Silence & Solitude
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Okay, you can go ahead grab your Bibles, turn to Luke chapter five. Luke chapter five, by a show of hands, who has felt like since Thanksgiving till yesterday, you were just busy. Okay, a lot going on, right? We live in this constant state of busyness in the last month or so there just seems to be always something going on. And it’s just one of those times of the year when that happens. We know there’s other times as well. And we know that also, because there’s less of you here. So Christmas was yesterday. It’s a lot to get up on the day after and come to church. So I guarantee there’s more people watching online today, because we’re just tired. It’s been very busy, and many others are traveling, being with family and friends for the holidays. And if we’re honest, this is kind of our natural state anyways, we’re just busy people. How many times do you hear that when you ask them the question, how was your weekend or how’s your day going? It’s just, it’s busy. It’s chaotic, I’m tired. I have no idea where my kids are right now. So they did a study back in 2019, that found and this is 2019, pre pandemic, and 2019. They found that people said they have 26 minutes of free time, a week, 26 minutes of free time a week, I don’t know what their definition was a free time and all that. But we’re busy people know the pandemic came are like, wow, we have all this time in the world. We’re gonna change some things. And now things are slowly getting back to normal, we see we’re just busy again, we just schedule more and more things. So I don’t know, if you’re like me, I’ve looked at my schedule before. And I said, Well, I’ve got a lot going on, anybody been there. And he said, Me, I should change some things. And then we don’t. Because the next week just looks just as busy. And just as busy the next week, this is becoming a big deal in our country in our society with youth, college and younger, back in 2019. Again, pre pandemic, they did a study that found the anxiety and depression among youth is just continuing to rise. And what has happened in the last couple years has only amplified those numbers. So much. So the Surgeon General just published published a protecting Youth Mental Health Advisory that was now saying this is a public health issue, a crisis. There’s too much of this going on. And they point in that study mainly to social media and technology is the reasons. And a lot of that also has to do with time being too busy. I had a middle schooler two years ago, say something timeout, an event coming up says I have to check my schedule. I never had a schedule in middle school. And so like those types of things, like that’s just kind of built into our culture, we have to check and make sure we don’t have something else going on. across the generations though this mental health crisis having to do with anxiety and depression is going in the wrong direction. And I believe the church has something to say about it. Because I believe God has something to say about it in his word, because he wants us to rest. He really does. He wants us to rest. And so that’s what this brief series is all about. Press pause choosing, you can see that the subtitle there is not on the screen, but it’s choosing rest in a restless world. And I intentionally chose those words, because we can’t find it. We have to choose rest. It’s a choose rest in this day and age. So here’s the definition, we’re going to look use for press pause both this week. And next. This is what pressing pause is it’s making intentional time in your day to pursue God and to hear from him. Okay, pursue God and hear from him. So let me illustrate it for you this way, when my kids are watching TV, and I want them to do something, okay, I will go down and I will call their names while the TV is still on. So their focus, laser focus right on the TV, they don’t hear me at all. So I have two options. I can say their names again, and get louder and louder and louder. Every time I called her name or I can pick up the remote. And press pause. Now, after they’re appalled that I was pause their show, and they come back to Earth. They realize Oh Dad has something to say.
