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Apostle Dr. Carl A Welliver, DD, PhD
Church of Faith
10 Forest Street
Winchester, MA 01890
July 9, 2017 Rest Dear Lord... Rest?
Apostle Dr. Carl A. Welliver, DD, PhD
Father God, as we come together today and give ourselves in service we ask that you would help us O Lord that we might ignore Your admonitions to receive Your grace, Your Sabbath, and that we should rest. Father we ask that we might know Your peace, and that may love, that we may give, and that we may live from that wholesome paradise available to us all right here in the here and now. Amen.
Our Theme This Morning:
In our rest we are lead to peace; through that peace we are led to clarity; and in that clarity we live in creativity.
Our Reading This Morning:
Our Gospel reading this morning comes from the Book of Matthew the 11th Chapter verses 16-19 and 25-30. As we continue on in the study of that Gospel we see that Jesus in His time was one of many traveling preachers and teachers of the day. But, not your everyday run of the mill Johnny Come Lately, He would soon set himself apart from the rest based on what He offered in His Message. In this particular verse of scripture He offered rest.
New King James Version (NKJV)
16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, 17 and saying:
‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”[a]
Matthew 11:19 NU-Text reads works.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Jesus Gives True Rest
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Just a Thought for the Day:
Rest is crucial to our survival in our human life as well as our spiritual life. Jesus challenges us to learn to rest and that is an important part of our spirituality. As a matter of fact He challenges us inspiring that our need to rest is almost as important as our need to follow Him in every other dimension of our life.
Our Call to Worship:
Jesus invites us that we should rest in the love of God.
We will heed His call to rest.
He calls us to rest in God’s grace.
We will heed His call.
Prelude to the Message: My Yoke Is Easy
This morning we are going to talk about rules and regulations. You see in all areas of our society we must deal with certain rules and regulations. There are rules in our homes, rules in our schools, rules in the workplace, and yes even rules in our Christian life, our walk with God. Rules are necessary in society, necessary to prevent anarchy.
Jesus well understood rules and the need for them, but sometimes rules become overbearing. There are rules against this and rules against that, You can't o this, can't do that, can't do the other thing.
God had given His people some basic rules, you know what I mean, He gave us the Big 10. You know I am the Lord your God and you will have no other God before me; you shall not take my name in vain; remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy; you shall honor your father and mother; you shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; and you shall not covet thy neighbor's, well anything. And for all intent and purpose that was a great start.
But, man of course had a better idea, they kept on interpreting and adding, adding and interpreting and before you know it we had taken God's Big 10 and turned them into man's Big 600+ Laws.
Now the laws were often referred to as a "yoke" or in today's words a burden to carry. Well the scholars and teachers of the day would debate and even argue just what all of these laws really meant, and how mankind would best follow them. Now just think how confusing that must have gotten with all these different ideas and not to mention all the different self-serving personalities! Then all of a sudden along comes this Jesus fellow and He starts teaching that life did not have to be that complicated, as a matter of fact the yoke didn't need to be heavy, and if we looked at everything and boiled it down to the most basic idea that we could simply live within the laws by living in "love". OK so here goes... Love God, then love others, and then let us not forget to love ourselves.
Can we all say that together this morning, sitting where ever you are please repeat those words with me. Love God, love others, love ourselves. C'mon now one more time... Love God, love others, love ourselves.
The Sermon: Rest Dear Lord... Rest?
Scripture: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
This Jesus fellow was quite a different teacher indeed. You see in our reading this morning He not only promised rest in Matthew 11:28, but he practiced rest. Jesus realized the importance of rest; He rested often; rest was in fact a part of the natural ebb and flow of his life. Consider the following words found in the Gospels:
• “On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea.” (Matthew 13:1)
• “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35 )
• “Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them;” (Luke 4:42)
• “Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.” (John 4:6)
and of course let us not forget my favorite example of Jesus showing us to rest, even when there are those among us who fret and concern as we see in the story of the Wind and Wave Obey Jesus
• “35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
Now we know that Jesus was an awesome teacher. You see in this last passage there are some that believe (like I do) that Jesus created the storm and He had went to sleep to test the faith of His disciples, and as you can plainly see a test which they had failed miserably. Yet He really made a point crystal clear when He rebuked the storm didn't He? After all there weren't any of those other teachers of the day that the wind, the rain, and the seas obeyed. That would lead the disciples to ask among themselves, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Well of course we know the answer. The one and only true Son of the Father, the living God.
