Hey friends –
This little note is WAY overdue, but better late than never, as they say…
Just wanted to say a big “thank you” to those of you, near and far, who prayed for me and my family during my six week preaching sabbatical and our little family vacation which we took at the end of June and the beginning of July. The Sundays out of the “pulpit” (I put that in air quotes because, well, Bloom’s pulpit is rather imaginary) were extraordinarily refreshing for me and the family. It gave us a chance to enjoy Sundays like normal folks, without having to bear the pressure, stresses, and strains of the gathering, worshipping right along with the Bloom family (and others, when we were away). And the several week vacation we took to Wisconsin (which included a week trip that Mandi and I took by ourselves to San Diego) refueled us marvelously.
So… for the prayers and support you all, near and far, showed us while we were away, we’d like to say a big thank you. My first Sunday back speaking (July 7th) was particularly joyful, and it’s been a wonderful, if busy, month being back in the saddle. I absolutely love what I get to do.
When you think of us, we’d appreciate continued prayers. While away in California, Mandi and I got to talking about the season we’re in–and it occurred to us how incredibly demanding that season is: young and growing family, young and growing congregation. The pressures and demands seem to multiply exponentially on a daily basis, and sometimes it feels like we’re exerting maximum energy just to do the bare minimum to get by. It’s challenging. And especially so because we’re really motivated by our visions of the future–both as a family and for our community. We want to build and grow and make gains…
…and yet there is always the “noise” of the moment, noise that threatens to undermine real forward progress. I’m mature enough now to know that some noise is inevitable–that in fact, it is the stuff of life: bathing your babies, meeting with hurting folks in the congregation, cleaning the house after the kids totally destroy it, training and retraining new and upcoming leaders. To despise such noise is really to miss out on the life that God has actually given you, it is to miss the unique graces and joys available to you. I get that.
But still… we have a “gut level” belief that there is a way for us, in the noise, to be more productive, more effective, more efficient. It’ll take wisdom, courage, and good sense to get there. But we think it’s possible.
So here are our two prayer requests:
First – that we’d have the wisdom to know where we just need to have grace on ourselves. Realistic expectations about what can be accomplished in a single 24 hour period. That we’d be AT LEAST as generous to ourselves as we would be to another young ministry family sitting in front of us
Second – that we’d have clarity on adjustments we can make in the home and at church which will set the table for good, fruitful work. (For instance, my writing has suffered of late because of a rapidly evaporating margin. I’d like to reverse that trend.)
Ok, a third thing – that beyond our own efforts, there would be a profoundly “God” element to it all… an effectiveness and fruitfulness that far outpaces our actual efforts… a blessing of the loaves and fishes–which by themselves are TOTALLY inadequate for the task at hand–which takes them MUCH FURTHER than they ever would have gone otherwise.
We would appreciate those prayers. We think that there is more effectiveness to be had. More good work to be done. More fruitfulness. We need God to guide us into that.
“Establish the work of our hands for us, God; yes – establish the work of our hands.” (Ps 90)
Grace and peace,