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The Lord of the Sabbath

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On Sunday, September 3, 2017, Pastor Ed Allen talked with us about Rest, using the passage in Luke 6:1-11.

The Pharisees were the sort of people who geeked out about exactly how to get their behavior right. 

This encounter is different than some of Jesus' other encounters with the Pharisees.  He does not say that the Sabbath isn't important.

Suburban Americans desperately need to have this conversation, because we have a dysfunctional relationship with rest.

Why do we need rest?

Work is very important; we are made for work.  We should work hard and with diligence.  It's God-honoring to be a top flight worker.

However, for almost all of us, work tends to dominate our lives in a way that is not God-honoring.

Welcome to the suburbs!  Our jobs are insecure.  We have to work crazy hours.  Because of technology, we can work everywhere.  We get our meaning from our work.

Ours is the first culture in history where you decide what you want to do and then your meaning rides on if you attain success.  The result is a dysfunctional relationship with work.

Workaholism is bad for relationships, health, and even work productivity.  But workaholics are driven to do so.  It feeds off our fears.

We are probably more in need of rest than any culture in the world.  The soul needs REM sleep.

Where do we find rest?

Jesus declares himself to be Lord of the Sabbath.

He's claiming to be God (which is why they want to kill him).  He's also claiming to be the source of rest.

A part of rest is that God was very satisfied with what He'd done.  He had nothing else to prove.

That's a problem for us.  How are we ever satisfied?

We need to tap into a source of rest that's real and reliable.  Rest begins with a connection with Jesus.  Our relationship with Him puts our hearts at rest.

How do we get rest?

We need to nurture our relationship with Jesus.

The Sabbath is for our benefit.  ("The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.")  Think about what God has for you rather than what God wants from you.  He is the source of rest.

The Sabbath isn't just a day off.  The point is to be benefited, to look to Jesus, and to do good.

Challenge:  Make it a goal to take a Sabbath every week.

Spend some of that time contemplatively.

Spend some of that time avocationally.  Have fun!

Be inactive.

Rely exclusively on your Maker.

We do need rest - more than any people in history.  It doesn't come easy.  But it's worth it!

Authentic: Let's Be Real. God Knows Anyway.

On Sunday, August 27, 2017, we met for the second time in our new facility!  (My first time!)  We had a new sound system and a beautiful experience of worshiping together.

Pastor Ed Allen preached about Authenticity, laying a priority before we invite the public for real.

His text was Jeremiah 20:7-18, where Jeremiah doesn't hold back in telling what he's feeling.  There's a place in the church for real people.

People who aren't in a good place - are at least in good company.

Jeremiah's saying that God has used him and tossed him aside.  He was the only person preaching an unpopular message, and he preached it for years - but nothing happened.  He looked like an idiot.

How did God's prophet get to this place?  Jeremiah was just like us.

When finite people relate to an infinite God, it is inevitable that we will get some things wrong.

We often respond badly to what happens when we do what God wants.  God doesn't make a deal that everything will go as we want it to.  In the short run, we'll get some challenges even as we do what's right.

When this happens to Jeremiah, he gets very, very honest.

Some of us may have thought we couldn't get upset with God.  This is not true!  Treating our disappointment as if it's shameful is not the right response.  Being upset isn't good or bad - It's inevitable.

Faithfulness is not expressed by denying our disappointment, but by persevering through it.

Jeremiah wants to quit, but he can't.  (verse 9)

A genuine encounter with God cannot be denied; it must be expressed.

Faith that can be denied is not genuine.

There's emotional whiplash in verses 11-13 with praise, followed by deep despair in verses 14-18.  Jeremiah put these together intentionally.  This is authentic faith, not flat and fake.

Some takeaways:

Faith is messy, hard, and often jerky.

We aren't the kind of people who always smile and pretend.  We're also not the kind of people who quit.

Faith isn't a neat ride for others, either.

This is a place for people who are a mess.  This is a place for Jeremiah 20, for people who question and doubt and don't have it all together.  All of us are sick, and we're all welcome.  It's not our job to look good.

Suggestions for Protecting Authenticity:

1)  Linger over life's tough questions.

Don't run too quickly to easy answers.  Jesus forced people to linger over questions.

2)  Press into your emotional pain.

This is the exact opposite response from how we train ourselves.  When hurt happens, don't be afraid to ask God why it hurts so much.

3)  Listen to your critics.

They're never always right and never always wrong.

4)  Express what's real to God's people.

James 5:16 - Talk about the mess and pray for each other!  Get yourself prayed for!

Our goal is to be real and to persevere.

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