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Part 3 in the series, "Entering God's Rest" (July 2019). In the final message on entering Gods' rest, we look at what Sabbath rest means for the Christian in light of their relationship with Jesus. When Jesus says, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest," what does he mean? The answer comes from learning about Jesus' understanding of the Sabbath, his observance of the Sabbath, and his declaration that he is "Lord of the Sabbath." Christians have a unique opportunity to enter God's rest in a way that no one before the coming of the Messiah could enjoy. Rest in Christ promises a life empowered by his finished work: a life of love, grace. restoration, and fullness. But he must become Lord of our Sabbath before this rest can occur.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week, you’ll be hearing one of the sermons John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) As children, the question, "What do you want for Christmas?" filled us with great joy and anticipation for the gifts we would receive come Christmas day. As adults, the question should point more to our spiritual expectations for the season, with a chief focus on receiving Christ as our greatest gift. So, what do you want for Christmas? The perfect gift? Family harmony? Hope and peace? This is only possible when Jesus is the reason for the season.
(Note: We're taking a break from the "Belonging to Him" series for the holiday season and will pick back up with Part 2 on January 17th. This week, you’ll be hearing the second sermon John shared from a 4-part Christmas series while pastoring a church in the country of Honduras.) Jesus says that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must become like a little child with a childlike faith. The same applies when it comes to the nature of our focus during the season of Christmas. Like a child, we must return to a pure heart of faith, hope, and dependence, and to an embrace of the new life offered through the birth of Christ. In essence, we must be "born again" during Christmas, and return to the purity of heart that exists within any newborn child of God.
(John shares his next spiritual meditation based on thoughts from his upcoming book: UNTO LIFE: Reflections on Both the Journey and the Destination.) What is the secret to contentment? This is an age-old question. Many of us have made important decisions based on our pursuit of happiness. But it so often feels like a mirage, an illusion, where our fulfillment is always just out of reach. Some have given up on careers, relationships, even life itself, because the've never discovered the answer or experienced the happiness they've always desired. There is an answer to this question, but it's not one we may immediately like or accept. What's the secret to contentment? Here's a hint: It's to give up what you've wanted most in life to live for what you most deeply need.