I put this lesson together this morning for small group. The idea was a mixture from an earlier article I wrote and some questions from a lesson plan I downloaded.
TV, Radio, iPods, smart phones, tablets, email, Facebook and Twitter. We live in a wired society where we are bombarded with information every second of every day. Did you ever see the commercial, I think it was for ESPN, where a couple on a date couldn’t have a conversation because they were checking scores on their phones? Is that you? When we are not plugged in, many of us have work, social lives, friends, family, and busy schedules doing things that wear us out. Perhaps we even let church drag us down?
How many times a day do you “check in” – look at your phone for email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.? Is it too much?
What do you think Psalm 46:10 means? How can you practice being still more in your life? If you have quiet time, where do you go?
When we studied the Syro-Phoenecian woman, Jesus had taken the disciples to an island city in Lebanon hoping to get some rest but people recognized him and kept him busy the entire time. When Jesus fed the 5000, he had been looking for a place to rest with the disciples for a bit (Mark 6:30-32). Finally, he sent the disciples ahead of him in a boat and he went onto a mountain to pray. Jesus was surrounded by noise in his life too. Even he had to commit to get away to his mountain and spend time with God.
Many of our founding fathers in our country were Quakers. In some Quaker services, they skip the traditional sermon and they just sit quietly. Sometimes, people stand and share what God is telling them but, for the most part, they sit and pray. I was going to ask that we sit still and say nothing for 5 minutes. Do you think we could do that without looking at each other, checking our phones, or letting our minds wander down the hall to our kids or down the street toward lunch? It would be hard, don’t you think? If we can’t have quiet time in church, how can we do it in our daily life?
In Matthew 14:22–24, we see the same story as Mark 6, mentioned above. Jesus intended to get away for a bit, but had compassion for those seeking him and gave up part of his vacation to heal and bless the crowds. In Luke 6, we also see Jesus trying to rest on the Sabbath but taking time to heal. This angered the Pharisees, but it was right for Jesus to help others.
When we go on vacation, do we have a whirlwind of activity planned and do we take God with us? Do we make time to be still and know, or do we come home more tired than before we left? How could we spend our time more wisely?
In the creation story, God took the seventh day as a day of rest. Why do you think this was important? In Exodus 20:1–21, the Bible gives us the 10 Commandments. The longest one, verses 8-11, concerns the Sabbath. Rest is Holy time! Christians and non-believers alike are led by the world. What do you think are some of the visible consequences in the world around us for not taking a time of rest? What can we do differently?
The Pharisees made more rules and got mad that the disciples actually picked grain and ate it. They got mad that Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. God did not create the Sabbath to be a burden with a bunch of rules and requirements. He didn’t even intend for us to take the same day. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. Romans 14:5 . What would it look like today if we kept the Sabbath? What can we do to create time in our lives to go to our mountain? Where is your mountain?
This week, as you go about your life, make time each morning and just be quiet. Pray. Listen. Stop worrying. Let’s talk in coming weeks about the difference that can make in our lives.