The Seduction of a Sleepy Summer

May 16, 2021

Josh Pollard

Here are 3 ways to resist the seduction of a sleepy summertime.

The Seduction of a Sleepy Summer

May 16, 2021

Josh Pollard

Here are 3 ways to resist the seduction of a sleepy summertime.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | 2 Timothy 3: 14-17

Hi Everyone! My name is Josh Pollard and I the Adult Ministries Pastor here at Renovation Church. Pastor David is out of town for a couple of weeks, so I’ll be bringing you the message. Today we’re taking a quick break from our study on the book of Luke to talk about summertime. Next week I’ll be back again and we’ll get back in to our study of Luke where we’ll find ourselves at the end of Chapter 20. Before we begin let’s pray.


Summer is right around the corner and for many of us it means a time of rest. Get out of town, go on vacation, go up to the cabin. And even here at Renovation we just came to the end of our House Group year and they’ll start back up again in the Fall. I hope you all had a great time at your House Group’s year end party. If you weren’t in a house group this last year, I can’t encourage you enough to join one in the Fall.

My House Group Leader Alex Pepin ended our last group meeting by reminding us all that hidden within the idea of “taking summer off for rest” is a hidden lie. It’s the lie that true rest is the rest that the world provides. Now don’t get me wrong, I love going camping and on vacations, and as the father of three little kids I would pay good money for a nap. But let’s not confuse these activities for true rest. House Groups may be done for the year but that doesn’t mean that you need a break from intentional discipleship as if you needed some rest from all that God stuff. As if the world could offer you more rest the God could.

So, is the Summer time a good time for Rest? Yes, absolutely it is. It’s a great time for the type of rest that Jesus tells every one of us about in Matthew 11 where he says:

[Matthew 11:28-30]

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Now that’s the kind of rest I want. Doesn’t that sound great - rest for the soul, for the weary and burdened! Sign me up! But do you see the seductive hidden lie of a sleepy summertime? This summer, if you want rest, don’t fall for the worldly temptation of retreating into self-indulgent comforts but instead to find your rest by diving headlong into worshiping and serving Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the World. He provides not just rest for your bodies and minds but rest for your souls. Summertime is a time when Satan tells us that if we can just find the right diversion from how chaotic the world is and how disheveled your life is it will fix all your ailments, will refresh you, and will mend your calloused hands. But I promise you that the more calloused your hands are by work in the Kingdom of God the more refreshed, and transformed, and healed you will be.

Do you want more rest this Summer? Then press yourself against the feet of Jesus even tighter.

But Josh, you may be thinking, House Groups are over. What do I do? As your adult ministies pastor I want to prepare you all for the coming seduction of a sleepy summer. It’s coming so you need a plan on how to make it through summer and grow as a Christian and for us to mature as a church. Otherwise you’ll do the opposite. So today I want to prepare our church for Summertime. I’ll give you three things to consider as we go into this season so that you don’t just fall asleep. Remember what the proverbs say “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will overcome you like a robber…” that includes spiritual poverty….

First, if you are on Vacation over the weekend, go to a local church and worship there.

[How to Grow this Summer]

[1. Even, If you’re on Vacation, go to a local church.]

It might take some research beforehand to know where the local churches are at, what their service times are and if they are a Bible believing church. But that can all be found online these days and it’s worth the effort. Let’s remember that we don’t just come to Renovation because we like Renovation. We’re here to hear the Word of God preached and to worship Him with other believers. So even if you’re away from Renovation for a while, still find a body of believers and worship there.

On the other hand, If you’re on a Kayak in the middle of the boundary waters, or somewhere where a local church isn’t available, then, Christian, do your own service with all the believers you have available. Maybe it’s you and your family around the morning campfire, or maybe it’s even just you. Set some time aside to read some scripture, pray together, maybe even sing a song or read one of the psalms. And talk about what God’s been doing in your life or where you feel the Holy Spirit convicting you. Do whatever you can to not slip into the temptation of leaving worshiping God out of your efforts to be refreshed. Instead, emphasize worship in that effort.

The second and third thing that I will ask you to consider go together. Because they are both ways to strengthen yourself this summer while we’re on a break from House Groups.