But that’s the those are my only options, I can just get louder and louder and louder, I can just press pause and make them cease from what they’re doing. stop what they’re doing. And that’s what we need to do in this life. We need to press pause from some things to go do something else, something better for us. Something that God wants us to do and to just take a second to rest. So some important things to say on the front end here. That will be for this week. And next in looking at this idea of press pause. First some things about the world and then to some things about God and the church. So first the world, the world is loud. That’s the truth. The world is loud. And I don’t just mean volume, though that is true. I mean, just the number of things that are coming at us from all angles every single day. The world is loud. I don’t think anybody would debate that to the world’s practice of rest is very good. From the church’s view of rests, certainly the Bible’s view of rest. Some of the things like social media technology the world considers restful, and yet, that’s what’s causing anxiety and depression. So we have to have a different view of this. Third, the world is in trouble if we don’t slow down. Okay, the world is in trouble if we don’t slow down. And if the church doesn’t lead that, as well, because there’s just gonna be more anxiety, depression, rage, anger, impatience. Because we’re constantly going, there’s always something to do. So there’s some truths about the world, some truths about God and us as God gave us rest as a gift. It is a gift that he has given to us. He’s built it into the fabric of His creation, God ceased from working to step back and just enjoy his creation. And he’s given that to us as a gift as well. God is not opposed to hard work, he is opposed to neglecting rest. Okay, he is a post that it’s one of the 10 commandments, we’ll look at the way we follow the commandment now and the Sabbath and the principles that we take from that and adding that into the rhythms of our life. But this is important to God. To God knows we need rest, because we are not God. Okay, we need to rest because we are not God. This is one reason why we see him. And no, he’s different than us, because He never asks. But we need rest. And then third in Christ, we can always rest we just saying about it. And it says that, that Jesus accomplished everything for us, we find our hearts restless until we rest in Him. And that’s what we have, are invited into that in Christ. So the Bible says, let’s do some things about the world. Some things about God and us that are going to kind of be overarching themes throughout this week. And next. But the Bible has a lot to say about rest. You can just look that up, go type in into whatever your study Bible use online, put rest in, you will find many, many passages on rest. So if I can summarize a lot of these passages into what biblical rest is, it’s this, it is ceasing from our work and trusting in God’s sovereignty, completely. Okay, ceasing from our work and trusting in God’s sovereignty, completely. So at the macro level, as Christians, we do believe that we have everything we need in Christ, that everything is accomplished in him. And so we can rest in that He invites us into that in Matthew 11, verse 28, when he says, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. So as Christians, we’re in Christ. That’s what we find rest in Him. So what are we talking about today? And next week, we’re talking about the micro level, how do we experience that? How do we lean into that rest day in and day out? So we’re gonna look at that biblical rest, and the spiritual discipline or habit of grace, however you refer to them this week, and next, we’re gonna look at a couple that are often neglected. So this week, we’re looking at silence and solitude. And next week, we’re gonna look at meditation and memorization. So we want to press pause, for silence, and for solitude. So you’ll see in your notes, the outline for this weekend, next are going to be the same. We’re going to look at evidence for these things in Scripture, we’re looking at the benefits, and then we’re gonna look at the practice of them, I hope to give you some very practical things you can take with you. So first, the evidence of silence and solitude in Luke chapter five. So we’re jumping in here into Luke five, we are not in this book, right now. So what happened the first four chapters, let me catch you up because the context is important to what we’re going to see. So first is the Christmas story. Some of you probably read Luke to yesterday as a family. But then we get Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist, we see His public ministry starting in Galilee, we see him being rejected in his hometown of Nazareth, then he does some healings. He’s in Capernaum. And then he ends up driving out this unclean spirit, and he calls us first disciples. Jesus is busy. Jesus is busy. He’s doing a lot of things here in these first four chapters. And we’re going to pick up in verse 12, and read through verse 16.
