Light a candle and take a nap…finding rest is Christ

WP_20150203_001

I like to tell funny stories. I also have been known to embellish a story or two in order to get a good laugh. This one may be slightly embellished but this is how I remember it. I call it my candle story. When I was going through my DCE (Youth Ministry for my non Lutheran friends) Colloquy program we had a professor talk to us about taking time in our lives for prayer. He was talking about levels or prayer..(By that way I am not even sure what that means) But I do remember the 4th level. It was something about lighting a candle getting comfortable and praying to God through breathing. He talked about how you could get to this great place of rest with God. So being the smart aleck I am I raised my hand and said “So what you are saying is, if I want to take a nap at work, I should light a candle first and tell them I am praying!” He quickly told me I was wrong but the damage was done because I was too far gone in my own humor to really hear what he was saying.

So this last month has been tiring. So tiring in fact I have been exhausted and wanting to put my head down and take a nap. In fact I have been reminded of that story more than once this past couple of weeks, and put it to good use…No I haven’t slept in my office, but I have been trying to be more deliberate about resting in Jesus lately. I have tried something to get some rest. I have been making it a point to go home each day for lunch and while I am home I pray while laying down. I set an alarm so I don’t sleep the day away. I am often refreshed after my time with Jesus in prayer and nap. So my question for you is are you resting?

Jesus came not to make us busy, exhausted and tired. He didn’t come so we could be tired and worn down all the time. He didn’t come so I could work through lunch, and run, run, run all the time. He came to bring us rest in him. As you follow Jesus this week I pray you rest in his arms. If you need to, light a candle.

Matthew 11:27-29 English Standard Version (ESV)

27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Are we challegeing them to be disciples, or just members?

1795956_840619722635628_1996074617490833731_oThis past Sunday, at the congregation I am privileged to serve, I was asked during the message to contemplate something I have been talking with my pastor about for some time. We were asked “Are we just members of a congregation or are we disciples of Jesus?” Now before you get angry and say this is just part of the wishy washy Christianity that says I don’t want to go to Church or organized religion I just want to follow Jesus crowd. That was not the question I am asking, nor was it the question asked of us on Sunday.

The question we were asked is do you just want to be a member or do you want to be something more? Do you want to be a disciple? You may be asking “what is the difference?” Those terms have meaning and this is what I think they mean. Members are people who belong to a group for a benefit. Disciples are people dedicated to the teachings of a master and to spreading that teaching to others.

Did you become a member of the Church just for the benefits? Are you coming to our Church to have someone to bury you when you die, or someone to marry you when you fall in love? Are you coming to youth group just so you can go on trips, and have fun events?  Or, are you coming to this community, this congregation, because this community is dedicated to learning from the master Jesus Christ. You see a disciple is something more that just coming to make sure our name is on a membership role.  You are coming to meet with these people so we can learn from the Master. We come so we can learn who God is through his Son Jesus Christ, the Master.  As disciples we don’t just learn about Jesus but we go and share that Jesus with others. A disciple is a learner and a sharer.  He or she not only gets something but shares something with those who God has put in her path.

So are we challenging our students, our children, and our families to be disciples? Are we challenging ourselves? Are we reinforcing a mentality that says “I come to this place called Church so I can be a member, and receive my rewards for doing this. Or are we challenging ourselves, our people, our families to be disciples. Are we asking them to be in the Word to receive the greatest gift we have in Jesus.  Are we asking our students, parents, families, adults, and children to be disciples who come to the master to learn and to share? I pray our answer is yes.