Dear First Pres,

  We had a wonderful weekend as a church.

   First, the large group of kids and adults (nearly 100) who went to the Santa Cruz Retreat had an incredible experience together. God made Himself known in powerful ways in the beauty of His creation, the corporate worship, the times of prayer, the preached Word, and the joy of fellowship. Praise God! Look for an article in the coming days that share some of the testimonies of the weekend.

   Second, our worship was rich on Sunday as we finished the subsection of our "Rest" sermon series on keeping the Sabbath day. I've heard from many of how God has been speaking to you about Sabbath in your life. I pray you heed His instruction. I know that some of you were a little surprised when I asked you to write down your commitment to Sabbath, but if we're going to obey this command of God we have to move from intention to decision.

   By the way, I'm happy to share a little testimony about my decision. I took Monday as a Sabbath day to the Lord. I ceased from what felt necessary and I embraced that which gives life. I spent extra time reflecting on the Word and writing in my journal. I celebrated with my daughter as she got her braces off. I enjoyed the cool of the morning in the backyard. I spent the lunch hour with my Bride. I took a short nap. I went to the gym (it had been a VERY long time). I read a few chapters of The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. And I enjoyed the evening with my family (even though the team for which I was rooting lost on Monday night). Then, I walked into the office on Tuesday with a sense of excitement and energy. As one of my new friends likes to say, "What a blessing!"

   Third, on Sunday in the 11:00 service we were missing a huge swath of folks who were in Santa Cruz. It was a little sparse in the Sanctuary, but I was so encouraged when the congregation moved forward and filled in the front rows. In fact, when I tried to express gratitude I could hardly put a sentence together. Then we had a wonderful time of worship together. So, a special thank you to the second service crowd; you guys really blessed me on Sunday morning.

   I pray you are finding rest in Christ, Beloved. This Sunday I'll be sharing about a confusing section of Hebrews, but the message about rest within it is crucial. I hope to see you then.

May the Lord bless and keep you today,