Sabbatical update #5
A week from today, I'll have completed this sabbatical. I have so much more I'd like to get done this week, and I am praying for wisdom on how to finish strong.
This past week was quite productive. Very soon Titus will be applying again for a visa. I'll keep you informed on when he will apply and meet for his interview, but please be praying for this process. If he can get his visa, he'll be with us before we know it; if he can't get his visa, it will greatly delay his visit to us.
I am grateful that God has blessed His church with such a library of great books. I have benefited greatly these past few months from God speaking to me through the voice of many friends, brothers and sisters, through their writings. I have so many books to recommend to you all!
I have also done some slow reading through God's Word this summer. I read slowly through the gospel of John, even slower through Romans, and then started through Romans again. As I was reading through Romans the second time, I turned to Galatians (a condensed version of Romans, if you will... similar topic with a more directed message), and it has gripped me as I linger over it's message, hearing God speak to my heart through this book of the Bible. Just this morning, I opened up Galatians 3 and intended on finishing up the book again, but only made it through chapter 3. It is so very rich with the gospel for Christians. Check it out: http://www.esvbible.org/Galatians+3/
It has been a joy to attend worship services on Sundays with my family. We were blessed yesterday to attend Cedar River Community Chapel and worship with other believers there. Pastor Chad Johnson blessed me in his sermon from Ephesians 5.
I have much more to share with you all. This sabbatical has been very nourishing, and I am, indeed, extremely grateful to the leadership and all of my family at CBC for giving me this opportunity. You have blessed me indeed with this very generous gift!
Sabbatical Update #4
Greetings to my Country Bible family! It was two weeks ago that the Buckley family was able to enjoy a great worship service with you all as our church hosted Emmanuel Jonah, our Liberian friend. I was very delighted that Emmanuel was able to be at CBC and our relationship with him and his ministry was able to be cultivated deeper.
Since that time, our family traveled to visit family in Pennsylvania. We left at 3:00 Monday morning (the day after our service with Emmanuel) and returned last night. We had a great time on vacation.
The sabbatical was set up to be 8 weeks long with two weeks of vacation. With our vacation over, we are now in the home stretch, finishing that last weeks of sabbatical. I've planned a busy week with much reading, organization, and working through discipleship materials for our church. Please pray with me for a productive week that I trust God will use for His fame at Country Bible Church.
Sabbatical report #3
Greetings to our CBC family! We are halfway through our sabbatical and would like to give you an update. It has been nearly two weeks since we last checked in with you all.
We were able to visit with many of you yesterday at the worship service and picnic at Wells Park. It was good to visit with you all and worship with our faith family. We will be with you again this Sunday as we are able to host Emmanuel Jonah from Liberia. I am very eager for him to get to know all of us!
Sabbatical work: I have been able to do some profitable work while on Sabbatical. I was able to give a good amount of time to the church website (let me know if you think it can be improved in any way!); I have made significant progress in building and organizing a home office (and going through 10 years of accumulated “stuff”) and have worked on a few other projects in the parsonage. This week I have worked on getting Titus from Liberia to Wallace (visa work is tedious, thorough, confusing, and frustrating!). Pray that he will be able to visit us this fall!
A good portion of my work time I spend reading (this could be another blog entry!). I’ve finished this biography and am working through this one and hope to get to this one; this book is very helpful in understanding God in the Old Testament; this, this, and this are helping me evaluate my life and better order my life and priorities; this has been very helpful in my parenting; Bobbi and I are reading through this; and I am very eager to begin reading this (and about a dozen other books). The very best reading so far (and I am not exaggerating or being overly pious) has been this.
I am working through a helpful workbook entitled Gospel Transformation. It's a bit too early in working through it (36 weekly lessons at 370 plus pages), but thus far, God is using it to better understand the ongoing glories of the gospel in my life.
There are a few other books I’ve toyed with, but have not read any significant portions. I’ve enjoyed reading articles and some blogs online, as well. My hope is that as I grow spiritually through study, that it will bring great blessing to CBC for many years to come.
