Yes...I'm still alive!! I realize, rather embarrassedly, that it's been a month and a half since my last blog. By this time, I fear that most who used to follow the blog have stopped looking for it.
I have many reasons for this: we've had a transition in the office where we were without an office manager for a couple of months, and I decided to fill in and be both the pastor of the church and the office manager. When we finally did get a new office manager, I have been spending extra time training her and getting her acquainted with the systems and routines of the office.
I'm getting ready to continue my Doctor of Ministry program, and there is a lot of preparation that goes into that, so that's kept me away from blogging.
There's a joke about how pastors work only one day a week and have the rest of the time to play golf and fool around. I wish that were true. There was an article I read where "Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are the president of the United States, a university president, a CEO of a hospital and ... a pastor." ("Pastors often succumb to job burnout due to stress, low pay," by Rev. Dr. Dan Chun, Honolulu Advertiser, November 18, 2006
Of course, being the father of twin preschool age girls is a tremendous challenge.
So, I'm sure that you understand why I haven't blogged for awhile.
BUT WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!!!
These are all legitimate and excellent reasons why I haven't blogged for so long. But when it comes right down to it, legitimate and excellent reasons are nothing more than excuses that make me feel smug and better about the fact I haven't done something which makes a connection with people, perhaps with some I'll never meet, which means a lot.
If I'm honest with myself, the real reason I haven't blogged for so long is that I've not set aside the time to stop long enough and think deeply enough to put something down that you might find worth reading.
And if that's the case, it also must mean that I haven't really been thinking very deeply about the spiritual life, because that's what this blog is all about.
Oh yes...I've been praying, and yes, I've been reading the Bible and devotional material all along. But most of the time, it's been for "business" reasons, or in the case of the daily devotional material, it's been out of guilt and to make sure that if asked, I can say that yes, I've been doing my daily devotionals.
For me, this blog has come to represent the state of my spiritual life, or as John Wesley, the founder of Methodism might ask, "How goes it with your soul?" You can bet that if there are long gaps in my blog, that it usually means that I'm only connected to God on the surface.
I've been preaching a series of sermons on the grace of God. It's a tough concept for many. It's first and foremost the unconditional love of God. It's not earned, or in most cases, deserved, but we get it anyway.
It's also the gift of discovering what makes life special, what makes life worth living. And that's the key...it's a discovery or a new appreciation.
One of our delightful and hard working members of the church shared a bumper sticker style quote: "Today is a gift. That's why it's called "the present." A little too cutesy? Maybe...but it's absolutely true.
Grace is something that requires setting aside time to experience it. Sometimes we live so much of our lives on the surface, just making it through. That's not life at its best.
I don't know...am I the only one who hasn't been setting aside time for God?