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Part 2 of the series, "Entering God's Rest" (July 2019). As developed in Part 1 of this series, Christians aren't required to observe the Sabbath in the ways Israel was in the Old Testament, but Hebrews 4 does encourage us to strive to enter into God's rest. This message suggests practical ways we can do so. Like the relief we felt when our parents pulled off the interstate on summer vacations to stop and regroup at a rest area, there are many rest areas we can enjoy with God as well. These rest areas are accessed by first detaching from our own works (or the things that pull us away from focusing on God as our Creator and Provider), and then attaching to the things of the Spirit. Disciplining ourselves to regularly pull off to the side of the road in our daily lives to rest in God will give us strength and purpose for life's journey.
Part 22 of 23 in the series, "Belonging to Him." People like John-the-Baptist, Paul, and Jesus became "less" so that people could see more of God and ultimately, so they could belong to God. John modeled this in his words: "He must increase, but I must decrease." Becoming less doesn't belittle our self-worth. Rather, it's the path to finding our true self-worth and identity and genuinely sharing this quality of life with others. It's the best way to show others a love that comes from above, a love that invites us to belong to him and each other in the here-and-now (sermon recorded in 2019).
The word, "temper" can be understood in different ways. Our first thought is usually related to anger, or the effects of anger. But something can also be tempered when it's been made stronger or more stable by things like pressure, heat, or the passage of time. Both understandings are closely linked with the formation of writer, priest, and pastor, Arthur Boers. In John's fifth interview in the Unto Life series—Arthur shares how his life-experience and the influence of God have shaped him into who he is today. In Part One, Arthur shares thoughts from his book, Living Into Focus, on ways he has strengthened his center by focusing on what's most central to life. He says we can find more stability, contentment, and truth by turning away from the virtual and returning to what's real and true. In Part Two (minute 51:30), Arthur explores themes from his newest book, Shattered: A Son Picks Up the Pieces of His Father's Rage. In his earliest years, Arthur was the victim of his father's temper. He interweaves this trauma—along with stories of his Dutch immigrant heritage and faith formation—with the metaphor of glass. The way glass shatters when broken. The way glass—through exposure to pressure, heat, and time—can be formed, or tempered, into something strong and beautiful. And so, while sometimes still brittle along the edges, the center of Arthur's life is well-tempered. Out of the lure of the virtual, he has found contentment. Out of severe family trauma, he has discovered understanding and healing. Arthur's hope is that through his story and wisdom, others might strengthen their center, too.