What an unspeakable and undeserved privilege it is to stand in this pulpit again and look out on you, the flock that the great Shepherd has called me to feed. I am thrilled to be back with you. Thank you for your great generosity in letting me be away for those months. I don’t know how long the Lord will give me to live. But I do know that as long as I live, those eight months will bear fruit in my soul, in my marriage, in my family, and in my ministry. My prayer and my hope is that you will be nourished by that fruit.
As I was leaving back in April, I said that it was time for a spiritual reality check for these four things: my soul, my marriage, my family, and my ministry. So I wrote a report about the leave of absence, addressing these four things, which will be published as my annual report, and which you can read at Desiring God. I won’t say it all again here in this message, but it might be helpful to say a little, before we turn to God’s word.
On the Leave of Absence
The work that God is doing in my own soul and the work he is doing in our marriage are almost indistinguishable, because all sin is sooner or later relational. I said when I left that I wanted to set the sights of my Holy Spirit gun (Romans 8:13) on species of pride in my life. All sin is rooted in pride. So let me be more specific.