If you want to experience rest, joy, and relationship that goes beyond the next 60 days, let’s fall in love with the Bible. This is the summer where scripture comes alive. This is the summer where you are transformed by the word of God.
Alright, It is Summer, it is MVMNT Night, and we have brand new 6th graders in the room.
So today not only are we going to clap for all the campuses, we’re going to welcome in the newest group of Valley Creek Students so come on.
We are so so so so glad that you are here
We are Valley Creek Students. One student ministry that meets at multiple campuses being a movement of hope for their city and beyond.
Something that we believe here is that you are Generation Hope. That you’re not Generation X Y or Z, you are a generation defined by the hope of Jesus. And the very first thing that you need to know is that when someone says “We are?” you respond “Gen Hope”. Should we show them? WE ARE GEN HOPE.
And here at Valley Creek Students we do 4 things
Check this out:
– Weekend experience
– MVMNT Nights
– Student Leadership
This is kind of the bread and butter to being a Valley Creek student. Weekend XP every Sunday, Circles start next week, this is MVMNT night, Student leadership applications will launch later this summer…This is more than just church activity, this matters… and let me tell you why:
I can tell you about a group of girls that started coming to student circles 6 months ago and some really hard stuff happened at school and instead of leaning out they got fierce about doing life with each other and coming every week. They’re hearing the voice of God, feeling accepted for the first time and 3 of them got baptized last week.
There’s students being healed from depression and seizure disorders and addictions, some literally coming out of hospitals and finding Jesus the next week at circles.
And those are just a few examples of everything that Jesus is doing. That’s what it means to be a Valley Creek student, and YOU are a part of it.
And we have an amazing summer ahead of us. We spend all year waiting for summer – school being out, finally having free time, parties with your friends, getting to sleep in – this is why we LOVE summer.
But if we’re honest, we typically get to the end of summer and our days looked more like sleeping in till 11, watching Netflix till 1am, being stuck at home while our parents are still working and I would always find myself a little disappointed and confused the last week of summer trying to figure out where the time went.
But what if this summer was different? We always look to summer for rest, joy, and relationships. But those are not summer things, those are Jesus things.
Pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. For they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.
God’s words are the ultimate source of life and health, life and health cannot be found outside of God. So this summer at Valley Creek Students and Valley Creek as a whole, we are doing 60 days of rest, joy, and relationship. And our prayer for you is that if you really lean into these 60 days you will go into the school year not counting down the days to the next break, but soulfully rested, overflowing in Joy, and with healthy relationships.
So really what we’re saying… is that this is a summer of following Jesus.
Because rest isn’t found in the extra time to sleep, Joy isn’t found in the vacations, Relationships are not found in the parties you get invited to…. they are found in Jesus.
Everybody say rest. We all love a good nap…but rest is actually part of God’s plan for your life. What’s crazy is that your schedule can be insane and you can still be rested.
Because “Truly my soul finds rest in God”. (Ps 62:1 NIV)
It’s in the presence of God that our soul can truly rest.
This is not saying that your schedule stops, that you get to rest from being a productive human, like sorry mom I can’t do chores because God told me to rest. No. AND checking out from your life for 60 days isn’t biblical. That’s not rest.
What it is saying is that your soul can rest, your soul can stop spinning and worrying and working and striving in the presence of God. The world, for the rest of your life, is always going to say to go as fast as you can, to make as much money as you can, to cram your schedule with non-stop hangouts so you feel like you’re popular, but God says rest.
How do you do that? 3 places you can start…
Get enough sleep
Proverbs literally tells us not to love sleep and also to sleep. I think it actually says “How long will you lie there, O sluggard?”. Why is because God made you one whole person, body, soul, spirit. So this summer…get enough sleep. Not more than you need so you don’t sleep through the whole thing and not less than you need so you’re not crabby the whole time.. Fair?
Do things that give you life
Whether it’s drawing, going for a run, watching the sunset, whatever you love to do, it’s bc God made you that way, so this summer try to do something once a day that you love.
Spend time with God
Because you can hang out with friends all week but the whole time you strive for acceptance and you’re not rested. You can get all the sleep in the world but not invite God into your day and still feel restless. And what’s cool is that you can invite Jesus into these things (#2). Play worship music while you run, read your bible while watching the sunset, he wants to be a part of the things you love.
Truly our soul finds rest in God. So whatever you think you need to rest, you actually just need Jesus.
Not only rest, but JOY. Everyone say JOY! Your life with Jesus is intended to be joyful. If you’re miserable following Jesus, you’re not doing it right. Bc Religion is defeating & serious. But relationship with Jesus is joy and life! Jesus tells us…
John 15:11 (NIV) ,“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
Everything he tells us is for our joy!
This is where joy and happiness are different because I can be happy that I got to a new level on mario kart but it’s not joy that lasts. Happiness is a thing that can leave when summer ends but JOY is a Jesus thing that never ends.
Because the soul that knows who they are, who God is, and what they were created to do can have joy. An optimism and excitement for life that goes beyond circumstances. That’s why people who have walked with the Lord for a long time have a lightness about them, hard stuff might be happening, but they can have joy in the middle of it, they can laugh, and keep their peace, because it’s not joy from their circumstances, it’s the joy of the Lord.
