Hey Mount Pleasant/IMPACT family, I hope you're experiencing a good start to 2021. Some time ago, a newspaper in Tacoma, Washington, carried the story of Tattoo, the basset hound. Tattoo didn't intend to go for an evening run, but when his owner shut his leash in the car door and took off with Tattoo still outside the vehicle, he had no choice. A motorcycle officer named Terry Filbert noticed a passing vehicle with something that appeared to be dragging behind it. As he passed the vehicle, he saw the object was a basset hound on a leash. "He was picking them up and putting them down as fast as he could," said Filbert. He chased the car to a stop, and Tattoo was rescued, but not before the dog reached a speed of twenty to twenty-five miles per hour and rolled over several times. (The dog was fine but asked not to go out for an evening walk for a long time.)
The truth is there are a lot of us who are "picking them up and putting them down as fast as we can." And that will catch up with you in a negative way if you don't take the time to rest and be refreshed. Jesus understood that. In Mark 6, after a time when the disciples had experienced the busyness of ministry, we read (verses 30-31). The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."Jesus, more than anyone else, knew how overwhelming ministry could be, so he told his disciples to get some rest.
Every July, our elders present me with an evaluation. This past July, as I met with two of them to go through the evaluation, I told them I was tired for more reasons than I'll go into in this blog. As a result, they told me that once we got to the end of the year, I needed to plan on taking a brief sabbatical. And while there never seems to be a perfect time for a sabbatical, I will be stepping away from day-to-day ministry for about 4 ½ weeks starting Monday, January 4. We will continue our "My Golden Resolution" series throughout the month of January with our High School Pastor, Matt Pineda, my son (our Groups Pastor) Andrew Philbeck and my brother Ken Philbeck filling the pulpit. We have a great staff, and I know that they will continue to serve you with excellence while I'm away. I want you to know that I'm okay. The last time I saw my Doctor (my Radiation Oncologist who I see twice a year), he said, "You look great." But I am tired, and I need a quiet place where I can rest. Sandy and I will spend the first part of my sabbatical in Savannah, GA; we'll be home for a while and then finish my time away in Florida. I'll be back in the pulpit on the weekend of February 6/7.
Please pray for me while I'm away, and I promise I'll be praying for you. Pray for our Mount Pleasant/IMPACT family because I've got some important decisions to make. I need to hire a new Executive Pastor and I need to seek wisdom from God related to moving forward in the new reality created by the Coronavirus.
Finally, I love these words from Rick Warren: "Growing churches require growing leaders." I want to be the kind of leader that helps the church that I love so dearly to grow. In order to do that, I need to recognize the voice of Jesus when he says, "Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest." I love you all, and I'll see you in February.