  2. Observe the facts. Ask who, when, where, what questions.
  3. Once you have the facts, interpret the facts. Ask they why and wherefore questions. What meaning did the actions have for the characters? What meaning do the actions have for you?
  4. Then apply your study to your own life. Ask how will this change my life? What do you take away from the story?

The Treasure-seeker Method

When reading scripture consider the following application questions:

  1. Is there an example here for me to follow?
  2. Is there a promise to claim or a command to obey?
  3. Is there a prayer for me to pray?
  4. Is there a sin to be confessed?
  5. Is there a question God is asking me?

Jesus' Apprentice Method

Choose a passage from one of the Gospels and study to discover all you can about Jesus. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What seems important to Jesus?
  2. What sort of questions does he ask people?
  3. What sort of questions do people ask him?
  4. What is Jesus inviting me to be and do?

Source: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

We'd love to hear from you. In what ways did you experience God speaking to you? Which method did you like best and why? What other ways have you found that help you engage with God in scripture?