REST to BLESS
Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word Shabbat which means cease, or stop, or celebrate. For us, it is a very practical way that we can enter into the rest that comes from knowing Jesus. Practicing a Sabbath does not save you, just like being a good person doesn’t save you or rescue you from your sin, for that you need a Savior. The Sabbath is a more practical way for us to spend a focused day resting in Jesus’ completed work. This page will have a lot of helpful links from other practitioners of the Sabbath. The key is not turning it into another rote religious (legalism), or to devalue its importance and run over it like every other day (licentiousness, or license to do whatever we want).
It’s a process…
Realize that receiving this gift from God and making a part of your regular week is going to take, ironically, work. It will be a process. The first week, you will probably feel angry and upset. This is normal, because you don’t usually make time to just enjoy life purposefully. Getting in a community where other people can hold you accountable to resting and blessing is a great way to make sure you are staying on track. We’re here to help support each other as we all grow closer to Jesus together.
Out of our rest in Jesus and the communion we have with him and the members of his body we now are to be a blessing to the nations. As we learn to abide in Christ, he will bear his fruit in us. We also want to establish specific rhythms of reaching out to others. We use an acrostic B.L.E.S.S.
Begin with Prayer - Prayer is the only way that we can fight the battle that is not in flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12) Prayer helps us to remember that is not us who saves people, but only through God’s power. We pray that the Holy Spirit would work on people’s hearts and bring them near to us. It also allows the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts toward them.
Listen - Listening is a powerful way to let people know that we care for them and their story. We listen for specific ways that we can make them feel like family, serve them, pray for them, and care for them. We listen to see what their “Gospel” is. Everyone is clinging to something or someone to derive their meaning. Being able to pinpoint this helps us to speak directly into their pain due to their misappropriated worship. We also listen to the Holy Spirit as He reveals to us different things to be praying about and different ways that we can serve.
Eat - Spending time with people and eating with them at your table is an incredible way to disarm and engage people in conversation. Eating with others is a great way to listen to them and to pray for them right then.
Serve - As we eat and listen and pray with people, there will be opportunities to serve them. Often the needs might be greater than we can manage on our own. For this we can lean back on our small group, and maybe even the larger church to help us out. God is already at work in each person’s life and so we listen to them and to the Holy Spirit as we discern ways to serve people well.
Share the Story- We want to be rooted in the story of the scriptures and able to give reason for the hope that we have. (1 Peter 3:15) Sharing our story and the hope that we have in Jesus is an essential part of sharing the Gospel and making disciples of Jesus. It’s been said that we should always preach the Gospel, but if necessary use words. The truth is, we will always need words to preach the Gospel. We can be kind and nice to people, but if we are unready to share the reason for the hope that we have, we will be nice to them without pointing them to Jesus.