So today is my last day in the office for a while… Tuesday will be the beginning of what’s known as my sabbatical. Chapel Rock’s purpose of a sabbatical is to give ministers an opportunity to rest, refresh and/or expand their knowledge to bring new ideas and challenges to the body of Christ at Chapel Rock. I wanted to answer a few frequently asked questions for those of you that are still wondering.

What is a Sabbatical?

Sabbatical comes from the idea of Sabbath. It literally means “rest” or “ceasing.” The Sabbath was a day of rest and worship. It was first mentioned in creation in Genesis 2:2, “By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing, so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work.”

Later the idea of Sabbath was given as one of the 10 commandments…
Exodus 20:8, “Remember the sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.”

A sabbatical time comes from these two ideas in scripture… It is a season that is not designed as an extended vacation, but a time dedicated to refreshing and new experiences that recharge.

So, for the next 3 months. March 1 through May 31, by the design of the leadership at Chapel Rock, I have the opportunity to go on a sabbatical.

Why is it important?
1. Rest is God’s design for creation. It’s in the pattern from the beginning.
2. Jesus modeled it.  Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

What will I be doing?
Rest & Solitude – One of my hopes is to hike the Knobstone Trail in Southern Indiana.
Family Time – We’ll be taking an extended family train trip out west. We’re buying a 15 day Amtrak pass and heading toward Montana and Oregon. We’ll see what happens.
Service – I’ll be helping Mission Indy some, seeking to serve for the joy of serving.
Working on my truck – I’m restoring a 1949 Willys pick-up truck, that I hope to drive in a few short months.

There are two parts to this opportunity: A huge opportunity for me and a huge opportunity for you

What’s your part?
1 Corinthians 12:7
“But to each one is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good.”

Scripture says that if you are in Christ, the Spirit of God gives gifts and equips each person as a part of what’s known as the body of Christ. A question that everyone has to ask themselves in light of this truth is; “How has the Spirit of God equipped me, and how am I using my gift “for the common good?”

Romans 12:4-8
“4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Scripturally, the church finds its life and ministry by the active contribution of each believer’s gift. Ordinary believers are ministers because the Word says that in the new covenant of God all the people of God are a royal priesthood. (1 Peter) Do you see yourself in ministry? What does that look like on a Sunday morning? What does that look like in your school? What does that look like in your family, or throughout the week?

How does the body of Christ as a living organism work together toward the whole body’s health? The less visible and impressive parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) are no more dispensable than the others. Every member’s active contribution is necessary to keep the body healthy.

Ephesians 3:10
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms”

So run with it! What opportunities exist for us to grow and take hold of the biblical vision for the way we live as the church in the next 3 months? How can you step up and really live the life that God calls all of us to live? What is at least one personal goal you can individually make? Take responsibility for ministry. Come early and welcome people. Sit by those that haven’t connected yet. Contribute with the gift you’ve been given.

What are a few goals that we can make together? Let’s use this opportunity to get better at living the biblical vision for all of us using our gifts together and showing God’s wisdom to the world by how we live.

Grace and peace,