Making Progress in the Word This Summer

Welcome to summer teammates. It’s in the 90’s where I live and already my niece and nephew are out of school. Families and friends I know are heading out on vacation. I’m gearing up for mission trips to Moldova and the Amazon (vacation coming later for me.) The most telling sign is this past weekend I spent 2 hours weeding my tomato plant beds. So hey there summer, how’s it going?

Every year at the top of the summer I think about the unique opportunity we have to be in the Word. Our schedules tend to be more flexible and sometimes we’re able to spend time with Jesus in special places we typically reserve for summer—the beach, a mountain house, or overseas. All this makes for meaningful times to be in the Lord’s presence and to hear His voice more clearly.

But there’s another reason to have a plan to be in the Word this summer, one that jumped out at me while listening to my pastor teach through the life of Abraham this past Sunday: I don’t want to lose momentum.

Making Progress in Stages

Go with me for a minute. When God called Abraham to the Promised Land he arrived in Bethel and worshipped the Lord there. Then he journeyed from Bethel to the Negev “in stages”(Gen. 12:9); and later from the Negev to back to Bethel, again “in stages” (Gen 13:3). The unique wording of the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) “in stages” is what caught my attention. Other translations may read “from place to place”.

I started thinking about how so much of the progress I make in life seems to work that way. In stages. I’d love to master Portuguese or piano or a seminary degree, you know, in a valiant couple weeks. But progress comes in increments over the long haul, persistence in the same direction. Sometimes it’s a stop and start, get settled and uproot, claw and scratch type movement, where you eventually recognize you’ve gained some ground—you’ve traversed in stages. This is especially true spiritually.

As I listened to the sermon on Sunday and noticed the description of Abram’s journey to and from Bethel, I was newly reminded that I don’t want to drift this summer. I want this summer to be another stage in the journey—one where when I arrive at the foot of Fall I can look back and say, the Lord and I got somewhere. We made forward progress.

Summer Bible Studies

If you’re looking for a summer bible study, here are several options:

LifeWay’s online bible study this summer is: Beth Moore’s Entrusted and Lauren Chandler’s Steadfast Love. I have immense respect for both of these women and the studies they write. You will love either of these.

Also, I just finished Jen Wilkin’s Sermon on the Mount study and learned a lot. Make sure you get the DVD’s because you’ll need her teaching to make sense of what you’re studying. She’s a really good teacher and illuminated a lot of Jesus’ teaching for me in this passage.

There’s also my dear friend Angela Thomas and her study Redeemed, Jennie Allen, Angie Smith, Lisa Harper, Priscilla Shirer and so many others who would be great summer traveling companions. As always, being part of your spiritual journey is a great privilege for me, so if any of the five I’ve written would be helpful, here they are.  (or Lifeway.com)

Regardless of how you stay in the Word this summer, make a plan and stick with it—You never know what stage in the journey the next few months may bring. Let’s move forward together.