Abiding in Rest

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This post is meant to be read with the sermon “Abide in Rest.”
Click here to listen, and then click back to this post to read along.

The Big Ten

  • No other gods.
  • No graven images.
  • Don’t take the LORD’s name in vain.
  • Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
  • Don’t murder.
  • Don’t commit adultery.
  • Don’t steal.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Don’t covet.

#4 is the least understood commandment, but it is extremely important.

So what was/is Sabbath?

  • A day of rest, devoted to God.
    • Exodus 20:8-11

How serious was God about the Sabbath?

  • Life and Death
    • Exodus 31:12-17

Why did God give Sabbath to His people?

  • A Day to Rest (Leviticus 23:3)
  • A Day to Remember (Deut 5:15)
  • A Day to Worship (Mark 1:21)

What does this have to do with us?

  • First of all, Christians are not required to observe the Sabbath in the same way as Israel. (Mark 2:27, Colossians 2:16-19, Hebrews 4)
  • The Principle of Sabbath Rest
    • Even though we are not required to Sabbath, we shouldn’t neglect the principle of taking a regular Sabbath rest.

So how can we abide in rest?

  • We need to develop rhythms in our life.  Here are three specific areas.
    • Rhythms of Rest
      • (Create boundaries that protect your ability to rest. My example: Email Boundaries)
    • Rhythms of Reflection 
      • (Work to develop ways to regularly reflect.  My Example: Journaling)
    • Rhythms of Worship 
      • (Weekly Worship, Family Worship, & Private Devotions)

Recommended Resources:

Here are some resources that I have found helpful.
41ymerlulGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Making Room for Life – Randy Frazee

DeYoung Crazy Busy – Kevin DeYoung

 

I Wonder (A post from my wife Ashley)

Friday night, we focused on the sacrifice, the death. Sunday, we celebrate the fulfillment of a promise…of THE promise and the resurrection of Jesus, who still lives. But what about the day between? What about the day between the grief and the glory? Saturday. This day was a day of confusion, of sorrow, of lostness. Did all who hope in Him then dare to hope in Him even in His death?

Did they feel betrayed? Let down? Did sorrow threaten to consume them? Did they sleep through the night after His death? Were they steeped in mourning and without appetite? Did they know? Did they anticipate? Did they hope in the midst of hopelessness?

Here in my home, thousands of years later, my thoughts rest on the thoughts of the people who were there. I wonder. I just wonder. Did they know what they had just witnessed? Did they know with whom they had been? Were they aware?

When they shouted out words of mockery to Him, did they know they fell on redemption’s ears?

When the people stood aside as His flesh was torn, did they know His wounds were for them?

Did they know they stood infinitely more bare before a naked Saviour on that cross?

When He cried out, did they know it was on their behalf?

Did the silent onlookers know they were heard?

When the sun ceased to shine and the physical darkness overtook the world, did the people fumbling in blindness know that love was slain? Did they know the darkness fell as the Light was snuffed out?

How long until they knew? How long until they realized? Did they recall His promises? Did they dwell on the words He had spoken? Did their minds drift to the years before when all of the things they were witnessing in that moment had been prophesied?

And on the third day…on the third day, did they rush to the tomb in anticipation of finding Him gone? Were they surprised? Did they expect to see an empty cave and a discarded cloth? Did the scent of the perfume poured out on him days before still linger? Did they breathe it in and remember His words the day it was poured out on Him?

And when they saw Him, who was hanging breathless on a splintered cross three days before, standing before them, did they understand the significance of the moment they were in? Did they grasp the worth of it all?

I wonder as I’ve wondered for years before, and as people who have lived for hundreds upon hundreds of years before me have wondered…Did they know?

And I wonder about you, dear friends. Do you know? Do you understand? Do you  grasp the weight and the worth of three days? Three days. In three days the broken bond between humanity and his Creator was mended. Love suffered separation from its Lover. The earth shook in despair. The rocks cried out in man’s silence.  Hope was buried. Grief overwhelmed. Sorrow consumed. Death won…for a moment. But the veil was torn by innocent blood spilled; and death? Death was defeated! Hope rose up from the tomb. Tears of sorrow turned to those of joy. Man shouted out into the silence “HE IS RISEN!” and silenced the murmuring rocks. Love was restored. Perfect sacrifice made the way to perfect communion between man and God. Jesus lives, and because of that, so do I!

