|The Bluffs of Southeast Minnesota|
By the grace of God, the time for my sabbatical has come. Tomorrow I depart for south-eastern Minnesota where I plan to spend three weeks camping, seeking the Lord, and writing, after which I will vacillate between being home and being away. The primary aims of my sabbatical, which ends on August 17, are these:
1. To seek Jesus and surrender to his will for my life as fully as I can. Oh how I long to behold the glory of Christ and live every day of my life to enjoy and exalt his great name! Please pray that above all things I will connect deeply with him, heart to heart, mind to mind, soul to soul.
2. To spend extended time with Kim and Rachel, seeking to bond with one another and seek the Lord's will for our family in the coming months and years.
3. To complete two books on Hebrews (a verse-by-verse commentary and a book of meditations), as well as a few other minor writing projects. As far as the labor of ministry goes, writing will be my primary work while I'm away.
4. To complete a doctoral course on preaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. If I wasn't behind in my program, I would not take a course this summer, but I must say that I'm grateful to God to be able to take this course free from the daily pressures of ministry. It'll take some work, but I'm really looking forward to it and think I'll find it refreshing and empowering.
5. To seek the will of God for the life of Glory of Christ Fellowship (GCF), especially with regard to his vision for our future. The Elders have begun the initial steps of creating "Vision 2020," a five-year vision for the church, and rather than just putting a ton of stuff on paper (which is easy for me to do), I want to begin by seeking the Lord's will at length. At the end of the day, what we need is to know what Jesus wants us to do and where he wants to take us. So discerning these things will be one of the primary tasks of the last month of my sabbatical.
6. To spend time riding my bike, hiking, playing, and just enjoying life.
7. To get some sleep!
So there you have it. I preached a sermon on my sabbatical this morning and how you can be praying for me, you can listen to it here. But if you don't have time to listen to what I said, then please just pray this prayer from Paul over my life, family, and ministry--we appreciate it more than you know!
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen" (Ephesians 3:14-21).