Now do you understand why this is my favorite example? Heck folks even when Jesus was sleeping he was teaching. Of course we could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. There are many other texts in which Jesus is not healing, teaching, or counseling; but where He is resting. He is experiencing what Richard Swenson refers to as “margin”: or the space between His load and His limits. Just think how much He had on Himself so much that was expected of Him, so very much at stake, and knowing that He had so little time, one might of course ask oneself if I had so much to do, well how could I even think about resting? Yet how was Jesus able to give Himself permission to rest? How and why was Jesus able to rest so easily and frequently? Well let us consider these possibilities for experiencing such rest as Jesus did, as He taught us to do:
• Well I submit to you today that Jesus believed that turning it off was as important as turning it on, that you couldn’t really turn it on if you didn’t really turn it off? How could you ever think that you could perform at a standard of excellence if you walked around in a grog all the time because you we are physically and emotionally exhausted.
• Or maybe Jesus believed that there were dimensions of God, personhood, and life that could only be accessed through leisure and Sabbath? After all remember the Big 10, you shall keep holy the Sabbath. What did it mean to keep holy the Sabbath, now this is a little deep but if you are to work on the Sunday are you keeping holy, for at that point aren't you putting false God's (the almighty dollar) before Him. See how that all ties together.
• Or maybe just maybe Jesus believed that rest did not detract from his creative labor, but in fact rather preserved it, replenished it, and ignited it?
Perhaps as we learn more about the secret power and the unsung benefits of rest we will be inspired to rest more. For those of us that are the action-oriented types, there is practical reason to do so.
Jesus knew and we need to learn that rest gives us the ability to better handle those times when suddenly, and without a moment’s notice (just like the sudden storm), we can be hit by the turbulent unexpected: whether it is an unwelcome diagnosis, an accident, or a family member’s pained confession, maybe even a friend’s difficult request, or have you ever experienced an employer’s unwelcome decision, or even worse the sudden death of a friend or loved one. I tell you today that if we live with little to no rest, chances are that any such blow will leave us completely drained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Embrace the concept that one of the great hidden benefits of a rest habit is that it places us in a better position to withstand the surprise blows the curve balls that life throws our way from time to time.
Rest better insures that we will have the needed strength and stamina to deal with unforeseen turmoil’s, learn to rest even when you’re not even tired. Actually that is the best time to rest, before you run down. Knowing that at such times, you don’t necessarily have to force yourself to sleep: but to simply withdraw from the hectic pace of life for a moment to hold your energy within yourself. Now some do this by meditating, others by praying, or listening to music, some might even practice yoga, but the art of simply being still, can recharge our batteries. By doing this you build up an energy reserve or a bank account if you will. There are so many among us that are used to living with little or no energy that we can't imagine living with more energy than we presently need in the moment. But, having more energy than you need should not be seen as a luxury, but more of a necessity an energy account: with deposits intentionally stored up for those inevitable taxing times of life.
Now a second unsung benefit of rest is that it not only stores up energy but it maximizes it, turning mere energy into mighty energy. I once read the writings of an inspirational author/speaker whom I had followed, even though for the most part I enjoyed his writings in one of his books he brought out a point that I vehemently disagreed with, he took the position that rest was an enemy of achievement. His comments would have led one to believe that it was not necessary, nor allowed to rest until the project was done. Well I couldn't disagree more strongly. Rest does not prevent achievement but actually enhances it.
It is often thought in some circles that the difference between mediocrity and optimal achievement is often simply the difference between a mere desire and a burning desire. So many of us in life wonder why it is that we find ourselves settling for less than we started out expecting and desiring within our dreams. Some might say that as we progressed along we experienced what some might call dwindled commitment (all of a sudden what we had desired just was not so important to us anymore), but what if it was in fact over commitment and exhaustive effort. You see nonstop drive has an unintended result: growing fatigue (simply allowing ourselves to become to weary). So, in response to our dwindling energy, we unconsciously begin to downsize our dreams, to rethink our objectives if you will and often end up then accepting just the bare minimum as opposed to the ultimate success. You see brethren the exuberance we had in the beginning shrinks more and more as we get less and less sleep and leisure. This causes us to pile mistaken belief on top of mistaken belief thinking that more power bars can enhance our efforts in the short term. But know that 5 Hour Energy drinks, or power bars simply will never take the place of a good nap; there is no power drink in the world like rest. I often while sitting in my office will simply close my eyes (and although I would never admit it openly) sleep right there in my chair. OH wait I just did admit it, Oh well. I know that rest restores and revives so that we can live as our optimal selves. Know that being the best that you can be requires the vital nurturing of not only effort, but also the cessation of effort: rest.
