A few things I learned from vacation.
Two weeks ago I spent 10 days with my family in Southern California on vacation. It was the first time in 15 years that I left my cell phone and laptop at home. The first day was a little weird I must say. I caught myself a few times reaching in my pocket to get my phone to check my email, update Facebook or scan Instagram. The reason why the phone and computer stayed home was because I wanted to focus on my family with little to no distractions and I knew that would not happen as long as church life and ministry life was present. It took me 15 years to figure that out.
You’d have to ask my wife to get the full scoop but I think withdrawal was short lived and I was able to zoom in on enjoying my family quickly. We made memories as we ate meals together, laughed and played together. As often as possible I sought to draw our attention to the goodness of God in allowing us to be together and experience one blessing after another.
My mornings were spent sitting by the pool reading my Bible and a book of prayers by, Charles Spurgeon. The Lord used his Word and that little book of prayers to teach me a few things that I thought I’d share with you.
1. Jesus is building his church even when I’m on vacation.
I get to participate in the building of His church but the people I have the glorious privilege of pastoring at Crossway Church don’t need Pat Sczebel for Jesus’ church to be built.
I feel at times that all will be lost if I’m not in the center of what’s going on. The Lord was helping me see that I’m not as necessary as I think I am. He was reminding me afresh of just how great and Awesome he is and how able He is to shepherd his people as the Great Shepherd.
2. Jesus loves his people far more than I do or ever could.
While I was away, I missed my church. But even on my best day, my love for His people is weak. Jesus said in John 15:13
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” I have no clue what laying down my life for someone looks like but Jesus does and he willingly did it for me and for those I have the privilege of serving. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:32 that, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? If he has given his very best already, why should we ever doubt his love in the future?
3. Jesus is not shaken by the brokenness that abounds in His church.
I’m not sure why we are often shocked by the sin and brokenness that abounds around us? We live in a fallen world where sin abounds. Although the power of sin has been broken the presence of sin remains. We desperately need the power of the Holy Spirit to help us love the broken and not be shaken by their brokenness. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to magnify Jesus in the midst of brokenness so that broken people find hope in Jesus alone.
Jesus is the King! He is building his church his kingdom and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. We have the privilege of playing our part while He gives us breath so lets do it in the strength He provides for His glory alone.