Thursday, June 07, 2012


On August 19th, Linda and I are going to head down the road toward a nine-month Sabbatical in northern California.  Our plan is to return in mid-May, 2013.

From Cruise
The idea of Sabbatical springs originally from God's command to the people of Israel to take a weekly Sabbath rest. (Deut 5:12)  Jesus put Sabbath into new covenant perspective when He told us that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), which means that Sabbath is a gift of God for us!  Interestingly, God even commanded the Israelites to give their farmland a rest every seventh year (Lev 25:4).

This time of Sabbatical rest is largely about renewal for Linda.  With the loss of most of her mobility, and not infrequent debilitating pain, these past few years have been particularly difficult.  We are purposely simplifying our lives and moving into a season of intense focus on Jesus and the Kingdom, and our part in it together.  

There is more to it than renewal for Linda, of course -- we pray the Lord will use this time to draw us closer to Himself, and to equip us even more for fruitful ministry.  We want it to be a "re-boot" for both of us.

I am tempted to think that being in our early sixties, this may be poor timing. But every time I touch this in prayer, the Lord does not seem to notice.  And I still feel young, and my bride does as well, excepting only the multiple sclerosis.  

Even though the enemy intended to maim her with it, we believe the Lord will continue to turn it to good.  The Lord has spoken healing promises in Linda's heart and we hope and expect they will soon emerge into the visible realm.

I have found in my own life that I need weekly Sabbath rest, I need vacation time, and I have been thinking that  Sabbatical is going to be significant as well.  When we were at Word of Life Church in Sweden 2001-2005, our capacity for ministry increased substantially.  I believe we will find this to be the case as we spend time in Redding with Bethel Church in the School of Supernatural Ministry.

Anchorage City Church is and has been a community full of joy and growth for us.  The leadership team and staff are made of men and women of spirit-led vision, great heart, and committed faith.  The church family is full of friends who are committed to drawing closer to the Lord, building His Kingdom and serving the City. The Lord has given the church favor and momentum.  Exciting plans for Kingdom advance are moving forward.  It will not be easy to leave the church staff at the end of June and Alaska in late August because the church is full of friends on staff, in our small group, in our leadership connections, the elders, people we love that we see on Sundays and other days of the week.

When we return to Anchorage for the long term, whether in May 2013 or 2014, I hope we can continue in ministry at City Church in some way.  But one difference is that whatever endeavors Linda and I pursue going forward, they will be together.

Some have asked whether we will actually return.  My response is always this: it is our intention to return to Anchorage.  We have been Alaskans for 40 years and it feels as if we still have work to do here. We are keeping the house that is a gift of God.  Katie and husband Steve and their daughter Ellady will live there in our absence.  Still, we have found the words of Solomon true: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Prov 16:19)  We are opening our hearts to whatever the Lord has for us.

Update, spring 2013: The sabbatical has turned into something else. Here is an explanation of what is happening in our lives.

Here is an account of our trip down to Redding

Posts that relate to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry