Starting this afternoon, I am taking 3 days of well-needed vacation. I've been on staff at Edgewater Baptist Church since March, working with volunteers to gut out houses. Since March, we've had over 600 volunteers and have gutted over 90 houses. In addition, I have spoken with most every one of the home owners we have helped, along with many others we were not able to help. Hearing their stories of loss and uncertainty has worn on me and I'm ready for some time off.
I'm taking a spiritual retreat to a Benedictine monastery called St. Joseph Abbey (True story: when I told my mom that I was going to a monastery, she laughed at me, accused me of lying to her, and asked where I was really going. I told her again and she laughed again and still didn't believe me. It took me three times of telling her before she took me seriously). I will be afforded 3 days of rest, reading, and prayer. One of the things I've noticed about ministry is how easy it is to become spiritually side-tracked. My goal this week, among other things, is to reconnect with the spiritual aspect of Christianity. I am grateful for my education, which has provided me with a greater understanding of the doctrinal aspects of Christian orthodoxy. However, often I have succumbed to relying on my knowledge of Christ instead of my faith in Christ. This should be a much-needed corrective for me.
I am pleased to leave all forms of communication at home. I'm leaving behind my laptop, internet, cell phone, and iPod. It will be God, me, and books (and lots of trees!).
If you feel compelled, pray for a restful few days for me. I leave this afternoon and will return Saturday afternoon. Also, pray for my friend Bart. He leaves this week for a mission trip to Romania. He will be preaching (and is in need of a translator) and ministering to a community.
Blessings and I'll "see" all of you in a few days.