Dear Church Family,

It was a sweet reunion yesterday; I loved hearing your voices praise our Almighty Creator and King.

(Feel free to read through the reflection from my second month of sabbatical…)

Also, here’s a quick meditation and word of encouragement. As many of us are preparing for the relaunch of fall schooling, ministries, and activities, I can’t express enough how important it is to rest in the Lord. The world in which we live is loud, fast, and full. And when we supposedly “take a break,” we exercise or play a game. God designed human beings, not human doings; we were not made for constant activity. So, as your fall schedule fills up, please consider two things:

#1: Put in 4 breaks in your day to call yourself and your family to rest. 

   The morning break: Begin your day pausing in silence before the LORD in Word and prayer. Turn off your phone or leave it in a room away. I know some of you have the Bible on your phone so at least put your phone on airplane mode so you can be free of outside contact. Start with 5 minutes and see if you can grow it to 15 or 50 minutes.

   The mid-day break: Take 3-7 minutes to pause, pray, confess sin, and seek God’s strength for the rest of the day. 

   The early evening break: Set aside an hour each evening where everyone in your household disconnects from phone and media. Talk to each other; eat together; sit in silence; read a book; meditate on the Word. 

   The bedtime break: Before you close your eyes, take some final minutes to pray through the past 24 hours and for the next 24 hours. For what can you be thankful? Where did you see God? What matters need to be confessed? How do you want God to join you in the day ahead? Google St. Ignatius’ “Prayer of Examen” to see a 500 year old practice for the close of day.

#2: Prioritize Sabbath

   Under the Old Covenant, breaking the Sabbath would bring pain of death. In Christ, the Sabbath command is fulfilled. Christ is our rest. Christians do not have to Sabbath in order to be saved; this is probably one of the reasons early Christians focused their worship on the Lord’s Resurrection Day (i.e. Sunday). Still even in the paradise of Eden, God set aside a holy day for Sabbath. That should tell our still, not-fully-sanctified-selves that Sabbath is not optional for health and holiness. God’s commands are not burdensome. Sabbath was made for man. So, set apart 24 hours each week for remembering your Creator and worshipping your Redeemer. Practically for most people that might be from 5PM Saturday to 5PM Sunday or from dawn on Sunday to dawn on Monday. Challenge your family to postpone work, skip practices and games, consider how you can help those most in need (see Isa. 58), and be still before the Lord. 

Stumbling with you in faith,

Pastor Matt

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