Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 3/22/2022
It’s peculiar how when I’m supposed to teach on a certain topic, the topic is more relevant for me than for anyone else. Like I need to teach this, so that I learn it even more. God tends to do that a lot.
Learn sabbath on my own? Maybe. Teach sabbath to someone else? Now I’m listening. That’s how this one went. Learning to sabbath as I was preparing and then taught this message.
But things were different this time. It had been almost 2 months since my last message, which bombed and I went with an older technique I learned way back in the day mixed with some of the new.
The style here was largely inspired by one of my mentors, Shannon Popp, who showed the power of listening. How what you say doesn’t nearly matter as much as what is said by others in a small group setting. I did that along with some other small group skills that I picked up on when I was running my high school’s First Priority essentially on my own.
Regardless, the format here is largely bordered by quotes from Scripture and less so by concepts found in Scripture. By singling in on a single idea for the night, the conversation we had discovered the truth mutually. Then again, I didn’t actually teach a “sermon” per se on this night.
Only a handful of regulars showed up and it wasn’t enough to justify the typical format of sermon, then small groups. We just jumped into an elongated time of small groups, which led to very thoughtful dialogue on the idea of sabbath.
This happened because nobody wants to go to church the weekend of New Year’s, so I planned accordingly. I figured it was a small crowd and appreciated the change in pace from the rush of the holidays. It was the sermon we needed for the season we found ourselves in together. With that in mind, here were my brief notes from that lowkey night:
- Recap 2021
- Pitch “Values” Series
- Tonight, will be a one-off, topical discussion on sabbath.
- In Hebrew, the word sabbath means to cease or to rest.
- Originally, sabbath started when God finished creation and marveled at his handiwork.
- Then, sabbath became a strictly enforced holiday that was observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening.
- Nowadays, sabbath differs drastically depending on which Christians celebrate it. Here’s some Scriptures on why that is the case:
“Jesus said to them “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.””Mark 2:27-28
“One person values one day over another, another values every day the same. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and the one who eats, does so with regard to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and the one who does not eat, it is for the Lord that he does not eat, and he gives thanks to God.”Romans 14:5-6
“Therefore, no one is to act as your judge in regard to food and drink, or in respect to a festival or a new moon, or a sabbath day-things which are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.”Colossians 2:16-17
- Read Hebrews 4:1-11 as a group.
- To sabbath means to remember collectively and to reflect individually on the power of God.
- Our rest is rooted in the reality of God’s grace and the work that he has done.
This was a nice message and a good one in my mind. Had time to breathe and really sink our teeth into the meat of sabbath. I enjoyed it.
It’s funny. After I had already taught this message, I found my favorite longform explanation of sabbath in a book I was also reading at the time. My therapist recommended it and in there the author describes sabbath in such an excellent way. For instance, I loved this quote:
“The Sabbath was a solemn recognition that God had sovereign rights, a public act of appropriation wherein the believing community acknowledged that they owed their life and being to Another. As the memorial day of creation, the Sabbath meant a worship of adoration and thanksgiving for all God’s goodness, for all the Jews were and had. The rest from work was secondary.”Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child (P. 60)
Like a lot of things, our greatest days are marked by a genuine gratitude for God’s goodness. As the days go on, so too do the platitudes of gratitude for our great God. With that Godspeed and Jesus bless.