This Summer, Stay Close to the Lord
Now that summer is here, there are plenty of distractions to interrupt our normal life rhythms—including the rhythms of our Bible studies. Many church classes take a break for the summer. If you have children, the free time in your schedule is probably now focused on them more than ever. Cookouts, travels, beach days, amusement parks, yardwork and other summer projects… the list goes on.
Summer is a wonderful time to relax and enjoy time with nature and with our families, but are you making time spend with God, too? A summer Bible study is a great way to fit quality time with God into your daily routine. Here are some tips for how to continue your Joy of Living studies throughout the summer months, either as a group or just as an individual.
1. Don’t worry about the lecture.
If you are a leader for a church study group or class that includes a weekly lecture, you can skip the lecture in favor of a more informal, discussion-based study during the summer. This takes a lot of the pressure of you as a leader and still gives you and your group an opportunity to meet in a more casual, relaxed atmosphere.
If you already have a regular time that you do your study each day, keep to that same time throughout the summer as best you can.
2. Study individually or in smaller groups.
If you’re used to studying with a group, but that group is taking a break for the summer, why not order a study and go through it on your own? Or arrange to meet up with a few friends once a week for coffee to discuss what you’re learning? Joy of Living studies are designed to be used by individuals as well as groups. At the end of this post are several suggestions of studies that would be perfect for summer use.
Leaders, why not suggest a study for your members to go through on their own during the summer, and when your class resumes in the fall, spend the first session discussing it? They can order studies individually on our website or by calling our office, (800) 999–2703.
3. Consistency is key.
If you already have a regular time that you do your study each day, keep to that same time throughout the summer as best you can. Habits like this are good! This will make it easier when you resume your class in the fall, and it will reinforce the idea to your subconscious mind that this particular time is set apart for communion with God. Make a commitment to yourself that you will continue to study at this time. If you do miss a day, don’t feel guilty—just jump right back in!
4. Minimize distractions.
Ask yourself: Where is the quietest place for me to pray and study? Look for both physical quiet and visual quiet—a place that won’t constantly remind you of all the other things urgently awaiting your attention. Make sure your family or others in your living space understand that this time is important to you. Even 10–15 minutes a day of uninterrupted time alone will help in your pursuit of fellowship with God.
5. Be committed to spending time with the Lord.
Bible study isn’t merely about gaining knowledge—it is about building a relationship with the God of the Universe, the One Who created you, loves you, and is offering to have a relationship with you.
Do I really want to spend time with God? If your answer is “yes,” God will bless you as you work out the details of how and when to do it. If your answer is “no,” pray that God will give you a desire and a hunger to spend time with Him. He will do this for you!
Suggested summer studies:
Hall of Faith: Study on Hebrews 11 (10-week study)
The long days of summer are a great time for quiet reflection. In Hall of Faith: Study of Hebrews 11, each lesson focuses on the faith of one or more Old Testament believers. By delving into their stories in the Old Testament and studying related New Testament passages, you will learn about what faith is, about the object of our faith, and about the authority and power available to the believer through faith in God.
The Joy of Knowing (6-week study)
Summer is a great time to get back to the basics. Our Joy of Knowing study systematically addresses some of the foundational questions that new believers and long-time believers alike have about life, God, and the Bible, such as “How is the Bible different from other books?” “Does God care about me?” and “Is this as good as it gets?” This is a great study to read if you are newer to the faith, or to perhaps go through with a friend who is asking questions about your faith.
Although many of the truths in the study may not be new to you, many Christians aren’t confident about what the Bible says on certain subjects, and because of this uncertainty, they’re afraid to share about their faith. If this is you, working through this study may help you develop a greater understanding of these truths and God’s purpose, thus equipping you to confidently share the Gospel with others.
Philippians & Colossians (9-week study)
Even though Paul wrote his letters to the churches in Philippi and Colossae while he was imprisoned, these letters are full of hope, joy, and encouragement for his brothers and sisters in the faith—a family that includes believers today. This study by Joy of Living’s founder Doris Greig is the perfect length to be completed during the summer months.
About April-Lyn Caouette
April-Lyn Caouette has been working with Joy of Living since November 2018. She is the editor of the Joy of Living blog as well as the quarterly newsletter, and manages the Joy social media accounts.
April-Lyn is also a co-founder of Love Thy Nerd, a non-profit ministry where she is an editor, writer, and resource coordinator. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy & Religion from Colgate University, and is an alumna of the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course.