- God usually does not reveal 5-10 year plans (we’d quit of we knew
all the things!). Expect one or maybe two years at a time
- Do not try to do great things for God, do things for a great God.
- When we try to do great things, the emphasis is on ourselves
- To dangers for every Chinese-American church: pride in education and materialism
- Who if God calls us to do nothing?
- Mother Theresa: do not do great things for God; do
small things with great love (1 Cor 13: if we do not have love,
what we do is nothing)
- rest: who are we listening to? (Ourselves, Christian culture, the prevailing culture, God)
- 4 kinds of rest
- physical rest
- emotional rest (casting our burdens on God)
- spiritual rest
- relational rest
Part I: Explaining Rest
- Everyone is running away from the internal angst, the God-vacuum. Looking for rest.
- Some people see the church and see people running around just
like outside; sometimes it seems like the Buddhist monks are more
- Rest is our birth-right in Christ.
- If our yoke is hard or our burden heavy, perhaps we are bearing the wrong burden.
- Just before this section [of the yoke], Jesus is talking about
fellowship with the Father. So the yoke is not the yoke of oxen,
but yoked to Jesus and pulled into fellowship with the Trinity.
- Jesus was busy—but not driven!
- Jesus withdrew himself into the wilderness
- People do not see 平安 in the church, so they go to Buddhism.
- making the Lord our shepherd (Ps 23).
- The first secret is that Jesus is the shepherd. Make Him central.
- abiding in Christ (John 15:5)
- Fruit comes out of abiding, not working. You can’t manufacture fruit. Fruit comes forth after a period of abiding.
- without me you can do nothing
- Not even non-Christians doing big things: with him, we’d be dead because he holds everything in him.
- Single people can have the same peace as married because it is all the same: it comes from God
- 7 deadly sins:
- pride (the worst sin. God cannot use proud people.)
- sloth (don’t-care-attitude)
- Spirit-filled surrender
- The secret of rest is surrender
- What do we surrender? (Ps 66:18, Isa 57, 1 Pet 1:15-16, 20-21, 1 Pet 2:11, Col 3:5-6)
- Who do we surrender to? (Eph 5:18, 1 John 1:9, Rom 12:1-2)
- How do we surrender? (Eph 5:18, 1 John 5:14-15)
- Bill Bright: Being Filled with the Holy Spirit (blue booklet)
- confess (spiritual breathing out)
- surrender, ask him to take control, ask for his spirit to fill us anew (breating in)
- Spritual disciplines
- Spiritual disciplines are not something we do ourselves, we need
to do it in the Spirit’s power. They are means of abiding in Christ.
- “Authentic” disciplines: things we can choose to do (in the Spirit). Danger of pride
- “Circumstantial” disciplines: things we have no control over: loosing your job, not being able to find a job, get married, have a
- May be more important than regular disciplines
- God helps those who know they cannot help themselves (that’s why the poor are easier to come to God; see also beatitudes)
- Solitude and silence
- The most basic discipline. Essential to living the Spiritual life.
- QT is not something you do, it is a relationship.
- QT is not so much pray, read the Bible, pray.
- Better to do: be quiet, pray, quiet, read the Bible, quiet, medidtate, quiet, pray.
- You may not feel God. We walk by faith and not sight. Trust and rest in Him even when we don’t feel Him.
- The secret of transforming power (Lk 5:15-16; Mk 1:35)
- Growing in grace (2 Cor 9:8, 2 Cor 12:9)
- Psalm 62:1-2, 5-6
- the struggles in solitude and silence (Isa 50:10, 1 Pet 4:1, Lk 4:1, 1 Kings 19:11-13)
- Henri Nouwen: solitude forces us to confront our inner nothing and trust in Him
- The dark night of the soul is when God takes everything we
trust in and we learn to trust in Him. It is actually God’s grace.
- 24 hour retreat once a year
- expect to feel hungry (so eat something)
- expect to be restless (probably adrenaline addiction withdrawal. Can take a walk.)
- expect to be sleepy (so sleep; you have 24 hours. You are probably sleep-deprived.)
- Simplicity is living without covetness and greed so that we can give more freely
- I live simply that others may simply live
- Simplicity is not buying things on sale. It is giving it away.
- Poverty is not a virtue. Simplicity != poverty. Simplicity is having a loose hand on possessions.
- Dr. Tan’s mother said not to be jealous of rich people; they tell her that they worry a lot about people stealing their stuff
- self-transcendency: when you stop focusing on self. Self-love/self-esteem is just as bad in too much as too little.
- Faithfulness is what counts [what we are judged on], not excellence.
- Meritocracy rewards those who can succeed and
perform. It is fair with respect to gender, race, etc., but
discriminates against those whose brains and/or body cannot excel.
- Faithfulness is available to everyone
- Good Sabbath practice:
- no work for pay; limited ministry
- rest, sleep, sex (if appropriate)
- Jewish Sabbath (Deut 5:12, Ex 20:8)
- Sabbath for the Christian (Mk 2:27-28)
- Ortberg (from Willard): ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life [to maintain spiritual vitality]
- Hurryness and drivenness are not from God. Busyness might be from God, but hurry and drivenness are definitely not.
- God likes us. We don’t have to perform for Him.
- Love, humility, etc., are what counts. Not excellence.
- Be diligent [“enter in to”] the process and let God take care of the results.
- What if God calls you to a life of “tedious mediocrity”? Not everyone
is Ortberg, Hybels, Bill Bright. You might be called to pastor a
100-person church for your whole life.
