So, I have to begin by saying, I stole some of this from a friend of mine. He gave me permission to do it, so I guess technically I didn’t steal it, but there’s my admission. I thought it was good stuff and most of you know how I love to recycle anyway. I just unpacked it, changed some things around, added somethings, and took somethings away, and here you have it. I mean, after all, Ecclesiastes 1:9 says “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Summer’s over…are you ready to go back to school? I’m not asking if you WANT to go back to school, I’m asking if you’re READY, as in prepared, to go back to school. Not physically, not materialistically, not cognitively, but spiritually? Are you prepared? Or have you even thought about it?
Personally answer the following questions:
- What did you learn about yourself this summer?
- How did God stretch & shape you?
- What personal weaknesses were revealed?
- Did you discover a gifting, skill or desire?
What are you going to do with what you have learned?
- Was it just another summer?
- Was Super Summer just another week of camp?
- Was the mission trip just a good time in Ohio?
- Were you changed – temporarily or permanently?
We really need to take account of our lives. Let’s take Super Summer as an example.
- Between the church and students families we invested $6,000+ in camp
- Was it a wise investment?
- We saw God visibly move through the decisions that were made:
- 1 Salvation
- 2 Rededication
- 7 Special Prayer
- Along with many other things confessed, released, or affirmed in students
With that though, the battle began. These decisions were victories, and a fire was ignited in the lives of many students. But even as we returned, the fire began to diminish. One of the very first indications of whether or not a student is going to keep their commitment to Christ long-term is how they arrive that very first Sunday morning at church. Sadly, 1/2 the students at camp were not at church the following Sunday.
There are so many daily distractions. And they aren’t all necessarily bad, they’re just distractions from what is really important.
- Cell phones
- Video Games
So, now that you are going back to school, where you will be busier and life will become more complicated, how can you keep the fire burning?
1. Say No!
- Turn off the cell phones, Facebook, Music, and friends for a portion of the day – that you may hear the still small voice of God. We do it at camp, we need to it at home as well
- Research has found that students in middle school, high school and college who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period got lower grades. Other studies have discovered that teens who use Facebook tend to have more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults who are active on the site display other psychological disorders. And daily use of media and technology — what teen doesn’t use tech each day? — makes kids more prone to anxiety and depression.
- While observing kids’ study behavior, researchers watched as students spent 15 minutes studying something important to them. “What we found was mind-boggling,” says Rosen. About every three minutes they are off-task. You’d think under these constraints, knowing that someone is observing you, that someone would be more on task.”
Some of their other findings included:
- The more time elapsed, the more windows opened on the student’s computer. The amount of windows peaked at 8-10 minutes, and on-task behavior declined at the same point
- When students stayed on task, they performed better (REALLY?!?!?!?!?! Some of these are no-brainers)
- When they toggled between windows and other tasks, they performed worse
- “The more media they consumed per day, the worse students they were,” says Rosen. “If they checked Facebook just once during 15 minutes, they were worse students.”
- Psychologists and teachers can combat the decline in productivity by teaching students about the concept of metacognition — knowing how your brain works and how to study. For studying, that means turning off Facebook and not task-switching.
- In particular, teens who log on more are more narcissistic. “We don’t know if teens who are narcissistic are more drawn to Facebook or if Facebook makes them narcissistic,” says Rosen.
- Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/08/08/kids-who-hang-out-on-facebook-do-worse-in-school/#ixzz1VJBKyFEw.
2. Have a dedicated time alone with God. If you don’t invest in a relationship then it will shrivel up and die. This is true with humans and it is true with God. You have to carve that time out and guard it fiercely. (Psalm 119:11, Psalm 1:2, James 4:8)
3. Hang out with Godly people.
You need to build some trusted friendships with people and talk about spiritual things daily. Hold each other accountable in sin areas, with your daily time with God, and in church involvement. Do not let each other slip back to “normal.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
4. Make corporate worship and Bible study a priority. Jesus established the church because He knew there was no way we could do it alone. We aren’t designed to! Even Jesus Himself didn’t journey alone. If you want to guarantee regret and defeat in your walk with God then make church optional. (Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:42)
5. Be a thermostat, not thermometer. The difference between a thermostat and a thermometer is that one sets the temperature for an area while the other merely reveals it. You have the choice on whether you will just blend in to the spiritual condition of your surroundings or you can choose to raise it. God hates lukewarm so fight that at all costs! (Revelation 3:16, 2 Timothy 2:15)
Parents, you can be a part and be helpful to your students:
1. Listen more and talk less. Listen intently. Don’t get distracted. Ask open-ended questions and listen without immediate correction. Make time for it because it is important.
2. Be parents and lead them. Your students don’t need another friend. They need you to be the parent. These struggles and spiritual battles aren’t a walk in the park. They may not like it or understand it, but you must lead them. Godly parenting sometimes requires doing what is best whether your kids like it or not. They will not develop good habits alone, they need you. I doubt they clean their room, do their homework, mow the lawn, or get to school on time without some involvement from you. The same is true with having a quiet time, getting to church, choosing good friends. Don’t smother them but don’t withdraw from them either.
3. Don’t leave them on the battlefield alone. Pray for them. Share your own quiet time thoughts with them. Actually have a quiet time with God yourself. Be honest about your struggles and challenges. Make church a priority and even serve. Statistics show that a student has a better chance of remaining in church after High School if their parents are very involved or not involved at all. In other words, those students who see their parents nominally involved in church, those that are “lukewarm,” see that it’s not a priority, and thus they walk away. You are the spiritual thermostat in your home so set it high!
Summer’s over…Are You Ready To Go Back To School?