A year ago, your Church Council agreed to grant me a Sabbatical leave. The dictionary definition of a Sabbatical is this: a period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.
This is something with which I am unfamiliar. I started my pastoral career in July of 1977, and this will be my first Sabbatical. It is something for which I am very grateful.
The plans are to travel, more or less, in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul. Leanna and I will begin in modern Turkey, and cover some of the territory where the Apostles Paul and John labored. We plan, Lord willing, to visit Ephesus, Colossae, Laodicea, the seven churches in the book of Revelation, as well as the area known as Cappadocia. We will also travel extensively in Greece, beginning in Athens and visiting notable biblical sites such as Corinth, Thessalonica and Phillipi, among others. The last part of the book of Acts reads like a travel journal as Luke describes his time with Paul island-hopping in the Mediterranean.
So we hope to visit Cyprus, where Paul began his missionary career, Crete, Kos, Patmos (where John was exiled) and Malta, where Paul was famously shipwrecked (statue there is pictured). There will be some other sightseeing and vacation time as well. This will be of great benefit to me professionally and personally!
One of the books I’m re-reading is Paul: the Apostle of the Heart Set Free, by noted scholar F.F. Bruce. The book was written amore Pauli, for the love of Paul. The effect of Paul on the human race in general and the growth of Christianity in particular is astonishing. He planted churches in four major provinces of the Roman Empire: Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia. After 10 years his work there was done, the churches were healthy, and he set his sights on Rome and the west. How did he do it? Bruce speaks of “the attractive warmth of his personality, his intellectual stature, the exhilarating release effected by his gospel of redeeming grace, and the dynamism with which he propagated that gospel throughout the world, devoting himself single mindedly to fulling the commission entrusted to him on the Damascus road (‘this one thing I do’) and laboring more abundantly than all his fellow-apostles – ‘yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.’”
The Sabbatical will begin in June and I will return to the pulpit, Lord willing, on September 11. Crosswalk will be left in the very capable hands of our pastoral staff. During the 14 Sundays I will be gone we have a power-packed line up of outside guest speakers as well as many of our own pastors. It will be a fantastic summer at Crosswalk!
In the meantime, May will be a extraordinary month at Crosswalk. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we have a very special Sunday planned as noted in the column below. The following weekend is our “Better Than Any Movie” conference. What a great weekend that will be at Crosswalk! The focus will be in understanding the biblical story and living it by sharing it with others. We will have deep times of teaching, interacting with each other, eating, partying and sharing life. Please read all the details at our website! This will be a most excellent time to connect with God and with each other! Our guest scholar is Dr. Kent Edwards and he will be a blessing in your life! It all starts on Friday, May 13 with a BBQ at 6:30 p.m. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
May 22 will feature our Crosswalk Connect Class, and on May 29 we will have a baptism service! It will be a great month together, and I certainly hope you will plan to be with us the whole time!