Tag: rest

Reviving Your Soul

During the school year, our College Ministry, and thus my life, runs very fast and reaches very wide, so we welcome summer with open arms. And, though our lives remain full with family, events and work, the change of pace grants us an opportunity. Rather than going wide, as I do in the school year, I’m learning to use my summertime to go deep.

FOR ME, AND I WOULD ARGUE FOR ALL OF US, THE REFRESHMENT THAT IS NEEDED IS FOUND IN THE SCRIPTURES – THE LIVING, ACTIVE, TRANSFORMATIVE WORD OF GOD.

In fact, Psalm 19:7 states the Word, “revives the soul.” I know in order to feel revived, and prepared and expectant for what the fall will bring, I need to spend these summer months meditating on and soaking in the Word of God. I need God to take me to a deeper place with Him, and my starting point will always be His Word.

Recently, I was at an event and one of the speakers told us that there are three lies we are consistently tempted to believe:

THREE LIES THAT WE ARE CONSISTENTLY TEMPTED TO BELIEVE:

  • 1. I am what I have.
  • 2. I am what I do.
  • 3. I am what others say about me.

As I listened to him explain these lies, the second point, “I am what I do” sounded most familiar to me. I sometimes believe my identity lies in what I do, what I produce. Therefore, if my “doing” is off, my identity is off. I’ve been trying to wrestle that lie by going to the Scriptures that speak about my identity, what God says about me as His creation, His son and a member of His body.

FOR YOU, IT MAY BE A DIFFERENT LIE, BUT MY ENCOURAGEMENT IS THE SAME – GO TO THE WORD OF GOD FOR HIS TRUTH.

One method I have found especially helpful to me is to spend a lot of time on short passages, instead of trying to read large chunks of Scripture at one time, and I wanted to share it with you.

It’s very simple. Take a few verses, or one verse, and read them three or four times in their entirety. Then, begin to take apart the verse one phrase or even one word at a time, so you can focus on the meaning and allow God to speak to you.

As an example, let’s look at Psalm 46:10:

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Take each piece and meditate on whatever it is that God leads you to think about because of that phrase.

BE STILL…

  • Sometimes that’s hard for me, but here I feel God saying, “You don’t have to DO what you think you need to do. Just be still.” Be. Still. No distraction. No busyness. No agenda. No solving the day’s issues. Be still.

…AND KNOW…

  • Know. Really believe. Trust deeply. I can know by faith and I can know by experience. I want to fully KNOW.

…THAT I…

  • Not me, but God. Every time I feel the pressure of life or the weight of the world. It’s really up to God. He lifts those burdens.

…AM GOD…

  • Powerful. Worthy. Glorious. Good. Capable. Kind. Merciful. Abounding in love. Just. Righteous. God’s character is unchanging and who He is is more than enough for us.

…I WILL BE EXALTED…

  • Above every other name. Above every lie. Above every circumstance. He will be exalted. Not He might, or He wants to be exalted…He will be exalted.

…AMONG THE NATIONS…

  • Every person on the planet will give Him glory. He is there among the unreached, even now.

…IN THE EARTH.

  • Everywhere. In all of His creation, He will reign. By all of His creation, He will be praised.

IN RESPONSE:

I encourage you to really stretch yourself during this exercise. Stay a little longer than is comfortable. Let God speak to you as you give Him more space, and keep record of your revelations. Share them with friends and family. Do this exercise as a family for morning devotions. Challenge yourself to go deeper in the Scriptures and I think you’ll find, as I have, that His Word is not only true and good, but it is a direct path to God Himself. And I’m wanting to find Him more than ever.

By Carl Gulley – College Pastor

Tired of Being Tired

Have you ever woken up from eight hours of solid sleep and felt like you barely closed your eyes? Is your schedule so full you don’t have time to take a break? If you were given an entire day to rest would you be completely clueless on what to do with it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I believe you’ll enjoy some encouragement below for how to find rest in the midst of a busy life.

Rachel and I currently find it pretty easy to get to the place of being tired of being tired. We have two kids under two, a full time ministry role and are responsible for running two businesses, one of which is a new venture. Even if we knew what eight hours of sleep felt like I imagine we’d still find ourselves pretty worn out from the grind of roles, responsibilities and just plain life. And I realize more than ever, as a pastor of young adults in their 20s and 30s, we are not alone in having incredibly busy schedules. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard the phrase, “I’m just so busy” in the past year I would have roughly two to three dollars. That’s a lot of busy pennies if you ask me.

Yet if I’m completely honest with myself I would have to say, as crazy as it may seem, I really enjoy being busy. Not the busybody kind of busy, but I enjoy coming home after a long day where I look back at checklists checked, meetings met and a solid day worked. Now before you rebuke me for being a workaholic, let me point you to a solid passage of truth that dates back to the beginning of time:

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” -Genesis 2:15

What does this mean? It means before the fall, before sin entered the world, in a time when the original design of God was still present and active, God gave man a job. And He gave man a job because WE ARE MADE TO WORK.

Most importantly we are made to enter his work.

That’s right I said it. You can say goodbye to guilty feelings every time you feel good when you work hard because you, my friend, are made to work.

