Sabbatical Thoughts: Part 3-Reflections

This is the final post on my thoughts from Sabbatical.  I have already posted on rest and relationships that occurred during these 3 months.  Today I would like to share reflections from Sabbatical.  Here they are in no particular order:
  • God is good and I am loved.  The words of a new song capture this thought, "You're a good good Father. It's who you are. It's who you are. It's who you are.  And I am loved by you. It's who I am. It's who I am. It's who I am. You're perfect in all of your ways."
  • I Am His-Identity-For many people, what we do defines us.  For pastors, this can especially be true.  So, how would my identity be affected by not going "to work" for 3 months.  Early during my time off, I heard God whisper, "I Am His."  This helped me remind myself throughout these last few months that my identity in Christ is so important.
  • Abiding/Fruit Bearing/Good Works-I am combining all of these because they are related.  Abide has been a key word in my spiritual journey for many months now.  I understand it as a relationship with Jesus.  How do I grow spiritually? Stay connected to Jesus.  We must always be pointing people to Jesus no matter what they face.  Related to this were quotes I heard while on Sabbatical.  These quotes talk about fruit bearing and good works.  As a pastor, how do I help people grow?  Point them to Christ.  As you read these quotes, I hope they inspire you as they did to me.
"The sanctified life is the grateful life." (Byron Yawn)
"essential idea of fruit is that it is the silent natural restful produce of our inner life." (Andrew Murray)
"Holy Spirit produces fruit in the form of love that pours out its life in the body for the neighbor...For the first time good works and love are not a goal and mere potentiality, but actual and present, emerging organically, freely and spontaneously (albeit hiddenly) (Stephen Paulson)
 "O, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. It does not ask whether good works are to be done, but before the question is asked, it has already done them, and is constantly doing them. . .Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake life itself on it a thousand times. . .And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God, who has shown this grace. Thus, it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from fire." (Martin Luther)
  •  Idols-As I spent time praying and reflecting one morning, I was reminded how idols had crept into my spiritual life.  I am not talking about a golden calf but present day idols that I turn to for acceptance, worth, and value instead of turning to God alone. I shared my idols in a previous post here
  • Children's Book Submitted-I am excited as I wait to hear back from publishers on the children's book I have written on identity in Christ.  It was one of my goals during Sabbatical and I am thankful for the time to spend writing.
  • Guatemala-It was a joy to serve in Guatemala with Mackenzie and Megan and others from Hesston MB.  I look forward to how God will develop a future partnership here.  For my reflections from Guatemala, go here
  • Simple-I look forward to seeing how things will change in children's ministry at Hesston MB.  A few churches I visited helped me think through a few changes that could occur in the future. Most of them focus on the word simple.  I am hoping to be more intentional with how we minister on Wednesday night at Hide N Seek. Curriculum will be changing in Children's Church. This to name a few.
  • Vision-Another theme that occurred during several visits was vision. This includes not just the why but also the how. No matter what we do (kid's ministry, family ministry, Sunday School, Wednesday nights), we must not let any of these become more important than the gospel.  What is the gospel?  What Christ has DONE. It's all about Him.
I hope this has been helpful in understanding what I have been experiencing over the last three months. Thanks again to Hesston MB leadership for providing the opportunity to go on sabbatical and for caring and investing in its pastors.  If you are reading this from another church, put together a sabbatical policy for your pastors if there is not one in place.  If you are a pastor, take a sabbatical when you are able.


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