The Final Week: Tuesday

The stage is set for the final act. The characters are in place. Their goals, motives, and intentions are clear. The king has come for his kingdom and has issued a clear and direct challenge to the reigning structures of political, economic, and religious power. The drama can end in only one of two ways. Either Jesus will topple the reigning powers and establish his messianic kingdom— or he will be killed. No one at that time could possibly comprehend that in God’s mysterious plan, there was a third option. The Final Days of Jesus

The Final Days of Jesus: Tuesday from Crossway on Vimeo.

The Final Week: Monday

With the riveting events of the previous day still fresh in everyone’s mind, all eyes are on Jesus as he enters the city Monday morning. What will the recently hailed Davidic Messiah do to bring about his kingdom? Jesus wastes no time in answering this question by going straight to the temple.  –The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived

Jesus’ first act as the proclaimed King was to do some house cleaning.  His house, the Temple, needed to be protected from those who were taking advantage of the crowd that had gathered for the Passover, so Jesus took matters into His own hands.

The scriptures tells us that he drove away people, overturned tables, and prevented people from entering the temple to make a profit.

By doing this, Jesus made a clear statement concerning the purpose of His house.

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’
But 
you have made it a den of robbers.”

Israel was to live as God’s representatives on this Earth, displaying His glory through the grace that they had received.  They were to spread the word that the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob was the one and only God, and that He could be worshipped in this place.

The leaders of Israel, however, chose instead to take advantage of the pilgrims who made the trip to the temple.  In so doing, they misrepresented God, which didn’t sit too well with Jesus.

You see, our King has always cared for the Nations and so should His people.

This was true then.  This is true now.

The temple is no longer the place where the Spirit of God dwells.  His new house is in those who have repented of their sin and have believed the good news of what Jesus has done on their behalf.  So as believers, we are his temple.

And we need to remember, that His house is “a house of prayer for all the nations.”  God has given us a message to proclaim throughout the world, and if we fail to pursue this mission we will inevitably find ourselves at odds with Jesus.

As we walk through Passion Week, let’s not forget that we are the very dwelling place of God.  And that Jesus deeply cares about the management of His house.

He loves us enough to even turn over our tables when necessary.

 

Here’s a great video from Crossway on Monday.

The Final Days of Jesus: Monday from Crossway on Vimeo.

The Final Week: Sunday

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. – Zechariah 9:9

This day is marked by the entrance of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem, and the significance of this event is found in how he entered.

Having recently been anointed by Mary’s perfume, Jesus smelled like a king, and riding on the colt of a donkey, He fulfilled prophecy that declared to everyone that He was the Messiah.

He was the One who would reign eternally on David’s throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13), He was the One who would save them from their sins (Isaiah 1:18), He was the Prophet who had arisen among the people (Deuteronomy 18:18), He was the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), and He was the One who would finally crush the head of the serpent underneath His feet. (Genesis 3:15)

He had finally arrived.

And in that moment, they saw the King and they put their hope in Him.

The problem, though, was that their hope was tainted by their own expectations.  They hoped that Jesus would fulfill their expectation by being a ruling King, who would drive out the Romans, and reestablish the glory of Israel.

But Jesus had bigger plans.  He wasn’t only there to save Israel, He was there to save the world.  His Kingdom started in Jerusalem, but stretched to the ends of the Earth.  And the only glory that preoccupies Jesus, is the Glory of God.

This is a good reminder that Jesus is not accountable to our expectations.

He is the King.  We are His people.

Let’s not forget that order as we walk through this week together!

Also, check out this video from Crossway

The Final Days of Jesus: Palm Sunday from Crossway on Vimeo.

