Summary: This is the first of a four part series encouraging students to take advantage of the summer break and draw closer to God.
Text: This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, ’Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Matt. 3.3
John the Baptist was commissioned by the Lord to prepare the way for the coming of Christ. He spent his life in the desert being mentored and trained by God for his hour of fulfilling his kingdom calling. Before any great work can be done, preparations must be made. During this time of year families are preparing for vacations, they are planning for get-a-ways and time to spend with loved ones and friends. Rarely does anyone hop in a car or on a plane without some preparation. Students now have even made plans to do things for the summer break. Some of you will work, some of you will sleep, some of you will take summer classes. I want this series to encourage that even though you may take a school vacation and a vacation from other responsibilities, you can not take a vacation spiritually. Every student can plan for spiritual renewal by answering three questions. These questions need to be answered because you still have friends lives’ who are hanging in the balance. You still have a calling on your life to make a difference for the kingdom.
Let’s examine these 3 questions.
1. Where are you going?
Follow me here on a spiritual level for a moment. Where does God want you to go during this summer break, with him? What journey does he want you to take that you may discover his grace and power more now than you ever have? John the Baptist in Matthew 3 was preaching and proclaiming the message of repentance. He knew what his destiny was for this season in his life. He knew where he was going. If you do not settle in your heart the direction that the Lord has for you then you will wander during this summer with aimless direction. If you do not aim for anything, you will be guaranteed to hit it every time. You need to get in a place where you can hear from God and discover where he wants to take you. Maybe he wants to take you:
a. to a deeper place of understanding grace
b. to a place of developing self-control
c. to a place of loving your enemies
d. to a place of developing your integrity
e. to a place of sacrifice and holiness
f. to a place of better friendships and closer family ties
You need to decide where you are going. Which leads me to the second question.
2. How are you going to get there?
Whenever anyone takes a vacation they travel, by plane, car, bus or train. There is a mode or a medium which one uses to get from one place to the other. What is your mode of transportation for getting from you are with God right now to where he is calling you. Do you realize that John’s mode of transportation was being developed in the desert. Jesus entered the scene of kingdom building when he was 30. John the Baptist was about 29 or 30 as well. He spent his life being prepared by God for the hour of preaching repentance.
Here are a few helpful tips towards getting to your destination?
a. Read the word of God for direction:
Every time a boy went to his playmates house he saw his grandmother studying her Bible. Finally, he asked his friend about it. Why is you Grandmother always reading that Bible? He answered, I don’t know. But I think she is cramming for her finals."
That’s right, God will give us tests to reveal to us what is in our hearts, and if we don’t pass the test, we take it again. Read the word so you can make it to your destiny.
b. Solitude and meditation
It’s amazing how much you hear God when you turn off the noise in your life.
If you will begin to declare the greatness of God, he will declare what greatness can be done in your life.
d. Small Groups
Joining with other young people towards your destiny is encouraging and uplifting. You are not traveling this road alone.
e. Special trip or retreat
Getting away to a place where the normal distractions of life are gone, and you can commit yourself to hearing the Lord and pouring out your affections on him.
3. What are you going to do?
Once you are there what are you going to do. Once the summer is over and you have reached that place with God that he was calling you to, what are you going to do? See this is really a question that you can answer in the beginning because it is a question of why or a question of motives. When you are done, with this season of renewal with God, there are souls waiting to be brought into the family of God.