Summer Break!!!

Teens, it’s almost that time. As I write this, we have one week of school remaining and then it is summer vacation. I have to be honest with you, I might be more excited about this summer break than any of you are. I have decided not to work at the park this year, which means more time with my daughters (plural) and lovely wife, and also more time in the office doing the work of an assitant pastor/youth leader.

I recently attended a banquet for athletes in West Central Conference who qualified to make the all conference team. The athletes are recognized for their achievment, and all in all it is a fun night. This year they had a guest speaker to open up the evening. Now I have been to several occasions where you really would like the speaker to hurry up and sit down. In this case, this speaker had everyone’s attention.

Kris Huffman is the basketball coach at Depauw University. She led the Tigers to a 34-0 record this season, including a National Championship. She was also recently inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. When she took the podium, she had the attention of the crowd. And what she proceeded to say was right on target for the athletes in the room.

“Every morning you and I have an opportunity clock.” We have an opportunity to get up and be productive this day, or we can hit the snooze and give up our opportunity. She asked the athletes in the room this question, a question she asks her players; “Do you deserve to be successfull?” Given the amount of time and energy you have put into your sport, do you deserve to be successfull? The best teams are the teams in which the most talented players are the hardest workers. Sometimes that is the case, but many times it is not.

As Kris Huffman spoke to the athletes and coaches that night, I couldn’t help but think of the Christian life. Ask yourself this question teenager, “Do you deserve to be successful in your Christian life?” Based on your effort and energy, do you deserve to be successful? In other words, thinking about the time you do/don’t spend with the Lord in your Bible reading, the time you do/don’t spend in prayer, in fellowshiping with the Lord, would it be a shock if you were successfull or would it be expected?

This summer, many of you will not have a schedule that demands your time as you do during the school year. You may not have a certain time that you have to be in bed and a certain time that you have to get up, but you will have an opportunity clock that will go off each morning. Each day you will have the opportunity to be productive for the Lord. What are you going to do with that opportunity? Hit the snooze and roll back over, or make the most of the day God has given you?

Here are just a few suggestions on making the most of your summer as you grow in the Lord.

1. Schedule daily time with God – make sure you have time spent with God every day. That time should include reading your Bible and talking to the Lord through prayer. Clear out daily time for this.  Your schedule is changing, you have much more free time than usual, make sure your time with God doesn’t slip through the cracks.

2. Set goals for productivity – be determined to not waste your summer. Yes you should enjoy the fact that you have no homework and no teacher telling you to study for an upcoming test. But don’t allow that to let you get lazy. Set goals for being productive. I personally have a goal to read 2 or 3 books this summer (that is a lot for me). By setting time each day to read so many pages, I hope to accomplish this goal. You can do the same.

3. Set boundaries – some of the most dangerous times for a teenager (or adult for that matter) are idle times. The devil loves to tempt us when we have our guard down. Set some boundaries in your life. Hopefully your parents have some already in place for you, but even then you may have to set some yourself. Set boundaries on how much TV you watch, who you hang out with alone, the music you listen to, etc. Doing this will show great maturity on your part, and will help guard you from slipping into sin this summer.

Again I pose the question to you teenager, “Do you deserve to be successful in your Christian life?” I encourage you to start with these simple suggestions today and watch as God blesses and grows you this summer.

As a way to encourage you teens to read our blog, I will offer another prize. This prize will go to the first person to text me with a goal they have for this summer. My number is on all of the outlines that I hand out in class. First responder gets the prize. Have a great day!

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” – Psalms 19:14