I Never Win Anything

A trip with the family to Cape Cod: $5000
Cross the Pond to the UK: $3000
Getting someone else to pay for it: priceless.

I’ve played the lottery, I’ve entered raffles, I’ve played bingo, and fantasy football… but I never win anything. Not this time. This summer is my scheduled sabbatical – It’s been 8 years since I came on board to start Redemption Church. In our church full-time pastors are asked to take a three month sabbatical every 7 years. I was supposed to go last summer but the timing was bad. This year, we decided to forget about timing and go as a matter of spiritual discipline.

When we decided to go for sure, Kristin and I started dreaming about what we should do, where we should go… The idea was to get far away – someplace not so hot – where we could be together as a family & explore a different part of the country. We were dreaming big… so… I started to research funding. A couple of friends put me in touch with some foundations and I started writing grants. We honed in on the Lilly Foundation and the Louisville Institute. We didn’t get the Lilly Foundation award – booted on a technicality… par for the course. The last hope was the Louisville Institute. Almost 400 entries and only 40 awards, so it seemed like a long-shot. But a couple of months ago I got a letter from the informing me that we had won the Sabbatical Grant for Pastoral Leaders, $15,000 to fund our sabbatical plan as it was submitted to the foundation. Unbelievable! They are flying the winners to Louisville later this month to present the awards. So, now we’re making our plans for real. Cape Cod here we come! 8 weeks in a cottage in Wellfleet, MA. A trip back to the UK!

A big word of thanks is due to Jodi Bertram and Tracy Stewart who helped with many of the conceptual ideas and served as readers for the grant, and to Kristin who read every version. You guys were a big part of this award, thanks for all of your input and for reading every draft like it mattered!

Thank you to the Louisville Institute! What an incredible blessing…
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  • this just warms my heart! tim, you and your family SO deserve this! what a gift these organizations are…blessings to you all, and i cannot wait to see and hear how God shapes and fills you on your very much earned sabbatical!

  • Congratulations and enjoy a pint or two from the old country. Hey, I'm in this conversation with a couple of other student about distinction, if any between Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven. I thought a read some stuff by Wright but just cant seem to find it in the stack. Do you if Wright covered this? Enjoy the sabbatical!


  • Yep, he did, but I can't tell you where w/out my books. I think he does in the challenge of Jesus, but I'm sure there is a full case in one of his big books. But if you ever want to document this, just go to a bible dictionary and use the kingdom of Heaven entry as documentation.

    I'm pretty sure what he says is Matthew uses "kingdom of Heaven" instead of "kingdom of God" simply because he's writing for a Jewish audience and their tradition is to use a circumlocution to avoid saying the name of God, (see Monty Python's Life of Brian – "Jehovah, Jehovah." So Mt. means the same thing by it, as is obvious when you parallel the synoptic gospels. He's literally using the same phrases, images, parables, examples, etc., just using "heaven" in place of the name of God so that it does not offend the Jewish people.

  • Awesome news, Tim! Sounds like an amazing trip. God is good!