Pastor’s Note – February 14, 2019

Schweitzer UMCPastor's Note, Uncategorized

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.

Psalm 145:13 NIV

Hi friends, beloved community!

I hope this note finds you doing well, being well today. Every day is a gift from God.

Today, I have a simple request—bear with me and lean in. This note is longer yet revealing for me and you, our life together.

We know life is about navigating change, believing God is with us and will see us through…everything. We know life is about seasons. With life comes seasons meaning, in a way, we live a journey marked by scenes. Scene by scene, we go through life—childhood, teenager, maybe marriage, distinct jobs or vocations, maybe children and grands, empty nest, …scene by scene.

2019 is bringing changes, new scenes for Schweitzer too. Pastor Bob is “passing the baton” this June. His exemplary leadership continues to serve us well and God is not done with Bob. We have the excitement of receiving a new lead pastor too—be praying for Bob, his family, and our new leader/family as well. God is good, trustworthy, and faithful.

2019 is full of change for me too. I have begun, at my request, serving 3/4 time. I now serve four days a week with my theory I will serve better, longer—God willing:) I’m grateful to Schweitzer’s leadership for honoring my request—Roxanne and the family too.

I’m also excited to report that I’m pursuing a sabbatical experience this summer, from June 1 to August 31. It’s truly the gift of a lifetime, and I am deeply grateful. For you scholars and academically-oriented friends, look up the meaning of Sabbath or sabbatical in Greek and Hebrew. Simply stated, sabbatical is a time of rest and rejuvenation, a time away for study and reflection, unique time with God and family and friends—old and new. And for the detail-oriented friends, the primary question God and I are discussing this summer is, “God, what do you want to do with me for the next seven years?” I’m excited for the conversation, for God’s revelations.

The sabbatical plan is an intentional, collaborative effort with spiritual direction, specific and flexible. The experience includes overtly “spiritual” pursuits at retreat centers, REST and time with family and friends (old and new), lots of hiking, kayaking, traveling and, yes, going to Cardinal games! I’m very excited to be doing on the ground ancestry research with our older son, Clay, for a book I’m planning regarding my family immigrant faith stories. I’m also leading a big family reunion on ancestral farms, having long anticipated conversation with family matriarchs and patriarchs. I hope you share in my excitement.

Our pastoral care for the summer is in excellent hands. Bob Lunn, lay leader of Caring Hearts ministries, will lead our team alongside Pastors Jason, Jake, and Krista. We’re good!

I am extremely grateful to God, Schweitzer, and the many people like you who have brought me to this scene in my life, poured into my life—helping to create my faith. God is good and the journey blessed albeit full of challenges. I’m reminded there is a cost to being a follower of Christ, yet what a privilege.

In closing, I encourage you; challenge you, to have a real conversation with God about your next seven years. What does God want to do with you, us? Time is the commodity of our lives. How will we live, do life together?

Your friend in Christ,

Jim