Jun29FriJune 29, 2012
SABBATICAL - any extended period of leave from one's customary work, especially for rest, refreshment and refocus.
As many of you know by now Krista and I are going to be away from South Boston and FCC for the whole month of July. It is the first real sabbatical that I have ever had and to tell you the truth I am longing for it.
Let me explain. I love you guys. I find it hard to imagine being the pastor of a greater group of people. And I will miss you all. But my soul is tired. In spite of what my friend Norman will tell you (“Preachers only work one day of the week!”) preparing and preaching a clear, accurate and practical message from God’s word every week is demanding. But beyond that, I feel very deeply the hurts and pains and struggles that you all have. I have learned, out of necessity over twenty years of ministry, to keep the external man going while the internal man is groaning over the brokenness and heartache I see. So I am looking forward with great anticipation to renewing my soul, body and spirit – to be on the receiving end of ministry for a while – and to learn again to drink from the well that never runs dry. That is goal number one.
Goal number two, and the reason we are going to Chicago for the month, is to finish and publish Pilot Paul of Papua: The Flying Life of Paul Westlund, the book I was working on with my friend Paul Westlund when he died. Paul’s parents live in a small condo outside of Chicago but spend July at their summer cabin on a lake in Minnesota. They’re providing the condo free for us while I work on Paul’s book. We’ll also get to spend some time with Paul’s widow LaVonne and son Mark as well as Paul’s friends in the area. Mark is a rising senior in high school and hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps as a mission aviator. Profits from sales of Pilot Paul will go toward Mark’s flight school expenses. We will need a publisher as well as a website to sell the books. All of this is time consuming and expensive, so we would appreciate your prayers as we work through the details.
Finally, goal number three is to make sure you all are well cared for while I’m gone. My good friend Professor Don Fowler Th D from Liberty University will be preaching on July 8th and 29th. Don is an expert in Hebrew and Old Testament literature. And my new friend Stephen Crotts of Chapel Hill, NC will be preaching on July 15th & 22nd. Stephen is a preacher, teacher, and author from North Carolina. He was educated at Furman University, the University of London, Emory University, and the L’Abri Fellowship. As a pastor for over 25 years Stephen has traveled widely in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, and Israel. Stephen is now ministering to tomorrow's world leaders on campuses of colleges and universities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, through Carolina Study Center. Kevin Jones will be leading worship each Sunday and Hank Bruining and Glenn Ferguson will be the lead elders on those Sundays. The elders, including Bob Plapp, Kevin Knouse, Hank and Glenn will also be available to pray with you or counsel as the need may arise so please feel free to call on them.
Thank you in advance for allowing me this gift of rest and praying for me as I go. I look forward to returning renewed and refreshed and ready for the work to come.