Back from Study Retreat

Well, I am back from my study retreat. (Last week I took a three-day study retreat to prepare for the next message series at church.)

Wednesday morning I drove up to my parents’ home in Kennebunk, Maine. It was about a three-hour drive, so I began my retreat on the road by listening to some of my favorite music that helps me focus my heart on God. I arrived just in time for lunch (how convenient!) and spent some time catching up with my parents over a meal before settling in to study for the afternoon.

For the retreat I spent my mornings and afternoons in study and prayer. I spent Wednesday afternoon just reading through 1 Samuel 1-7, lingering in the text, taking notes on various themes and looking for connections. The next several days I spent blocking out the sermon texts and themes while interacting with several commentaries. I took breaks for meals and in the evenings to enjoy time with my parents.

It is amazing how much you can get done with large blocks of uninterrupted time. Time management experts say that even a five-minute phone call can disrupt your concentration and easily cost you 30-40 minutes of productivity. The computer with email and internet access can also be a source of small interruptions during the day. To guard against this, I did all of my studying away from the computer, writing out my notes longhand on lined paper in a notebook. Hopefully, I will be able to read my own handwriting as I reference these notes in the coming weeks for sermon preparation!

All in all it was a great study retreat. Thanks to my wife and children for graciously letting me take off for several days. Thanks to my parents for hosting me at their home. Thanks to my church for letting me take the time away from the office for this extended time of study. And thanks to my blog readers for being (mostly) nice in the comments while I was away.


  1. Barrie says:

    Great to have you back Ray. I am sure the study time will prove to be a source of boundless sermons for the near future and a great shot in your spiritual arm. Way to go Brother.

  2. Margaret says:

    We are the parents, who loved having you here for your retreat, Ray. So glad you had the opportunity to spend quiet time with the Lord as you studied and prepared for future messages. We were blessed by your presence. Come any time!!

    It was especially nice to have you here for your Birthday. Thank you, Rose and the boys, for sharing him with us on his special day. I know he enjoyed going home to another Birthday celebration with all of you. Two Birthday cakes – what a great idea!

    We will look forward to reading the Sunday Soundbytes on Samuel.

  3. Barrie says:

    Margaret, I want to commend you on your parenting with Ray. I think you have done an outstanding job. He is truly a credit to you. God bless you.


  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Aww, come on guys, this is ‘barrasing.

  5. Margaret says:

    Thanks Barrie for your kind comments. Like most parents, we tried our best, (and also made plenty of mistakes!) learning as we went along. All the credit goes to the Lord, who blessed us with four wonderful children, all believers, all married to Christian spouses whom we love dearly, all raising their children to know the Lord. We give thanks to the Lord for all these blessings.

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