I used to coach athletes and from time to time they would be forced to take time off of regular training. Sometime it would be due to an injury of some sort. For this example, let’s say it’s for a sprained ankle. So, while they couldn’t do their regular training because of the ankle, we would have them devote their training time to another area, let’s say upper body strength. 6 weeks later, not only would they have greatly increased their upper body strength but their increased blood flow and heart rate from that exercise, along with keeping them mentally sharp, meant that their ankle would heal faster, stronger, and better. And as a result of their forced time off, they’ve become stronger, more capable, and more useful in a way they never would have had an opportunity to if they hadn’t taken time off from regular training.

Their alternative would have been to just sit out of 6 weeks, resulting in a slower progress in healing, ultimately less range of motion in their injured ankle, no improvement in their upper body strength, a decrease in performance in other athletic areas, and psychological challenges like depression and anxiety all stemming from a sudden loss of activity. They suffer far worse, from over-resting, then they did from their initial injury. In the end they are weaker, less capable, and less useful to their teammates.

And if we are not just hobbyist theologians, but are united together and on the mission of Christ then we can learn the same lesson and let your summer of rest be a summer of strengthening rest so that when you come back to House Groups in the fall you are still sharp, stronger, more capable, and more useful Christians.

[How to Grow this Summer]

[1. Even if you’re on Vacation, go to a local church.]

[2. Strengthen yourself by Memorizing Scripture]

So the first thing was to go worship even if you’re on vacation.

The second thing is to strengthen yourself by Memorizing something from the Bible.

There is nothing more useful for your ability to understand and share your faith then being able to remember the words of God. Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” You’ll find that the Holy Spirit brings those memorized passages up to your mind at just the right time to encourage your faith, to convict you of wrongdoing and steer you back on path, and to share God’s truth with others.

For a long time, I’d settled with the idea that I’m just not good at memorizing passages, It’s just not the way my mind works, or it’s just not a gift that God’s given to me. And so I didn’t memorize much scripture beyond the general idea of large sections. It has, without a doubt, hindered my usefulness as a Christian and left me quite vulnerable to certain struggles. And after being quite convicted about it I discovered the secret to memorizing scripture. The secret is, you just have to put in the time. Plain as that.

Here’s how I do it. It’s a method that many, many people have employed over the years. I pick a section I want to memorize. Maybe one paragraph, maybe a whole chapter, maybe a whole psalm. This would even work on whole books of the Bible.

[work up this slide as a say each part]

[How to memorize Scripture]

[Day 1 – Read today’s verse 10 times

à Say today’s verse 10 times.]

[Day 2 – Say yesterday’s verse 10 times

à Read today’s verse 10 times

à Say today’s verse 10 times]

[Day 3 and on – Say Yesterday’s verse 10 times

à Say all your verses 1 time

à Read today’s verse 10 times

à Say today’s verse 10 times]

Then on your first day, you read the first verse 10 times out loud, looking intensely at each word. Then you close your bible and recite it 10 more times without looking too much. Then you’re done

On day two. You say yesterday’s verse 10 times without looking too much. Then you read out loud the next verse in the passage 10 times. Then you close your bible and say it 10 more times without looking too much. Then you’re done

On Day three and onward, you say Yesterday’s verse 10 time. Then you say all the previous verses together from the beginning, one time. Then you read today’s verse 10 times out loud, and then say it 10 more times without looking.

And you go on from there to complete your section. There is no secret to memorizing scripture other then just putting in the effort and time. But it really only takes a few minutes a day and you can memorize large sections of the Bible.

So this summer, pick something from the Bible to memorize. Maybe you start with one psalm, or just one section. But do something. Do it as a family. Come September, you could be going back into house groups with the whole book of Philippians or Colossians memorized just by doing one verse a day if you started now. How much more deeply would you understand it, how much more useful could you be to the people you care about? A whole lot.

[How to Grow this Summer]

[1. Even if you’re on Vacation, go to a local church.]

[2. Strengthen yourself by Memorizing Scripture]

[3. Strengthen yourself by taking a Renovation U Class]

The Third thing that I want you to consider is to strengthen yourself by studying.

Just a bit ago you heard John announce that sign-ups are beginning today for Renovation U. Renovation U classes are designed to be useful to everyone from brand new or even not-yet-Christians, all the way up to people that have been following Christ for many decades. Through the years we have had hundreds of people take these classes and they are always so beneficial, not just to the individual but to the entire church and even the community around us.

