You may have noticed the Lawrences were gone for a number of weeks this summer. After 30.5 years at CHS and 35 years in the ministry, we were given a 7-week sabbatical to refill and spiritually refresh. Our sabbatical was a time set aside to be quiet, listen, read, meditate on God’s Word, think about our relationship with the Lord, and seek God’s will for any changes He wants in our lives and at CHS. I also began writing a book that shares things wonderful, holy and hilarious that we have witnessed in ministry.
Just as a well can run dry when you run the water sprinkler too long, pastors can dry up emotionally and spiritually. Our vestry was so smart to proactively allow Annette and me time and space for our “wells” to refill.
Thank you, vestry and church, for that gift. Our prayer is that it would pay great dividends for the kingdom and our church. Thank you to our staff for working extra hard while we were gone!
I learned a lot of things while we were away but one of the most important is how much I love our church. This past Saturday night I was so excited in anticipation of coming back to our church family, that it took me an hour to go to sleep . . . Annette says that most nights I am “out cold” in less than sixty seconds.
To be honest with you, none of the cathedrals or churches we attended while away felt much like worship. We did our best to follow along in several non-English services, and I appreciated the short, focused sermons (note to self!!), but over half the weeks we could not receive Holy Communion because we were not Roman Catholic. We really missed it!
Church of the Holy Spirit is a special church and a special people. Annette and I love that our church is a church that knows and depends on God’s grace. We love being in a church that teaches directly from the Bible. We love being in a church where congregants, even little bitties, get to participate in worship. We love that our church has clear ways to grow spiritually (for those who want to grow). Annette and I love that our staff LOVE people. We love that our church offers Holy Communion at each service. We love not only the excellence of our Praise Team but also that our praise team members are worshippers, not performers, and they want Christ to get all the glory. We love that our church has CR to help those who are hurting and struggling. We love that our church gives almost 30% of our income to strategic mission. We love the people in our Life Group.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that while away, the Lord taught us not to take the gift of Roanoke and the gift of Church of the Holy Spirit for granted.
My prayer is that each of us would realize what a gift we have been given to be part of the Body of Christ and CHS and regularly thank the Lord.
My hope is that once again we will be a people that happily invite our friends and co-workers to “come and see” – not because we have to invite them but because we GET to invite them.