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy, when he saw Jesus he fell with his face to the ground and Becton, Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man, I am willing, he said, Be clean. And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, don’t tell anyone but go show yourself to the priests and offer the sacrifices that Moses, Moses commanded, for your cleansing, as a testimony to them. Get the news about Him spread all the more so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed other sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places, and prayed. So evidence of silence and solitude like this an amazing miracle. We’re not going to be focusing in on this miracle but Jesus heals this man with leprosy, this skin disease where nobody else wanted anything to do with this man. Nobody wanted to touch this man. When he approached people he had to yell unclean. He wasn’t fit to worship because he was unclean, and Jesus touches them, and heals them. And Jesus doesn’t get the leprosy. In fact, he brings health to this man. And so that’s an amazing thing. To start off this that Jesus is continuing to do ministry, he is still busy, people are still coming to him. But he says, Don’t go tell anyone. We talked about this in our mark series, and even a couple weeks ago, why did Jesus not want people to know what he was doing who he was, because this is so early in His ministry, He knows nobody’s gonna understand what he’s doing, they’re gonna try and elevate him this position that he did not come to fill the first time. And so he’s like, don’t, don’t go tell him just just accept this go offer what you know, Moses has commanded you to offer. I don’t know if a man listens. But we do know that word spread about him. The new spread about him all the more it says. So crowds of people are coming to hear him speak and teach. So Jesus is making a name for himself. Jesus is going viral. That’s the language we use now. Okay, Jesus is going viral, it’s word of mouth, people are saying, you’ve got to go see this man named Jesus. You wouldn’t believe what he’s saying and what he is doing. The power of word of mouth, people are telling others and the crowds are coming from other places in Scripture, we see that there are so many people that are pressing in against Jesus. They’re bursting at the seams in homes when he would go in. There’s always a crowd of people following him. So his name is going out. And they come because of what he’s saying and what he’s doing. And here’s the thing I know about our culture, if we had people knocking on the doors to get into this church, if we if people wanted to hear the gospel, hear what we had to say, hear what God had to say from his word. If people were coming into we’re doing baptism after baptism, after baptism, we’d be really excited about that, right? And then we would say, we need to go do more ministry.
Right? We need to go do more. But Jesus doesn’t do that.
The crowds are coming in. What does he do in verse 16, instead of riding the momentum. But Jesus, Jesus often withdrew to lonely places, and prayed. He often withdrew to lonely places. He didn’t go hire more staff, can he go find 12 more disciples to add, he often withdrew when these crowds were coming so he can do something else. We’re gonna see what that is here in a second. But this was an ongoing practice. He often did, as we’ll look at some more examples here in just a moment. But he’s not caught up in just doing ministry. He knows he needs to spend time with his father. So he takes himself away, he withdraws to go do that. And here’s the thing Jesus couldn’t find this time, because the crowds were always coming. And you guys hopefully are in the gospels enough that you know, whenever he would leave, who was coming after him, the crowds, the crowds, crowds followed him to the next place in the next place. So how much of this time he was actually able to get we don’t really know because they find out where he is. And they go, and they find him. So Jesus had to make the time. That’s why we need to choose rest. Good luck finding time, once you start your day, we need to choose it, we need to make the time before we even head into the day. And Jesus knew this was vital to prolonged ministry, to the kind of ministry that he was doing was he needed to rest and he needed to be with his father. It was his priority. So Jesus could have been if maybe he was the busiest person alive at this time. Okay, but he could have been busier. He could have, he could have killed more people. He could have done more miracles, He could have gone more places. He could have been the busiest person alive. Now imagine the PR campaign around Jesus. Today, if somebody came on the scene was doing this, you would have like miracles being shown on YouTube, tons of Twitter or Twitter followers, then you would have people FaceTiming Jesus just saying, hey, just say the word and hear me. I mean, this is what would happen in this day and age. But here’s Jesus, he could be on call all the time.
