Dear New Life Church Ohana,
Amy and I hope and pray that you are full of joy and looking forward to a wonderful summer season. This summer certainly brings many significant changes to our Swanson family. Our youngest son, is now a high school graduate; our middle son, is transferring to the University of Hawaii; Amy is now retired from 25 years of teaching ; and we are about to embark on a 12-week Sabbatical!
Although there are personal lessons to be learned during my Sabbatical, I do believe this season is not just for me. I believe that God has something for each one of you during the summer months, and it is important for each one of you to recognize and embrace how God is leading you. There is a ‘Resting in Christ’ and a ‘Releasing for Mission’ that God has for each and every one of us. I pray you will completely embrace these two Heavenly mandates. Remember Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30). Our rest is not a retreat from people or a ceasing of work, but rather and act of seeking daily God to find our source of peace and strength so that we can live out His plans and purposes for our lives.
One of the greatest gifts God has given us at New Life Church is each other. We have a beautiful church family, and I want to encourage all of you to spend time blessing each other and enjoying the riches of relationship in our Ohana. Our team has planned a couple of fun activities to get the whole family together, so take advantage of these planned events as well as the long, beautiful summer days to connect with each other and love our Ohana!
July 8th – Supper at 6 (a shared meal in homes and then a fun dessert contest and party at New Life Church)
July 29th – Outdoor Movie Night (bring your beach chairs and blankets for a family friendly movie under the stars and enjoy popcorn, treats and more).
One thing that gives me great confidence during my 12 weeks away, is our outstanding leadership team. In addition to our dedicated staff and council we have many faith-filled, committed leaders who feel called to love you, care for you, and pray for your needs. With our team of ministry leaders, 2 or More group leaders and prayer warriors in our church, I am confident that wonderful things are going to take place at New Life Church during this Sabbatical. All of you are called and capable of living out Christ’s mission for our city, and I know you can do it!
While we can all be tempted to take a vacation from God or church during the summer, I hope, instead, that you will press into all that God is doing here at New Life Church. You won’t want to sleep in and miss the fantastic teaching on Kingdom Living that will take place each Sunday morning. Pastor Chris, Pastor Fernando and Pastor Chon Torres will be team teaching this exciting series all summer long. And I will look forward to hearing great testimonies when I return in September.
With anticipation for all God will do,