Matthew 11:28-30 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Life has been crazy for me lately.
My mom died.
All of life has seemed turned upside down.
In the middle of everything going on, my awesome wife, the beautiful Mimi, suggested after everything settled that I should get away. I have enough flight miles, hotel points, and rental car points to get away for about a week or so.
I like the idea a lot. I just didn’t like the idea of taking another normal trip away.
If it were up to me, I would head to Ocean City MD, get a room on the ocean, walk the beach nightly. I could watch TV as much as I want. I could eat amazing food (I would, of course, have to spend money on all you can eat crabs at the Crab Bag)
But that is precisely what I didn’t want.
Isaiah 30:15 – For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
I had no desire to spend time doing what I could do any other day.
While I was up with my dad after my mom’s death, I decided to do a search to find if there were retreats for ministry professionals that are low or no cost. Surprisingly, I found a lot of them.
There are a couple that I thought were really cool.
The first is a place called Missionary Retreat Fellowship (www.missionaryretreat.org). Back in the 60s, a couple returning from full-time overseas missions realized that coming back to the USA was not as easy as they thought. They had no place to live, no furniture, and no possessions whatsoever. A farmer decided to build this place for missionaries returning to the states. It is fully furnished low cost, private housing. The monthly rent is $650 and it is available for up to a year. They also allow daily rates for those who are trying to recharge.
When I emailed them they were very gracious and immediately gave me some dates that I could come and relax. They are up near the Poconos in Pennsylvania, a place I have been to a few times and find it absolutely gorgeous.
But I did not choose their place.
I went with the other place that returned my email, Life Impact Ministries (www.lifeimpactministries.net).
When you go to their website, you will find that they have a lot of places available. Each one is led by an individual family. The one I chose is led by Mark and Pam Taft. Their individual place is called Bethesda House Oasis (www.pastorretreats.org). They use their extremely large home and significant land to provide a relaxing experience for those in ministry. Whether it is for a couples retreat or for pastors to refresh, their home is available. Their rates are $40/day and include meals. I told them that I wouldn’t be eating that weekend as I was planning to fast.
Not only did they email me, but Mark called me and prayed with me. I do believe he evaluated me as well to see how my mental state was. He sounded like a professional Christian counselor.
So on the weekend of May 5th, I am getting my car and driving 7 hours to North Carolina. I will stop for lunch that day, arrive at their house, and proceed to lock my phone into my car for the weekend, not opening it up or turning on the phone until Sunday afternoon when I get in my car to head 7 hours home.
The entire weekend will be spent in rest, study, fasting, and prayer.
So how about others in ministry?
When I spoke to many about doing this, I was told that they wish they had the time to make this happen.
How many ministers don’t truly get away with God?
How many just get away on vacation with the family or with friends.
But how many seclude themselves away with God alone?
I believe there is a need for pastors to get away with God alone. Many say they do a morning time with the Lord, which I believe is important, but I also believe we need that go away into the wilderness moment or seclude ourselves into a cave.
So during the weekend of May 5th, don’t look for a blog post from me. Don’t look for anything from me. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. No blog posts.
I am going to spend the weekend falling deeper in love with my Lord and Savior.
See you in a couple weeks.
Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”