He could always be doing something. And yet he chooses
often to withdraw to lonely places. So there’s all sorts of instances instances of this in scripture from other people taking rest, being in silence and solitude, but we’re just gonna look at Jesus this morning, and follow his example. So the reason is, because of Jesus needed rest. If he made this a priority, when he could have been doing more, we should listen. We should pay attention. And we should implement this into our life practices as well. So you’re gonna see this on the screen. I’m just going rapid fire. I’m not gonna make much comment on any of these. We’re just gonna read this and see that this was a normal practice for Jesus. So Mark 135. Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Luke 442 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. Matthew 14 13 When Jesus heard what had happened, what happened here was John the Baptist was just executed. Okay, this is the news that he hears. So when he hears that, what’s he do? He withdraws by boat privately to a solitary place. Luke 612. One of those days, Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Matthew 1423, after he dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone. And Luke 918. Once when Jesus was praying in private, and his disciples were with him, that just means the disciples were near him, but Jesus, like he did in the garden to send me went further in and prayed privately. He then asked them Who do the crowds say, I am. So what do we see here? Well, the Jesus often withdrew to lonely places, to pray, to be with his father. But as we look at all these pastors, what we see here is that Jesus was doing this to prepare and to pray, to prepare and to pray. He wasn’t lounging. He wasn’t emptying his mind. He wasn’t being selfish. He wasn’t neglecting his responsibilities, he had a higher priority. To prepare for his ministry that was coming, the ultimate reason for why he came and to pray to commune with his father. In his book, redeeming your time, Jordan Reiner says this, he says, lonely places aren’t places of weakness, they are places of great strength.
Do we believe that? Do we believe that?
Because Jesus shows that in his life, he’s not places of weakness, there are places of great strength. And so this is a vital component of Jesus’s ministry that we often neglect. We don’t think about a whole lot, we think about what Jesus did what Jesus said, but not what he didn’t do. The fact that he would step away, and take a break, and press pause, see, seeing the work that he could have been doing for the work that he actually came to do. Like that’s important. He knew his ultimate purpose. And so he was willing, because he had long view, to stop some things here to prepare himself for what was coming. And we need to take note of that for our own ministry. The Lord has stuff for us to do. Are we ready for it? Are we rested for it? Because it’s doing more ministry leads to burnout. We need to rest because God has given us work to do. So this changes our whole idea about what rest should look like when we look at Jesus. Okay, because biblical rest is not like the world’s Rest, rest of the world are things like leisurely activities, like lounging, like TV and movies sleeping in, and none of those things are bad. None of those things are bad. They’re good gifts that God has given to us. But I think we’re more on the we err more on this side of doing these things more and more and calling it rest, and ignoring what Jesus was doing in his rest. That’s for my own life, at least. I’m okay resting to say I’m resting. I’m just doing all these other things are not focusing on God and what He has for me. So I think we’re far more dangerous, spending too much time over here, and not enough in biblical rest. So what is the value of silence and solitude though? What’s the value of it? We see these in Jesus’s ministry. We see these in our own life if we practice these things. So I’m going to give four benefits you can see in your notes there, that’s the next section, benefits of silence and solitude. Number one, it helps us rest in the goddess of God helps us rest in the goddess of God, His sovereign rule, number seven, ceasing from our work, to trust completely in God’s sovereignty. Okay? In Psalm 62, David says, this is truly my soul finds rest in God, my salvation comes from Him. Truly, He is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Yes, my soul, find rest in God. My hope comes from Him. We find rest, we need to pause because God is still God. It brings that perspective, that he’s God. And we’re not. We need to take breaks in this life, to see that the world goes on without us. It does. Nothing is falling apart because we go rest. Because he is God. And we’re not. So he’s sustaining. He’s holding all things together. It’s his. He doesn’t need us. And that’s painful for us to hear. But he doesn’t need us. He’s always been God. He invites us in. He wants to be a part of it. But when we rest what we’re showing in that moment is I trust you completely. And the world does this every single night when we lay our heads on the pillow, they just don’t know that while we’re sleeping, he is still God.
He’s still gone.
