Find & Keep the Sabbath

find-and-keep-the-sabbath
I came across a training today about all the things kidmin leaders Google. Yes, as kidmin leaders, what we Google and especially what we buy at Walmart can be hilarious. And there are numerous skills we can hone in our craft of working with children and families. But the area I find most leaders struggling in does not have anything to do with small group leaders, finding resources, storytelling, or VBS – it has to do with their own relationship with God.
I had to come to grips with this failure personally. Several years ago I realized I was actually far from God. I became so caught up in getting better at leading in children’s ministry that I faltered in spending time with God. I read the Bible only to prepare lessons or write curriculum. I worshipped only when picking out songs for the weekend. I prayed only in required settings with church staff groups or before volunteer trainings. But most of all, I did not obey the Sabbath. I never took a day off. I never took a 24 hour period of rest during the week.
From conversations with children’s ministry leaders everywhere, my guess is that 90% do not take a Sabbath (the percentage of leaders who do not attend church regularly is even higher). It was the combined influence of my boss Randy Isola and our senior pastor Jim Nicodem who taught me to treat the Sabbath as holy. And it has made an incredible difference in my relationship with God and my effectiveness in ministry.
I love this quote from Marcia Lebhar:
Sabbath still matters and we need the challenge it offers against impatience and idolatry. We need the practiced dependence it requires. And we need rest! We need God! And most of the time we are moving too fast to answer his call to be with him. This is the silver lining of the Sabbath cloud…the profound security of his presence…stopping long enough to remember how much he loves us. These help us to wait in larger ways.
Paul writes the short letter to Philemon I have often skipped over. But this 25 verse letter emphasizes Paul’s love for God and others. He uses words like:
“I always thank my God…”
“Your love has given my great joy…”
“I appeal to you on the basis of love…”
“I am sending him – who is my very heart – back to you…”
Paul stopped long enough to remember how much God loved him, Philemon, and the church that met in Philemon’s home. I know Paul was in prison at the time, but even so – the rhythm of Paul’s life was not bound by the rules of Rome but by meeting with God. You and I could cultivate this same heart. And along those lines we can say no to silly things that might waste our time so we can focus on knowing God deeply and sharing Him richly with the children and families we are called to serve. Find Sabbath and celebrate it (and don’t Google how to do it – I’ve come up with some really simple ways to get you started).
37romans

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