24/7: The Rhythm of Life (Part 6)
October 14, 2018 | Pastor Steve Pixler
Let’s begin today by looking back over the last five weeks of “24/7: The Rhythm of Life.”
“God has called us to live in peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15).
God created the world in a 24/7 pattern when he called cosmos out chaos by the power of Spirit and his Word.
God created the world to function with RHYTHM and BALANCE. “So teach us to number [measure] our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). Sometimes we must RESET OUR RHYTHM (Harry Connick, Jr. video).
We find our creative rhythm and balance ONLY when Christ is at the center. Life is about WHAT you put on your calendar and WHEN you put it on your calendar (priorities). And the WHAT and the WHEN are determined by the WHY (values). A life centered in Christ is a life with a WHY.
Here’s the takeaway: Life was created to ebb and flow in patterns. It’s the way God made the world.
Daily rhythms: morning, noon and night. (Take 5)
Weekly rhythms: Sabbath (day of rest)
Monthly rhythms: New moon (getaway)
Yearly rhythms: Sabbatical (vacation, holiday)
Life seasons: Successful transitions
In Week 2, we covered two main points:
Life balance flows from soul balance. We must be balanced internally before life can be balanced externally. It is impossible to tame the the crazy outside until we tame the crazy inside. When we achieve “soul balance,” our feelings, decisions and thinking all settle down into a wise, peaceful perspective on the chaos around us. We can get “outside” the drama and objectively watch it go by. And this Spirit-led perception of life allows us to rise above the drama and see creative solutions to tame the crazy. If we remain unbalanced, teetering and tottering, veering wildly back and forth between the spiritual and physical chaos, we cannot get a good grip on the reins of life.
Second, we focused on one core discipline: CONVERSATION WITH GOD. Conversation requires two things:
Talking: Talking to God is prayer. Prayer includes petition and proclamation, asking God to work and then declaring what he has promised to do.
Listening: Listening to God is reading the Bible and listening for his voice. It is recognizing when God speaks through dreams, through wise counsel, through the preached Word and through the “inner voice” of God within our heart.
In Week 3, we discussed:
There are two fundamental ideas to grasp about the family:
The family is spiritually and strategically significant in God’s plan for saving the world.
The family chaos that we often experience is spiritual warfare. Because the family is central to God’s strategy for saving the world, Satan works furiously to sabotage family health.
Then, we focused on ONE KEY DISCIPLINE:
There is no greater discipline that we can develop than simply spending time talking together. God created the world with words, and our words create our world.
The greatest longing of the human heart is to be understood. It’s all about words: to hear and be heard, to speak and to be spoken to.
Healthy conversations require “safe” spaces. We must create ground rules for healthy conversations where everyone can both TALK and LISTEN.
Be honest. Speak your mind. Anyone can say whatever they want to say.
Be kind. You can say whatever you want, but HOW you say it matters.
Be fair. We must give equal time and space for everyone to speak. No one gets “shushed.” From the youngest to the oldest, everyone gets to speak their mind.
Be open. No topics are off-limits. If we refuse to create a safe space for controversial topics, then family members “banned” from discussing their ideas will go underground and develop their opinions and beliefs alone, which is dangerous.
Be confidential. Conversations are sacred. We do not take them outside the home without the permission of the participants.
In Week 4, we talked about “work balance.” We discussed two things and then one discipline.
Work was created to be done in partnership with God. This is the DOMINION PRINCIPLE. God planted the Garden of Eden and placed man in it so that he could bring the entire earth under cultivation and civilization. Eden was a prototype of the earth. God created man for dominion. And dominion was intended to be a Spirit-filled partnership. YOUR WORK is an expression of God’s rule over creation.
Work was created to flourish in a 24/7 pattern of work and rest, labor and renewal. This the SABBATH PRINCIPLE. God made “heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them” to fit within this pattern. Trying to run the world without rest is like trying to run an engine without oil: it will burn up!
The “Take 5” habit: Throughout the day, when things get stressed and tense, take five minutes in the presence of God to recover balance:
Breathe in and breathe out: take in peace, release stress
Pray and decree the promises of God
In Week 5, we discussed church balance. Though this may seem strange—and even suspiciously authoritarian and religious to modern ears—attending church weekly is part of the 24/7 cycle around which God designed the world.
We were careful to avoid empty, dead religiosity when discussing church attendance while preserving the Spirit-led awareness of what God does when his people gather that cannot happen any other way.
We answered two questions starting off:
What is the church?
Why do we meet weekly?
Then, we wrapped up by looking at the big picture of what God is doing in the world through the church. It is truly amazing!
THE BIG PICTURE
The church of Jesus is the means by which God is saving the world. Jesus came to earth, died and rose for our sins, and ascended into heaven to establish his church. His church is what he came to do! And that is how he is doing everything else: people are saved through the ministry of the church; families are made whole through the ministry of the church; nations are transformed through the ministry of the church.
The church changes the world because it releases the rule of God into the earth. When the church gathers, we sit in session as heaven’s government upon earth. And the rule of God transforms people, families and nations as it uses the keys to the kingdom of heaven that bind and release heaven’s authority. The gates (government) of hell cannot prevail against the church!
Let’s wrap up the series by going back to the beginning. There are two passages that we referred to over and over throughout the series:
Genesis 1:1–3 (ESV): 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
God called cosmos out of chaos by his Spirit and his Word. That is still how we find balance in the busy of life. Wherever the darkness lies; wherever the chaos is; invite the Holy Spirit to brood in creative contemplation. And then allow the Word of God to speak light into your darkness, revelation into your confusion.
Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV): 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The only way to discover and maintain the rhythm of life, to find balance in the busy, is to hold tight to Christ at the center of EVERYTHING.
And here is that passage rendered in the Message Bible:
Matthew 11:28–30 (The Message): “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Life is a dance. Find your rhythm.
small groups study guide (Session SIX)
SESSION SIX NOTES
Start by reviewing the previous weeks.
Soul balance: define and discuss “soul balance.”
Family balance: define and discuss “family balance.”
Work balance: define and discuss “work balance.”
Church balance: define and discuss “work balance.”
Then, wrap up by discussing how we can put Genesis 1 (the creation story) and Matthew 11 (the yoke of Christ) into daily/weekly practice.
How can we invite the Holy Spirit to “hover” over the chaos in our lives?
How do we release the Word of God to bring cosmos out of chaos?
How do we partner with Christ by taking his “yoke” upon us?
Discuss what it means to keep Jesus at the center of your life.