After over two months of Sabbatical this summer, I am back in my office and back home to my church family at Nehemiah Church. It has been an amazing summer, one that I will not forget. I am so unbelievably thankful to God for providing for us to take this break as well as incredibly grateful for a church family that supported us and prayed for us.
Through out the summer, in all of our travels and different experiences, there was one theme that God seemed to keep highlighting to me, that he loved me so much. I know that seems theologically elementary, but it is not. He kept showing me with each beautiful piece of scenery, every fun new experience, and every family memory that he loves me and my family and he takes joy in us.
I have been told since I was young that God loved me, but the world around me continues to try and convince me that I am unloveable unless I do something that is worth love. God has been reminding me that I am loved not because of what I have done, but because of who he is...a loving Father.
So often I have lived my life trying to earn that love, when God is calling me and us to live from a place of already being loved. We live from love not for it. When we accept that we are truly loved by God we then begin to want to help others know they are truly loved. There is freedom in love to be who God created us to be. It eliminates the desire to compete for approval, to judge others, or struggle for acceptance.
As I get back in the swing of things here at home and in my role as pastor, I want to constantly remind myself where my real home is. My home is in the realization and the reality that the Father Loves Me! I want to come home to this reality every day allowing it to lead me to true rest no matter wether I am on sabbatical or hard at work.
We often think of rest as the absence of work, however, true rest isn't the absence of work it is living from truth that we are loved. When we truly accept that we are immensely loved, even our work can be restful as we are not striving to achieve acceptance.
My prayer is that we continue to go deeper into the unbelievable realization that we are truly loved by a perfect Father. Not because of what we have done, achieve, or succeed in, but because the Father truly loves us...that is who he is.
I want to say thank you to all that prayed for us, supported us, and worked hard to fill in while we were away. These photos are just a few of the amazing scenes we were able to experience. I will post more photos for those that are interested.
In his love, Ben.