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In Sickness and in Health

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A month ago, Paul Park asked me if I would write a post about marriage for this week; I was immediately confused. Would that be weird? And what would I possibly have to say after just two weeks of being married? All that aside, I said what most people would say to their boss; I said, "yes."

Phil and I got married two weeks ago, and it truly was a wonderful day. We set out on the road trip we had been waiting a year to go on, the Tuesday after our wedding. Working full time, going to school, and planning a wedding had been our lives for the last year, and we were looking forward to this blissful rest that was to be our honeymoon. However, God had a different story waiting for us; one that was definitely not the story that we had been expecting.

Phil's "cold" that he had for the last week and a half got severely worse while we were in Oregon, and after a few slightly traumatic experiences, we decided to go to a clinic where they told him that he had strep throat. Now that we had a diagnosis, I was relieved that things could get back to normal and maybe I would get some of the "rest" that I had been looking for and thought that I deserved; maybe I wouldn't have to take care of him so much and do so much. His illness continued and he was definitely not well, but we finished out the trip anyways.

When we got home I was exhausted and just wanted to enjoy the last few days of being off before returning to work. Unfortunately, Phil started picking up more strange symptoms and getting even more ill. Last Saturday, our last day off, we decided that we had had enough and decided to go to the hospital. After a series of unfortunate events, many tests, and seven hours of waiting, it was decided that Phil had mono; and this is what he had had all along. All that was left to do was for us to go home and let Phil rest until the illness fully passed.

There's a little honeymoon drama for you. What is the point of all of this? Why am I telling you this? Well, I am writing all of this to share with you the huge lesson about marriage that I believe God has been teaching me over these last few weeks.

As Christians, and as the church, we are the bride of Christ; we are taught to love the Lord with all our hearts and minds and strength, and we are also taught to serve and sacrifice our lives to the Lord. David teaches us in 1 Chronicles that giving to the Lord must cost us something, for if it doesn't, then what is it worth? David states, "I will not sacrifice something that costs me nothing;" a powerful, perspective changing statement.

You see, Phil and my relationship has been pretty amazing as a whole. Yes, we have been through trials and we have made tough decisions, but loving Phil has always been simple; it has been a joy. However, these past two weeks--the ones that were supposed to be my rest, my bliss, my relaxation, my respite--were trying. These weeks tested my patience and my selflessness. I have been physically and emotionally exhausted and so frustrated with God that my only break this year was spent having poor sleeps, worrying, making phone calls, etc. But then I realized, Phil is now my husband, and if he is now to love me like Christ loves the church, then why should I not sacrifice myself like the church sacrifices for the Lord? This is the cost that David talks about. If I cannot love Phil with my whole heart and life in the difficult times, then I do not deserve to love him in the times when everything is "butterflies and roses."

Our honeymoon ended up costing me my rest and relaxation, but I have learned that the time has been more fulfilling than I ever could have anticipated. I have felt so close to the Lord and to our community, and I have learned an incredible lesson about love and sacrifice. Loving Phil should cost me something so that it can truly mean something; so that our relationship can reflect the beauty of the love that the Lord has for us--His people; His church.

Praise be to God, and his overwhelming grace for His children.

Posted by Mary Grierson

An Evening of Music with Calvin Dyck

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This time of year we find ourselves busy with preparations for summer, weekend outings, graduations, and all kinds of warm-weather activities. It is, in many ways, a season of gathering and celebrating. That is precisely why we are hosting a special event on June 24th for our church family, friends, and the entire community. Hymn Sing, an evening of music with Calvin Dyck and his String Quartet is an opportunity for us to gather together and celebrate God's goodness to us through song and to enjoy beautiful performances from a variety of highly skilled musicians.

Please join us for this special night, where we will sing some of the great songs of faith together. There is no cost to attend, but there will be a freewill offering collected to cover some of the costs of the evening. Anything that is collected above what is needed to cover the costs will be given to the Summer Interns fund. I hope you will seize this opportunity to gather together and celebrate!

Posted by Gatlin Saip


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The SDBC elders have approved for me a three-month break from working at the church. This is something the elders included in my original employment contract from 2010. It is called a "sabbatical." 
The concept of sabbatical has been described in several places in the bible. For example, in Leviticus 25, there is a commandment to desist from working the fields during the seventh year. This allows the soil to rest and replenish itself.
In recent times, sabbatical has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something. In the modern sense, one takes a sabbatical typically to fulfil some goal, for example, writing a book or travelling extensively for research (from Wikipedia).
Pastoral ministry takes a toll that is somewhat unique in the professional world. Pastors invest in the lives of other people in ways that take an emotional and spiritual toll on ourselves. We walk through life with people, often those who are strangers to us. We are often intimately involved in the lives of the people who call SDBC their church family. This includes life and death circumstances where we feel the pain of suffering, along with the joy, of major life events.
Pastors are subject to written and unwritten expectations from the people they serve. We are always on call; it is wearisome and takes a huge toll on our wives and families. The assignment of being a pastor is taken personally. It is not just a job. The issues we contend with are often above our human ability to cope with. More often than not, we are driven to our knees in prayer for others, asking God to intervene because we simply have no answers.
The goal of my sabbatical is not to take a three-month vacation (although I admit it has the feel of one). I expect to accomplish three goals between June and August this summer: 1. to read through the entire bible with Chris. We will do this via listening to the bible online, reading, and studying; 2. to prepare to teach the book of 1 John in India this coming November; and 3. most importantly, to spend time with Chris who has quit her job to be with me for the three months.
This sabbatical is a gift. I love being a pastor at SDBC, and I would continue to be a pastor at SDBC with or without the sabbatical. I am asking for your prayers that Chris and I would find a time of rest, refreshment, and invigoration for the coming years ahead as we continue to serve at SDBC.

With grateful hearts,
Rick and Chris Burdett

Posted by Rick Burdett

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