On Tuesday of this week I returned to the office after enjoying a nine week sabbatical. When I arrived home after work that day my wife asked me how it felt being back. I told her it felt like I had never been gone! When she asked me to elaborate I simply told her that being back in my office, working alongside the great staff at Grace Church, it just had the feel of "being home!" So all that to say, I am very glad to be "back in the saddle again!"
Since my return I have been asked by many, "How was your sabbatical?" As many of you might be wondering the same, here's my response.
1. Rest. I got a boatload of rest. Mental. Physical. Emotional. Lots of time to just kick back and enjoy the moment. It was quite different going to bed at night and not having to set the alarm for an early morning meeting! Different and delightful! And it sure was fun getting back to doing some fishing (something I have enjoyed since childhood).
2. Renew. I made an intentional effort to just spend some quiet time in God's presence through prayer and Scripture. I also listened online to a few gifted pastors as they unfolded God's Word. As a result of this emphasis, I see the need to build more of this into my regular routine now that I am "back at it!" Time spent with God is time WELL spent!
3. Read. Before my sabbatical I compiled a list of possible books to read during my time off. You might be wondering ... "John, why read? Won't that feel like work?" Well, no, not really. I LOVE to read. But in my regular routine of sermon preparation, church planning, counseling, pastoral care opportunities ... and throw in number of meetings throughout the week ... at the end of the week there's not a lot of time left to just read! During my sabbatical I actually read seven books (hmmm . . . seven is the # of perfection!). All seven were wonderful books which stretched my mind, warmed my heart and deepened (I trust) my love and commitment to the God who loved me enough to die for me!
4. Reconnect. The old joke about a pastor only working one day a week is just that ... a joke! To be a loving, faithful shepherd of God's people is a vocation that requires a lot of effort and time. So this time off allowed me some time to reconnect with those I love ... both near and far. Spending extra time with the grandkids was a joy ... as was reconnecting with some friends who live at a distance. Most of all ... it was a great opportunity to spend time doing things and going places with my best friend. This was not just MY sabbatical. It was for both me and my wife!
Thanks again for stopping by . . .
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