So we need to remember we’re part of creation and sit back rest and enjoy the good gifts that He gives us and enjoy the fact that He invites us in to spend time with Him. Jesus never regretted a moment he spent with his father. We won’t regret silence and solitude for spending it with him. The second thing is that room removes distraction. So the most important relationship for Jesus in this world horizontally was people. The biggest distraction in Jesus’s ministry was people. Right? I mean, this is true, it was people, that’s what he was about. But it was also the people that were distracting him, whether that was from his mission. That was they wouldn’t leave him alone to give him some of that quiet time. But distractions were people, but they’re also the most important. So that’s why there are small groups and large groups that Jesus had all the time, but they couldn’t distract him from his ultimate purpose, because he spent time in silence and solitude with his father. And that’s why he was withdrawing from people, which leads into the next point, this time rejuvenated him for ministry, we need to remember the humanity of Jesus, when he was here, he did get tired, he did get hungry, he needed this rest, just like we do. So third, rejuvenates us for ministry more than just doing ministry. So I left that one passage earlier to kind of show the examples and that’s in Mark six. In Mark chapter six, Jesus sends out the 12. And he says, You need to go out, you need to go surf. And they go out and they’re teaching and they’re healing, they’re casting out demons. And they come back later in chapter six, and report all that they’ve been doing and the success that their ministry was having. Now, if you returned from a short term, short term missions trip, and you have all these stories, you’re really amped up to go out again, when you see life change happen, you’re amped up to go out again, and I’m sure the disciples like me, and we’re seeing God do some things here. So we’d love to go back out. But that’s not what Jesus has for them. Look at Mark 631, to 32. It says then, because so many people were coming, and going, that they did not even have a chance to eat, they couldn’t even eat. There are so many people around and so much ministry taking place. Like for most of us, we would love that. I can’t eat because people want to hear about Jesus. Jesus says, Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest. So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Jesus stopped them from doing ministry, so they be better prepared for ministry. Because he knew they would burn out, he knows we need rest, because again, he has the long view. If they keep neglecting, eating, they neglect sleeping, if they neglect time with him, their ministry will suffer. And Jesus knows that. So he calls him way to rest except this pattern, saying this is how God has designed you, you need rest. And then fourth, fourth benefit, it helps us to hear God better. It doesn’t mean in the quietness of your time with him, you’re gonna hear that audible voice telling you what to do. It doesn’t mean that he’s gonna appear in a burning bush. The kids downstairs are learning about that today with Moses call, unlikely to happen to us. So what does this mean? How can we hear the Lord? What does it what does that mean? Well, it means the distractions are gone. When we’re in silence and solitude, the distractions are gone, which means we have scripture, hopefully meditating and memorizing Scripture, we have that on our hearts, or we have our Bible with us. And we say, Lord, I only want to hear from you. We can better hear and discern what the Lord is telling us how he wants us to respond in situation, when we’re in silence. When we’re quiet before him, we give the Holy Spirit’s space to convict to rebuke and to courage, when we’re silent. So for Jackie and I, in our relationship, we’ve always made it a priority to do date nights. Okay. And so this is a regular thing that we do. And what do we do on these date nights? We talk without any distractions, the phones are gone. The kids are somewhere else. And when I said kids are our most important relationships that we her and I have together, but guess what? Our kids distraction? Yes, you can say it. Yes. Most important relationships are people horizontally, the biggest distractions are people. And so we’re sitting there, we’re talking to each other. Are we seeing anything differently than we say any other time? No, we just don’t have distractions. We don’t have distractions, so we can sit and I can hear her and I can hear it clearly. And I can hear it without thinking something else is going on in the other room.
Right? And that’s what we’re having in these moments is we communicate better we’re, we’re more clear, our understanding is better. And so when we are silent before the Lord, we hear him better. He’s not saying anything different. We just hear more clearly. At this point, I’m not asking you to go in silence and solitude so you hear a different voice. And God say something different. No, he’s put it off here. So for him this we’re immersed in this We have this we open it, he’s going to tell us exactly what we need to hear. We just now can hear it. We’re listening. I mean, okay, raise your hand. This is participation time again, how many of you try to read your Bible in a public place? Or in a crazy chaotic, loud place? Okay, how many of you try and do it in the quiet? And you’ve done that before? We were just like, when do we hear God better? When it’s quiet.
It’s just true. If you’re a
people, watcher, you know this. Sir, I read your Bible, and people come into the coffee shop.