Thirdly, rest enhances our awareness better allowing for effective decision making. Sometimes we are simply so tired that we are unable to make important decisions. Fatigue causes mental sluggishness and is a fog that impedes clarity. Fatigue affects our ability to think, to reason, and to make good sound decisions; after all it takes sound reasonable thinking and consideration before we should make any major decision right? Sometimes we are just so weary that we don't make necessary decisions not because of procrastination, but simply because we are just too tired to think about the alternatives. So the best plan of action is not to plow through but to rest, refresh, and revitalize so that then and only then in our best state of mind can we rationally think out our next move. yes folks resting does afford us the opportunity to restore both our mental and spiritual energies, and that allows us to make decisions with clarity and confidence.
Now I have said all of that today to simply close with this:
Have you ever been at a point in your life, where you were just so tired, just so worn down that you wondered how you could possibly go on? Well some of the best leaders and most brilliant minds throughout history knew the importance of R&R. It is known that Winston Churchill often worked up to 16 hours per day into his 70's, but he rested often, and often worked from his bed. But he was not the only famous person that napped, so without going in to too much detail let me just list a few more here: Thomas Edison, Leonardo DaVinci, John F. Kennedy, Napoleon Bonaparte, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and John D. Rockefeller just to name a few.
Let me relate this to one more example if I could. Some might say that the modern automobile runs on gasoline right? Well let me just clue you all in, although the gasoline is necessary for the internal combustion engine to work there is yet another just as important element. The electrical power which is generated by the automobiles battery. The battery needs to be constantly recharged so that it does not wear down, and that charging is done by the alternator. After all the electrical system in the vehicle is responsible for so many functions, such as the lights, the wipers, the radio. But the things that we never pay much attention to as drivers is the need for the electric system to power the onboard computer that controls the engine, if there is no power to the computer even if the gas tank is full, the car isn't going anywhere. So is the battery in the car important, well yes, but the battery is not nearly as important as the alternator (which as it spins recharges the battery).
OK now I know I said one more example but I just need to give you this final one to think about. We all know that our heart is necessary to sustain life, right? We all know that our heart doesn't stop working (for if it did we would cease to live). But does the heart work 24-7? Ok folks that was a trick question, you see that the heart pumps blood throughout our body, but after each contraction or pumping action the heart rests. It has been estimated that the human heart only works about 9 hours per day, and that it rests almost 15 hours per day.
Jesus not only promised us rest, but He practiced what He preached. He rested. We live in a time of chronic hurry and busyness, yet His gift and witness of rest is needed now like never before. We must learn the benefits of rest so that we will desire it more. Father God, as we prepare to leave from this place today let us remember this simple message Love God, love others, love ourselves. The last word is Jesus Rested and so should you.
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Our Prayer of Dedication of Our Gifts and Self
To you, O Father God, today as we come together we dedicate to You Father, and to Your work our rested hearts and souls. We look so forward to offering our gifts to Your world Father God, for we have been renewed, refreshed, and restored by this Your gift of Sabbath. We ask that You would receive these our gifts and bless them, so that our joy may translate into the care and joy – and rest – of your people. Amen.
Because it is the mission of all ministries is to recruit and save in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior then we continue posting this prayer in future messages.
If you need God in your life, if you are looking for something and haven’t yet found it, if you desire God to work within you the I ask that you would stand with me today, raise your hands to our Father in Heaven and simply repeat the following prayer with me:
I profess to Almighty God once again today that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.
Father, Almighty God, today I come forward for I believe in my heart, and now profess with my mouth that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, that You raised Him from the dead, so that I shall be saved. Almighty Father, Your Son died on the cross in forgiveness of my sins and I confess that He is my Lord; I forever renounce my past life with Satan, and ignore his tempting devices. Jesus is my Lord and all things old have passed away, and beginning today I am a new creation. I thank You for His ultimate sacrifice for the forgiving of sin and offer You this praise in Jesus' name. Amen.
Apostle Dr. Carl A Welliver, DD, PhD
May God watch over you through your journey of life? May He be ever with you and May you receive Him with open arms for He is the One and only, the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end, and through Him all things come. Until next week, or until we meet again, remember that Jesus loves you and so do I.
If you know of someone that is seeking the services of a non-denominational minister to perform services of the sacraments such as weddings, funerals, house blessings, baptisms or dedications or know of someone who is shut-in and unable to receive the sacraments please feel free to contact us RevCarlWelliver@aol.com we will make every effort to put you in contact with one of our independent ministers.
Today’s Biblical quotes from New King James Version
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Apostle Carl, How can I spread the Good Word?
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