Seven weeks and tens of thousands of miles later, I’m back in the saddle at Green Pond Bible Chapel. Our sabbatical was a smashing success. We have been blessed by our church body, elders, and pastoral staff who made it possible. Here are some highlights of what God showed us during our time of renewal:
- Receiving Ministry from the Church. During our time in Colorado the recurring theme in our reading was the need for pastors and their families to receive as well as give in ministry. We reflected on how thankful we are for our Care Group, as we feel loved not only by our church in general, but also by those with whom we have deeper relationships. We are so thankful for Green Pond Bible Chapel!
- Biblical Theology Highlight. An outstanding paper at the Tyndale Fellowship Conference by Desi Alexander dealt with the ways the Exodus is a paradigm of divine salvation throughout the Bible. A highlight for me from this paper was the way the Exodus looks forward to a greater salvation… rescue from Pharaoh was just the start. Consider Exodus 15:17, “You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your possession; LORD, you have prepared the place for your dwelling; Lord, your hands have established the sanctuary.” This dwelling with God has never been fully realized. No doubt the New Jerusalem is the ultimate fulfillment of this promise, facilitated by Jesus who rescued us from sin through his sacrifice. In this way the Exodus fostered anticipation of the greater glorious restoration of God’s people.
- Faith Stands Out. Our visit to the Ark Encounter was powerful. I could not escape Hebrews 11:7, “By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” Recent events in our own nation have reminded me that genuine faith will stand out in our culture. By virtue of its existence, faith condemns unbelief around it. I am praying for courageous faith.
- The Pilgrim’s Progress. As a family we’ve enjoyed reading John Bunyan’s classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress. One memorable quote comes from chapter seven, where Christian affirms, “You cannot expect to travel too long on your pilgrimage without suffering tribulation.” This journey of the Christian life necessarily includes trials.
We want to thank everyone who made our sabbatical possible, especially the members, elders, and pastors at GPBC. We look back with gratefulness to God for his faithfulness and we look forward with faith-driven anticipation of what he will do.