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God, in His Sovereignty, created rhythms in life. There are rhythms in music, nature and throughout creation. Everything does not run at full tilt all the time. It is not healthy. There needs to be seasons of building and then there needs to be times to sharpen the saw. There needs to be times of planting, growing and harvesting. It is how life works best and how humans flourish. 

Sabbath is a beautiful display of this godly rhythm. In creation, God established that there would be six days of work and one day of rest. This is important. All of the greatest athletes in the world know the importance of working hard, but they also know the importance of rest. It is the way the body functions at its peak, but it is also true in work and nature. 

We all need Sabbath. In fact, it is so important that God put it in the 10 Commandments, “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Exodus 20. Right up there with “Do not murder. Do not steal. And, Do not commit adultery.” Obviously, Sabbath is very important to God. One day a week, God calls His people to rest and to worship. To stop and be reminded of Who actually holds everything together. To give Him praise and reorder our lives around Him. Being at church, being with family and in community as well as taking time to rest is essential in the life of every Christ-follower.

Then, God established a Sabbath for the land every seven years. One day off a week, and then every seven years, give the land a time to rest. Take the seventh year, and God says I will provide for you. It is amazing how agriculturists have used science to prove this is the most effective way to take care of the land and grow the best crops. God always knows best. He created it all!

As a church, we give our pastoral staff a “sabbatical” (from the root word Sabbath), a time to do this. Every seven years, we encourage our pastors to take a break from the normal every day work, and to rest and refuel. To worship, to pray and to refocus on what God has called us to do and be. This is such a gift to our pastoral team from our church and leadership. You can see the current article in USA Today about pastoral burnout in the US. Thank you all!

Over the summer, I will be taking a sabbatical. I’m looking forward to this time to worship and rest. I will be preaching on Sunday, June 2, as we launch our Masterclass series on the Life of David, and then will be off until we close the series the first week of August. During this time, I will be spending some great time with the Lord. As a pastor, there are so many daily details that consume your time and energy. And, while all of these are important, it is also essential to take some time to look above the daily grind and see the bigger picture. I will be traveling to meet with some other churches and see what they are doing as well as meeting with some others in ministry. I pray this is a time to “sharpen the saw” and grow deeper in Christ.

I will also be going with our church on our mission trip to Moldova. It will be exciting to serve there with my family and my church family. I love what our God is doing in Moldova through Rolling Hills and Justice & Mercy International. 

Overall, thank you for your prayers over these next several weeks. I’m excited to experience all God has for me, my heart and my family. In addition, I am already excited to be back in August and to see all our God will do in and through Rolling Hills. This fall of 2024 will be incredible in the ministry that will happen here. I am already so pumped about it. Come, Lord Jesus!

I am praying for each of you to have a wonderful summer. And, let me encourage you to build Sabbath into the rhythm of your life, work and family. God will honor this commitment, and you will be better, deeper, richer because of it. Know you are loved and prayed for today. May we all flourish in Christ Jesus. Happy Sabbath!

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