It is a Sunday. And I am soon heading to the state of Vermont in the United States. The Green Mountain state and the mountains are beautiful. This is where I spent a lot of time when I was growing up and where there is still a family “cottage” built in 1963. It is very basic, very much in need of repair and very soon to be sold. I have not been here for many years as I have lived in the west for 38 years and been away from this area since 1969 having lived in Toronto for a few years. Only ccasionally have a managed a visit to this wonderful state and our family hide-away.
I came east because of officiating at a family wedding yesterday. Today we took a few hours to drive from a subburb of Montreal to this wonderful, quiet and somewhat secluded location to simply have some extended time with several family members and some extra time with the Lord. Brought my Bible and my walking shoes – and still know my way around both the back roads and mountain trails and the many miles of waterfront I remember where some of the nicest spots are to sit and read and pray. It is a time simply to unwind and focus a bit on my relationship with the Lord as well as to listen intently for His plans for this international ministry He has called me to in the past few years. A ministry that is changing and evolving not to mention growing.
It was here in these mountains many years ago where I first settled my call to the ministry (1966) and where He first introduced me to His offer of a relationship as opposed to the religion I had embraced up until then (1977) and then His willingness to teach me how to pace myself and minister His way (1983).
It was right here that I read the whole New Testament in The Message Version – very new at that time – and read the words that brought fresh life and direction to my ministry then, as a pastor, and still today as an apostle. He spoke then and many times since through three verses that became mine the first time I read them in this version during a visit to this mountain many years ago. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on relgion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I preach on these verses. I teach many truths from these verses. But, most importantly, I live the truths contained in these verses. And here I am, once again, in the same place where He has met with me and spoken to me many times before – many times before. I look forward to what He will say this week and how He will be directing me both in my personal life and in my ministry. Before coming He promised that this would be a special and vey unique week for me and this ministry.