Pastor Jack's Sabbatical Update #2
Grace and peace to you all! Week 2 of my sabbatical was uneventful except for Sunday. First of all, we didn't visit any church last weekend. We left Casper on Saturday, arriving in Denver around noon to have lunch with our daughter Elicia, husband Dustin, and grandson Zane. After spending the night with LInda's Mom and step-Dad in Denver, we arose early on Sunday to begin the 900 mile journey to Tucson. We had planned to worship at a church in Raton, New Mexico on our way. We didn't expect to experience all four seasons in one day. It was spring in Denver, winter on Raton Pass, Fall in Santa Fe, and summer from Albuquerque to Tucson! We were traveling on schedule until we started going up Raton Pass. The rain at the lower elevation quickly turned to snow, traffic slowed, and then stopped. It was snowing hard, and we sat on the top of Raton Pass for about 45 minutes waiting for traffic to move again. Two ways we saw God work: First, we decided to stop at the rest area just before we started up the pass which was a blessing for me and our two old dogs who were with us (think about that when traveling - you never know when you might be unexpectedly delayed - especially if you are traveling with old men, old dogs, or little kids!) Second, God provided a snow plow and sand truck ahead of the miles long pack of cars we were in enabling us to get traction and make it safely down the mountain, since I had removed our studded snow tires from our van before we left (I'm not sure that was a good idea). But we had missed the anticipated church stop. We spent a lot of time praying and listening to the gospel of John while driving (and waiting!) We had no cell service so we couldn't stream our church service. The good news is we had safe traveling and arrived in Tucson late Sunday night and are now getting settled. We will look forward to visiting various churches here in Tucson. My goal on my project paper was to complete revisions of chapter 2. I did make some progress on those revisions, last week, but didn't get it done. So please pray that I will be able to finish those revisions and complete some reading this week. I have one book, two dissertations, and numerous journal articles to read before I start writing chapter 3 next week. I continued to study and meditate on Nehemiah, this past week chapter 2. The old saying, "Where God guides He provides" . shows up in this chapter. Nehemiah was prepared to ask the king, but the king asked Nehemiah what he needed for his journey to Jerusalem. We also see Nehemiah seeing a need to fill and a problem to solve, assessing the situation, then challenging the people to join him in solving the problem. I was motivated to think and pray, "Lord, what problem or need have you brought to my attention that you want me to be part of solving?" Then it is so evident that Nehemiah saw God "showing up" as is popularly said today. God made provisions, He moved the people, and He overcame opposition. He was anchored in the assurance, "The God of heaven will give us success!" Nehemiah 2:20. I also have the opportunity to do an Abraham Lincoln presentation on Tuesday at the elementary school where our daughter Lauryn is student teaching. It will have happened by the time you read this. I will tell you next week how it went! Thanks always for your prayers for us as we pray for you.