We need to quiet we need to silence.
And so again, he’s not saying anything different. It’s just we hear him better. So maybe this idea of silence and solitude scares you, some people get really antsy, when you say Be silent, and by yourself. Okay, and I get that I understand that because that’s me. Okay, this is something that I had to really work hard at over the years. Because I do get antsy when somebody says, Go do something by yourself just lonely. In silence, maybe you get a little bit antsy. But this quote from David Mathis is one that I’ve experienced since I’ve added silence and solitude into my life into my regular rhythm of life, as I want you to hear from him. He says, you may not know how badly you needed silence and solitude until you
get to know them. Until you get to know them.
Which means we need to practice it. And we need to lean into the awkwardness that this might be for us. So we need to practice them. So we get to know them better, and get to see that we do in fact need them. So let’s look at that last section, the practice of silence, and solitude. It starts really where Mark 135 started, that I read first, as we walked through that bullet point list of verses, when it says very early in the morning, Jesus got up while I was still dark, Jesus made time to be with his father. He didn’t wait for it, he made sure was a part of his day. If we wait for the opportunity, it might not come. So we need to make the opportunity. Make sure that nothing else gets in the way. So I don’t know if this is weird to you. But I was encouraged years ago to actually put these times in your phone as if it was another appointment. Because usually, when you have something in there, you don’t let something else bump that thing out. Right, I have something. So if you know, I need to intentionally spend time with the Lord, pursue Him and hear him. If you have that in your phone, it doesn’t get bumped out. That should be a regular practice of ours, like we need to make the time because if it gets bumped out, where else is it going to go? Is it going to be able to get back into your schedule for that day. So it starts there. That’s just the whole attitude of having it. Okay, having it scheduled. Because life isn’t all work and life isn’t all rest. God is for hard work is also for rest, which is why he designed the rhythms that we have. So we have rhythms in our days. We have rhythms in our weeks, and or months, and our years. So let’s look at those kind of time periods here to kind of get more practical on some things that we can do. And I guess one other question you might be asking is okay, silence and solitude is one thing am I supposed to go sit and be quiet by myself for an hour, maybe, maybe for some of you, that’s what you need to do. But more than likely, you’re going to add any of these other spiritual disciplines that you know of a Bible reading, of memorization of meditation. And you’re going to incorporate those into the silence and solitude in some way. Because most of the spiritual disciplines work best in quiet, in silence, and in solitude. So maybe it’s taking a journal out with you. Maybe it’s taking the Bible with you. Maybe it’s walking, you know, adding something in, in order to spend time with him. So no matter where you are this morning, Christian, maybe you’re checking out Christianity, want to know more about who Jesus is, maybe you feel that anxiety and depression. Maybe you feel real busy. These are things that we can add into the regular rhythms of our life. So first, if you take notes, that’s the time daily, what can we do daily to press pause? Rainer, in his book that I already mentioned, says this, we need to get comfortable with the crevices of our day. Refuse to fill the cracks and crevices of your day with noise. So that’s a simple thing. I know I said, we’re not gonna be able to find time. Well, we could probably find a minute or two here or there. You’re driving, you’re at the doctor’s. What do we do when we get that silence and solitude in life? What do we reach your phone, right? So we have a crack, we have a crevice in the day and we fill it with noise. And he’s saying we got to resist that temptation. We got to fill those cracks and crevices with something else. Maybe that is just silence. Maybe it is prayer. Maybe it’s listening to Scripture, whatever it might be, but get comfortable with those and get comfortable entering into God’s presence in those times. Maybe need to wake up earlier or stay up later or do both Whatever some of you guys are morning people, some of you guys are evening people. And so you might do your time with the Lord at different times. But maybe you need to change that even more. Jesus got up early while he was still dark, and went away, so that he could pray. Now I’m an early morning person, as many of you know. So every day is dark when I wake up, I never wake up with the sun. Now that is not because I’m like, I wish it was looking at Jesus saying, Oh, very early morning, well, still dark he got up. That’s just me. But here’s the thing that changed and made that time silence and solitude rather than noise. Because I love sports center. And I want to know what happened the night before and all the games. But years ago, Jack and I found out on our TV that we can put, we can put a code on it so that you can’t get on the TV until a certain time of the day. So I don’t have that option anymore, because I don’t have the code. And that was very intentional. Because I said my date. My first thing is breakfast and just watching SportsCenter. And guess what something might happen at six or seven, that gets my mind going somewhere else. And I never come back to the Lord.