The best way I can encourage you here is just…don’t take yourself too seriously. Like when you are here… actually have fun in worship. Jump around. Play 9 square. Don’t be the person today that sits out of the color war because you are “too cool”. Most of the time the people that act like they are too cool for fun are actually just insecure about what people think of them anyway. At least that was 100% me when I’ve done that so I’ll just call myself out.
And hear me, this is coming from someone whose natural response is to be serious. I would be serious and intellectual all day if it were up to me, but Jesus says that joy is his best for my life so I have to get my joy from him.
How? Few things…
Be around joyful people
One of the reasons I love my husband is that he can make anything into a game and anything into a joke. Joyful people bring joy out of you. And lets just be honest… some friend groups can have this culture of we’re just going to sit in the corner and be all moody… either as a friend group decide to change or get a new friend group (smile here).
Do fun things
I’m talking about something utterly ridiculous. Like go play mini golf or jump on a trampoline or go and get bahama bucks snowballs and have a snowball fight in june with your friends. (Yeah that’s a thing) I don’t care what it is but go where you can’t help but laugh. And that matters because Joy is a fruit of the spirit, it’s supposed to be part of our relationship with God.
Spend time with God
If everything that Jesus says is for our joy and for our health, then actually…learning to keep his commands is joyful. I’m telling you, God and I have inside jokes. Sometimes when I overthink something and he takes care of it so easily and I realize what I just did, I have sometimes legit felt him chuckling at me and it gets me to laugh about it too. Spending time with God is joyful and When you invite more of God into your life it also invites more joy into your life.
Last one is relationship because relationships are a part of God’s plan for your life!
All over the bible it tells us this. In the very beginning we were told….
It is not good that man should be alone (Gen 2:18 NKJV)
Alone = Not good
We were created for relationship. And it’s not just relationship for the sake of relationship….
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5 NIV)
Relationships exist so that we learn to live like Jesus, to serve like Jesus, forgive like Jesus, encourage like Jesus.
So for my introverts in the room…hey, you need people. I’m an introvert and would be happy to spend the whole 60 days seeing **no one**, but i’ve had to learn that people are not an inconvenience for my life, they are actually God’s goodness to me.
For my extroverts… this summer it’s not about having a bunch of relationships that only get the fun version of you, it’s about having a few that really know you and who really love you.
For all of us… this summer is an invitation to be INTENTIONAL with our relationships. Intentional to invest into them, intentional to build them… so a few things for you…
Don’t only go to your typical people
Best friends are awesome! But some of the best relationships you will have are the ones you don’t expect, the person from your circle that you ask to coffee, someone in a grade older or younger than you. … but we have to go first and make the invite
Be intentional with your family
It’s really easy to think relationships and not consider your family, but building families is the heart of God. Consider what would happen if you spent intentional time with your siblings this summer, speaking life into them. What if you went out of your way to serve your parents with chores while they are at work. What COULD your relationship with them look like 60 days from now if they felt like you were present with them, cared about them, and valued your relationship?
Spend time with God
This is the most important relationship in your life and every other relationship you have flows out of it. You will never go further in your relationships with people than you do in your relationship with God. So what do you want your relationship with God to be? Truly…there is nothing holding you back from getting there. So just like you make plans with friends, this summer, make plans with God.
So you probably noticed that the last of all of those points was to spend time with God. That’s on purpose. This summer we as a Valley Creek Family are focusing on God’s word, the Bible. (hold up bible) Like our verse said it’s his words that are life and health, it’s his word that teaches us to rest, have joy, and relationship. His word is our life and our health, a lamp to our feet, a light to our path.
God’s word shows us the way forward. This summer… God’s word *is* the way forward.
I’m just going to speak this over you… this is the summer where you fall in love with the Bible. This is the summer where the scriptures actually come alive. This is the summer where you are transformed by the word of God.
So the very first step before the sleep and the laughter and the coffees, is that if you want to experience rest, joy, and relationship that goes beyond the next 60 days, let’s fall in love with the Bible.
We’re going to make it super easy. For these 60 days, we, as a church, are going to read one chapter of the bible each day. A chapter isn’t very long. You can do it in 15 minutes and we are reading 60 of the most important chapters in all of the Bible.
Like if you ever get overwhelmed with the Bible on where do I start – just do this for the next 60 days and you will be amazed at what you are able to discover. And we even made a journal for you that has the scriptures on the first page, a QR code that takes you to a video of someone from our team giving you context for the verse of the day.
And in a moment, you are going to have a chance to get one of these journals if you didn’t already get one on Sunday. But we are not going to hand them to you. We’re going to invite you to go to the front and take one for yourself bc yes, rest joy and relationship is what God told our church, but you have to decide if that includes you.
Like imagine if you got to the end of the summer and this was packed full of revelation and truth? Imagine if you wrote down every time you went out of your way to pursue rest, joy, and relationship. Imagine if you read the chapters and every day you wrote down what they said about who you are, who God is, and what he created you to do. What if you went back to the school year rested, full of joy, and new relationships, not looking forward to the next break, but knowing how to find all those things in Jesus?
So close your eyes – What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? If you give *me* your summer, surrender what you think your summer should look like… I will give you the rest, joy, and relationship that your heart longs for.
When you’re ready, you can come and grab a journal.