As many of you know I am on sabbatical. It’s a time to rejuvenate, recalibrate, recreate, relax, and rest. At Cypress Church we offer this to full-time pastoral staff every five years, and so with the encouragement from our caring elders, I am in the midst of one.
We started our sabbatical (Kristi is off as well since she works at a year-round school) up here at Hume Lake Christian Camps. (Those of you who are following me on Twitter already know this.) As I do every day I am up here, I either run or walk the 2.8 miles around the lake, sometimes multiple times a day. As I make my way around the lake I make one particular stop on the foot bridge just behind the water-restrainer (you might call it a dam, but this is a Christian camp and so we call it a water-restrainer). I stop there and dedicate my life once again to Him.
Yes, there is a story behind this exact spot. Many years ago, when I was a youth pastor, I was up at Hume Lake for a Youth Pastor’s retreat and there was no foot bridge behind the water-restrainer. At your own risk you could jump the rocks, climb up the granite rocks, and hit the trail on the other side. We did this all the time in the summer when the water levels were low and only a trickle of run off was being released from the water-restrainer. Well, this was in May and the water levels were super high and a class three rapid was being spewed out of the water-restrainer’s relief. Crossing the rock was tricky and dangerous, at best. Being I had done this multiple times, I was not the least bit afraid nor took one thought about it, yet the rush of water was deafening. Now at this point in the story I would like to say a bear scared me and I lost my footing, or a rush of water caught me off guard, or I risked my life to save another…but the reality is I just slipped and the rush of the rapids sucked me under. I could have been kept under by the swirling currents, broken my back on the jagged rock, or been whisked down to Fresno, yet God spared me. I popped up gasping for breath on the other side, gripped the rocks so hard my fingers bled, and pulled myself up and out of the water…thanking God He had spared me!
See, I did not deserve being spared, yet God’s grace and mercy literally saved me. I owe Him my life. Right there I dedicated my life again to Him. Every breath I take, every move I make, all I do and will do is for Him and to His glory and for His purposes. I am not my own. I am my Master’s humble slave. I owe my life to my God who saved me. So each time I pass that spot I remember, dedicating my life to Him – kind of a recalibration that I do not live for myself, for my purposes, for my glory, but for Him.
In thinking of this, I am reminded of when God spared my life from the pending doom of forever separation from Him. Before August 22, 1972, I was an ok kid; but I had no relationship with God, nor was I living in such a way that was good for me, nor did I have my reservation set for heaven. But as my Savior would have it, He directed my friend to share with me at just the right time as I reached out for God and led me to believe in Jesus. I did not deserve it nor did I earn it, but by His grace and mercy He saved me…and so I dedicated my life to Him.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
It’s good to remember and recalibrate our lives. Do you have moments or places where you remember and dedicate yourself again to the Lord…maybe even now as you read this? Remember, if you have embraced Jesus as your Savior, you are not your own, you have been bought with a price. Therefore, honor God, live life His way, fulfill His purposes, and seek His unique call on your life.
One thing I am so thankful of is that the Lord has allowed me the privilege to live out my dedication to Him with you. I love our fun and effective church. I know we are not perfect, but the Lord is using us to make an eternal impact. As well, we have more creative and exciting ventures coming soon as we seek to fulfill His unique call on our church. I’m looking forward to experiencing them with you.
Grace and Peace,
PS: Thank you for praying for our finances, we had only a slightly lower offering on a major holiday weekend. We are not out of the woods yet, so please keep praying. Thanks.