Respecting Sabbath is an important part of our faith journey. I started on this journey not long ago. You can read my first blog post about Protecting Sabbath. I am still learning and as a family we are working to figure it out - what we are discovering is that it is a necessity.
In Exodus we see the first example of Sabbath rest - this is not a new idea. Sabbath is a lesson that was taught through Moses, we can read this in Exodus 31:12-14:
And the Lord said to Moses, "You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the Sabbath because it is holy for you.
The first example we see in Exodus is the gathering of manna, They were to gather twice as much on the 6th day so that the 7th day would be respected as holy Sabbath. This began the pattern of work, rest and trust.
6 days of work, a day of rest and trusting that the Lord will provide what we need. Our bodies are designed to work hard, to take time to rest and to trust in the truth of His word.
This is something that we are working to achieve as a family and as it says in Exodus "throughout your generations" which means that we must model this for our children.
After church one Sunday we all came home to change into our comfy clothes and settle in for the day - but my husband asks us to get in the vehicle because we are going for a drive. Even though I had a lot on my "to do" list and was ready with about 20 excuses of why I couldn't possibly take the time to go for a drive - I knew I just had to choose to be excited about his idea and get in the vehicle. Our teen daughters were not so sure but jumped in the back seat and with my camera in hand we started out.
We live in a beautiful Province, Saskatchewan just takes your breath away. The Prince Albert National Park is only an hour's drive from our home. I will never forget as we rounded the corner into the main town site - we looked out the window to see a bald eagle flying over the lake right beside us - it was like we were flying with it. We pulled over and stepped out to look over the cliff to the lake below - the wind whistling through the trees, the waves lapping the shore and the quiet peace brought tears to my eyes. The "to do" list will always be there, the laundry continues to pile up, there are always meals to prepare, groceries to buy and put away but our daughters are now teenagers. We only have a few years of this family unit as we know it left to enjoy.
We need to model Sabbath rest to our daughters and our souls desperately need it.
This elk that we found at Prince Albert National Park has Sabbath rest figured out. Sit back and enjoy the sunset - life passes by too quickly.
How will your family choose Sabbath rest?
I am just overflowing with emotions. I don't know if it is the change of seasons, the state of the world or the mid-40's - but I overly affected and emotional about the events going on around me.
Mentoring has always been something that is so heavy on my heart that it pains me to see opportunities lost and the pain and silent suffering of those who needed that interaction in their life.
A young man that I knew committed suicide in our community. This is becoming too common and is not something that is talked about. And that just makes me mad! I am sorry for this family and their loss and that this is the choice that he made, as well as the other families in the community who have lost a loved on this way. But we need to get our heads out of the sand and see that this is becoming a problem and we need to help our youth. Why are they even considering this as an option?
As I look at this trend in my community I wonder who are the people that are involved in their lives, who comes across their path that could make a difference? When given that nudge in our spirit to say a word of encouragement do we choose to make the effort or do we continue on with our busy schedules?
As I am being consciously aware of my responsibility as outlined in Titus 2, I am noticing more opportunities crossing my path daily! It makes me wonder how many opportunities I may have missed. As I looked at the picture of this young boy the thought kept running through my head, "What are we as the “church” doing?” I do not mean that big building on the corner I mean those of us who are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ doing in our daily lives?
Scripture tells us to become more Christ-like. I heard an interesting description from Matt Chandler from The Village Church as I was listening to a podcast. He was talking about when Jesus was instructing his disciples to go and make disciples. The word “go” in the context is passive. It means as you go about your day-to-day make disciples.
I see it the same with mentoring, as you go about your day be an example of Jesus Christ. The church doesn’t need another program, we as followers of Jesus need to actively live our lives for the greater good.
I see so much hurt in the lives of teen girls today. I often ask myself what I am doing about it? Am I living up to what God has instructed me in Titus 2? Do the young women today aspire to be women of God? Why or Why not?
I am asking myself a lot of questions that are burning on my mind these days - What I have been finding in my own life is that I am too busy. That I busy myself doing things with my family, with friends, work, etc. But I leave little to no room for opportunities to be a positive example in the life of someone that God has placed before me.
In order to fulfill our calling in Titus we all need to “make” the time and be open to any opportunity that sets itself in front of us. The word mentoring doesn’t always mean taking someone out for coffee once a week. A new term that is being used is “lifestyle mentoring” which is more of what I am thinking about. That we be open to sharing our lives with those that enter our path as we go about our day to day.
Take a few minutes today to read through Titus 2 and may you start to become aware to whatever opportunity may cross your path.
I often catch our daughters lost in thought. I am always running around with my camera, so they are used to me having it near by. That gives me the opportunity to capture moments not just pictures. I am so thankful that they feel the freedom to just stop life for a few moments to pause and think.
After I won the award for my book for teen girls I had a lot of speaking engagements. I would spend time in prayer seeking guidance as to what I needed to teach and asking for direction as to what does this particular group need to hear. I always heard the same "thing" and it was not the "thing" that I thought it should be. This "thing" was not even in my book!
What I continuously heard was: "Teach them to use the brains that I gave them." The voice I hear is usually pretty direct. He knows I respond/listen better that way. :)
As I started to research the topic I realized why I was being asked to help young people think. For years youth are told what to think - from home, from school, and yes, even from church. They are inundated with knowledge, generally presented in a way that leaves little room for interpretation or personal thoughts. That is dangerous and it explains a lot about what is happening to our generation of college and career aged young adults.
