Rustlings (January 16, 2018)

Thank you. Sincerely, thank you. I was the recipient of some wonderful gifts over the past Christmas season. I enjoyed the sight of every Christmas card – words and pictures. I enjoyed the taste of every snack (but will be running off the ‘aftermath’ for a few weeks). Every party and dinner was a true delight. Thank you for including me in your thoughts and social gatherings. While I in no way wish to name favorites among all these gifts, I need to mention one – a Phillips Sonicare Electric toothbrush. I promise I’m receiving no kickbacks from my dentist or from the Phillips Company. But the Sonicare toothbrush not only does a great job cleaning your teeth, it also is very relaxing. Two minutes of oral hygiene in the morning and two minutes in the evening have become four of the best minutes of my day. (I know, this is really sad at some level, but it is what it is.) In just a few moments, this gift provides cleansing and relaxation. It’s a great gift.

You’ve all given wonderful gifts to your friends, family and ministers this year. I want to encourage you to give yourself a gift. (No, not a Sonicare toothbrush – that was simply a literary tool to move you to this important paragraph.) Give yourself the gift of retreat this year. I want to encourage you to go online and register for our Annual Church Retreat at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC, on March 2-4. In past years, this weekend has afforded me the opportunity to get to know many of you better, and it’s afforded you the opportunity to get to know me and get to know each other better. Most importantly, it’s provided you the space to get to know God better. Retreat is inherently a time of cleansing and relaxation. For a short period of time, we purge ourselves of life’s distractions and relax into the fellowship of God’s people, God’s spirit and God’s beautiful creation.

Truly, one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself this year is the gift of retreat. The bulletin board outside my office has a list of current registrants, a ride share sheet (if you need or can give a ride) and a room share sheet (if you need or want a roommate.) Register now at, and I’ll see you there. Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush. I’ll be packing mine!

— Jim