Studying Scripture and Theology is really important. One example where we can see why is in 2 Tim 3:14-17 where Paul is sending a young man named Timothy to go serve in ministry and his instruction to him is this:

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

I want to point out there is a repeating structure in this passage. You see here [GREEN SECTION] Paul is showing that we are shaped by things – Things that we learn, things that we are convinced of, things that come from trusted sources and that we have trusted from when we are very young. It’s the things that teach us, and rebuke us, and correct us, and train us. Being molded and influenced by things is unavoidable. We are very malleable creatures.

But as for you, Christians, what matters is that we are molded [Yellow text] by scripture. This Summer you will change. Every one of you will be different come September. You’ll be molded by what you learn and experience, what you let rebuke and correct your path in life. Will that be 4 months of sitting around, where self-satisfaction and comfort are your guides and Netflix is your teacher? Or will it be the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God, breathed-out of the same mouth that the psalmist says “breaths out the stars?” You have to actively make that choice.

And as for you, curious person, skeptic, person with questions, You must decide if you are satisfied enough by questions, or if you will look for answers? I’m claiming that your eternal destiny is at stake. Are you satisfied enough to walk away from that? or will you study the Bible for yourself? There is a scene in the book of Acts where Paul goes to a city called Berea and he preaches the Gospel there. And it says (Acts 17:11b-12) “…they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.” When it comes to God, don’t just take another person’s word for it, weather it seems convincing or not. Examine the scripture to see for yourself if what we say is true.

Lastly, we see that being molded by scripture has a purpose. [Blue Section] We study the Bible for two reasons. To be wise for salvation in Christ Jesus. And to be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The whole point of studying Scripture is to make you wise for Salvation.

First this is for you, yourself, coming to understand the holiness and justice of God, your own unholiness and injustice, The deep self-giving love of God resulting in Jesus’ willing sacrifice in our place, and His promise to come again so that you will put your faith and trust in him and have eternal salvation. But again, don’t take my word for it – Be like the noble Bereans and go see for yourself if it is true.

Second this is for the people in your life. The Christians in your life will struggle with their faith. Perhaps God will call upon you as the tool he will use to encourage them. You will speak with non-believers. Perhaps they’ll find themselves the most open to hearing from God that they ever have been in their life, ripe for spiritual harvest, and God will place them in your presence. Will you be wise for Salvation – for their Salvation? And while Satan can never stop God from saving someone, he can do all he can to make the tools in God’s shed as dull as can be. Don’t let that be you. Like any good gardener, God gets the most done with sharp tools. And, even the sharpest tool gets dull over time, so you have to let the gardener resharpen it.

In Renovation U you’re going to learn so many things that will sharpen you.

In the First Steps class you’ll get a broad overview on the basic tenets of the Christian faith. They also happen to be some of the things we forget most readily in times of struggle, things like “How can we trust that the Bible is true?” or “Why did Jesus have to die?” You’ll sharpen your ability to answer these types of questions for yourself, for your fellow Christians, and for people that aren’t yet believers.

Then in Mining God’s word you’ll develop an entire toolbox of your own for how to read the Bible well and actually understand what it means. So that whatever Questions you may have, like those Bereans we talked about, you’ll be able to examine the scriptures and find the truth. Then when you’re reading the Bible with your small group, or your family, or with someone who has questions, you can actually understand what it’s saying and help each other discern the truth of the passage.

In Theology 101 and 201, you start to dive into theology, which means asking big questions, seeing what the Bible says about it, and then organizing all that into an understandable answer to those questions. Questions like “What is Sin?” and “How does’ Jesus’ Death save us?” You won’t learn what to think but how to think through tough questions Biblically.

Then in Old Testament 1 & 3 (we offered OT2 last summer, but you can take these ones in any order) You’ll get to put all that you’ve learned into studying large swaths of actual scripture with other people. And trust me, by far, far, far, the dullest tool in the modern Christian’s tool box is our knowledge of the Old Testament. Nothing will make the modem Christian stronger and sharper than a good long walk in the Old Testament. It gives power and meaning to everything in the New Testament. If the claims of the New Testament seem to lack power in your life, you should ask yourself if it’s because your Old Testament muscle is underdeveloped or has atrophied into uselessness. And then you should sign up for an Old Testament class and finally find some rest from the weight of ignorance of the OT and thus misunderstanding of the NT.