What I was being asked to do was to challenge their thinking. To break the mold of authoritarian teaching make them question their belief, to question their character, to question their teachers. Yes, I told them to question their teachers - I even told them to question their Pastors. Yes, I know I am wild and crazy. But it wasn't my idea, if you want to question me you actually need to question the people of Berea. Do you know them? I'll help you find them, they can be found in Acts 17:11.
Paul and Silas went to Berea, while there they taught in the Synagogue. Many Bereans came to hear them day after day and were interested in their message. After they openly listened to their message they searched the scriptures to see if they were teaching the truth!
When I came across this passage I got one of those big Aha! moments. What is the difference between the people of Berea and the people from Corinth, or the people in Ephesus, or the people of Thessalonica? Do you see where I am going with this? Of all the cities where Paul taught, the people of Berea were the only ones that did not have a letter written to them? Why is this significant?
The people of Corinth received two letters because they were surrounded with corruption and negative influence of the people around them, and often gave in to their way of living.
In Ephesus the people needed guidance in how to practically live a Christian life.
In another two letters to the church in Thessalonica, Paul wrote to encourage the people to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives and to stay clear of sexual sin.
What this teaches me is that if you honestly and actively seek to know and obey the truth, then indeed the Truth will set you free!
We have a choice to use the brain that God gave us. Let's finish with Paul's closing thoughts to the church in Philippi.
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4: 8
I love listening to podcasts, one of my favorites is from The Village Church. Matt Chandler has been on quite a journey over the last year and because of this I respect his teaching. Below you can read part of the podcast that I heard this morning from The Great Cause Part Two ~ The Reason (April 9, 2009)
The reason I wanted to include this portion is because in my years of working with teens and young adults I have had many discussions with parents about the subject Matt Chandler speaks about below. He has answered it better than I can, so please take the time to read it or if you want to hear it in entirety you can check out their website at: http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/sermons
This series has been kicking me in the butt, I am so thankful that I have taken the time to listen and search the scriptures.
When we’re alienated from our primary relationship, the one that we were created for, we’ll take our secondary relationships and try to roll them up to primary, and that makes things go really bad. Like women make horrible gods. Men make horrible gods. Children make even worse gods. And when you make your children your god, you get what I like to lovingly call the suburbs.
I’m going to say this, and it’s really hard. I’ve debated whether or not to say this, but I’m just going to say it. One of the things that we’ve picked up on in the last year is we’ve had several parents come to us and go, “Oh, I just don’t know what happened to my kid. We raised him right, and now he’s off in college, he doesn’t want anything to do with God, he’s not going to church, he’s hitting the party scene.”
And then here’s the thing that’s just baffling to me. You trained him that way. You showed him by your life and by your decisions that church and the pursuit of holy things are secondary to his ability to play whatever sport you drove him all over God’s green earth to play, whatever talent you tried to cultivate in him.
I’ll give you another example. When you elevate your family and make your family primary, then you are forced to judge your family by other families. So you have to be further along or at least equal to them. If your family is ultimate, then you’ve got to protect that. That way, you’re in a competition with Billy down the street. God knows he can hit a curve ball and your kid can’t walk and chew gum. So you’ve got to sign him up for a thousand different camps and drive him all over. And all of a sudden, raising kids becomes some sort of competitive sport, not for their good but for your good.
Now listen, I don’t have a problem with soccer. Soccer’s a great game. I’m just saying you’re a fool if you think the words out of your mouth are more powerful than the precedent you’re setting with your life. My three year old already spots my hypocrisy. So do you really believe that because you tell them with your mouth how important God and the community of faith is but with your life you can live contrary to that, they’re going to do what you say and not what you do? They’re going to pick up your idolatry. This is what happens. This is what sin does. And then it rolls out. Like if my nation is ultimate. If the USA is ultimate, does that not force me to look down upon other nations, nationalities and cultures? It absolutely does. If we’re the best, if we’re ultimate, then that means that everyone else is secondary. And that’s not too far away from racism. If you put anything else as ultimate, things start to break down. War happens because of sin, genocide happens because of sin, the problem in the Middle East is sin, the problem in the West, what happened to the economy was sin, what happened in a failed marriage is sin. Why everything is breaking down is sin. Greed blew up the economy. It was unabashed, unashamed, wicked greed. And some of you keep waiting for the day of enlightenment. It’s not coming.
Do you know how many Africans die diarrhea? Hundreds of thousands. I can go to the 7-11 and pay $1.50 for the medicine that would save them. So why can’t we get it to them? Because there’s no money involved. Because if we can’t figure out how to make money off of it, we don’t do it. So with all of our progression in education, in technology, in research, in medicine, in funding, sin still pervades and wrecks it all. And the sin predominant in all of us is just absolute indifference. “That’s not my problem. I can go to the store.”
So this is the bad news – you’re broken, I’m broken, everyone’s broken, and this infects every relationship, every interaction and every domain of society. And then here’s the bad news on top of the bad news. We can’t do anything to fix it. Even if you try to be a better person, you’re just perpetuating the actual problem. “So what are you saying, Chandler? That we’re all doomed to hell?” That’s exactly what I’m saying. . .unless God somehow intervenes. But it’s complicated, because He can’t just forgive us because
then He wouldn’t be just. So look here back in Ephesians 2. We’ll pick it up in verse 3 “...among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
© 2009 The Village Church
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