Practicing Sabbath, much like prayer or reading the Bible, doesn’t save us. We are saved by Jesus alone. But if we are not routinely reading Scripture or praying, it is unlikely we are growing much spiritually. Keeping Sabbath is a core spiritual practice – an essential means God uses to slow us down and mature us. In this podcast, I expound on ten core reasons Sabbath is so indispensable for us who lead in Jesus’ name: Sabbath is something God did, and being made in his image, we are created to do it as well. Sabbath was built into the DNA of the creation. Sabbath time is set apart as “holy” within God’s creation of a 7-day week. Sabbath helps us embrace our humanity, vulnerability, limits and finiteness. Sabbath protects us from doing violence to ourselves. It doesn’t save our souls, but it saves our lives. Sabbath reminds us God’s world is good, offering. Read more.
I am fragile. When I get out of my rhythms of being with God, I am dangerous. I make unwise decisions; I over-function; I cross boundaries; I fail to be present to those I love; I become anxious; I rush. In fact, the finding of God’s rhythms for my life, and living them, is a matter of life and death – for me and for those I serve. And I am not alone. We are all fragile. This podcast is an invitation to get deeply anchored by deliberately structuring your life in ancient spiritual practices that have stood the test of time. In particular, I focus on the revolutionary practice of Sabbath-keeping and God’s invitation for us to stop and rest for a 24-hour period each week. This inevitably leads to many new insights about God and ourselves. As one person wrote: “Tell me one thing that is productive or efficient about it? The. Read more.
I am a great lover of books. I am also a believer that reading broadly and deeply is foundational if we are to offer good leadership in a rapidly changing and global context. Reading offers unique opportunities for us to grow, expand into worlds beyond our own, and to be mentored by people we will never meet. Here are my top 10 books from the last six months that you may want to consider adding to your list: 1. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis – Robert D. Putnam Putnam, a Harvard social scientist, has written a classic that I believe is a “must read” for church leadership teams. He explores in penetrating detail how rich and poor Americans are now living, learning, and raising children in increasingly separate and unequal worlds. Moreover, he shows convincingly that we are facing a crisis in that kids from privileged backgrounds are starting and finishing further and further. Read more.
Vacations offer a unique opportunity to integrate and apply our theology. But like all areas of discipleship (e.g. relationships, sexuality, work, singleness, marriage, retirement, money), this requires intentionality. Otherwise, we fall into the pattern of doing vacations like our family of origin or the wider culture. Each of us comes into vacations differently. Some of us, for example, have small children, aging parents, a special needs child, or severe financial constraints. Moreover, each of us has a specific temperament, personality, and set of passions. Last year, I wrote a blog entitled Turning Your Vacations into Sabbaticals, applying the principles of weekly Sabbaths to our vacations. Here I want to offer you five words, or principles, that have helped Geri and I structure our “vacations” each year: Prayer. This is so obvious that we easily miss it! Take time to be still before the Lord and listen (Ps 37:7). You may be surprised. Thoughtfulness. Wise. Read more.
A world without a Sabbath would be like a man without a smile, like a summer without flowers, and like a homestead without a garden. – Henry Ward Beecher Every country in the world has public holidays – from the Chinese New Year to Brazil’s Carnaval to India’s Vasanta (or Basant). This coming Monday in the United States, we celebrate Memorial Day, remembering those who died while serving our armed forces. Yet I believe God desires that we receive particular gifts from Him that emerge in these “extra” Sabbatical days. God wired us for a weekly rhythm of Sabbath rest for a 24-hour period. He also wired us for longer Sabbath stretches of time for rest. We observe this in the way He built into the life of Israel Sabbatical weeks and even Sabbatical years. God knew that if Israel were to be true to her calling and purpose, they would need more than. Read more.
God invites us not only to rest from our work, but also to work from our rest. That is, perhaps, nowhere more crucial than in preaching. The question is how do we preach from a place of Sabbath rest, i.e. how do we carry over the riches of Sabbath (to stop, rest, delight, and contemplate God for a 24-hour period) into our work of preaching. The following are a few points to consider: Say No to Perfectionism. Sabbath is first and foremost a day of “stopping” – even with our to-do lists unfinished. We embrace our limits. And we trust God. Sermons are never finished. Regardless of our preparation, when we step up to preach, we do so in faith. I have never preached a perfect sermon. Even my best sermons remain incomplete. God reserves perfection for Himself. While I believe we need to prepare well, it never exempts us from the hard work. Read more.