February 2016: From the Pastor’s Pen – What will the next six weeks be like?
It’s a big day!!! (Yes, I’m a bit late getting the newsletter article written) It is Marlene’s birthday… and it is Groundhog’s Day… Happy Birthday to Marlene! I assume Puxatawny Phil saw his shadow today… or not… but based on whether he did see his shadow is supposed to tell us what the next six weeks of weather will be like. I have no idea about the weather but I do know about the next six weeks as UM Temple.
We will continue to be involved in the Bible reading, switching from it to focus during the Lenten season (Easter) to a group reading of a book by Adam Hamilton, 24 Hours that Changed the World. (We will have a supply of the books to sell on Sunday (cost will be $6/book) We will have copies available for sale and we hope that the Sunday school classes & all the newly formed Life Groups will continue to read, meet and discuss as we shift our focus for about six weeks toward another project we can do together. Let’s continue our fellowship, discipleship and learning together through this book, then we will get back to our Journey Through the Bible.
The other thing I think we can count on is that this church will be busy. We have lots to do for the Kingdom. I know there are times when I can barely keep up with everything I need to do here at UM Temple and within our community. Last Sunday we left home at 7:15 a.m. and didn’t get back home until about 8:00 p.m. It was a day of worship, meetings, and ministry and ended with the City Wide Worship… it was awesome and it was so very tiring. Being so tired from doing so much worship & ministry is something I really love about being a pastor… BUT it does wear me down. Our pace through 12 years of ministry has been blistering!
Luke 5.12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 13 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14 Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
The Eli Lilly Foundation has a program to help Pastors stay fresh. It is called the Clergy Renewal Program (CRP). In a nutshell it is an opportunity for a Pastor to have a Sabbatical to refresh and renew his calling. It will be a time to find physical, emotional & spiritual refreshment. Last week, the Administrative Board of UM Temple voted to allow me the opportunity to pursue a CRP Grant. I’m thankful for the opportunity. We, the church and I, will complete the 10 page application and find out in August whether I have been accepted. If I am accepted, my Sabbatical would occur for 4 months during the 2017 calendar year. I suspect June – September. We, as a church, and a team would have in place an interim replacement for those 4 months and a plan for both me & the church to be enriched via the experience. Give me a call if you want more details.
I am very appreciative of the opportunity to consider the Clergy Renewal Program. I think Marlene and I will benefit tremendously. And, as I read my Bible, I find that even Jesus needed to make time to be away from those ministry moments.
Mark 1.35-37 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
May the coming Lenten (Easter) season bless you & help you grow more deeply in love with our Lord & Savior.
Pastor Kevin & Marlene