Monday, June 27, 2011


The past week or so I ran into the first significant block/wall in my sabbatical. It started with having a few insights and ideas about things to change or add in the church ministry. They were good thoughts but it seems they quickly moved into some self - imposed fretting about my 'need" to come up with new ideas, some great insight that will open up an "exciting" new door for our church's future. As I began worrying about the need to come up with "things to do" I found that my sabbath joys were dissipating, the rest I was experiencing began to give way to burdens.

I have given some thought to the cause and cure for this. New ideas can be a great thing and I trust the Lord will direct us as a church along His paths - I suspect He will bring many good changes in the months and years ahead - nothing wrong with activity - it is an integral part of ministry and part of my responsibility.  I think the problem - the cause of the blockage in my rest - was rushing on to activity - moving on to doing something before I had spent the Lord's allotment of time sitting... waiting ... releasing ... ceasing ... enjoying. It is so easy to rush toward labor - the need to be productive - before thoroughly entering rest - the need to be "unproductive" - dependent. Exodus 31:17 says that God "ceased from labor and was refreshed." New ideas, fresh insights and inspired productivity flow from regular sabbath experiences with the Lord - when they come before ceasing - they feel burdensome and don't minister life.

Ideally each day should be a mixture of ceasing, resting and doing. In reality I get swept towards activity - doing before being. Lord, draw me to You - give me a thirst for sitting at Your feet - there is much to do but I want it to be in Your timing and of Your design! Amen

Monday, June 13, 2011


Many of you have perhaps heard of Rob Bell's new book "Love Wins", I know that some of you have read it. I read the book, it asks many good and challenging questions in the way only Rob Bell can. It also, I believe, offers up some misguided answers. I have no intention of discussing the book here or my own views but I would like to direct you to a great video clip by Francis Chan that I have included on the left side of this blog page. Chan addresses issues surrounding how we respond to those in the body of Christ that might present views with which we disagree - perhaps strongly. He presents a call to listen, to love, to challenge, to look inside, and mostly to be students of the Word. How we respond (our attitudes and words) and the basis from which we respond (our hearts before God and our diligence in study), will say a great deal about the bride of Christ and its reflection of our Savior. So, watch the video  and then as we deal with controversial issues, cling to Jesus and dig into His Word.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I have been enjoying my own private oasis this week. Our 15' X 4' pool from Target is usually an arena of violence and competition. My son calls me out to the arena daily for our summer version of backyard basketball - put it in the bucket - anything goes! Although I might occasionally come away with a win, I always come away with a battered body and a lack of oxygen.

This week has been different - since my son has been at basketball camp during the day, the afternoons have been quiet and free of pool brawl. Instead, I have gone out each afternoon, skimmed the pool, dunked myself underwater once and then have peacefully reclined on my $1.50 raft of delight. Twenty minutes (or until my sweat starts boiling) of peaceful, silent, uninterrupted floating in a mini backyard paradise.

It is just 20 minutes, but those brief minutes of calm and stillness have brought huge dividends of strength and renewal. It has once again been a reminder of the wisdom of sabbath moments.  Sabbath moments must always begin with "ceasing" or "stopping". It doesn't matter if the ceasing occurs in a pew, on a bus, at a desk, in the library, standing at the sink, waiting in a line or even floating in a little pool - when we cease our striving we open the door to the Lord's renewal, power and a regaining of a right understanding of our great need for Him in every moment.

Isaiah 30:15 "... in quietness and trust is your strength." My peaceful afternoons will soon come to an end but with a little effort we can always find opportunities for "sabbath moments." We must - they are God's design for strength in our day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


This week I once again set up our backyard pool which we purchased at Target three years ago. After 7 years of "interesting" and "terrifying" experiences with our pools, this one has been trouble free - well, less trouble free. Anyways, I get it set up and proceed to start filling it with water. When it was about 18 inches deep I noticed that the dirt in one spot below the pool was wet. As I checked the vinyl pool I noticed about 3 inches under the pool a tiny pin hole with water spraying out! Fortunately I was able to apply a small patch which appears to be holding.

The pin hole was undetectable until I added water - the pressure revealed the weakness. If I had ignored it and continued filling the pool and thus increasing the pressure it would have likely split open and the whole pool would have been lost. (I know this by a previous experience!) Had the pin hole been further underneath the pool I might have noticed it too late.

A couple weeks now into my sabbatical and I have noticed a number of "pin hole" sized "leaks" in my life. These are not huge tragic weaknesses but small, hidden, weaknesses left unnoticed for too long. They include ways I waste time, small attitude problems, impatience over unimportant issues, lack of attentiveness to conversations, selfish protection of routines that could be more flexible, discontent, harboring small hurts..... Alot of "pin hole" sized problems can add up to big troubles and left uncared for will become very noticeable eventually. As I have had time away from "work" I have realized that busy days can be a very effective cover up for my weaknesses and sins.

I Timothy 4:16 says "pay close attention to yourself and your teaching; persevere in these things ...." Learning to take notice, bringing them before the Lord, doing some daily patch work, refilling on the fresh water of the Spirit - small daily habits that bring health and life and growth.

There is a tree over our pool that drops small yellow flowers into the water everyday. Each morning I use the skimming net to clean it up - skip a day and the job gets big but on a daily basis it is a small matter. So in this day I'll pay attention to the small "leaks" in my life -  the Lord is good at repairing and mending and renewing.