God Stays the Same – Life Changes

After 17 years as pastor of Peace Lutheran Church I have preached my last sermon and am packing up the parsonage with my wife and daughter.  The Lord has blessed us immensely – and in many ways I am sad.  I will miss the church and Academy, and their souls, which have been my heart for so long.

But the most amazing thing happened at the Academy Awards Ceremony:  The only thing I did was take a few pictures.  It was all everyone else’s show!  I am so thankful and excited to leave it all in good hands – in God’s hands.  The heavenly Father has also provided excellent leadership in the congregation in an excellent Deacon, Vacancy Pastor, and Parish Administrator .  A family stepped up to organize our VBS and another member proudly told me they had invited a neighbor to church (which they hadn’t ever done in the previous 17 years!)  The Holy Spirit is leading the congregation and I am blessed to bid adieu.  Good for the congregation.  Good for my soul as well.

God stays the same, but where does He lead us now?  After 24 years in the ministry I do need some time to regroup and reset my soul just a bit.  After taking a step out in faith to leave Peace, we really had no idea what the Lord had in mind for us.  Thankfully the other day God confirmed his good graces and Monica was offered a teaching position in Mankato, MN, only an hour and a half away from her parents and family.  We are looking forward to finding a home in that small city of southern Minnesota.  With Monica blessed with a substantial salary, I will be able to then proceed with my plans for a true sabbatical.  I am hoping for at least six months before the Lord calls me to more full time service.  So I would like to share my sabbatical plan, and, if you care to, ask you to please make suggestions!   I shared this plan with one other person and they made two very good suggestions which I eagerly incorporated!

Sabbatical Plan:

Remember:  Accountability Partner and weekly evaluations/priority adjustments
  1. Spiritual Growth
    1. Scripture Devotional
    2. Church Father Study
    3. Regular Worship
    4. Bible Study with fellow pastors
  2. Physical Health
    1. Strength routine every other day
    2. Alternating run, walk, bike routine
    3. Careful cooking of healthy diet
  3. Mental Health
    1. Quiet times alone hiking/camping
    2. Relational times helping/loving others – perhaps street ministry
    3. Sailing as much as possible
    4. Keep diary
    5. Read a book or two.
    6. Practice and find a venue to perform my guitar.
  4. Blessing my Relationships
    1. Spending time in devotions with Monica and the kids
    2. Spend time doing things with Monica and loving her the way SHE wants to be loved.
    3. Cook dinners and keep the house clean
    4. Help with Marja’s and Sarah’s schooling
    5. Attend to Hannah and encourage her in her new work
    6. Attend to the grandkids and Erika
    7. Develop a relationship with son in law Caleb.  Perhaps help him with a project.
    8. Keep tabs on Dad and further develop relationships with Jacob, Harlan and their families
  5. Photography
    1. Embark on my “Imagine the Faith” Project
    2. Explore landscape and documentary photography
    3. Develop some paid gigs (perhaps a few weddings)
    4. Work toward a public exhibition of my work.
  6. Things to Despise
    1. Television (all of it)
    2. Any news other than listening to NPR as I exercise or in the car.
    3. Facebook – except for a chance to post once a week
    4. Cell phone – eliminate except for when out of town