What I Learned About Rest

This month I went to a silent retreat called “Soul Sabbath.” The silence part was pretty straight forward but our opening instructions were a little shocking to me. I could tell the Nuns who hosted our group were fully aware of the culture we carried with us. They passed around a basket collecting cellphones and electronics of any kind as soon as we walked in. They only told us a few things before we were dismissed to our respective rooms. They told us where the bathrooms and fire exits were in addition to the location of the trail through the woods so we didn’t get lost. Lastly they said, “Most importantly, know that you cannot accomplish this rest. In fact if you’re doing it right you won’t accomplish anything today. You will rest”

Apparently my group was as confused as I was. “Can I read my book?” someone asked “What about catching up on my prayer journal?” said another. “Can I stand in line at the DMV or maybe watch some paint dry?” I thought to myself as I surrendered my phone and the only work I brought.  Again the staff were not at all surprised by our… cultural confusion.

“If you get tried you can take a nap.” One of the leaders said slowly. Then they paused, looked out at us and told us something I had never heard before. The infant cries out to the parents for everything they need and it is the responsibility of the parents to listen and love the child. But if you have children you know how sweet it is when your child falls asleep on your chest. There is an inexpressible love and trust to that silence. How often do we lay our heads against the chest of our heavenly Father in essence saying, “You have comforted me and I trust you. I trust you enough with my life… to rest.”

It wasn’t easy but I can confidently say I accomplished absolutely nothing that day… and I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to God’s heart.


The Topsfield Fair with friends


Forrest, Jenny, a deer, and Batman… as usual.


Blaire’s Photography of FALL!


Ravi Zacharias speaking at chapel 

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Dan Rather, an anchor for CBS, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, “I listen.” So Dan turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?” Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.” For an instant, Dan didn’t know what to say. “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.” – Max Lucado’s Just Like Jesus

“If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs) than the love of God is the end of wisdom (1st John).” – Dr. Tom Pfizenmaier

The Department of Redundancy Department.” – Pastor Greg Hills

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin of Hegel’s Dictum



Seminary Year 2: All the Facts

Have you ever wondered what kinds of books are assigned in seminary? Probably not… and look no further. This semester I’ll be taking 5 fairly diverse classes and I thought it might be interesting to add the required reading for those classes. I’ve also underlined my top recommendations (even though I’m still working through most of them). Just in case any of them seem interesting enough to warrant further reading.

Class: Spiritual Formation for Ministry
Required Reading:
1.) Ruben and Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants.
2.) Thomas, Gary, Sacred Pathways: Discovering Your Soul’s Path to God.
3.) Foster, Richard, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.
4.) Macchia, Steve, Crafting a Rule of Life.
5.) Ash, Christopher, Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice.
6.) Benner, David, The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery
7.) Any kind of Prayer Journal for your personal use.

Class: New Testament Interpretation (Blaire’s auditing this class!)
Required Reading:
1.) Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th edition (NA28) (Greek New Testament)
2.) Fee, Gordon D. New Testament Exegesis, A Handbook for Students and Pastors
3.) Green, Joel B, and Lee Martin McDonald. The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts.
4.) Green, Joel B. Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation.
5.) Metzger, Bruce M., and Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.
6.) Osborne, Grant R. The Hermeneutical Spiral.

Class: Advance of the Church in the Non-Western World
Required Reading:
1.) Gonzalez, Justo L., The Changing Shape of Church History
2.) Hastings, Adrian, ed. A World History of Christianity
3.) Kim, Sebastian and Kirsteen, Christianity as a World Religion
4.) Walls, Andrew, The Missionary Movement in Christian History

Class: The Black Christian Experience: From Africa to the Americas
Required Reading:
1.) Carter, Anthony J. On Being Black and Reformed: A New Perspective on the African American Christian Experience.
2.) Daniels, Robin. This Holy Seed: …Early Churches of North Africa.
3.) Gonzalez, Justo L. and Ondina E. Gonzalez. Christianity in Latin America:
4.) Lampe, Armando (editor). Christianity in the Caribbean:
5.) Sanneh, Lamin. West African Christianity: The Religious Impact.

Class: Perspectives: On the World Christian Movement
Required Reading:
1.) R. D. Winter, S. C. Hawthorne, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement
2.) Perspectives Study Guide

I’m enthusiastic about this semester probably because I haven’t counted the total number of pages I’ve just listed or the number of pages I’ll have to write. Blaire may be the most productive person I’ve ever met, and she loves the fall weather! Needless to say she’s even more excited.


IMG-1645Great time camping with friends!

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“The Word of God is food for our souls. Living bread. All too often we feel ashamed for missing our time in the Word but when you miss breakfast you don’t feel ashamed… you feel hungry.” Ps 119:103 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – Dr. Petter via Jake Williams

“Jonathan Edwards farted.” – The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine