Dr. Greg McFadden & wife, Sheila
As we enter 2016, we do so with the intent to refresh, renew, and restart. Not as a mere New Year’s resolution but as a God given plan for the abundant life He has promised. The “busy-means-fulfilled” life most of us have grown accustomed to have taken its toll. Our schedules and calendars alone cause the stress levels in our hearts to rise. The American culture of “busy is best” has taken the follower of Christ captive and exiled him/her to a foreign land devoid of intimacy with our Lord.
Throughout history people of faith have understood the value of setting aside time “for bodily rest and public worship.” At creation, God Himself established the standard by resting on the seventh day. In regards to His relationship with Israel He instructed her to keep the Sabbath. Christians today argue vehemently for the 10 Commandments to be posted in the public square, forgetting that one instructs the keeping of a day separate from all others. A day designed for rest and corporate worship.
Though opinions of how it’s done differ from tradition to tradition, the principle of rest and worship cannot be debated. It is God’s idea from the beginning. Christians have by and large set aside the first day of the week for corporate worship, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. A day of rest seems unattainable even alongside this day of worship. Life is relentless.
Maybe this is why God has instructed us to refresh and renew through rest and worship. Most of you, like me, wonder if we could just hit the pause button, catch our breath, and then proceed. We can and we must. Since there are only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week and no one can add more to either, the only way to find the margin to rest and worship is to eliminate some things from our crowded lives. Good things. And somehow avoid the trap of feeling guilty for doing so.
This will be the theme of much of 2016 at First Baptist Church. I can’t know for sure how we will fare, but I do know that success here will mean revival everywhere else!