Wow, four weeks really flew by.  I think sometimes we fall prey to this idea, that if I didn’t have to do all of this other stuff (work, cook, clean, etc.) then I would be able to do all of this other stuff that I should be doing.  But I think the truth is more that, no matter how much we have on our plate, we’ll make time for the stuff we like to do…but unless we are deliberate about doing the stuff we should be doing, that will be left undone.

So my guess is, if I had simply taken a 4-week break from work,   I would likely be sitting here feeling a bit like I wasted a good chunk of time.  However, this whole process was clearly orchestrated by God…I know I could not have planned things so well!

While I won’t go into all of the details here, I wanted to give a quick recap of the past four weeks, and over the next week or so, we’ll add some various thoughts.

April 12: I woke up @ 2:30 am (Liz was still up packing and @ 3:30 am we drove to the Syracuse Airport to fly to Idaho for the Vineyard’s Pastors’ Sabbath Retreat (PSR).  Another pastor I know who had gone previously described the PSR as life-changing, and we would agree that he didn’t exaggerate.  We spent 10 days there with 8 other senior pastors & spouses as well as a great team of men and women from across the Vineyard who gave up almost 2 weeks of their time to minister to and serve the 18 of us who were there.  Over the next few days I’ll share some of the stuff we did, and more importantly some of the stuff God did while we were there.

April 22-23: The flight home was a bit more eventful.  The flight from Idaho Falls to Denver was delayed by about 4 hours.  Which meant we would miss our connecting flight.  The woman at the computer was looking at other possibilities & saying, maybe we could get you out tomorrow?…no…Saturday?  No.  Maybe early next week….Oh, wait, here’s something!  I think they try to make it look really bad, so that when they get you home 12 hours late, you are actually happy that you got home at all.

Then it got really fun.  The back up hydraulics  on the landing gear were broken.  And the weather was getting cold enough so that they decided in order to take off, they needed to remove 1/2 of the people and their luggage from the plane.  So they started offering goodies and bonuses to people who would take a later flight (even though they had no idea when that flight would be.)  12 people left, but they needed 20 some more.  After no more volunteers they tell us that they are going to determine everyone’s priority on the plane, and start removing people starting with the lowest priority.  (I thought it would be pretty ironic to have this amazing ten days of being ministered to, only to be told your first day back out in civilization, that of everybody on this plane, you are the lowest priority…so you have to leave.)  Thankfully, based on whatever formula they use to determine this, Elizabeth and I were actually pretty high on the priority list…or at least in the top half!

So we finally get to Denver & our flight to Chicago was delayed by 3 hours.  We were actually on the plane, when they learned that one of the de-icers wasn’t working.  So we got off the plane, waited for a new one to come in & headed off to Chicago, and get there around 3 am.  From Chicago, it was an easy flight to Syracuse.  However, in all the craziness, our luggage decided to go to Washington DC before heading to Syracuse.  But we all made it & only 11 hours late!

April 29 – May 2: If you have been at the Ithaca Vineyard for the past 2 Sundays, you know that we have started a message series “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.”  On the third week of my sabbatical we spent four days in Queens at New Life Fellowship for the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Leadership Conference.  And it was incredible how much this built on what we learned at the PSR.  I’d have to say that these two events are probably 2 of the best events I’ve been to in years…perhaps ever.

So, again, it was great to see how God put all of this together and I’m looking forward to sharing more here, as well as face to face with some of you soon.

ps – one other random things that bear mentioning…While we were in Idaho, the people buying our house, backed out…so our house is back on the market…prayers would be great.

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