In coming back from sabbatical I have wrestled with how much to talk about my time away. Do people really want to know what I did with my summer? It seems a bit narcissistic to assume people want to know about me while I was away. Yet, GBC was more than gracious to give me time away to rest and refuel. There is Biblical precedent for a sabbatical every seven years, and I don’t think it is exclusive to pastors or missionaries, but everyone should have an extended time off every so many years, but few are either granted the opportunity nor do they even ask. Even in bringing this subject up may conjure up some ill sentiments in some as they’ve never been given a sabbatical in their job and resent that others are able to have one. In response to the graciousness of Grace Baptist, however, I feel I should share how my time was spent over the summer. More importantly, I hope to share lessons I either learned or was reminded of upon having a break from the multiple projects we’ve completed over the past multiple years and the day-in-day-out blitz of ministry – which at times feels like a 24-7 endeavor.
Therefore, over the coming weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of blog posts expounding on the various encouragements, lessons, and challenges afforded me during my time away from Grace Baptist. My hope is that, for one, I’ll be able to sustain the micro-shifts I am trying make in my lifestyle to be healthier as a Christ-follower, spouse, parent, friend, and pastor. Secondly, my hope is to lead by example a spiritually, emotionally, and relationally healthy life for others to follow. I’ll admit, I’m not to keen on being watched, yet I signed up to be a pastor so that brings with it watching eyes. Biblically, this is not only my responsibility, but the responsibility of all believers to live life in a way that others observe and draw close to Christ through emulating that life.
Unfortunately we have made the Christian life too complicated. I don’t know if it is because of the consistent media stream telling us as Christians how to live. From website articles, books, podcasts, social media, vlogs and blogs (I do recognize the irony, btw), we seem to live a life filled with pressure on what we are “suppose to do.” I don’t know if you feel that way, but I definitely felt that way prior to going on sabbatical.
As I figure, there should be seven blogs to follow, each dedicated to a sole topic. My hope is that you’ll not only see my thought process and experiences through the sabbatical, but also find it motivating to possibly make some micro-shifts in your own life that might possibly lower your overall stress and provide the opportunity for you to grow spiritually and relationally in a world that is designed to prevent you from doing so.
Below are the topics I will briefly write about each week, starting with some simple lifestyle lessons I learned and growing toward some deeper spiritual lessons:
The Connectivity Monster
Not All Problems Are Yours To Solve
There’s A Lot You Can Live Without
The Sufficiency of Scripture and Prayer
The Necessity of Courage
The Gift of Family
My prayer is that you’ll find this series contemplative and encouraging. I appreciate and love this church body with all my heart and do not take lightly or for granted the blessing you bestowed on me this past summer.