Dearest Hope Family,
I could not help but chuckle a little this past Sunday morning when more than a few folks at church approached me with confused looks on their faces and sincere questions on their lips: “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be on sabbatical?” My first reaction was: “I am just here doing my job,” and secondly, “You can get rid of me that easily!” – ha!
I write to you this morning to clarify the actual dates of my sabbatical and to invite your prayers for me and my family as we embark on this adventure.
I have one more Sunday in the pulpit – this Sunday, May 9th – and I am looking forward to finishing our series of sermons on the book of Jonah. I will also have one more week in the office to finish off the transfers and tie up some loose ends. May 16th will mark my first day of sabbath rest and my first day out of the rotation of formal responsibilities at Hope. I will return on September 5th and will return to preaching on September 13th.
In terms of our needs for prayer, so many immediately come to mind but for the sake of clarity and focus, I ask for your intercession in these specific areas:
- Developing new rhythms of listening to and knowing God through times of extended, unhurried prayer
- “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection” – Philippians 3:10
- Being freed from some of my daily tasks and responsibilities would allow me to remember my primary identity as an image-bearer and not an achiever, producer, or worker! In allowing the world to pass me by for a season, pray that I would trust God’s care and sovereignty more personally.
- “In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength” – Isaiah 30:15
- I am looking forward to reconnecting with my family and places that have shaped me definitively.
- I am carving out a getaway with each of our children for some devoted individual time with each. With Mary Gray’s graduation from high school and entrance into college, this seems especially sweet and crucial.
- Please pray that my family would experience renewal, rest, and adventure, too!
This season of ministry and all that God is doing to grow Hope Church in the grace and knowledge of Christ make it actually very difficult to step away for my sabbatical. The prospect of being a bit distant from your kindness and encouragement is a bit daunting. However, my family and I receive this time away as a precious gift, and we trust that God will use it to shape us and equip us to be more present and to experience more flourishing with you all – for the long haul!
Peace of Christ,