Sabbath Days Are a Joke!

“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”  Exodus 20:8-11

The passage goes on to prescribe rest, cessation from work, and family dynamics as key components to keeping this commandment.

So why is it most youth workers start their Sunday breaking this commandment before they even get out of bed?!

What most consider a Sabbath is, for obvious reasons, a work day for every pastor on the planet.  And even when another day is identified as a potential day off, the Sabbath portion of that moment is often derailed by responsibilities that have been necessarily avoided throughout the week.  Lawns still have to get mowed.  Groceries still need to be purchased.  Houses must still be cleaned.

Over time, I’ve recognized that a full day of Sabbath simply doesn’t exist in my life.  The best way I can honor the commandment while still keeping my head above water with all the other responsibilities I shoulder is by finding Sabbath moments and fighting for them with all my might.  Here are a few I have identified in my life.  What might yours be?

Our family attends worship together.  No matter what.  Katie and the boys don’t schedule volunteer opportunities during that time.  I make every attempt to keep my ‘official’ responsibilities to a minimum during that time.  (Sometimes that means joining my family late or leaving service early, but I’m still there!)  Before our church had multiple services, it meant having someone else kick things off in the youth room while I spent a song or two in the worship service with my wife and kids.  It’s a Sabbath moment.

I guard potty time.  No lie.  It’s not typically that difficult since my family doesn’t want to participate in that activity with me, usually.  It’s a guaranteed moment of privacy that virtually insures some uninterrupted time with Jesus (because he doesn’t mind sharing that time with me!)  It’s a Sabbath moment.

I lose myself in car worship.  My typical commute to work is less than 20 minutes.  I try not to engage in calendar assessment, practice runs at phone calls, or writing virtual e-mails in my head.  I’ll have to do all that soon enough – and trying to complete it in my car is futile since I’ll have to repeat most of it ‘in real life’ when I get to the office anyway.  So I’m the guy belting it out at the red light that you and your family are probably making fun of on any given day.  It’s a Sabbath moment.

I sit someplace weird.  By that, I mean I don’t stay chained to my desk the entire week. I’ll hang out in the student center.  I’ll office from a local coffee shop for a few hours one morning.  No lie – once it was in the coat closet in the lobby of the worship center.  I sit somewhere that forces my brain and heart to disengage from ‘tasks’ for a few minutes. It’s a Sabbath moment.

There’s an attitude of Sabbath that supersedes the hands of the clock.  So whether you can find 24 hours or just 24 minutes – find them.  Sabbath matters.  It was important enough to make it to the tablets.  Make it important enough to land on your calendar somewhere.

 

For more tips on how to manage a hectic life, check out the all-new youthministry.com this week!

 

 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 2015

I do know this: 2014 existed to get me to 2015. And while I may not understand every step, I see so very clearly the hand of God. And it’s funny….how in the midst of it, we might not even be sure God is noticing. But He’s orchestrating every step.

2014 has been an adventure, to say the least!  The beginning could never have predicted the end!

My eldest graduated from high school and moved away to college.  After nearly three years of un or under employment, God opened the right door for us.  We moved our entire family from Texas to Arizona.  I fell into a writing opportunity for a little movie called God’s Not Dead, which has led to some other amazing prospects. And probably about 126 other things I could recount if I journaled.  But I don’t.  So there you have it.

“What’s so funny about that?’, you ask?

brick wallSomewhere in the past 10 years, I lost my way.  Lost myself.  Forgot who and whose I am.  I think maybe life does that to you over time.  I began to equate my self, my soul, with what I do…not who I am.  Consequently, when I no longer ‘was’, I had no idea who I ‘am’.  And it was a rough journey to struggle out from under that fallen brick wall – for me and for those around me.

And to be thoroughly honest, I’m still a little flattened.  But as I shake the dust off, tend the wounds left behind, and assess…I become so much more aware of how God – in the way only God does – has orchestrated every step to bring me to this very moment.

I still don’t understand all of 2014.  I haven’t yet discerned why it’s so hard to watch my boys grow up.  I’m puzzled at why the transition to a new church and a new state has seemed harder than I thought it would be when God is so very obviously ‘in it’.  I still don’t get HOAs or the allure of a gated community, though I completely understand it’s a lot nicer than a pool you have to mow!

I do know this: 2014 existed to get me to 2015.  And while I may not understand every step, I see so very clearly the hand of God.  And it’s funny….how in the midst of it, we might not even be sure God is noticing.  But He’s orchestrating every step.

I love it when He does that.  And I am excited to abandon pool-mowing for the foreseeable future!