As I've expressed in previous posts, between classes in July and rebuilding my fence in August, the first two thirds of my sabbatical weren't very restful. I was committed to changing that during September. We spent the first week or so doing much of nothing (or, at least I don't remember accomplishing much). Then we loaded up our van and headed out to visit friends in Minneapolis and family in Wisconsin where we boated on the Mississippi (discovering that I can still slalom on one ski), our boys participated with my parents in a local parade, we spent time with my sister's family in Milwaukee and Terri and I got away for five wonderful days to Cedarly Pastors Retreat Center with four other pastoral couples (see picture) where we read, biked, swam, canoed, prayed and simply enjoyed being together. Last week, to cap off my time away, I escaped to Assumption Abbey in Richardton to begin planning our upcoming journey through Proverbs. It's quiet setting, as usual, was very conducive to much prayer, reading and reflection.
As my sabbatical comes to a close, I want to say 'thank you.' Thanks to Vince and the elders for a great sermon series on I Timothy and so capably shepherding everyone during my absence, reminding me that I'm not as indispensable around Trinity Church as my pride would like me to believe. Thanks to Tonya, Kathryn and Janet in the church office for continuing to do so much that so few see but which helps our ministry at TC thrive. Thanks, ladies, for sometimes responding to my questions when I'd stop by the office by saying, "I don't think you need to be thinking about that. Aren't you on sabbatical?" Thanks to all of you for being such a supportive congregation who's desire for more of God and more love of His Word makes you such a joy to lead and pastor (Hebrews 13:17). And thanks to the leaders of Trinity who wrote my predecessor's contract fourteen years ago and had the foresight to include a regular sabbatical for rest, study and family nurture. I am the beneficiary of such insight. Lord willing, you will be too as we resume ministry together and pursue an ever-increasing love of the gospel, transformation of our lives, mission passion and hope for heaven. Thanks.