Routines & Disciplines

Sabbatical Week Two 
My word for the year is “Discipline.” It was something that struck me when I taught the Ministry Leadership Course last Fall (I’m excited for Justin to teach it this Spring!). In one session we talked about being disciplined physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was then that I said the phrase “I am disciplined!” It wasn’t that the Holy Spirit convicted me of being undisciplined but I felt an urge to “ramp it up!” and that it’s been interesting how that sentence influences my behavior.

What has stayed the same?
Partly maybe because Kim’s schedule is unchanged but also for my desire to be disciplined, I still get up about early to have my “time and place” with God which usually starts at 5:00am after I make my latte for the morning. My goal is 60 minutes of prayer and 30 minutes of bible.  I accomplished my goals last year of doing that much time 75% and 15 minutes each 90% of the time.

In recent years, God has been growing me to approach Him with a desire of fellowship rather than to just get answers to prayer which I saw as spiritual warfare (as in “Your will be done on earth as in heaven”).

If you are interested in knowing the difference, just imagine what it would be like to literally (physically) sit down with Jesus and have a conversation. Well, that approach is the best way to describe a “fellowship with God” approach to prayer.

I had also been branching out my Revelation study to the OT prophet Daniel and other related NT scriptures. Now I’m pulling it all back together in preparation to teach through Revelation. One of the ways the Teaching Team and I try to approach any passage of scripture we teach, is to study it for ourselves first (rather than to study it for message prep or even for the purpose of writing a sermon). It’s a way we teach authentically bc we never give you anything that God hasn’t spoken to us FOR us first.

What is different?
So far, I’ve gone to the gym every day. In my normal routine, it’s easy to give my gym time away for others. It’s NOT like, I’m living for “me” during my sabbatical (I will continue to give away time for others) but there aren’t many “others” to serve at the moment.

The other “big rock” I put in my calendar every day is to work on my book “Simple But Not Easy Guide to Fighting Cancer.” I actually completed the first draft in 2018 and my daughter Cara completed the first edit but then I lost interest in completing it. I owe it to my family to finish this and then there are others in the “Simple But Not Easy” series line that I need to find motivation to do as well.

This week, I have scheduled coffee with a couple of friends. One guy, I have been praying for an opportunity to share the gospel for some time and that time has come! The other guy is a long-time friend with whom I have lost touch with. Both are this week before I leave on Friday for the Pastor’s Prayer Summit next week. Whenever I travel someplace, I like to go in advance of the weekend so I can go to a church I normally wouldn't get the opportunity to attend.

The other aspect that is different is that I’m not afraid to take quick cat naps. Some mornings I have gotten up very early because I’m not worried about time. It may seem inconsistent to be disciplined with my time and yet not be concerned about what time it is but that’s what I’ve been doing.

The other part that has been different is that I don’t look at my church email. That has always been a struggle for me to the point where I have said, “My epitaph will read, ‘He cleaned out his inbox every other week.’” THAT was the “good” week because I would often get much further behind than that!

What’s hard and what is easy?
It’s been easy to adapt to a new schedule but what’s been hard is to be isolated from friends. I am going through my sabbatical without assuming that I know what I need to surrender to change. I am holding all things loosely to let God show me anything I don’t know to look for.
Thank you for your understanding and your prayers!

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