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Introduction to Rest for the Stressed

It’s been a tough year for Cross of Life. Many people have been serving faithfully, but we haven’t seen many results. Though we’ve been working hard, our numbers in worship have declined and we haven’t seen many people getting to know Jesus like they used to. While all this is happening, many of us are getting busier with work and family and just life in general. It’s good to remember that in Jesus there is rest for the stressed. This series is the theme for our year, and the hope is to lay out a number of ways that we can use this year to recharge and refocus as we get ready to start working hard at ministry again.

Week 1 - 14/10/2018 - "Rest in the Glory of God"

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Satan really has two end goals. He wants to tempt us to pride or despair, to feel as though “I am pretty good!” or “There’s no way even God could love me now.” The answer to despair is God’s grace in Jesus, the answer to pride is the amazing, overpowering nature of God’s divine nature. Both God’s power and grace are on display in the text for today. As we begin on series, it’s good be reminded that God’s power and grace are so other-worldly that they allow us to rest from the demands are requirements of this world.

Week 2 - 21/10/2018 - "Rest in Rows"

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“Worship” is a misleading word. It makes it seem like what happens on Sunday morning is God’s people getting together to tell him how great he is, and while that is part of what happens on Sunday morning, it is not the main purpose of our gathering. The old theologians used to talk about the Sunday morning gathering as a “service” simply because it was where God serves his people with his Word and with his Sacraments. Therefore, Sunday morning is the most restful place of our whole week. It’s the only place in our life where we are not required to bring, be or do anything, but simply to receive God’s grace, favour, and love. The author of Hebrews understood this, so he encourages us today to rest in Sunday morning every week!

Week 3 - 28/10/2018 - "Rest in Circles"

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It was only in the 4th century that the Church was allowed to exist above ground. Before then, they had been an underground (literally, in many cases) operation, meeting in homes and businesses in small gatherings. The idea of gathering hundreds of people together at the same time for Word and Sacrament was unheard of! The Church started with circles, circles of people sitting in their homes reading Scripture, confessing to each other, forgiving each other, supporting and loving each other in hard times, and sharing life with them. While the ability to meeting in long rows on Sunday morning is an awesome blessing, we don’t want to forget that Christianity isn’t just a philosophy, it’s a lifestyle, a worldview, and those things are meant to be shared with others. Today we learn that God loves when Christians gather in circles, and that he promises amazing rest in those circles.

Week 4 - 4/11/2018 - "Rest in Tragedy"

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There is no more unrestful place than tragedy. What person feels rest and peace when their child dies, when their marriage breaks, when they lose their job, when they are stuck in addiction, when they have no friends? No one does! But from the Apostle Paul’s life, we find out that when tragedy strikes, not only can we find rest, but we can actually find rest more easily! What a counter-intuitive message, but it’s true!

Week 5 - 11/11/2018 - "Rest is Being Known"

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It’s the deep desire of every human heart to be known, but many of us shy away from really letting anyone know who we are because we know what we’ve done. We don’t want to talk about our struggle with pornography, our kids who have left the church, our struggles with trusting God, or any other way that we’ve really messed up. Today, God tells us that he completely knows us, and yet he still finds us worth his life. To be fully known and fully loved is beautiful. We’ll find out that we are far worse than we believe, but far more loved than we could ever imagine. And when you are fully known, with nothing to prove, you can rest in the fact that God loves you anyways.

Week 6 - 18/11/2018 - "Rest in Service"

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Everyone is busy, but what are we busy with? Work, that provides a paycheck that will eventually be spent or provides a service that will just be the same tomorrow? Beauty that will fade with age? Building a reputation, that will fade as people forget you? Kids that we can’t guarantee will turn out like we want? School, that can’t guarantee a good job? Why is it that we work so hard if none of these things actually matter in the long-run? From the world’s perspective, there is no answer, but for the Christian, we know that service to others is actually being the hands of God as he provides for them. Today, we learn that God has given us many jobs in life, and that every one of them allows us to participate in God’s mission with him, therefore, work is no longer drudgery, but is actually joy!

Week 7 - 25/11/2018 - "Rest in Not Needing To Be Enough"

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The eternal lie of Satan is that “You are not enough.” You’re not smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, successful enough, loved enough, wanted enough. Guess who agrees with him? God! God knows you’re not enough, and he likes it that way because HE IS ENOUGH! Today, we get to revel in the fact that we are expendable, that the Church will be just fine and we will be just fine even if we are complete failures in every effort we make. What a restful place to be! We can work like everything depends on us with the freedom of knowing that none of it actually does!

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