God put the Sabbath there for a reason -- use it
I have been wondering lately, "Where did the first half of 2013 go?"
If you are like me, we can get so wrapped up in our busy lives it feels like we are on a carousel spinning faster and faster -- we can't stop it, and we can't even slow it down enough to get off.
This summer at our church, we have been preaching through the Ten Commandments. One of God's commandments is the remedy for our all-too-busy lives. The only problem is most people I know, including pastors, disobey this commandment religiously.
"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 ... 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 (NIV)
It's interesting to me God has more to say about taking a day off than he does about either murder or adultery. This is the longest of the Ten Commandments. It's as if God is saying, "I want you to take this serious; this is not a suggestion. I am commanding you to remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy."
The Sabbath was a day set aside for rest and worship. God commanded a Sabbath because human beings need to spend unhurried time in worship and rest each week. Isn't it wonderful our God considers us important enough to provide a day each week for us to rest? In turn, observing a regular time of rest and worship in our fast-paced world demonstrates how important God is to us, and it gives us the extra benefit of refreshing our spirits.
The purpose of the Sabbath is to promote balance and prevent burnout in your life. Every seven days, you need to get physically, emotionally and spiritually recharged because your batteries run down. So God says, "I'm doing this for your benefit." The Sabbath is the antidote to burnout, the prevention against the stress-filled world we live in.
In the beginning, when God created the world, he took six days to create the world and on the seventh he rested.
Was God tired? No, God does not get tired. So why did God rest on the seventh day? He was modeling something God says is an important principal of life -- every seven days, you take a day off.
In American culture, Sunday historically has been a day for two things: church and family. God wants you to plan some special time with your family, to do things with them that draw your family together.
At Celebration Community Church, we are committed to strengthening families. That is one of the reasons we offer a variety of service times, so on the weekend, you can enjoy family time and still find a church service that works for you. You need time with family, but you also need time with other believers. We draw strength from being together.
"Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, instead let us encourage one another." Hebrews 10:25
When we get together, we encourage each other. That's why David says in Psalm 122: "I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the House of the Lord."
He said he looked forward to worshipping with his church. Why? There's a rejuvenation that comes by getting together with other believers.
It's tough being a believer out there in the world. We need each other to encourage and uplift each other and inspire each other and challenge each other. We truly are "better together."
Many times people have said to me, "I wasn't going to come to services today. I was so tired, I didn't feel good, or I had so much work to catch up on, and I thought, I just don't have time to go to church. But I decided to go anyway, and I'm sure glad I did."
Have you ever felt that way? You get rejuvenated, recharged, renewed by being around other faithful people. Don't neglect God's provision. As we look forward to the second half of this year, take time off each day to honor God with some time spent with him. And one day each week, set aside your work and offer the day up to God in spiritual worship -- replenishing of your soul and spirit with others who are committed to God and his word.
Kyle Ermoian is founding pastor at Celebration Community Church.