Sunday, June 29, 2014

(So You Know) What I Did This Summer - Week 2

Note: This was written on 6/22/14 but never published...

As I'm sitting in the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, I'm thinking back over what I accomplished during Week 2:
  • I read 1, 2, and 3 John multiple times. In 1 John, I focused on the three aspects of change in a Christian life: 1) how we think theologically, know/believe, 2) how we act morally, love, and 3) how we relate socially, fellowship.
  • I finished reading The Jesus Chronicles: John's Story. While some may like this book, I was very disappointed. To me it seemed that many times it was nothing more than John's gospel and the book of Revelation being recopied word for word rather than a historical fiction novel helping me understand the culture and time period better. In fact, I had planned to read all four gospels but will stop with John's for now.
  • I am still reading Jack Bauer's Having a Bad Day and rewatching 24, Season 1 (which coincides with the book's chapters), although I only read one chapter / watched one episode this week.
  • I am also currently reading The Machine about the greatest baseball team of all time, the 1975 Cincinnati Reds! This book was recommended by my nephew and has not disappointed yet!
  • I continued to work on the backyard patio, leveling the ground and laying the pavers. A huge thanks to David, Daniel and Dustin who helped out two straight hot days! However, before I can call it "finished," because of the unlevel ground, I'm going to need to go back and recompact the soil to avoid erosion.
  • Finally, after ten days, I went geocaching! The 2McTwins and I drove past Asheville on Wednesday night so we could get an early start on Thursday. While we did not get to many that we had planned for, we drove several hundred miles and saw some of God's most beautiful creations, including The Devil's Courthouse and Chimney Rock. Total geocache count - one traditional, four virtual, two webcam, and five new NC counties cached!
  • Today I worshipped at The Cove. On the way down to Mooresville, I listened to over an hour of Third Day, so my ears were ringing, my eyes were wet, and my throat was hoarse before I ever got there, so I was ready! Worship was powerful, the teaching on the Lord's Prayer left me with some things to think about (including "A strong discipline of prayer will give you a strong passion for prayer"), and the outdoor baptisms were awesome! Bonus - there was a female drummer (something I can't remember ever seeing during worship)!
  • I'm not sure I got a single nap in this week.
  • I did continue to pray for the RCC staff and family daily!
  • And I avoided wearing khakis all week (even to worship today).
However, I did miss being a part of VBS and working the kitchen with Kerri, Wyatt, and others. I'm so thankful that our Body has such a great opportunity to reach out to our community's youth in such a big way!

Two weeks gone, seven to go - I'm not bored, yet, but I am missing the RCC family! More to come...

Monday, June 16, 2014

(So You Know) What I Did This Summer - Week 1

Wow, the first week of my sabbatical flew by! In trying to keep my promise about letting people know what I'm "up to" during my time off, here is a quick list of some things I accomplished during Week 1:
  • Read the Gospel of John (three chapters each morning, focusing on the word believe)
  • Am currently reading The Jesus Chronicles: John's Story
  • Am currently reading Jack Bauer's Having a Bad Day and rewatching 24, Season 1 (which coincides with the book's chapters)
  • Extended our backyard fence (by just a few feet) and started a patio project (If you heard me teach on June 8, you might remember that I said I planned to spend the first two weeks of the summer doing outdoor work. I have been reminded that one, I am very thankful I don't make a paycheck with a shovel in my hand, and two, it's been a long time since I've had a "good tired", but I experienced several of those this week!)
  • Attended the Theatre Guild of Rockingham County's production of Peter Pan with Kerri & Wyatt (and no, I had no idea it was a musical until the singing started! Great job Gabe, Morgan, Rose, Marcy, Christopher, Braeden, Colton, Sophie, et al!) 
  • Worshipped at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church (I really enjoyed walking to/from church as well as the focus of quietness and meditation during the early service. The sermon was on the Trinity and I loved the first point - "The challenging doctrine of the Trinity is just as challenging as our God." He simply cannot be figured out, nor would we want Him to be. Of course, I messed up communion, so I'll probably have to go back to make that right!)
  • Worshipped with Kerri & Wyatt at Horsepasture Christian Church (the 11:15 contemporary service was in their new gym where tables were set up and filled with those who came early for the Father's Day breakfast - full house!)
  • Ate Father's Day lunch at my in-laws'
  • Napped several afternoons
  • Prayed for the RCC staff and family daily
  • Spent EVERY night of the week with Kerri and Wyatt!
  • Avoided wearing khakis until Sunday church services necessitated
One week gone, eight to go, more to come...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hot Dog - My Sabbatical is Here!

It's here.

My office shelves are a little lighter because of the books pulled that I hope to read. I've measured the backyard for a potential project and am ready to tackle Lowe's. Travel plans to Bellingham, WA in June and Mackinac Island, MI in August are finalized. One more quick trip back to the office to switch my phone message over to announce that I'm gone and then...

It's here.

I'm excited, nervous, optimistic, dreadful, joyful, anxious, appreciative and cautious, all at the same time. In short, I feel weird.

It's here.

The two month, nine-week sabbatical that our leaders gave me this summer for my twenty-five years of service to Reidsville Christian Church begins today. And while I've anticipated it and planned it for over a year, I still have no idea what's going to happen.

Which makes it pretty much just like every other day, right? Oh, I've got my strategies, and I think I have control of so many situations - what I plan to do, what I hope to accomplish - but the reality is, I have no idea how any day is going to turn out, and I'm not just talking about the next nine weeks. At the same time, there is nothing that takes place anywhere, at any time that catches God by surprise. And not only does He know - He controls.

We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.
Proverbs 16:33

While that may be a disturbing thought to some, it is becoming more and more of a solid foundation for me. I keep reminding myself, I don't have to know how... I just need to make sure I know Who.

What I do know is I am blessed. Throughout my ministry in Reidsville, God has continually given me me "more." The leader's gifts and church family's support culminated this afternoon in a hot dog luncheon. It seems my oft-told "Hot Dog Cooker Story" led to the meal's theme and even the crafting of a fancy double cooker! It was only later that I discovered the inscription on the bottom:

"In celebration of 25 years of dedication to God and Reidsville Christian Church"

I would guess there has probably never been another gift like it for such an occasion, which makes it all the more treasured! 

Thank you RCC for letting me serve with you, and for caring about me and my family in ways that I just can not put into words. I am eagerly anticipating what God has planned for us together when this sabbatical time is complete. Until then, you will be in my prayers this summer, and I ask that I be in yours, because...

It's here.