I’ve started a time of sabbatical this summer from my daily roles and responsibilities as the lead pastor of an amazing church that I am growing to love more and more. This sabbatical will last for three months and the purpose is really two fold: rest and renewal. The focus of the renewal is study in the areas of spiritual formation and spiritual direction. For the whole summer, there is a rhythm and flow scheduled to give rest and challenge.

However, as always God has already started to surprise me. The goal of week #1 was to unplug and listen. Little did I know that the Father would be nudging me so clearly and purposefully. Sitting in the airport in Amsterdam last Sunday May 22 as I waited for our second return flight from a week of teaching in South Sudan, God began to put the idea of oneness on my heart … the idea that He desires to live in a relationship of intimacy and oneness with me. Then, I turned to my daily reading in Oswald Chambers and read:

“When we understand what God is after we will not get mean and cynical. Jesus has prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself as He was one with the Father. Some of us are far off it, and yet God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him, because Jesus has prayed that we may be.”

As I read those words, my soul was humbled by a God who, in that very moment, was indeed not “leaving me alone.” It seemed all to clear that my summer was going to be about Him taking away the daily “distraction” of ministry so that He could pursue me. Humbling and yet frightening. As tears filled my eyes (perhaps partially because I hadn’t slept much on the previous overnight flight), I began to realize that God does love me deeply and He desires all of me. Like an iceberg in which most of its mass is unseen, God would be coming after all of me … asking me to become aware of things under the surface so that he could redeem and love all of me.

In the past week, day after day, He has begun to show me things that have been under the surface, perhaps ignored for a long time because of the hectic pace of life. Anger has surfaced, fears have surfaced, and selfishness has surfaced. Things I’d rather ignore but the Father has been saying, “Don’t be afraid.”

Then, yesterday, a friend sent me these words:

“God’s first calling on our lives is not usefulness. It is intimacy. Like the first disciples, Christ’s premier purpose for our lives is for us to be “with Him”. Secondarily, very secondarily; He then sends us “out to” minister. How easily we lose sight of this! And when He does not seem to be sending us out, when no doors of ministry opportunity seem open; we so quickly fret that God appears to have put us on the shelf.” Dwight Edwards


~ by Ted Wueste on May 30, 2011.

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