I’ve heard that ideally – you want to minister out of the overflow of your cup that is being constantly filled by Jesus.  That sounds great.  It sounds idyllic.  I’m curious how many pastors actually feel that they live in that space.  At the moment, I can at least say, I’m not one of them.

For the past four weeks I’ve been preaching a message series entitled “Life on the Vine” out of John 15 on the importance of living a life deeply engrafted in Jesus.  While others listened in, I wrote the messages for myself, knowing that I’m not sure I’m as plugged into Jesus as much as I need to be in order to be the kind of Pastor/Leader I want to be (and the Living Stones Church deserves).  I have some pruning I need God to attend to.  I have some life habits that could use a “restart”.  And my past experience informs me that the only way that happens is when I commit an extended period of time to unplug from the weekly urgency and necessity of daily ministry.

In that posture I hear God better.  He is typically very gracious and speaks to me in ways that reveals my heart condition (thus prodding me to make necessary adjustments, recalibrations, and plain ol’ repentances) as well as vision and direction for the future (specifically for Living Stones Church).

I’m in need of one of those times.  I’ve taken a few of those “assessments” you can take on “clergy burnout” etc.  And it revealed that if I plan on going the long-haul in ministry (which I do…like at least another 25 years [Lord willing] [side note:  statistically – 90% of individuals who enter ministry will not retire from ministry]) I would need to have some time for a “spiritual tune-up” if you will.  So – that is what I’m going to do.

The elders of the Living Stones Church have been very kind, generous, and gracious to me.  They have encouraged me to take a sabbatical for a while (which usually resulted in me brushing off their suggestion because of…well…I’m going to guess fear and pride).  But after conversations with my wife, and her very insistent tone, I’ve decided to take them up on it and enter into a sabbatical season.

As soon as I return from a Junior High Summer Camp with our youth group (August 2nd), I will enter into a Sabbatical until September 9th.  I plan on enjoying some family time, hanging out with some Benedictine monks, and reconnecting in the vine that is Jesus.  I plan on disengaging from a lot, including all social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.).

The church is in good hands and is going to grow and thrive in my absence (but not too much because I still would like a job when I get back).  I’m not worried about the church at all.  We have the best staff of any church (I’m a little partial).  Truth be told…they were doing all the work anyhow! 🙂

We have a pretty ambitious plan ahead of us (which is pretty much taking over the world starting on the South Side of South Bend).  And I need to make sure I’m prepared in heart, spirit, and mind to be the kind of leader who can lead such an adventure.

Prayers for me during this time would be most appreciated.  Lord willing, I’ll see you September 9th!


Sons of Monarchy T-Shirts

Our Sons of Monarchy T-Shirts are in!!!!

We hired two male models (pictured above) to show them off!!  They look great.

We decided to go with a nicer fit and quality of t-shirt, so each shirt is $10.  We have all sizes (they run a little small so keep that in mind when buying one).

They’ll be ready for you to purchase this Sunday!

So then you can wear them to be in our biker gang motorcycle club!


Because it is supposed to be 95 degrees today!!

RECESS kids getting baptized (just kidding)

And then I checked out the “craft” from yesterday.  White powdery substances in a ziplock bag!!  Yep…we figured here at the Living Stones Church that given our neighborhoods it would serve the kids well to know the street value of cocaine and how to produce it.  JUST KIDDING.  According to RECESS Director, Meredith Waltman – it was an experiment with “soap.”  Hmm….

A white powdery substance in zip lock bags that we are calling “soap”

Living Stones Church High School Summer Kick Off

You have SEVEN HOURS as of the time I posted this blog to get your High Schooler to the Living Stones Church @ 5:30 pm so they can participate in the Summer Kick Off of the High School Youth Group led by TIM BOUCHER!!!!!

SEVEN HOURS before they experience the time of their life and some pretty foundational experiences as a youth group.

So…if you are in High School…or you have a High Schooler get them to the Living Stones Church @ 5:30 pm.  From there they will be going out to South Paw (not “Paw Paw” as I kept saying on Sunday…which is where you go in Michigan for a bunch of vineyards and wine tastings.  Don’t worry…our High Schoolers will not be going to a wine tasting this evening).  South Paw is the old residence of Jamie Moyer (the baseball player) turned into a retreat center.  They are going there for a cookout, swimming, games, etc.  They will return to the church @ 10:00 pm.

Any questions?  Send them to Tim Boucher here.

Father’s Day Sons’ of Monarchy

Sunday was a blast of a day.  Started with quite a few hiccups – rain (which we desperately need…but doesn’t make for great motorcycle riding), blown fuses, computer/monitor problems, smoke detectors going off, etc.  BUT by the time we started everything was remedied and doing great.

In Living Stones Church tradition, we grilled and served brats (which we called “breakfast sausages” for the 9:00 am service).  We had a great set design, including a sweet Harley Davidson (thank you Scott Hancock), “Born to be Wild” as an opening song, a funny video to celebrate Fathers, a time to pray over our dads, and a rocking worship set, followed by a message on following King Jesus (you can listen to the podcast here).  At the end we called up our RECESS counselors and prayed blessing on them.

Great mornings with a lot of energy!

Thom & Tom grilling up some brats before the service!

Kickoff of RECESS 2012

Today we launched RECESS 2012!!!  Thanks to the generosity of the Living Stones Church we are looking forward to the next eight weeks with a bunch of students from Monroe School / Miami Hills apartments (we are expecting about 100 total).

Today went great!  Meredith Waltman (our RECESS Director) and her top-notch counselors and volunteers did an excellent job.  The kids had a blast and it was a successful first day!!

Another great thing this year is that we were approved for a grant from the government to make our own breakfasts and lunches.  Last year we were approved by the South Bend School Corporation to be a free lunch site.  It was a huge blessing to have daily meals supplied by the corporation.  BUT – the quality of the meals were a little…you know.  So, this year we have been approved for a grant that will pay us $5.31 per child per day.  Multiple that by the number of kids in RECESS for eight weeks and we are looking at a potential funding of $20,000 so that we can make our own meals!!!   This is a huge blessing!!!!

Finally, this past Sunday Living Stoners brought us over our funding goal by contributing $15,759.38 for RECESS 2012!!!  THANK YOU!!!

Sons of Monarchy Series

There are message series that I get excited about and then there are message series I get REALLY excited about.  This is one of those REALLY excited message series.

We kick off on Sunday, Father’s Day, June 17th!!!  Men…there will be grillin’ going on with as many bratwursts as you can eat, a fantastic worship experience along with a message about King Jesus.

If you have a motorcycle, feel free to ride it to church on Sunday and we’ll give you some premium parking!

See you Sunday 9:00, 10:30, or 11:55 am!