Dear Friends –
In Mark 6:31 Jesus says this to his disciples: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place; rest.”
Get some rest. Not easy to do. Our schedules are so full. But even in the press of launching the gospel, Jesus thought it was good to rest.
Summer is a great time for getting away and resting. Take advantage of the chance. Jesus spoke of physical rest for his disciples. We also need to put aside work for a while and rest our bodies.
Two lumberjacks had a bet about who could cut the most wood in one day. In his effort to win the bet, one lumberjack chopped wood without stopping all day. The other woodsman paused from time to time to sharpen his axe. In spite of the lost time, it was the lumberjack who sharpened his axe who cut the most wood. With a sharp blade and a little rest he was able to work more efficiently.
We will find we are refreshed and sharper, more able to do our work after we let our bodies rest.
We need to let our emotions recover too. Life is stressful. Doing something different, going someplace new, finding something fun to do creates space away from stress. Our emotions heal, strength returns and we can cope again.
We also need time to nurture our relationship with Christ. A vacation can give us some time to do just that. Though we don’t often plan a spiritual break in our vacation, we need it. When your mind is less occupied you have a chance to be with Christ and hear from him. Jesus said, “Come with me ... and rest.”
So make sure you pack your Bible, or at least a New Testament. Take a spiritual book or a study guide, too. Read and reread the same book of the Bible several times while you are resting. Don’t focus on knowing Bible details. Think about what the Bible says to you.
If you were to read The Book of Acts you might notice:
1. What commands did Jesus give his disciples?
2. What is the central outcome that reoccurs throughout the book? Why is that important
3. How is the gospel presented differently at different times? How do those differences
help you understand the gospel?
4. What was Paul’s warning to the church when he left them for the last time? What
precautions did he advise they take?
5. How does the book end? What does the ending mean to you?
Always ask, What does the Bible mean for me? If you aren’t sure, that’s okay. Keep reading, keep thinking, keep putting each episode into your own words. Keep listening. The Lord will speak. Give yourself time to hear.
~ Pastor Byron
Dear Friends –
Acts 8:1-4 reads “And Saul approved of their killing (Stephen). On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. (2) Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. (3) But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. (4) Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
Notice the word “scattered” in the first verse. It was a tragedy, the first great persecution of the church, that caused Christians to leave Jerusalem. The result of the scattering was that disciples spoke the word of Christ wherever they went (not the apostles - they remained in Jerusalem.)
The faith was spread in new ways, to new places when the church was scattered.
We are a scattered church, too. We can’t gather in our building to worship, meetings for Sunday school, choirs, Bible study, youth, Super Seniors, and Family Life are all canceled. Some of us are still working, others are laid-off and at home for more hours than we’d like. We are scattered, but we do not cease to be the church just because circumstances prevent us from meeting. Instead, we can learn, as did the first believers, to blossom where we are planted.
Admittedly, sharing Christ is restricted because we aren’t at the Y, or Belle Lettres, or other familiar haunts. But what if we took this time to build some relationships so that as the reopening progresses we will have some standing on which to offer Christ?
Here are just some thoughts:
The idea is to reach out in new ways. Because we are all feeling isolated it will be appreciated. And because this is a unique situation it won’t seem weird, but kind.
Then pray and look for a chance to share Christ. Apply Ken Wilson’s strategy to make an opportunity.
When the first church was scattered by tragedy the gospel was spread to new people. We are scattered too. Let’s take advantage of the opportunities this presents.
~ Pastor Byron
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.