As most of you know by now, Robert and his family are on sabbatical this summer. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “How are you managing with Robert gone?” It’s understandable. After all, Robert is the fearless leader of this place we call our spiritual home (or home away from home, for some of you). They are concerned. Eager to know we’re doing ok. Maybe even just a teensy bit worried. I get it.

Well I have one word for you: Chapelpalooza, baby!

(For those not up on your music festival slang, a palooza is a sort of exaggerated event or situation that usually involves some sort of presentation and definite excitement.) Thanks to outstanding preachers, world-class musicians, crazy fun camps for kids, women’s workshops, summer seminars for adults, trainings for care givers, Sunday Morning Encores, color runs, baptisms, weddings, superheroes, firefighters, and so much more….We have basically designed our very own Snowmass Summer Chapelpalooza!

Now, please don’t misunderstand. This is not because while the cat’s away the mice are all playing. No, this summer is, in fact, honoring our beloved senior pastor because a summer of profound growth, opportunities and excitement is precisely what we as a Chapel, along with Robert, envisioned before he ever left.

Many people spent months last winter planning; we prayed about having exciting and inspiring workshops; we asked God to guide our thoughts and ideas so that our plans would be His plans, not ours. An entire team of people helped design, implement and fund a sabbatical that would be a complete renewal of body, mind and spirit for all of Snowmass Chapel, not just the pastor. An army of church ladies are basically laying hands on this place and praying us all the way into heaven, or at least all the way to Robert’s safe return.

And all along there has been a great intention behind what we do. The Chapel staff, for example, created a vision board expressing all the feelings and outcomes we hoped to have this summer. As we teetered on the narrow ledge of independence, we dared to fill the board with our wildest hopes and dreams. Words like COMMUNITY, DEEPENING FAITH, ENERGY, EXCITEMENT, GRACE-FILLED, and TEAM peppered the board; it now hangs in our office building as a daily reminder. THIS is who we are.

In short, with the temporary absence of our exceptional spiritual leader, this Chapel left very little to chance and, instead, in prayer-fueled confidence, we are taking chances. I’m so proud of us.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” I believe that God means those words as much for us today as he did for the Israelites who first heard the prophet Jeremiah speak them.

My prayer for each of you is that you, too, will turn to God in times of transition and change. Not just seeking guidance and answered prayer, but leaning completely on the One who works all things together for good. Because we might be able to make something good happen with our own feeble human hands…but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God will make something beyond our wildest expectations.

Yes, these are holy grounds here at Snowmass Chapel. Sacred things happen here every day. God is with us and among us and working through us. I’ve seen some of the most moving things happen and God is absolutely reaching people here in deep and powerful ways. And we are also having so much fun. Chapelpalooza, baby!