Here is an end of the year update and sabbatical report.
The sabbatical taken this year was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received. It was motivated by some pending writing projects and some much needed help for the family. I’m forever grateful to Dr. Patterson for granting the opportunity to complete written work in the area of preaching and practical Christian life, do some research, and minister to the pressing needs of my family.
I am most excited to return to my SWBTS office in January! I have dedicated the last 11 years to what I believe is the great seminary in the world and many exciting things are around the corner, including the construction of Mathena Hall, and the inauguration of the newly formed School of Preaching. The school of preaching is the opportunity to serve alongside stellar preaching prof colleagues including Dean David Allen as we pour our lives into the next generation of preachers. I could not be more grateful for the new work, and this new opportunity.
Here is an update on things going on during the sabbatical.
The family as a whole is doing really well. Shep turns four in a few days and is a very big man. Sidney and Jewell are thriving at school and enjoying it very much.
Ashley’s health continues to improve, although at a much slower pace than we had hoped. While we are certainly not near where we desired to be at this point, we are grateful for even the smallest improvement and waiting on the Lord to understand His plan for her future. We have learned a great deal through all of this and are dependent on the Lord’s instruction and guidance.
On the writing front, I was able to complete a lesson for the Gospel Project Spring 2016 curriculum, and submit journal articles for the Midwestern Journal of Theology, and the Southwestern Journal of Theology respectively.
Herb Bateman and myself are about half way through an exegetical/homiletical commentary on Hebrews, and I also wrote a short popular book on suffering. As well, I laid some groundwork for a commentary on Jeremiah/Lamentations commentary coming out in 2020 as part of the Christ-Centered Exposition series.
The main writing project was a book on preaching aimed for those who have not been to seminary. It will include some innovative electronic features. I’m excited to report that Robby Gallaty and I are co-authoring this together and it should be completed in the Spring.
I believe I am called to preach by training preachers, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work more closely with the Prestonwood Network and the leaders of this great church. Prestonwood is our home church and has been a huge blessing to us during this time of difficulty. It will be wonderful to train teachers, do some mentoring, and help encourage the many pastors in Prestonwood Network. We could not be more grateful.
Every Christian must face a spiritual winter or walk through a deep valley, I feel we are doing both. It’s been a deeper valley than we would have asked for, but even as we struggle through our difficult journey we are strengthened by the support of so many dedicated friends. Through our dark night, God is lighting the way with sparks of joy and we thank the body of Christ for the overwhelming support that has sustained us.