Monday, May 23, 2005

Going East ...

I blog you today from the beautiful location of Delafield, Wisconsin. It's about 30 minutes west of Milwaukee. I'm staying at Cedarly Pastor's Retreat. Colleen and I spent a week here in February of 2001.

A 1906 Summer house with 6 bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, Cedarly was opened in 1997 for the express purpose of giving pastors and their spouses a week to be with the Lord. And "give" is the key word. It is literally free, except for the cost of getting here.

The house is really first rate, like a bed and breakfast for pastors, including even the food. They have a professional staff that prepares the one meal (usually lunch) that I am required to attend (it's the ONLY requirement) with the other pastors and their spouses here. The meals are amazing, they're served to us, and we're not allowed to touch any dishes except to eat off them. A buffet is set out for breakfast and dinner and permission is given to raid the refrigerator at any time.

It is one of three locations (though Cedarly is the only one that is cost-free, the others are inexpensive) run by a foundation called Pastors Retreat Network. It's a place to enjoy the peace and quiet and a chance to get away in order to seek the Lord.

As I prepared to leave and communicated with many over the last couple of weeks that I would be out of the office, I heard the very common response, "enjoy the vacation". Well, while I am certainly in a beautiful location, it is no vacation. Allow me to share with you why I do these "study breaks".

Part of my recovery from burnout a few years ago taught me the value of getting away a few times each year in order to seperate myself from the hustle and bustle of the every day grind (phones, crises, calendar, etc.) When you read scripture, we find Jesus doing it on a regular basis. If HE had to do it, how much more do WE?

I love my "job", "call", "ministry", whatever nomenclature you choose to use. Let's just say I love what I do! I really do! So much so that I have to be careful to monitor my output. Recognizing that I cannot give what I do not have, I have learned that it is so important to take the time to allow the Lord to recharge my batteries and fill my soul.

It's amazing the doors of opportunity to do so that the Lord has given me over the years. There is not just Cedarly, but a family in our church owns a local cabin that they allow me to use regularly and another friend has a condo at Lake Tahoe that I've been to a few times now.

What do I do on these trips? I'm glad you asked! I spend a number of hours each day in the Word, usually reading through large chunks of scripture, or whole books at a time. My scripture reading might relate to something I feel I'm to teach on soon, but it may not.

I spend some time "re-creating". On this trip, I'm looking forward to getting back to my daily habit of walking for cardio exercise. I've let that slip out of my life for the last many months. It's been too long since I've played a round of golf. I'm hoping to do that this week.

I spend some time resting. I am a night owl in my bodily rythym. On these trips particularly, I follow that rythym. I'll work through the day and evening, taking the opportunity to follow my body for sleep. I go to sleep when my body says to do so, and wake up on the same call.

I spend a considerable amount of time reading. Some of it is ministry related, much of it intentionally is not.

So, that's what I do.

Getting here was a no-brainer, as our annual Foursquare Convention happens to be next week in Chicago. Cedarly is only about 2 hours north. When I began to make plans for Convention earlier this year, I checked with Cedarly, and sure enough, they had a room available for this week.

Feel free to ask any questions with a post here, or just say Hi if you want. As there is no internet access at Cedarly, my email and internet activity will be limited. However, I'll be back online more regularly in Chicago next week. I do hope to get another chance to post maybe midweek sometime. Check back then.

3 comments:

Pastor Bernie said...

Keep me posting on your going East and Convention. Hey use your blog to update on ICFG convention.
Enjoy your trip.
From the West and in the POKE.

Dan said...

Hi Paul, I am glad you are taking this time to recharge. NewHeart is still standing and all is well in Him. It looks like a beautiful place on their web site. I can easily picture you in Br. 2 or 3 and of course in the library, kitchen and that chair on the porch. Our prayers are ever with you and the family. God bless, Dan

Pastor Paul said...

Bernie - I will try to post a daily update, at least a quick one with my own thoughts and observations of Convention.

Dan - I was in room 1 this time, and it was awesome. Spent some time in all the places you mention and then some. Cedarly is one of those places I try and get as many Pastors to take advantage of as possible.

Actually, while Cedarly only takes Pastors, I believe that this kind of "sabbath/sabbatical" retreat is something that all should do on a regular basis, as opposed to our "run me ragged" vacations we're accustomed to.

Blessings!