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A Note From James

Posted by James Carroll on

On the eve of my sabbatical, I’m experiencing a range of emotions including: gratitude, excitement, uncertainty, and a little nervousness. The break will be strange, but I trust the Lord will use it for our good. This time is very personal, but it is not private. It is a congregational moment for us. To this end, I make two requests of you as we move into this season together.

  1.  Invest with greater commitment and joy.

Our ministry is much broader than any one person. While we all know this fact, the next six weeks gives us an opportunity to display it. The work will continue, and I look forward to learning about the ways our church flourishes upon my return. As is possible, commit to attend, serve, contribute, and minister with greater consistency and renewed zeal. For anyone who may be tempted to do so, please follow the instruction of Hebrews 10:25 and do not neglect to meet together. Show up and participate so that God’s power through His church will be demonstrated.

                        2.  Pray. Specifically, remember these three requests.

Pray for Parkway. I am asking God to make these next six weeks the most fruitful in our church’s relatively short history. Guided by Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi, join me in pleading with God.

It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11 (ESV)

I’m praying the Spirit will move in extraordinary ways to save sinners, to sanctify believers, and to increase our unity and love for one another.

Pray for our family. Please know that no crisis has precipitated my sabbatical. Every family faces various challenges in different stages of life, and we are certainly no exception. But on the whole, we’re doing well. Much of their lives – school for Kenna and Jake, work for Mikila, and even interactions with friends – will continue as normal. You’ll even see them around the church building at times. Please continue to pray for them in the manner you routinely do.

However, these weeks will provide increased opportunities for our family to invest in and enjoy one another. For example, we’ll enjoy traveling to and from worship together and worshipping as a family each Sunday. Please pray for fruitfulness and growth in our relationships with each other. 

Ask our Father, according to the riches of his glory, that he may grant us to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith—that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Paraphrased from Ephesians 3:16-19)

Pray for me. I first approached the elders with a request for sabbatical more than 15 months ago. I’m grateful for their deliberation, leadership, and care, both for me and for our church. My request was not driven by an emergency. There is no impending crisis. My aim in taking this time to rest is NOT to leave, but to stay. Please see this as a proactive measure to care for me with the goal of helping me persevere in ministry over the long-term. That said, please don’t fail to pray for me. As always, I need it.

As I stated in worship on February 24, I hope you’ll follow Paul’s prayer for the Colossians as you lift me up to the Lord.

Ask our Father to fill me with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that I may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to him, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Paraphrased from Colossians 1:9-14)