And so I said, I we got to figure out something to do. So this is the good thing about smart TVs, you could do this with them. I can set this timer. And so I don’t have that, that in my way in the mornings anymore. So silence and solitude that that’s just that’s just what’s built into my daily rhythm, but I don’t know what it is for you. But the Lord can help. Stay up late or wake up earlier
than leave the phone. Okay, leave the phone somewhere else. Get a real Bible, I’m sorry, shouldn’t say that. The Bible on your phone is real.
Get a Bible that you can hold like this. Get a journal and write and put the phone away. Because we’re tempted on our phones, if something dings, something comes across, can be distracted. So gotta leave our phones to the side. Second weekly, maybe you need to go for a walk. Just get out in nature. In the silence, not maybe not even an agenda to see where the Lord leads. In those moments. Find special places for you where you can go where you just know like here I I feel like I can get away from some things. And remove the distractions be with the Lord. Donal winning his book, spiritual disciplines of the Christian life has a great one. He says trade off responsibilities with your spouse. So if somebody is struggling, being in the Word, you say, Hey, I’m going to do this tonight. So you can go do that. And you can spend time with the Lord. And then the next night, you just trade off those responsibilities. So you make sure that that’s just built into your home. Right to help each other out and your time with the Lord. What about monthly, maybe get out in nature for an extended period of time go out on a drive. But schedule something a little bit longer monthly. So for Brandon, I have a habit that we’ve gotten into is going to the arboretum, and we kind of do our own things while we’re there. But like from 7am until before lunch, I’m there walking and praying. And I got a little journal. And here’s the thing. I’ve never heard the Lord say something different in those moments. But I have heard him say the same thing for the 1,000th time, and I finally got it. And then you just think, and you ask the Lord to show you some things, some ways that you can better serve your family, better serve the church, somebody that you know needs to hear about Jesus, and He will bring those to you because you’re in the quiet. It’s just you and him. And then the extended one is maybe you need to take a whole day, maybe a retreat, maybe a week to intentionally pursue God and hear from him. We do retreat a lot in our culture, golf outings, spa, weekends, girls time, guys time and we go new do all these things. Imagine if you went to your spouse and said I need a weekend the view of the Lord.
Hopefully they don’t fight you on it.
But isn’t that something we should do? We should, because there’s all these points in our lives, we need to be prepared, like Jesus was preparing for the cross and being with his father. So hopefully those are some ideas that we can pull from for silence and solitude in our lives. One more thing I want us to think about is probably the most famous time for Jesus in silence and solitude was in the garden Kissanime. He goes into his disciples and he goes a little further and praise the Lord, praise his father three times. And the silence and the solitude. He was preparing for what was next. He was praying for what was next. And he knew that was his betrayal and a sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. And in that salvation. He knew we would be provided rest. He knew what this would bring for us. So that should be motivation enough for us to say I want to spend time with you. I get Spend time with you not I have to, we need to get that out of our minds. I have to go spend time with the Lord. No, you get to spend time with the Lord. Because what Jesus did on the cross, and that should be enough. And if it’s not, I love the line in the song was saying, Lord, make my heart belief. Make my heart believe that you’re better. Make my heart believe that silence and solitude are enough. Because we don’t believe it all the time. The other things look attractive, make me believe. We need to press pause to pursue Jesus and hear from him. Now quick word to parents, here in the room and online. This is important for our kids, for us as parents to create this culture in our home. One reason this generation is busy, and one reason why this generation is gonna have a hard time with mental health is because of us. Because we overschedule it’s a land of opportunity, people still say that when they come to this country, it doesn’t mean we need to give them every opportunity. It doesn’t, we are setting them up, we are doing a disservice to our kids to have them in every single thing. If we don’t teach them how to press pause, and be quiet in the Lord, they will fill it with something else. And they will always have something to fill it with. So my oldest, CJ knows this, well, we have this conversation a lot. If it’s a competition thing, or if it’s a challenge thing he wants to do, it doesn’t matter what it is, he wants to try it. And we have to have regular conversations, he knows this. You can’t do everything.
