The past 10 weeks of sabbatical have truly been renewing, restoring, reinvigorating, and refreshing. Almost any word that begins with “re” aptly describes the sabbatical experience.
Spending unhurried time with Claudia, my family, quiet time with the Lord, reading, thinking, and reflecting has filled me up beyond my expectations. Following are some of the ways I spent the sabbatical:
- spending unhurried time in the Scriptures and prayer at home and at Inks Lake in Burnet, Texas that enriched my relationship with Jesus and this world
- gaining insight on “spiritual freedom”, more of which I will explain as time goes on
- more free time with Claudia
- re-reading Tim Keller’s book “Center Church.” Other books I read are “Martin Luther” by Eric Metaxas, “The Cure” by John Lynch and Bill Thrall, “The Way of the Disciple” by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, and “Ignation Spiritual Exercises” by Kevin O’Brien SJ
- reading and listening to talks on Christian spirituality and apologetics from Dallas Willard and the Most Rev. Robert Barron
- lots of family time spent with kids and grand-kids on family vacation and other times in both Dallas and Little Rock
- celebrating the life of Claudia’s mother, Emmy Jane Clinton, at her memorial services both here at All Saints Dallas and in Burnet, Texas
- celebrating the life of Emma Wade, wife of Rick Wade, at her funeral here last Monday
- celebrating an officiating at two weddings, one in Dallas and one in Little Rock
- moving our youngest child, Caroline, to Colorado after her graduation at OU
Claudia and I are so grateful to the ASD board, the Anglican Mission in America, and you for allowing us to take this time to experience God’s refreshing Spirit in so many ways. The time away from active church duties allowed me to have a greater perspective on God’ call on my life as a child of God, husband, father, grandfather, a friend to you, senior pastor of ASD, and Apostolic Vicar of the AMiA.
I close with this insight from “Center Church” on page 73. Keller maintains, and I agree, that the beginning of practical ways and means by which the Holy Spirit brings lasting change to our lives and to our church begin with extraordinary prayer. United, persistent, and kingdom centered prayer. What is important is not the number of people praying, but the nature of the praying. For a church involved in frontline ministry as we are, we need frontline prayer. The three basic characteristics of this are:
- A request for grace to confess sins and to humble ourselves
- A compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church and the leading of those who don’t yet know Christ as their Lord and Savior
- A yearning to know God, to see his face, to glimpse His glory
We will be hearing more about these as time goes on. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday, July 29th, as I return to the pulpit.