July 1

Plans during Sabbatical

The Elders at Bethel have graciously allowed the pastors to choose a one month Sabbatical to refresh, relax and invest in spiritual renewal.  The term Sabbatical comes from the Old Testament Sabbath referring to the seventh day as the day of rest and renewal.  Counting my three years as a youth pastor I’ve been privileged to be in the ministry for 31 years.  This is my first official Sabbatical so I am very grateful.  What to do?


A nice development in the publishing world has been the opportunity for unknown writers to publish manuscripts through small market companies.  I have one pastor-friend who has already published two books through this very means.  A member of Bethel has a pastor-cousin who has written several books this way.  Since I enjoy writing I thought the Sabbatical would be a good time to try my hand.  What to write?


Several years ago I was teaching the Cornerstone ABF on the subject of Christian Ethics.  A large part of that study focused on the 10 Commandments.  Out of that grew an awareness that the 10 Commandments undergird all Old Testament and New Testament ethics and morals in the Bible.  Wherever you go in the Scriptures, moral and ethical teaching always relates back to the 10 Commandments.


As I realized this it gripped me that I had never preached on all 10 Commandments.  When I learned that the two tablets of stone given to Moses are the only part of the Bible not written through human authors but by the very finger of God Himself, it seemed to me that every pastor at some point in His ministry ought to do a series on the 10 Commandments.  Two years ago I did that series.


What I learned felt literally like the joy of discovery.  There were so many discoveries that I couldn’t wait to share the messages in the pulpit.  At the close of the series I was presented with a lovely quilt of the 10 Commandments by three ladies at Bethel who started the quilt unbeknownst to me along the way.  Their appreciation was the most visible response I’ve ever received to a series of sermons.


Since the research for that series is done, I’ve decided to try my hand at publishing it in book form.  I find research is very hard work, but writing is more stimulating and enjoyable.  So during the days of the week for this Sabbatical I will enjoy writing the research in chapter format and renewing the truths I’ve learned before.  How far I can get in a month will be a new experience.  A dear friend has provided me a get-a-way where I can enjoy privacy but not be far from home.


During the evenings and weekends I’ll be relaxing with my family and pulling our camper to various places where Jay may be having Legion baseball tournaments.  The “camper that never leaves the church” may get a little more use this summer.  Swimming and camping are the hobbies that refresh me so I look forward to plenty of that during the Sabbatical.  Thank you to the elders for this opportunity.  I’ll miss my church family and rejoice to be back in late July.


Your friend, thankful for a Sabbath, Pastor Brian (:-}).