So why is it, if we’re made to work we are so tired of being tired? Why does true rest seem so elusive?

I believe the answer to these questions have less to do with your hours of sleep and more to do with your failure to plan your rest.

Our time is like our money. If we don’t tell it where to go we will wonder where it went. If we, as a busy culture, don’t take time to proactively and intentionally schedule periodic rest, we will unknowingly blow past the God given boundary of balancing rest and work, and therefore will leave His work and enter our work, a place where rest can never be found.

As crazy as Rachel and my schedules are these days, I can confidently say we have developed disciplines of rest to help us stay afloat.

There’s not a special formula we discovered, simply rhythms of planning to rest.

So let’s get to the good stuff… how do we proactively plan to enter HIS rest? I’m going to give you three practicals that have been essential for Rachel and I. Failing to plan is planning to fail. So let’s help you come up with a plan.

Three Ways to Maintain a Lifestyle of Rest:
  • 1. Rest Daily: Every day Rachel and I do our very best to plan to be in bed at 10 p.m. so that we can wake up early enough to spend time time with Jesus, exercise and have a moment together praying as a couple. During these times we will often mention how thankful we are for certain areas of our life. It may seem basic, because it is basic. But it’s the little routines of daily rest that keep us on the right track. This helps us enter our day rested physically, emotionally and spiritually.“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28
  • 2. Withdraw Quarterly: Once every three months Rachel and I schedule a half-day to reflect and plan ahead. During our time of reflection we often spend an hour in worship and, out-loud, tell Jesus and each other things we’re thankful for. Then we look at our roles and responsibilities (I highly recommend using Jimmy’s Roles and Goals sheet) and determine what we’re going to keep and what we’re going to toss from our schedule. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” -Luke 5:16
  • 3. Retreat Annually: Once a year Rachel and I set aside a weekend to retreat as a family. This is a time for us to get out of town for 2-3 days to get words for the year, spend time together as a family and look forward to the next year. Many times I have found it helpful to do this during December or early January so we begin the new year in stride. “With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the LORD: “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.” -Ezra 3:11

A few months back I felt the Lord leading me to invite our Young Adults into a month of rest.

The month of July has therefore been officially declared, The Month of Rest.

Our Lifegroups have been postponed, Bridge Street cancelled and meetings cleared, all to encourage our people to take some time to withdraw and retreat with the Lord and with community. Over these next few weeks I’ll continue to share some practicals as well as look at the Bible to learn how we can rest well.

Check out my June Bridge Street Message on rest.
By Luke Whyte, Young Adult Pastor

luke whyte final

How to Implement Rest in Your Life

“…and on the seventh day God created rest” (Genesis 2:2).

Old Jewish tradition holds that God actually did create something on the seventh day, He created rest. Our idea of rest finds its Scriptural foundation in Genesis 2:2-3:

“By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.”

We see here the priority God gives rest as this is the first time in the Bible God ever calls anything “holy.”

It’s amazing that even before declaring Himself holy, God declares that a day for rest is a holy thing.

Rest is a provision of God for mankind and a vital component to our ability to prosper. Without rest we not only cease to flourish, but will eventually die; emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. Work is an important part of our lives, and while faith without works is dead, it is also true that works without rest is deadly- I learned this first hand growing up on a ranch. My dad knew how to work, but he didn’t know how to relax or rest. I watched him stress and toil his entire life until the day he chose to end it.

I have a memory of a conversation with my father that took place some years prior to his suicide. He told me one day as we were out tending the cattle; “I don’t have a ranch, a ranch has me.” The difficult thing about life on the ranch was that everywhere you looked you saw work that needed done. This is true in most of our lives.

The bottom line is that rest must be chosen and rest requires faith.

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10-11).

The Hebrew word for “still” means to abate, to cease; literally to relax or drop the hands.

It requires faith to be still.

Can I sit at His feet and believe He will be exalted? Can I pause and acknowledge that He is with me? When I finally drop my hands I will finally experience the full grace given me by Christ’ outstretched crucified hands. The revelation that God is my fortress will come as I put down my hammer and stop building my own.

Jesus calls us to rest. In Mark 6:30-32, we find Jesus encouraging His disciples to get away and rest. Jesus’ most famous call to rest can be found in Matthew 11:28:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (The Message).

But how can we be proactive and practical in implementing rest in our lives?

The only way is we must schedule rests into our calendars before they fill up. Rest must not be an afterthought. Consider the following as you take steps to begin implementing rest:

  • Daily: Prioritize time alone with God. Reduce time killers in your life (social media, TV, etc.)
  • Weekly: Take at least one full day to rest, a half day if this isn’t possible.  Don’t play so hard on days off that you are wiped out.
  • Monthly: Take a personal retreat day to look back and look ahead. Give God the opportunity to recalibrate your internal compass and make course corrections in your life.
  • Yearly: Make the most of holidays and vacations. Americans tend to drive too far and run too fast during breaks and don’t get the real downtime their bodies, minds and souls need.

Our work begins with acknowledging God’s worth and God’s work. The “Come to me” must precede the “Go ye” or else all our going and doing will bear more futility than fruit. Take Jesus up on His Matthew 11:28 challenge and soon you will truly  “recover your life.”

By Todd Meek