The leadership of my congregation, Faith Lutheran Church, Grand Blanc, MI, has just agreed to join me in a grand adventure for the summer of 2018. Together, we will seek God’s blessing on a time of sabbatical renewal. Now that I’ve been serving at Faith for 10 years, we want to join in thanking God for guiding us to His way for awesome relationships with Jesus and everyone else. During these years, I’ve completed my DMin degree on marriage and family relationships. Heather and I have expanded our teaching about marriages in God’s way through seminars and speaking engagements throughout North America, Central America and South America. I’ve been able to publish my book, Handing Out Life. Faith has grown in its understanding of living out every relationship joyfully in God’s way. The congregation was instrumental in fine-tuning all that I teach on this subject, especially helping make my book a reality. Now, Faith is having an impact in the world as a model congregation for shaping all of our ministry within and to the world around healthy and joyous relationships. God has given us tremendous blessings throughout these past ten years. Together, we want to thank and praise Him!
To do this, we’re planning for a shared “sabbatical” from May 9 through July 31, 2018. In this period of rest and renewal, we will all step back to reflect on God’s blessings. We will also refocus for the next steps God has in store. Leading up to the sabbatical period, the entire congregation will join me in a 9-month focus on the theme of “WAVES!” It’s based on Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” In 2016/2017, the congregational theme has been “Ripples.” We are to be covered by the “ripples” of love that God continually sends our way through His Word and Sacraments and then respond by “casting” His love into the world to make “ripples” into the lives of others. In 2017/2018 we hope to step the theme up one notch and not settle for just “ripples.” We want to recognize the ABUNDANCE of God’s grace that continues to roll over us in WAVES. Then, we are to share that abundance with the world by making WAVES of love everywhere we go. This is the “path of life” wherein we receive “FULLNESS of JOY!” His WAVES fill us to overflowing.
Applying this theme to the sabbatical, the title will be: “WAVES of JOY: Ride some. Make some. Ride MORE! Make MORE!”
I want to thank God by riding some waves of love that have shaped me, my family, and my ministry at Faith and beyond. Heather and I will travel in an RV back to three places that have most influenced us with God’s love…the sites of my first two Calls into the ministry in Parma, OH and Brooklyn Park, MN along with the area where my dad and many relatives live in northeast Nebraska. We will make some waves in these places by sharing free “marriage and family” seminars and counseling, using concepts that we are living out at Faith, Grand Blanc. We will then pick up Hannah and Micah to go on a tour of the northeast U.S. and southeast Canada. This will be a time to ride more waves of God’s love that we have enjoyed as a family for the past 18 years and have “fullness of joy” together. This will give us time to also prepare for both of our children being away at college in the fall of 2018, facing it with God’s strength, guidance and peace. In addition, along the way we will make more waves by simply sharing the love we have from Jesus with everyone we meet. I will personally keep a DAILY BLOG ON THIS SITE to recount my experience of receiving “fullness of joy” from meditation on God’s Word (memorizing one Bible verse on “joy” each day), the beauty of creation (at least 10,000 steps each day) and my interactions with others. The blog will also share the opportunities God gives us to make more waves by sharing His love in the activity of RV living. This will provide a model for the Faith family and many others of how we can make more waves with God’s love wherever we go in daily life.
The entire sabbatical will also provide an opportunity for Heather and me to “test” a ministry opportunity that we may pursue when I move into retirement in the future. We may sell all we have, move into an RV and travel wherever the Lord leads, sharing Jesus’ way for marriage and family relationships. This is a dream we would like to consider even though it may not reach “fullness” for another 15 years.
Regardless, it is our prayer with the Faith, Grand Blanc family that this sabbatical period will renew us for the greater things God has in store. God will certainly continue to bless relationships as we model, teach and enjoy living out all of our relationships in His way. Please join us in the following as we prepare for this great wave-riding adventure:
- Pray for the sabbatical planning to be according to God’s good and gracious will.
- Contact me if you have any leads on an RV that we can borrow, rent or purchase at “missionary cost” for at least the period of 5/9/2018 through 7/31/2018.
- Watch for more information on ways in which you can financially support the sabbatical.
- Plan to travel with us “virtually” through our blog posts and daily prayers from May 9 through July 31, 2018.
- Seek guidance and inspiration for how YOU might make waves of your own using ideas that this sabbatical will stimulate.
- Courageously go out EVERY day to make waves in the world with the love of Jesus that leads to JOYOUS relationships in all of life!