Category Archives: sabbath

Sailing anyone?

Sail to Sunset

Sailing is at least as deep as life…

I long ago learned two things. My most powerful ministries will come from one of two places… my deepest hurts and my deepest passions. I can talk about the hurts some other time, right now I’m into passions! Sailing is a biggy for me and my ability to use it to connect with people and to connect people to the real stuff of life, the world and faith has been one of the most treasured things I get to do.

Interested in an adventure? We will have a Jacob’s Well trip sailing the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior Friday, June 20-Sunday, June 22 (arrive anytime on Thursday, June 19). You don’t need any previous sailing experience, or to be a Jacob’s Well person to come along – just to be interested in an experience of a lifetime.

See a video teaser and find more information HERE.

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Sabbath was Good

Burntside - north armj

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46.10) is often cited and for a good reason.  We need to let quiet and breaks from our routine bring space in our lives to be refreshed and to hear God speak again.  We had a great time up in Boundary Waters country.  Company, food, conversation, food, cards, food, skiing, did I mention food? was wonderful.  It was really cold, (high was -3, and typical temps were -25 to -15) but it was beautiful!  And there is something about being in the boreal forest of the north that makes the temps not nearly so cold.  I’d take -20 up there over 0 in the city anytime.  But then being the gimp I spent all my time by the woodstove anyway…

The picture is looking out from the sauna over the North Arm of Burntside Lake.  The little ice wall is built from the ice cut from the hole made for people to dip into the lake from the sauna.  At night (when we perform this crazed ritual) a kerosene lantern sits there, competing with the moon for providing illumination.  The rectangular spot of snow in the right foreground is the “door” covering the hole, snow piled on top, to keep the ice from forming too thickly during the day.  Remember, it’s 20 below zero.

If you look in the distance there is a little island 300 yards or so away.  it is a white lump against the trees on the horizon towards the right.  The teens got daring this year and multiple dips and snow angels in the snow to beat the sauna heat wasn’t enough, so they dashed all the way to the island and back wearing only their, well, you know…

Find a sabbath everyday.  Don’t wait for the big trips.  Let quiet break in for a short time everyday, and for a minute or two every hour.

Rest

Quick note to say I’m off to the Upper Arm of Burntside Lake, northwest of Ely, MN.  Our family is joining a couple of other families we have done this with for many years.  We get a rustic barn of a cabin where we share great food, drink, recreation and conversation.  It is adjacent to the BWCA so the ski trails meander through that wilderness.  For me it is a much needed break from always being “on” with my job and calling.  A time to allow my mind and heart to do some rumination and hopefully find some illumination.

The news on my ankle isn’t good (I now have an appointment with a surgeon…)  so I’ll be keeping the fire company while everyone else X-C skis in the sub-zero temp.  But the sauna and polar bear dip should still be within my grasp.

May each of us deliberately find a time each day, and a day each week, and retreat each year, when we are still and let God be God.

Peace!

One Year Old & 1st Sunday Evening Gathering

what-if.gif

What if people actually came to our new service?

All I can say is that it feels a lot better being on this side of the launch of our evening service than on the other side. We launched as a community on September 17 of 2006 and today we added a service at 6 pm. We need the space, and we have heard from many who work Sunday mornings (stats say 30% of working adults are working on Sunday!) and others who have never had a “go to church” tradition find getting around to do anything on Sunday morning is an obstacle. Then there are the people who are gone for the weekend and can be back for an evening service.

Anyway, today was it. Not a smashing success in terms of numbers (68 in the Commons Room Gathering) but the spirit was alive and it felt very positive. We had quite a few people who had never been part of Jacob’s Well before, who loved the gathering and were thrilled that an evening service like this was available to them.

I think our total for the day was nearly 300, so that is pretty amazing. But it was really a lot of work. And we have a long, long way to go.

Thanks to all the people who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. If I try to name you all I’ll forget some. I know there were people I didn’t even recognize in some roles today. That is incredible. Thanks everyone! Soli Deo Gloria.

Friday morning sabbath

Fridays are the closest thing I have to a Saturday. Being a pastor means that weekends are work time. But when things are relatively caught up (and ‘relatively’ is the operative term because there is always more that ‘could be done,’ if not ‘should be done’) Fridays can be a little slower. I spent the morning out on the back porch, enjoying the birds, the air and a couple of homemade Americanos with my wife, Kris, talking about impending school stuff,  reading the paper, and pulling together loose ends of our service on Sunday at Jacob’s Well. Basically, mulling over and making sense of the different parts of my world, and doing it at the speed of life.

I’ve been getting a lot of input recently from many and various sources to make sure I have a sabbath (day of rest) each week. My question is “Why not two? Isn’t that what a weekend is?” But for now, one will have to do; I’m not very good at even taking that. A weekly sabbath isn’t just a nice idea, it’s essential. One of the deadliest enemies of a pastor is pumping out of the well when you aren’t putting anything in.  I can’t imagine it is different for anyone.

So today there are a few tasks to take care of, but I spent the morning watching the dew shine on the grass, watching chickadees, cardinals, goldfinch and grosbeaks working over our feeders, sparrows washing in the bath, squirrels making the leap from the birch to the silver maple. I’ve still got the State Fair to go to this evening, a run around Lake Nokomis and some time with my family ahead. I think I’ll be ready for what’s next.

The point isn’t what I do on my sabbath, or even how long it is exactly, but what I don’t do and how open what I’m not doing allows me to become.  To stop, or even pause, is a first step to unlearning.  It permits different questions, priorities, perspectives to arise.  It walks around the inside of the box I live in most of my week and kicks at the walls, almost always opening windows in some of them.  I suppose it is pretty hard to not live in a box of some sort as long as there are windows to see out of.

Puts a whole new spin on “Honor the Sabbath, and keep it holy.”     Exodus 20.8