Sabbatical Thoughts: Repentance and Rest

What promises of God have I allowed to drift to the back of the mind that need to be brought to the front so that I live boldly in the light of them?

It is so easy to be pessimistic- why repent when I know I am going to fall again? And yet the one with faith will say that defeat doesn’t have to be inevitable because I go forward believing that God the Holy Spirit lives within me. And, to pick up the theme above, it is possible to return with the promise of God’s presence at the forefront rather than the back of the mind.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way- but I am aware that it is very easy for your Christianity to get out of shape even as you spend your life talking about being a Christian. It is largely that the pressure of responding to concerns, needing to produce a sermon, working through a TO DO list drives what should be at the front of your mind to somewhere near the back. It is why I have always been grateful for Woody Road’s generous sabbatical provision of a month every two years. I have various mini-projects to accomplish and aspects of church life to reflect on whilst I am away but, invariably, I’ve always needed the first week of a sabbatical to get thinking about my own life straight. It is why my main prayer request as I went away was that I really would meet with the Lord. I am grateful for those who have prayed: there is a real sense that the Lord has heard. I wanted to write up the lessons of the past week mainly to remind myself- but perhaps it may also be of benefit to you if you have the chance for reflection over the summer. Here are the three main areas about which I have been reading and thinking:

Rest

I tend to go for easy reading in the first week and Adam Mabry’s Art of Rest falls into that category. Although, like me, not a sabbatarian, he emphasises the necessity of rest in order to remember and be with God. I can empathise with that. As I look back over the past month I can see a range of challenging situations and responsibilities that had to be faced.

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