I attended the worship service yesterday at a church where a friend is the pastor. I hope to visit several churches in the area where the pastors have become friends as we meet every Wednesday morning to pray together for Chino and for each of our churches. Yesterday was wonderful because it was the first Sunday in a very long time that I have awakened in Chino and had to option of going to church or not! Even more so, I felt NONE of the pressure I that I have grown to not notice on Sunday mornings. The saying, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" is true for pressure and anxiety as well as paradise paved.
It was so good just to worship and not to have to worry about the service (what comes next, is so-and-so prepared for the reading, is the PowerPoint working, etc.). As I sat down and waited for the service to begin, I prayed for God's presence and power and got my heart ready to worship.
The pastor shared his vision for the church, and I heard the angels of heaven rejoicing! God has poured into this pastor and this church a growing sense of faithful anticipation for what He is going to accomplish in the coming years. My heart was cheered by the renewal that I saw happening in that church. It is awesome to see God at work, renewing and in-filling a congregation with new life! They have a well thought out vision for the future, and a game plan to live into that vision; something that every church ought to have. It was thrilling to see.
We had out of town guests visit us yesterday. Andrew and Joy were interns at Tujunga UMC that I pastored for 16 years. I performed their wedding five years ago, and they have a 15 month-old daughter now. "Wallowing in relationship" is how I termed it in my tweet this morning, and it really felt like that. God is so good in allowing us to develop close friendships that last over the years! And it is always good to reconnect with friends with whom you have had significant experiences. Terisa, half of our best-friends couple of Scott and Terisa, is also in the area visiting from Pennsylvania and we got to spend some time with her and our friend Janet and her daughter Leslie. Visiting with friends is a good Sabbath activity which God blesses and encourages. We had Sabbath yesterday!
Beginning the Flow
Today is the first full week day of the sabbatical in which I get to sample the disciplines that I have planned. I spent a good hour this morning in communion with Abba, went for a walk (man! I am out of shape!), and am now writing this before I begin a time of reading. The next book I am reading is The Father Loves You: An invitation to perfect love by Ed Piorek. Also today, I want to begin working on music (guitar and trumpet) and Spanish. With a trip to the bank and some other errands, it is going to be a full day! Bring it on, Lord. I'm ready!
Thanks for joining me on this sabbatical journey!