Relentless, Timeless, Death-Defying Love (A Post from my wife Ashley)

6-1-2007-18For those who grieve the loss of a person dearly loved and for those of you in the trenches of the war within as you watch your beloved fade away, you are not alone. You are not forsaken. You are loved.  Your devastation is perfectly understood and your sorrow entirely known by the One who gave you the gift of grief.  My weighted heart knows this well each Valentine’s Day. Seven years ago to the day, my family said goodbye to a man we loved. His name was Robert, but I just called him Peepaw. He had pancreatic cancer. His death was slow and imminent. He endured enormous pain and emotional turmoil. Two years of overcoming and struggling and grieving and hoping and wondering and knowing, and then he was gone. His death was so expected and still so sudden. After he died, I sat in a chair in the corner of the room in my grandparent’s house where he took his last breath and wrote for hours. If a thought entered my mind, my pencil etched it onto paper. The following is an excerpt from that time frame:

An empty bed.
Left alone, dented with the weight of a weary body now breathless
Heaving, gasping, now relaxed, still.
‘He’s gone,’ I say to myself. ‘He’s gone. No more pain. No more sorrows. He’s gone.’
But just like the impression on this bed, he lingers here.
How long will it be before the foam he struggled then rested on regains its former straightness?
How long until his presence is removed from here?
Creases in the foam and a deep, deep indention give testament to the event now over.
Funny, this room has housed so many in recent days, and now…nothing. No one enters in.
Everyone passes the door as though nothing of significance has ever graced the walls inside.
It is now just a room like all the others in this house. Just a room where someday soon people will come filled with laughter, and sleep.
Children will run in and out of this door as they did many years ago with no knowledge of what moments it has held.
It is just a room. It is just a bed. He was just a man.
And now he has found his fulfillment sitting at the feet of a merciful Savior.

His body sleeps. His spirit soars.

I think I will grieve the most when the weight of his body has left this bed. No one will ever again cause a shape of this likeness to appear.
It was his and his alone, and He is gone.

I still see him. He exists in my firstborn’s wit and my second son’s eyes. His mischievous nature seeps out of my youngest son’s very pores. I hear his voice in my daughter’s laughter. The smell of a wood burning fire brings a rush of memories of a dimly lit den, a bowl full of nuts, and his hands cracking their shells. I cry over ribbon candy. I haven’t set foot in a Golden Corral in 7 years because, trust me, no one wants to see me standing over a metal container full of the hominy he loved blubbering. Cracker jacks and circuses and cotton candy and silly jokes about blue elephants are weightier subjects to me now than they once were.

Valentine’s Day is now a day where love is displayed most prominently in grief. I loved him then. I love him still. I suspect I shall love him always. Love is like that. Relentless, Timeless, Death-defying. Grief is too. It changes as weeks and months and years pass, but it lingers always. Had I loved him less, so too would I have had less loss to grieve.

And grieve I did. And grieve I still do. Every Valentine’s Day, I am met with the same reality.

He is gone.

But my grief does not linger alone. Hope meanders beside sorrow and love binds the two together inseparably. I am not alone in my struggle either. The Lord grieves with me in my loss. He weaves His everlasting love and the Hope of an eternity of peace and joy into my grief in ways only He can.  They are bound together. I grieve the loss, and rejoice in the hope.

The Lord loves me the same as I love Peepaw, more so even; and I am utterly grateful for that fact. He loves you too. Relentlessly, Timelessly, Defying Death…he loves you.

Living on Mission Resources

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This Sunday as we studied Acts chapter 2, I mentioned two resources that have helped me to connect to the mission of God among the nations.

The first resource is a book by John Piper called Let the Nations be Glad.   This book presents a compelling case for our full involvement in the worldwide mission of God, and I highly recommend it to you. Check out the video below to hear from Dr. Piper on this important resource.

The second resource is a prayer book called Operation World.  Organized by date, this book gives you a clear picture of the realities and status of global evangelization, and provides you with all the necessary information to know how to pray for particular peoples across the world.

One free resource that I didn’t mention on Sunday is the Joshua Project website at www.joshuaproject.net.  This website provides up-to-date information about the gospel in all the nations.

Do you have any resources that you would add to this list?