Sabbatical rest: This sabbatical has provided for us a different rhythm of living. I have really been able to enjoy and invest in family. Surprisingly, I’ve slept better and have even been rising earlier than normal and yet feel more rested. I do believe now more than ever in the importance of exercise for restful living (although, I still need to exercise my muscles much more than I do now!). By God’s grace, I will return from our sabbatical with a better mindset on priorities and personal, ongoing soul care (and, Lord willing, be very useful in helping many out who struggle with imbalance in the chaos of life).
This week, we will be home and I have planned a full week of sabbatical work. Next week we leave for Pennsylvania. I pray for all of you, that you find our King to be Lord and Father who loves you and does eagerly invade your life with goodness and mercy.
Lord willing, we’ll see you all Sunday!
Sabbatical report #2
Bobbi and I have been away from you all for three weeks (the kids were at CBC this Sunday). And those three weeks have been very full and have gone by quickly. Here’s a brief list of what’s been going on during this sabbatical: three kids have been to Bible camp; we’ve been gone, then back home, then gone again; I’ve coached soccer; Bobbi and I celebrated 15 years of marriage; I’ve enjoyed steady reading, thinking, writing and praying; we’ve worked on home projects and more home projects.
We’ve attended three different churches (two in Green Bay and one in Kingsford, MI) and have enjoyed sitting together as a family under the proclamation of God’s authoritative Word. We do miss you all and pray for you regularly.
I’ve been able to give time to two things that are of highest priority and importance, but can easily be neglected: abiding with Christ and family life. I must say that both of these have such a great reward when time, thought, and energy are given to them. Conversely, when they are neglected, those relationships stop thriving and can become distant.
I’ve also really been thinking about and strategizing over efficiency in my time and resources. What I mean is that I have not been very good at organizing my life and often find myself overwhelmed. It has been profitable to evaluate and see where I must make changes. Pray with me that one result of my sabbatical is better ordered and more efficient life.
We’ll be leaving town again this evening and won’t be back until Sunday or Monday. I trust you are continually experiencing and delighting in our God of all grace and love.
You are loved!
Sabbatical Report #1
I am very grateful to Country Bible for giving me a sabbatical. Thank you! I do pray that God uses it in my life and the life of our church in ways that are lasting.
Last week, Micah and Luke were at Lake Lundgren Bible camp while the rest of us were in Breitung, Michigan. We were able to stay at Gary and Tammy Dunseath’s house (they’re in Florida). It was a great start to the sabbatical and I was able to get a good amount of sabbatical work done. The family had a wonderful time relaxing and playing.
We were able to worship with our brothers and sisters at Immanuel Baptist Church in Kingsford on Sunday. It was good to sit with my family and enjoy being fed God’s Word. I earnestly prayed for CBC on Sunday as you all gathered to worship. I trust you were blessed to be together and sing, pray, and listen to God’s Word.
This week has been a flurry of busyness with family activities and sabbatical work. This week I am focusing hard on organization. I hope to finish the office in the basement of the parsonage and get it all set up.
I have chosen the book of Romans as the Scripture I will work through over the summer – what a glorious book!
My hope for all of us this summer is that Christ would be our passion and pursuit. I love you all and am praying for you.
Websites Don't Build Chuches
To begin with, I must express appreciation to Kristi Raboin for getting our website going. She spent a good amount of time getting it set up.
I believe that a website for a church is a very helpful tool. It serves the people of the church in many ways, and it allows people outside the church to check us out before they really visit.
Over the past two weeks I have invested a good amount of time on our website. I believe that it is a worthy investment and trust that God might use it to advance His kingdom. Yet I do firmly believe that God does not intend to build His church through a website. That job God has given to real life people.
Churches may build websites, make signs, send out mailings, and do other such “marketing”. But the best commercial for a church is its people. A church website might be snazzy and user friendly, but if the church doesn’t treasure Christ and live out of His life, the website may be false advertising.
I pray that our website is a useful tool to our church and community. But a far deeper burden in my heart is that all of us at Country Bible Church are being changed into the image of Christ from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). Then, if people visit us because of the website, they will see a group of believers that are imperfect, yet are running to a God who is running to us in love, grace, and mercy (Luke 15:11-32), and is forming us into a people who radiate “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).