But try to explain that to a kid who’s 10.
He says sometimes the quiet of home of us reading together being together pursuing the Lord together is better. And in one day, hopefully he sees it. Because it is better. So we need to prepare them to have experiences where they are quiet before the Lord and not filling it with other things. So my hope for us as we close a chapter in 2021, and we look forward to this next year is that we choose rest, okay, by pressing pause, regularly as a church, as an individual as families, and just thought, What if our goal was to just slow down this year? What if our goal was to slow down, because with my kids with watching TV, when I press pause, when I press pause, and they go do something, they’re gonna come back and finish the show. They’re just doing something that’s more important at that time and taking a break from that. And that’s what it means to press pause. And here’s the thing, when we do that, not only do we get to spend time with the Lord, we come back better for it. And that’s what we have to believe. We have to believe the pressing pause here and ceasing from something else. And spending time with the Lord is not only that’s better, but that makes everything else better to like we become a better father, a better mother, a better husband, a better wife, a better child, a better employee, a better citizen, a better friend, a better church member, we spend time with Jesus. So it’s, it’s enough to spend time with him. But we have to believe in those times he will use that He will be faithful in that to change our hearts and transform us from the inside out. And that people will know they won’t be able to put a label on it. But they’ll know you’re spending time with him. Because our goal every year, and I say this, I think every year, on this last sermon of the year, our goal is to look more like Jesus at the end of 2022 than we do today. And that’s our goal every single year. And a lot of that is going to come from the quietness of our time with him. And so if you’ve got your notes, if you’ve got something that you’re taking notes on or grab something around you, when we start praying here, I’m going to give you a second in silence. Okay, I’m gonna give you a second to silence and then I’m going to pray for us. What I want you to do in that moment, I want you to give this to the Holy Spirit and say what is it in your life right now that you know you can take a break from you’ll come back to it. Take a break from to spend time with him to press pause. It’s all lead us in that I’ll give you a moment to just kind of be on your own with the Lord to do that. Sorry, can’t be solitude. There’s a lot of other people. But we can be silent for a few minutes. Embrace the awkwardness of the silence, and just you and God talking to each other. Figuring out where this place is in your life right now where you can do this. Okay. So let’s pray. Lord of these next few moments, I pray that you would in this silence help us to see that area of our life where we need to set aside some time to be with you
You’ve given us rest that we need so often is neglected. So we want to say thank you for that gift. And we want to thank you that you, through the cross of Jesus Christ have made a way for us to rest. Not only in our salvation, but to be able to rest to take a break from all the other things and all the other distractions in our life and spend it with you. Not only because we know it’s a chance to worship you, but this is a chance for us to hear from you. A chance for us to be changed by you. And so for each one of us, myself included, Lord, I know there are places in my life where I can take some time and make sure that I am pressing pause from that choosing rests with you. We want to see your face I want to gaze on you and your glory and hear from you. And if you need to tell us the same thing over and over and over again until we are quiet before you when we hear it for the first time.
Please help us to do that.
Make our hearts believe that you are better. And make our hearts believe that spending time with you is better.
Every single day. Jesus we love you. We pray this in Your name. Amen.