Good morning. My name is Pastor Justin, and for those who may be relatively new, I am the Youth Pastor here at SVBC, and I have the honor of bringing the message this morning. I’ve been away on sabbatical and have been back for a month and a half now, and as I was praying and considering different passages, I thought that I would share some things that God laid on my heart during my sabbatical. Since being back I have a renewed vision and passion and love for the church, and I am so excited to see what God will do with SVBC. During my time He convicted me of a few things, revealed a few things, and has challenged me, and I want to share some of the things I learned with you today.

So please forgive that the format of the message today is not just hunkering down in a single passage ripping into it, but rather 3 different lessons from different places in scripture. God taught me a new way to look at rest, how we should love newcomers, and gave me a refreshed look at our mission as the church. But these things are something that although I was personally convicted about them, I really feel that for the church to really be the beautiful bride of Christ that is known for how it loves, like Paul says in Ephesians, that we must ask God to reveal in us our shortcomings in these areas so that we can change and grow.

So while I was on sabbatical, my main objective was to learn how to rest. I had realized that even when I had some moments of down time, I didn’t feel rested after. And it was really God’s sustaining grace that kept me going many days. So on sabbatical, I took regular walks and read more. Andrea and I spent mornings together talking and sharing with each other. I also had a big to do list that I wanted to get done around the house. But, what I learned was surprising: The things that brought me the most rest was my productivity around the house. As I got to the many projects (from cleaning out closets, catching up on some taxes, or home repairs), that I typically don’t have the energy or time for, I was more and more relieved. I had no idea that the growing feeling of guilt for sitting down and not getting to these projects, weighed so heavy on me. So getting some of those things out of the way, helped my other activities be more restful.