Pastoral Notes (Sept.4, 2011)

“He rested on the seventh day from all His work that he had done.”—Genesis 2:3

There’s something about being away that makes coming home feel so right. We experienced that again driving back from the beach this past week. Christy and I are so thankful for the prayers and blessings many of you extended to us while we took some important time off. It was so nice to be together as a family for a few days and just enjoy each other and God’s beautiful creation.

The phrase, “important time off,” was not something I would have said a few years ago. Can time off really be important? The more I study God’s Word and the design of creation, the more I’m convinced of the need for a better understanding of the Biblical priority and practice of rest. As the creation account makes plain, rest is not merely the ceasing from activity; rest is the telos or goal of creation. Being made in the image of a resting God, means we were created for His rest (Gen.1:26-28). All that God made is directed toward one end—rest (Gen. 2:1-3).

It may surprise you to realize that rest is so important to God that he commands it! The people of Israel (and us) are commanded to “Remember the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:8). This means, somewhat shockingly, that we sin when we fail to rest in the way God prescribed, in the way God is at rest. What sort of rest does God enjoy? God’s rest is not inaction or escapism, which is the error we often make. God’s rest is an intentional ceasing in order to step back and see that “it is good” (Gen.1:12). This is the rest you were made for, and it is the design of our lives to enter and enjoy such rest regularly. This is why, no doubt, at the close of each day, you are to rest and see that it is good. At the end of each week, you take a whole day to stop, worship, and see that it is good. And as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, at the end of our lives, there remains yet a deeper, eternal Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb.4:9) where we will enter into the rest of our master (Matthew 25:21, 23) and find everything to be very good—perfectly good.

Thinking about godly rest, and praying for greater rest and peace for all of you, I couldn’t help but consider our community life together. I was struck afresh by the great need for us to really know one another, so that we can deeply care for the spiritual and physical needs we all have—to help each other know and experience the joy and rest of God. At Cornerstone, the base line of community life is fostered through our Home Fellowship Groups (HFG). In a relaxed home atmosphere, usually around good food and drink, the natural give and take of sharing, discussion, study, and prayer takes place. It just so happens that by regular meeting within these smaller communities we find our place in the community of Cornerstone. We sense that we belong to this place and these people. When that happens, true community is taking place. If you’re not in an HFG presently, make a point to contact Susan Bumpus in the church office. There are new groups forming right now, and we would love to see you involved. Contact today! We can hardly wait to hear from you.

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