Summertime can be a great time to catch up on some reading. From light reads like your favorite magazines to inspiring biographies, there is just something about having a little extra time on vacation or a break from all the activities that makes reading more enjoyable. Here are some ways that you can enjoy reading over the summer.
Share a copy of Risen Magazine. Whether you are staying at a hotel, going to the doctor’s office or visiting a friend for vacation, bring a copy of the magazine with you to leave behind. You might even want to open it up to one of your favorite interviews. After you leave it behind say a prayer for the person that finds it that they would be impacted by the stories and interviews that they read. If it is a place that you frequent like a coffee shop or hair salon consider giving them a subscription as a gift. This can be done throughout the year too when you are done with the magazine. Share it with a friend, small group member or leave it on the table with other magazines for a pleasant surprise. If you have a favorite interview or blog, share it on social media. Write a little intro about what that particular story means to you.
Find a book for your road trip. If you’re taking a road trip with family, friends or your small group find a book that the group would enjoy listening to. It can be on CD, podcast or you could even take turns reading from a book out loud. After each chapter share what your favorite part was, what you learned or see if anyone has any questions. It can be fun to listen to classic books too like The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe or The Hobbit.
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.” Colossians 1:9-11
Do a contest. This can be fun as a family or amongst friends. Set up milestones and figure out incentives for individual goals and for the group. It could be dinner at your favorite restaurant, going to a baseball game or getting a frozen yogurt. You can check to see if your local library has one too and do theirs as well. This is a great idea for kids to encourage reading some of the books that they don’t get to read during the school year. Some good books to read for the family are Wonder, Little Women and 365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids.
Find a book that inspires. Read through some of the interviews in Risen. Many of the interviewees have written books about their experiences. If you haven’t had a chance check out these interviews with Jeremy Cowart, Jay and Katherine Wolf, John and Jean Silverwood. The Silverwoods were both experienced sailors, decided the time was right to give their four children a taste of thrilling life on the high seas. Their year and a half-long journey aboard their 55-foot catamaran took them halfway around the world. They experienced times of excitement and adventure, times of boredom and monotony. And then one night, alone in a remote stretch of the South Pacific, they experienced what they never thought possible. The Wolfs moved to California to pursue their dreams. Jay was finishing law school at Pepperdine and Katherine was pursuing a career in the entertainment industry; they had just welcomed a new baby and then the unthinkable happened. At only 26-years-old Katherine suffered a major brain stem injury. She wasn’t expected to recover or even live. Miraculously she survived. Katherine had to re-learn how to eat, speak and walk, and on a daily basis she has to overcome double vision, deafness, facial paralysis and a lack of fine motor coordination. The couple relies heavily on their faith and started a non-profit ministry named Hope Heals to share their Christ-centered hope with others. They also wrote a book of the same name. Cowart work’s includes celebrity portraits of everyone ranging from Taylor Swift and Tim Tebow to the Kardashians. He even traveled with Britney Spears as her “Circus World Tour” photographer. His photos have been published in Rolling Stone, ESPN Magazine, People Magazine, USA Today, NY Times, Time Magazine and more. However, when Cowart started out, he was a graphic designer simply using photography to add texture to his work. As time went on, he discovered that photography was his true passion and eventually made it his full-time career. Cowart also founded Help Portrait, which is a worldwide organization of photographers that use their resources to give back to those less fortunate by providing free portraits and using their platforms to inspire change.
Share a book. If you have a book that has impacted your life share it with a friend, small group member or someone you mentor. If you have the opportunity take them to coffee and share why the book was meaningful to you and offer to meet with them to discuss what they learn as they read it. This is also great if you have a teacher, small group leader pastor or ministry worker that impacts your life or your child’s. Ask them if there are any books that you can bless them with to expand their library. If your church supports missionaries ask them if there are any books that you can send to support their ministry to others.
Write your story! You may not be ready to write a novel, but God has given each of us a story. From trials and tribulations to triumphs, God wants to use your faith journey to help others. Take time this summer to write down your faith story. Start from the beginning and include how you were raised and how that impacted what you believe. Write down events or memories that shaped who you are and how you came to Christ. If there were seasons of challenge or trials, include those too. Pray and ask God to show you how to talk about it if it is still hard to talk about. Include verses or books that were encouraging to you during that time. When you are done, share it with a friend or small group leader and ask them to give you feedback. Pray about who God wants you to share it with. It might be in a ministry or church newsletter or email or it might be during a conversation with a friend or co-worker who is searching for Christ.