The Fall season reminds me of riding a rollercoaster. As a kid I had a love/hate relationship with rollercoasters. I loved the idea of them, but as soon as the rollercoaster started moving I wanted to puke. Sometimes, I feel the same way about the 3 month stretch of October, November, December. It’s like a 3 month rollercoaster. Bear with me for a second while I tease this analogy out.
During the month of September we feel excitement about what’s ahead. It’s kind of like waiting in line for the rollercoaster. Starbucks rolls out the PSL, football season arrives, and we eagerly await cooler days. We are excited. This is going to be fun!
But now it’s October, and it’s time to get into the seat and click the seatbelt. The time has come. We know we’re about to go on a 3 month ride at high speed. There will be some unexpected twists and turns along the way. We will blow bast Halloween, make a quick turn toward Thanksgiving, and do a couple of loopty loops of decorating and redecorating our houses. But it’s not over. We hold on tighter because we know this ride is climbing to an eventual high point, at which we will drop rapidly through holiday shopping and parties until we eventually make it through Christmas, and come to an abrupt stop at the end of the ride.
This is a ride our culture takes us on every year. And just like a rollercoaster, it is exciting, fun, full of laughs (and a few screams). But it can also, like a rollercoaster, leave our heads spinning. We can reach the bottom and feel disoriented. It often takes us the whole month of January to recover, and it’s February before we can reorient our lives again around Jesus, his church, and his mission.
This is what’s ahead of us. I don’t think that God wants us to reject all of this, I think he wants us to be aware of it. He wants us to consider how we can “ride” the 3 month rollercoaster with Jesus beside us, the Spirit keeping us buckled in, all to the glory of the Father.
SO, the question before us today is… how can we engage the next 3 months with awareness and intentionality? How do we stay oriented around Jesus, his church, his mission? What does it look like for Jesus to be our passion and the Spirit to be our guide? How can we be strategic in a way that helps those we are leading (our family, our MC) and those in our mission field (where we live, work, learn, play) to encounter the goodness and grace of Jesus?