Sabbath – Identity and the Fourth Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:8 – 11 Work is not a curse, it a part of the image of God we bear. For the first man and woman in the garden, work was an expression of their communion with the Creator. Part of the reflection of his glory to the world. But for a people who were in the midst of exiting slavery, work would not have felt like a gift or a product of design, but rather a death sentence. So, God reminded the Israelites that He set the standard for work. In the days of creation. Then He introduced Sabbath, a day of rest that would have been startling to a person who had spent their entire life in slavery. God created the rhythm of work and rest. Yet, in the garden, at the fulcrum event of the Fall, mankind’s relationship with work changed. Rather than responding, the creation was not going to fight back. There was going to be pain and toil. Mankind was also going to look to work...

The Empty Inner Circle

Note: This is a post originally from my writing blog from 2010, when I was coming to understand what an identity in Christ meant. My wife and I were learning what it meant to develop a healthy marriage, one not based on each other’s performance but on our relationship with Christ. At this time I was beginning to discern how God was going to use my experience to help others. ————————————————— One of the things that I think God is directing me toward is working with church staffs. This is probably a long range plan, but I feel like I have learned an amazing amount about leadership and relationship systems that can be of help to those who maybe have not stepped back to examine themselves, their position in the leadership structure, and the stresses they endure and cause. So just one element that I have to offer is a relational systems evaluation. My first question would be for each staff member/leader to tell me about their closest relationships. The quality of our inner circle relationships is a key foundation for successfully enduring the unique rigors of church leadership and pastoring. We need connection. An outlet. Support and comfort. Sadly, by the time all was said and done with regard to the collapse of my world, my inner circle was completely empty and that hastened the fall. Some of the emptying was done for me. My wife and I had no connection. She had distanced herself from me and I had stopped trying. The person in the world that I would want to describe as my best friend, my...

The Empty Inner Circle

I help church leaders avoid the pitfalls of spiritual leadership. Overwhelmingly, pastors feel isolated, overworked, unappreciated, and consumed by their role in the church.The quality of our inner circle relationships is a key foundation for successfully enduring the unique rigors of church leadership and pastoring. We need connection. An outlet. Support and comfort. Sadly, by the time all was said and done with regard to the collapse of my world, my inner circle was completely empty and that hastened the fall.Some of the emptying was done for me. My wife and I had no connection. She had distanced herself from me and I had stopped trying. The person in the world that I would want to describe as my best friend, my supporter through thick and thin, was instead the person that I felt the most distance with. Rather than being able to offer support and guidance through the crests and troughs of ministry, my sharing sounded more and more like whining filling her with bitterness and resentment toward my job. This resentment was compounded by the fact that it was to my job that I turned more and more of my attention as the distance between us became greater.Most of the empty inner circle was because of me. Pride is my root sin. In my relationships that expresses itself as a fear of rejection. A fear that if someone knew the real me, my real struggles, the real condition of parts of my life then they would certainly reject me. So I wore my “I’m fine” mask. Acted like everything was great all the time. If questions were...

Gain Perspective. Live Well.

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