december 5

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Its Monday… my, “day off.”

I put that phrase in air quotes because when you are the father of a high schooler, a middle schooler and a first grader, you are never really off. Then there is the over obsession most church planting pastors tend to have with “getting crap done.” Days off are hard for me.

But, regardless of what my parenting/church planting life is like, Monday’s are my day of rest.

Which brings me to gift number 5 of my advent reflections…

The gift of REST.

Rest…

is there anything more fleeting in this world than rest? Is there anything more desired than rest? Is there anything more hope giving or life giving than true rest?

If you are anything like me, the answer to that question is an emphatic NO! Whether it is a lazy Saturday morning of sleeping in, and hanging out in your pajamas all day, or a Sunday afternoon of lying on the couch, watching golf, and fading in and out of an afternoon siesta,

REST. IS. GOOD.

It is REALLY good.

As much as I love to be lazy, the kind of rest that was gifted to mankind in the birth of Jesus, is not like this rest at all. The kind of rest I am talking about is the kind that can’t be quantified by hours of sleep, or moments of half consciousness, on a Sunday afternoon. This kind of rest is the kind that changes everything about the way we view our lives, our world, our selves.

It’s THIS kind of rest…

“Come, all of you who are weary, and broken down. Come, drink from the waters of eternal life, and never thirst again. Let me take your load, and give you a light one. Let me relieve the burden of your fight.”

This is a loose paraphrase of something Jesus said in Matthew chapter 11. It’s kind of the reason He made His way to this terrestrial ball.

See, Jesus came not just to die, but He came to show humanity how to truly live.

Like that line? I cant take credit for it, It is a phrase I first heard from Alan Hirsch, a writer, speaker, and academic. One of my heroes, and a man I have learned so much from.

Jesus came to show us that life in Him, is a life free from worry, a life free from stress, a life free from burden.

Life in Him, is a life, identified by REST.

I’m not saying Jesus came to make our lives easy, He never promised that. What I am saying is that Jesus came to offer us Rest, in the midst of a life that tends to be filled with all kinds of things we simply can’t control. In the midst of all that He came to offer us rest.

Rest for our souls.

Deuteronomy 33 says

“Let the beloved of the Lord REST secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves REST between his shoulders.”

That fateful night, when Mary labored, for who knows how long, and gave birth to the savior of the world, lots of profound things happened. But one of the biggest things that happened was that this baby, this newborn, this infant, had arrived on this earth to give you rest.

REST from your worry about why you exist.

REST from your concern about what might happen to your kids.

REST from your wondering about how you are going to pay your next bill.

REST from your fear that you can’t measure up.

REST from your overwhelming and crippling desire to be good enough.

REST from the rat race of a performance driven lifestyle that can only leave you aching.

REST from the desperate attempt to measure up to a standard no human ever can.

Cuz’ here’s the thing… you can’t and in the economy of mercy, you don’t have to. Understanding and embracing that is in fact the gateway to true REST.

Friends, freedom from a performance driven lifestyle, resting in the power of God’s grace is the best life you can possibly live.

I cant imagine wanting anything more for the people I love than to know that in the coming of our Savior, Jesus…

There is REST.

And I pray you experience it this Christmas.

REST.

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