A Serious Season of Sabbatical. (Back on August 23rd)

A Serious Season of Sabbatical. (Back on August 23rd)

It’s hard to believe, but this week marks the 30th anniversary of my graduating from Ozark Christian College and entering full-time ministry. For that reason, I’ve decided to begin an official sabbatical. Even the educational and business worlds are catching on to the value of sabbaticals, but the origin of this sacred practice is God’s design. A sabbatical is a strategic and sustained rest, reflection, renewal, and refocus season. There is a purpose to it. So, with the elders of my church giving overwhelming support, I’m launching into this vital season beginning May 20th through August 19th.

The aim of this season, which differentiates it from an extended vacation or academic project, is to deliberately step away from regular ministry for a prolonged quiet to hear afresh from the Holy Spirit. If I were to attach a single scripture to this season, I suppose it would be Jeremiah 29:13, where God spoke through the prophet and assured his children, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” That is my hope as I enter this sabbatical. But what does this look like, and what are the plans? In addition, maybe you can consider what God might be calling you to do in the area of being still and hearing more of Jesus’s voice above the world’s noise this summer. (more…)

 The Local Church, Membership, and Being All In!

 The Local Church, Membership, and Being All In!

It was truly one of our most enjoyable C4101 classes to date. This past Sunday, we held another information and membership class at my home church, with about ten people in attendance. They came from different theological backgrounds but found unity in Jesus and other essential Christian doctrines. That’s the beauty of the original church and our growing local church family on the N.W. side of Houston. Seeing the central focus on Christ and freedom in non-essential doctrines was beautiful. Witnessing people leaving selfishness behind and stepping up to the plate to serve in a local body of Christ was encouraging. It was heartwarming to experience a true community forming in Christ. It was a good afternoon.

However, this is not the norm for others in early 21st-century America and the West. While many like visiting churches at their convenience, committing is another story. Some will claim that church membership is not a Biblical principle, and if you look for the phrase “Church Membership” in the Bible, you won’t find it. What you will find, though, is commitment. (more…)

That Which We Must Remember!

That Which We Must Remember!

If you grew up in Texas, you’re no stranger to the cry, “Remember the Alamo!”  It echoed across a field near modern-day Houston on April 21, 1836, as the fledgling Texan Army defeated General Santa Anna of Mexico.  The roar of remembrance brought the Texans courage in thinking of the 180 men who held out at the Alamo for 13 days, effectively being a thorn in the side of Santa Anna before they were all killed.  The remembrance of the Texans with Sam Houston gave them the courage to advance against the Mexican army despite its greater strength.

Like the Alamo, there are many things we must remember and be reminded of, and some of them are more important than we may realize. (more…)

How to Get More in 24.

How to Get More in 24.

It’s not a bad idea, you know. Taking time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, reviewing the previous year, and making plans for the new one. The meditative rhythm of reflection on the last 12 months and envisioning a path forward may be exactly what you need to get more out of this mysterious year knocking at your front door right now. I’ve been doing this for quite a long time. Once, while planting a church in Northern California, I rented a cabin in the woods for three days for this very purpose. This extended exercise can teach us lessons from the past year and clarify where we need to head in the future. (more…)