This past week I have been reflecting on what sabbatical meant for me and what returning to the congregation has been like. Today, I thought I would share a few thoughts on both of these topics.
First and foremost it is great to be back with Christ Presbyterian Church. To say I missed the church would be an understatement. In the beginning stages of my time away there was a sense of relief. For the first time in forever, I was free from the “daily demands” of ministry. Shutting down email and realizing that the next four months of congregational ministry weren’t something I should or really could worry about was freeing. Yet, in the end, especially the last few weeks, I was left with a yearning. The cliché, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” really is true. I found myself ready to come back to the congregation I love and the people who comprise it.
That’s not to say that there wasn’t a bit of anxiety about my return. After all, I really had no idea what was happening in the life of Christ Presbyterian Church. That is a very strange place to be. Even when I arrived as a newly called pastor, I felt like I knew more. Thankfully, I also knew that we have great leadership at Christ Presbyterian Church and the work we have done to build a strong spiritual community. I knew that God’s Spirit would be present in the congregation and all would be well.Continue reading →
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
Stewardship is one of the most misunderstood practices in Christian life. The word stewardship is only second to evangelism when it comes to the amount of baggage attached to it. Chris Goulard, Pastor of Stewardship at Saddleback Church in California, points out this reality about the term stewardship as follows:
“Over the years, many well-meaning churches have misused the term stewardship. “Many have mischaracterized it and used it interchangeably with giving or—even worse—the annual stewardship message from the pastor who’s just talked about tithing,” Continue reading →