Thank You, Stonebridge!
I am still easing back into the swing of things. I am still catching up on emails, returning calls, getting back to studying and work, getting reacclimated and reoriented again to the weekly rhythms of life and ministry, but I felt it was very important to thank you once more, Stonebridge Baptist Church, for allowing me to have the Sabbatical after seven years serving in the church.
It was truly a time of blessing and refreshment and renewal for my wife and family and I lack words to adequately express my gratitude. Thank you!
As I am in the process of being debriefed on the things that happened over the past month, I am blessed by the praise reports and the positive and beautiful things that have been taking place in various areas of ministry, and, through various ministry teams. What a joy it is to return and to see God's people working so well together, loving one another and praying and serving together!
Neither time nor space allows me to share with you all that the Lord did and is still doing in my life, in my family's life as a result of that time. I pray that I am able to share from the overflow of His work in me for your edification and blessing in the weeks and months and years ahead. I am very excited about the future, and, the things the Lord has for us!
I am excited for 'Family Week' that is coming up in August. Please stay tuned for announcements and ads and further information in the days and weeks ahead. I am excited to see what the Lord has for us as we continue to pursue Him in prayer and to seek His will together. I am excited to see what He has for our children, youth and families in the weeks and months ahead. I am excited to see how He is going to work in all of our lives!
Having a month to decompress, to read (and read a lot), to dive into the Word more deeply, to pray and reflect and to read good Christian books and to reflect and look to the future was new to me, but it was (and is) a significant blessing. One of the things the Lord impressed on me is this: 'to move forward, taking next steps, we must pursue what it means to be a community of faith, hope and love.'
I will be preaching on this very issue, this upcoming weekend, focusing mainly on the heart and what God desires from us, before we get into our sermon series on Romans. One of the things that He profoundly impressed on me on a personal level during my time away is my need to love Him more, to rest in His love more, and to love others more, even if it's not always easy or comfortable.
If you want to read a good book that will challenge you deeply on loving God and loving others, read 'Inside Out' by Dr. Larry Crabb. It's one of the 20th century's classics, but it's still quite insightful. This book along with the Bible and 'Leading With a Limp' by Dr. Dan Allender and Providence, by John Piper have been companions during my Sabbatical, and still are as I am slowly journaling through each book. So has 'How the Irish Saved Civilization,' by Thomas Cahill, but that is not necessarily something that is feeding the soul, so much as it has been an interesting re-read.
I am very eager to share from the overflow of what He has and is teaching me, with you next Saturday and Sunday! We will also be sharing the Lords Supper together next week, so I hope to see in one of our services, either Saturday the 23rd of July at 5:00 p.m., or Sunday the 24th at 11:00 a.m.. so we might partake of the Supper together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
I also hope to see you in prayer meeting Wednesday. We had a wonderful time of prayer last week and the Lord continues to use that time in significant ways. Even if you are not comfortable praying out loud, I encourage you to attend. It is a great way to see how the Lord is working and leading us and to see how He is answering prayer! And, it is a great way to grow in your relationship with others in the Body. The power of corporate prayer cannot be overstated. We begin that time at 6:15 along with the youth and children who also begin at 6:15 p.m..
I also hope to see you next Saturday at 3:30 at the church as we prayer walk the communities. It will likely be hot, but God has been using this time and will continue to do so, for His glory and to build bridges to the communities for the sake of the gospel. There is something also that happens when people are on mission together: community and relationships are strengthened. I hope to see you then as well.
There is much to say and much I am grateful for. My wife and I were able to recharge and the Lord also used that time to heal me up a bit as well. I am eternally grateful!
Now, looking forward, I am eager to continue the journey with you. He has called us together for such a time as this, and I know He has been refining us and preparing us for these next steps, that we might be a people rooted in the Word, on mission for and with Him (and one another), and a community of faith, hope and love.
Thank you again, Stonebridge. My family and I appreciate you very much!
You are Loved,