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Starting My Personal Leave

I started my four-month personal leave on February 1st. I’ve shared before how I am truly grateful to God and the church for allowing me to take a sabbatical-like break from my regular responsibilities at church. I’d like to utilize the Pastor’s Corner on our church website to share updates and thoughts from my time on leave.

The leave started in a fitting way at Redwood Christian Park in the Santa Cruz mountains. I went into the conference feeling fatigued from preparing for the leave and finishing up with various ministries. At the conference I’m glad I could worship, fellowship, and learn from the Scriptures in a quiet retreat environment. Lori and I enjoyed the time with graduate students from various universities in Northern California, including UC Davis. Although I still felt physically tired at the end of the conference, I felt spiritually refreshed.

Two key components to this leave are spending time with God and Lori.  Of course, the best is spending time with both! After the conference Lori and I decided to set aside time to individually read and study the Scriptures, talk about what we read, and pray for what and who God puts on our hearts. In our first sessions I studied the passages from my Bible reading plan. Lori read from the general epistles of 1 John and 1 Peter. I’m continually amazed at the power of God’s Word as we discuss and pray.

I reflected on the end of Joshua’s life. As Israel’s general and leader, he shares his wisdom and exhortations. He reminds them of Israel’s history from the time of the Patriarchs up to the contemporary campaign to enter the Promised Land. He tells them to be grateful because God provided cities that they did not build and vineyards that they did not plant (Joshua 24:13).

He also calls them to faithfully follow and serve God in the face of temptations to worship and serve idols in a new land. In an oft quoted declaration he pledges, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). I love Joshua’s determination and commitment. I want to proclaim the same faithfulness to God in my daily life. However, I understand how tempting the world and its idols can be. My prayer for myself and us as His followers is to display a true heart conviction where God is the only one worth worshipping and serving.

As my personal leave unfolds, I look forward to how God continues to speak through His Word and through prayers. I look forward to hearing how He works in your life too. If you have any prayer requests you would like Lori and me to pray for feel free to forward them via my church email


Pastor Howard


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