And remember, all this studying isn’t just for head knowledge or just for the sake of studying. No, that would be the way that the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ time thought. As we study we need to remember the rebuke that Jesus gave to them in John 5:39-40, where he tells them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” Don’t forget that being molded by Scripture is first and foremost to make you wise for Salvation, so that you would have a intimate relationship of personal trust in Jesus Christ.

Back in 2 Tim 3:17 [Just go back to that whole slide of v. 14-17 but with the BLUE SECTION bolded] we see that once a person is saved, and is a servant of God, the Scripture goes on to make them thoroughly equipped for every good work. So, if you want to be equipped to do good work for your family, for your small group, for the community at large, you need to be molded by scripture. No Scriptural competence, means you’re ill-equipped to do good work. No matter how motivated, or charitable, or compassionate, or trained, or selfless you are, if you aren’t being molded, sharpened, by scripture, the you are ill-equipped to do good works. The more you are shaped by scripture, the better you can do the good work that God has put in front of you.

Or maybe you sometimes feel like God hasn’t really given you a way to serve or do good things in life. You come to church, you go home, and maybe you think, aren’t I supposed to do something with my faith? Aren’t I supposed to help someone or something? Well, perhaps that is where you are stuck because you are ill-equipped to handle such good work yet.

And we need good workers. Well equipped, scripture shaped workers that are sharp and strong. So if you haven’t yet, for the sake of you, you Small Group this fall, your loved ones, this Church, and the Community around us, grab that piece of paper under the chair in front of you fill it out right now so that it’s ready to drop in that box in the back of the room. Last summer we had 114 people being shaped by scripture in Blaine all summer and it made us sharp and strong for a difficult year. Let’s double that this summer and find some actual rest.

(Put this slide back up for a little bit)

[How to Grow this Summer]

[1. Even if you’re on Vacation, go to a local church.]

[2. Strengthen yourself by Memorizing Scripture]

[3. Strengthen yourself by taking a Renovation U Class]

So, church, consider these things this summer. Do not give in to the temptation of a summer full of self-indulgence as if that’s the real kind of rest that you really need. Instead, keep your bodies connected to other Christians, keep your hearts filled with scriptures, keep your mind transformed by the Spirit, and you will find your soul truly rested and enjoying the salvation of God.

Maybe some of you here are just starting to learn about God. For one reason or another you have ended up here today and we’re talking about the strength-giving rest that Jesus Christ provides – the spirit filled rest – the salvation enjoying rest. The rest that He will provide you will start in your soul by taking the weight of your sins away once you trust him, and it will go on to give you calm strength through even the darkest of days that may come. I’d highly encourage you to sign up for a class today and learn more about this. But I must also warn you that Christianity is a not an academic subject that you can just learn. In many ways it’s like swimming in water. You can read about how to swim and watch videos about how to swim and go to swim meets and have a poster of Michael Phelps on your wall at home. But until you get in the water you will never, ever, fully know how to swim. Until you jump in and feel the wetness of the water - How it both supports and resists you; you won’t understand.

So, if you truly want to know more about Jesus the best thing you can do is to believe in him. He will reveal himself to you in a whole new way. He’ll make it clear to you that you’re a sinner, and that he died in your place so that there could be justice for your sins. And that when you believe in him you become one of his children, and he’ll give you everlasting life with him in Heaven. You! So at this time I want everyone to close your eyes and pray so that the people in this room that are hearing Jesus call to them can hear without distraction. If that’s you, if you can hear Jesus saying in your heart, “Come to me, you are weary and burdened, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” - If you feel God calling you and telling you that he’s chosen you to save today, then I want you to stand up where you are as a way of saying yes. Go ahead and stand up right now.

-If you are on that fence, wrestling back and forth, I promise you that the yes side is so much better. The heavy yoke of your life is what’s keeping you in your seat, put it down and instead put on the light yoke of Christ that lifts you up and find a place of rest in Him.

Ok you can all open your eyes. No one stood up but that’s ok. God saves who He wants, when He wants. But it must remind us that we cannot count on this being the only place where people hear about Jesus. The people that need to hear it are out those doors, which is why we need well-equipped workers out there in the world.

If you’ve got any questions about Renovation U, John will be out at the info table.

Let’s Pray


Copyright: Josh Pollard
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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