Summer Sabbatical

Summer Sabbatical May 27, 2014

This will,Lord willing, be the last back-page column I write for you until Labor Dayweekend. Jim Simons has kindly volunteered to take over this duty while I’m onsabbatical for the summer. Thank you, Jim. Write your heart out, Sir!

I also wantto thank the elders and the entire church family for supporting this incrediblygracious opportunity. I suspect it’s all too rare for a church to grant theirpastor extended time off for refreshment and restoration, and I am deeplyhumbled and grateful.

Lookingover our summer schedule, it appears we’ll not lack for things to do. OnThursday, Aundrea, Devin, Justin and I will wing our way to South Africa forthree weeks—one visiting Karl and Glynn Peterson in Cape Town, one ministeringat a pastors’ conference in Mozambique, and one for sightseeing and recreationin and around Johannesburg. We’ll return home for a couple weeks and then headout again, this time as a whole family for a few weeks visiting friends in the Midwest. Sprinkle in several smaller trips—Immanuel Mission,Camp Elim, a few backpacking and campingjaunts—and we’ll just have time to catch our breath before school starts againin August. On the weekends when we’re in town, I’m sure you’ll see at leastsome of us. I may not always be with my family on Sundays though, since I’mplanning to visit a few prisons with Gregg Shively and enjoy services at otherchurches as well. Pray for us to have a fruitful and faith-deepening summer,will you?

My familyand I don’t expect to be the only ones who benefit from this sabbatical. Youwill, too! I’m praying that the absence of your regular preacher will remindyou that the church, biblically speaking, is a community of saints committed toone another, not merely a Sunday preaching station. I’m praying that the rotationof different preachers and the increased visibility of the other elders willreinforce in your hearts our goal to be a church built into the word of Goditself and a church that receives the leadership of a team of elders, ratherthan just one person’s ministry in those areas. And I’m praying that theopportunities for other men in our congregation to preach will be a strong steptoward our desire to develop and train more elders.

So until Ireturn, “May the LORD bless you and keep you;  may the LORD make his faceto shine upon you and be gracious to you;  and may the LORD lift up hiscountenance upon you and give you peace.”