Four weeks ago I began a writing sabbatical.

I had four writing objectives for my time away:

  • Complete my application for ACBC Fellowship
  • Plan and begin working on a book on biblical counseling, tentatively titled, Teach the Word:  Biblical Expositions for Biblical Counselors
  • Write teaching notes for 11 teaching sessions for a biblical counseling training seminar I will be taking overseas in April
  • Complete revisions on the church mission policy

In addition to those things, I was looking forward to worshipping on Sundays with my daughters in their churches as well as one or two Sundays with some other ministry friends, and enjoying the refreshment of time with Raye Jeanne apart from the demands of our regular schedule.

I was not sure how realistic my agenda was, but I am so very grateful to the elders of GBC for the time away.  I was able to get virtually everything done that I desired to do.  In the first 2-3 days I was able to complete and submit my application to ACBC.  The next stage for that process is that my name has been given to a subcommittee that will review my published materials (the paper I wrote for ACBC, along with sermons, teaching, and blog writing) and then once that has been satisfactorily evaluated, I will interview with the board to move to the next stage of supervision as a Fellow.  That interview will be anywhere from 3-9 months from now.

I spent a couple of days working on the structure of my book and am very pleased with the way it took shape.  As currently outlined, the book is 27 chapters long (I may add or subtract a few from that number).  Of those I have essentially completed about 10 chapters and have written 55,000 words.  So I’m probably about 40% complete, without any editing being done yet.  I’ve also determined what is a good process for me to write and have a plan for getting the rest of it complete in the next 6-9 months.  I am thankful to the Lord for the progress made on the project and trust it will be something that He will use in my life as well as the lives of others.

I also was able to complete nine of my 11 teaching sessions for my trip (the final two should be done in the next week).  I am excited for the trip and the opportunity to unfold the grace of God’s Word to hungry people!

I also used the time to do some additional reading which was not only personally refreshing, but in God’s grace, He also used my reading to stimulate my thinking about some of my writing topics.  (Isn’t that how His providence graciously works!)

While I did not get any additional work done on the mission policy, I am thankful for everything I was able to get done and for the grace of being able to be away from my ministry responsibilities for those days.  I thank Pastor Keith for his gracious filling of the pulpit these five Sundays, for the other elders in the responsibilities they assumed, and for our entire church body praying for and encouraging me these days.  He has been, as He always is in all that He does for us, kind and gracious.  I am humbled and thankful.