- A large study has shown a very strong correlation between
people who sleep less 5 hrs/day or longer than 9 hours/day and dying
younger. So sleep about 7-8 hrs/day.
- Every disciple must learn to say “no” without feeling guilty.
- OT passages on sleep (Ps 3:5, 4:8, 127:2)
- NT passages on sleep (Matt 26:36-45, Matt 8:23-27; Mark 14:32-41, Mark 4:35-41; Luke 22:39-46, Luke 8:2-25)
- OT passages on dreams (Gen 15:12-21, 20:3-7, 28:12-15,
31:3-13, 24, 37:5-11, 40:8-19, 41:1-7, 45:7, Judges 7:9-28, 1 Ki
3:5-15, 9:2, 2 Chr 1:7-13, Num 12:6, Dan 2:1-45, 4:4-27, Job 33:14-18)
- NT passages on dreams (Matt 1:20, Acts 2:18, Jude 8)
- overcoming insomnia (Eph 4:26)
- Spiritual community (relational rest)
- Christian fellowship (Heb 10:24-25, Rom 12)
- connecting deeply heart-to-heart, not just hanging out
- we are Sabbaths for one another; we know we are safe to be completely real
- the family (Eph 6:1-4)
- spiritual friendships and spiritual direction/mentoring (2 Tim 2:2, 2 Cor 7:5-7)
- a spiritual director is someone who sorts through the mundane things to prayerfully discern the work of God.
- not counseling (although some overlap); counseling is problem-oriented, not discernment
- [Do not glorify suffering. God only uses suffering until
its purpose is complete, then he removes it. Do not over
emphasize the cost of discipleship. Emphasize the cost of
non-discipleship (Willard). John 15:11, Ps 16:11]
- God is much more concerned about his work in you than he is about his work through us.
- Do not choose to serve. Choose to be a servant.
- Being a servant is not the same as servitude. We don’t need to say yes to everything like a doormat.
- We are always called to server. However, in John 15, Jesus says that our identity is not a servant.
- How to identify self-righteous service
- human effort (driven, etc.)
- impressed with the Big Deal
- requires external rewards (need people to thank us, recognize us, etc.)
- pre-occupied with the results
- picks and chooses whom to serve
- affected by moods and whims
- insensitive to others
- fractures community (leads to competition, jealousy, etc.)
- True service:
- comes from within, from the Spirit
- finds impossible to distinguish between small and large service
- content in being unknown and hidden
- free of need to calculate results
- indiscriminate: big and small, to rich and poor, etc.
- ministers faithfully to the need
- a lifestyle
- can perform as easily as withdraw, as the Lord leads
- builds up community
- Stress management: a biblical perspective
- beyond stress management: making the best of stress (John 16:33, Rom 8:29, Gal 5:22-23)
- some biblical principles for stress management and beyond
- Rom 12:2, Phil 4:8, Ps 43:5
- Matt 6:25-34, 1 Pet 5:7, Ps 55:22, Rom 8:35-39, 1 John 4, Isa 41:10, 43:1-4, Zeph 3:17, Deut 33:27, Ps 23
- Matt 11:28-30, Luke 10:38-42
- Mark 6:31
- 1 Cor 13 (essential passage in biblical thinking)
- Hab 3:17-19
- Phil 4:4-9
- Rom 8:28
- the key to managing stress is to managing stress is to view
success with God’s eyes. God will do whatever it takes to bring
us humility because he cannot use proud people. Jesus says “well
done, good and faithful servant” not “successful leader.”
- (“revival”: to fall in love with Jesus all over again)
- The most important part of stress management is how you
perceive a threat. If you have a different perspective you may
not perceive it as threatening.
- Your thinking affects your feelings. Cognitive
Behavioral T(raining?) is the primary method. CBT is proven
effective and in many areas is the best.
- Sleeping pills are addictive. Anti-depressants are not addictive, but they do take 4-5, sometimes 6, weeks to take effect.
- The way to change problem feelings is to change problem thinking and behavior.
- Conseling does not change feelings directly. Medication as well as exercise changes feelings directly.
- Biblical counseling asks: “What does God think about this?” “What does the Bible say about this?”
- Three phases in counseling:
- exploration (listen and ask good questions)
- stress management:
- adequate sleep
- good diet
- Phil 4:8, Ps 43:5
- Lloyd-Jones: you must talk to your soul, not let your soul talk to you
- thinking is important to change
- CBT advocates trying hard to change thinking. Mindfulness-Based Therapy lets the thoughts come. As a Christian,
you give the thoughts to God.
- “Let go [of control] and let God [take control]”
- Biblical success
- Christ-like agape love
- servanthood and humility
- faithfulness to God’s calling
- obedience to God and his word
- vulnerability and strength in weakness
- Col 3:23: doing our best as unto the Lord
- Rom 3?:29: becoming more like Jesus
- “Self-care” and “balanced-life” is a little bit like
self-protection. God may call us to be poured out almost unto
death, like Paul at times. We need “God-care” and trust that he
will provide what we need.
- Spiritual warfare: an attack is an opportunity for [God’s] protection
- All the theories of the atonement are true:
- penal substitution
- conquering sin, Satan, death (don’t need to worry too much about generational demons)
- showing God’s love
- Jesus’ death is sufficient!
- we still may need inner healing or deliverance from the
residuals, the little battles that must be fought even though the war
- we need to exalt Jesus (preach good sermons, discipleship,
etc.) and the demons will flee. Only in the most severe cases do
we need to do deliverance.