Sabbatical week 1

The first week of my first sabbatical is almost in the books.  What an incredible blessing it is to have this privilege, thanks to the amazing people of Southview Community Church.  To pull aside and clear one’s head, to spend more time in God’s Word, to spend time reading and writing – it’s just an amazing experience so far, and one for which I am immensely grateful.

My goals for sabbatical were simple:

  • to recharge and rest,
  • to spend time in reflection and prayer both looking back at what has been and ahead to what could be,
  • to connect more deeply with God than ever before,
  • and to prepare for the next decade of ministry at Southview.

My sabbatical plan is broken into four main sections:

Part 1 – Spend time reading and writing, with the hopeful completion of my first manuscript by the end of this sabbatical

Part 2 – Working on an archaeological dig at Tall el-Hammam in Jordan, which is thought to be the site of biblical Sodom

Part 3 – Doing some research at the British Museum Library for my doctoral dissertation

Part 4 – Spending some time reconnecting with my family after being away for parts 1-3

During this first week, I’ve traveled back to Virginia from spending time with family for the holidays, and since I’ve been home I’ve been spending a lot of time writing.  For the first week, I’ve written a little over 14,000 words (about 50 pages).  I’ve spent extended time since I’ve been back in Virginia in Scripture and a devotional book.  And I’ve been insanely intense about my diet and exercise regimen.  I still have about 30 pounds to go to get to my goal weight, and this season is ideal to finish it out.

If you’re looking for me on Facebook or Twitter, I’m taking some time off from those during the sabbatical (other than the auto post from the blog). Not because I’m not interested in what’s happening in your life or in talking to you, but because I need to refocus and listen to the voice of God, and I find that happens best when I’m quiet and not distracted.

Incidentally, I’d recommend to you one book I’m reading right now – it’s called The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan, and it’s all about Sabbath and rest.  Such an important topic in our hectic, busy, crazed world, don’t you think?

I’ll be blogging occasionally (at least once a week, more if I want to capture and share something specific).  I so appreciate your prayers during this time.  My hope and prayer is that this will be beneficial not only for me, but for the church as a whole.  Having a rested and focused leader is a good thing  🙂  and I’m doing all I can to make that a reality.