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  • Neil Redenbaugh

Sabbatical Reflections On Boogie Woogie And Life With The Trinity

In the stack of piano music that my mom handed me was this treasure: Boogie Woogie Piano Styles, Copyright 1940, Chicago Ill. Yes, I took piano lessons for ten years growing up. No, I haven’t touched a piano for twenty years (except for when I helped move Alisa’s family’s old upright into our living room a few years ago). But this was the start of my sabbatical and I was feeling inspired to do something other than read good books and think deep thoughts. I have four words for you. “Boogie woogie is life!”


Trinitarian life, that is. Life in the stream of living water flowing from the Trinity through our hearts and out to bless the world. The River Within, by Jeff Imbach, was the book I read on sabbatical through which God inspired me the most. He writes, “Jesus promised life to the full, a river of living water emerging from our souls and flowing out through us - a life in loving union with the Triune God.” Jeff’s thesis is that this river of living water is not just our joy in being sinners saved by grace, not just our passion to share the good news of Jesus with others or use our talents to cultivate shalom and bless the world. This river of living water is also expressed in the ordinary things of our lives that give us joy. “When we begin to celebrate our everyday, passionate experience as the life of God bubbling up within us, our awareness of intimacy with God is forever enlarged and transformed.” Jeff opened my eyes to see that the things I enjoy are gifts from God, and doing these things is part of my intimate life with the Trinity. Boogie woogie. Early morning runs. Walks with friends. Fort-building with my kids. Laughing with Alisa. Pastoring people. Equipping leaders.


But there’s a problem. God showed me that in order to experience this river-of-living-water-that-is-an-intimate-realtionship-with-the-Trinity, I need to lay down other things that preoccupy my life. “Father, I lay down at the feet of Jesus my worries about the future.” “Father, I lay down my concern about what other people think of me.” Father, I lay down my stressful thoughts about today.” “Father, I lay down at the feet of Jesus my dreams for our youth group, our church, our city. Your dreams and Your will be done.”


On sabbatical I have experienced the profound joy of laying down at Jesus’ feet all sorts of longings, and then receiving the peace, contentment, hope, and passion that flows from the heart of the Trinity.


As I get back to work as a pastor at FBC, I have this quote from The River Within on my desk: “Imagine having the passion of the Trinity flow like and artesian well in our church life.” My prayer for our teens, youth leaders, parents, you…for everyone really…is that we would grow in our experience of life with the Trinity.


Church family, the three-month sabbatical that you gave me was so rich and full of sabbath rest. Thank you. And thank you to our youth leaders, elders, and staff who took on some of my responsibilities to make the sabbatical possible. I love being with you and living in relationship with the Trinity together.


Your brother in Christ,

Neil Redenbaugh

Pastor of Adults and Families


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