Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Working from a Place of Rest

These are my notes from the conference we were at in October. This was the field conference for our team. Our morning speaker was Tony Horsfall the author of the book, Working from a Place of Rest.

Just pause with me and think about the title Working from a Place of Rest. Is it possible? What does work look like? What does rest look like? Before the conference I wasn't so sure about this topic. Let me share some of the things that I learned or maybe I should say the notes I took and the things I am still learning and working to apply in my life. I hope this will encourage you as well. My work at this time is primarily home schooling my children, supporting my husband and keeping the house. So can I do these things from a place of rest?

Our Bible passage for the week was John 4. This is the passage of the woman of Samaria. We spent about the first 3 or maybe even four days in just the first six verses.

Reading #1 - The Journey we are on  John 4:1-6

Jesus was on a journey both from Judea to Galilee and a journey from heaven to earth and back again. (John 16:28, Philippians 2:5-11)

We are on a journey. We are called to be pilgrims. We are journeying through life (Psalm 119:54 and Genesis 47:9)  and through discipleship (Hebrews 11:8-10, Isaiah 35:8-10) . Our journey is one of transformation (Philippians 3:12-14, 2 Corinthians 3:18). Our journeys overlap and intertwine it is important that we know where we are on our journey. Our journey should be a longing to know God more just like Moses asking to see God's face.

We want a fruitful life vs. a productive life. A fruitful life is sustainable.

In Scripture we have an invitation to come and there are also commands to go. We need to find God in those places and follow him.

Being vs. doing - Character comes from becoming. The primary purpose is Christ likeness. Who God created us to be. Who Christ died for and how the Holy Spirit is holding us. 

The reflections questions were quite simple:
Where are you in your personal journey?
Where are you in your ministry journey?
Where are you in your spiritual journey?

Reading #2 - Feeling tired on the Journey John 4:1-6

The exhaustion epidemic - the church is on its knees and not because of prayer. As we thought about this from a ministry viewpoint we realised some of the reasons we are so busy is because the needs are so great, we have a team culture of overwork, possibly lack of structure, pressure to produce are just some of the reasons. While that might be true in ministry, I think the same can be true in homeschooling -- there is always something to learn, an idea to learn it all, and the pressure to make sure that my children are getting a good education.

"The soul was not made to dash."

It is natural to be tired.

I personally am not normally a fan of The Message but I will say that I liked this passage.

           "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with
           me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with
           me and work with me --what how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
           I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and
           you'll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30

Look at that passage there is a trio of questions from the Great Physician, a series of invitations from the Great High Priest and a piece of advice from a wonderful counsellor.

In this passage we see the humanity of Jesus. The Word became flesh. His humanity frees us to embrace our own humanity with its weaknesses and limitations. If Jesus was human, then I can be human as well.

Our own humanity. God is aware of our limitations. He created us and knows we are dust (Psalm 103:14).

So steps to take:

  1. Reviewing your energy level
  2. Knowing your load and your limits
  3. Living with margins
  4. Establish healthy boundaries - learning to say "no" in order to say "yes"
  5. Being kind to yourself

Reflection questions:

  1. How does the reality of the humanity of Jesus encourage you? What does it mean to embrace your humanity?
  2. In you would describe yourself as "busy" think about what motivates you. What is currently draining you of energy?
  3. How do you maintain margin in your life?

Reading #3 - Stopping to Rest on the Journey John 4:1-6

The discipline of stopping
Jesus is practicing this. He is stopping and in this passage we are given a specific location where he stopped at Jacob's well.

In John 15:15 Jesus says, "I call you friends." Do we spend time with Jesus as a friend or are we too busy with work and being a servant?

We need to redeem the time. Redeem means to buy back. "There is enough time to do what God wants us to do." So when I am busy I need to pause and check if what I am doing is what God wants me to be doing.

Sitting is a spiritual posture
Where is Jesus now? He is sitting at the right hand of God. His work is done (Hebrews 1:3, 8:1-2, 10:11-12; Ephesians 1:19-20; Colossians 3:1, Acts 2:34; Psalm 110:1)

It is not that we work for God but that he works for us. God gives us our position of rest. he brings his finished work.

Look at the beginning the story of creation. God works, then rests. Adam rested and then worked. We need to start from a place of rest.

The principle of Sabbath rest

The importance of leisure

The abundant life vs. the exhausted life -- God calls us to abundant life.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Do you ever feel guilty when doing nothing? How can you practice the disciple of stopping?
  2. How do you currently practice sabbath?
  3. What do you do to relax? How do you find recreation?

 These are my notes from the first three days. I will share more later.

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