The Sabbath

My friend Chris did a nice post on the Sabbath (http://soldierinchrist.blogspot.com/2009/02/sabbath-who-needs-that.html) and I told him I would throw him a curve so here’s something to think about.

Since I’m one of the many people who serve (basically work) during the Sunday morning church service (I’m thinking pastors, ushers, parking lot attendants, nursery workers, kitchen staff, technicians and in my case musicians) how does the Sabbath play out?  Honestly, by the time I get home from church, unload my gear and have lunch I’m ready for a long nap.  Also, based on my belief that every member of the church should serve in some ministry this should be common to most of the congregation with only those who are visiting getting a free pass.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I do this by choice and wouldn’t want to do church any other way but how many people fit into this category and how then should we keep the Sabbath?

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in your house.  If it pleases you, allow me to continue to serve you for all my days on earth.  In Jesus’ name I pray
Amen

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10 Responses to “The Sabbath”

  1. Jim,

    That is the beauty of the Sabbath. There are really no rules as long as you relax and have a day of rest. Remember the original Sabbath was on Saturday. Also since Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath we can observe this day anytime during the week. The key is to free your schedule and make sure you take a day to refresh your mind and body. I think Mark Driscoll has a day where he and his family stay in their pajamas all day and play games and watch movies. Thanks for the shout out! Take care…Chris

  2. wellwateredgarden Says:

    What are you calling the Sabbath? Everyday is the Lord’s day.

    I hesitate to respond to your message because you are so excited about it.

    The problem with everybody doing (serving?) something is that for hundreds of years church leaders have taught church attenders that really all that is required of them is to attend, sit in the comfortable pew and do nothing but listen to the latest CD performed by the ‘worship team’ because there are very few songs being played by the band that anyone can even sing to, and then hear yet another sermon about sin-consciousness.

    And even though Paul teaches that when believers come together everyone has a psalm or a hymn or a word of encouragement, the opportunity for that kind of get-together on Sunday morning is not much given by the (mostly) paid staff.

    But, of course, ample opportunity is given for people to give their money so that the show can stay on the road, so to speak.

    You are a musician … so am I. We are very fortunate in that we can exercise our hobby in front of an audience. Do you remember what the churches did before they invented the ‘worship team?’ They had an organist or pianist and they played songs that everyone knew so that they could actually participate in the singing, rather than be frustrated with having to learn yet another unsingable song.

    Yeah, I sound a little upset, but that’s the way i see it.

  3. Sunday is one of the most exhausting days of the week for me for the reasons you’ve mentioned above. I can’t get a whole day’s rest without leaving town entirely, which Paul and I try to do once a year for about 10 days.

  4. @wellwateredgarden

    I’m not sure why you would be upset maybe you should change churches?

    What are you calling the Sabbath? Everyday is the Lord’s day.

    Yes, but the Lord says to take a day of rest and do no work.

    I hesitate to respond to your message because you are so excited about it.

    I am always excited to talk about my relationship with God and the idea of the post was to provoke thought.

    The problem with everybody doing (serving?) something is that for hundreds of years church leaders have taught church attenders that really all that is required of them is to attend, sit in the comfortable pew and do nothing but listen to the latest CD performed by the ‘worship team’ because there are very few songs being played by the band that anyone can even sing to, and then hear yet another sermon about sin-consciousness.

    I agree that many churches don’t encourage participation, however in my church the (small, about 200) congregation drowns out the amplified praise band and they know all the songs. The sermons are a matter outside of what my post addressed but I do like it best when the Word is preached and explained – those who know me know that I am a fan of Alistair Begg and expositional preaching in general – pick a book and preach through it – SCEOTS – Sequential Consecutive Exposition of the Scriptures. That keeps the pastor honest in his choice of material, in other words he can’t skip the hard stuff and always head back to his favorite topics.

    And even though Paul teaches that when believers come together everyone has a psalm or a hymn or a word of encouragement, the opportunity for that kind of get-together on Sunday morning is not much given by the (mostly) paid staff.

    You get paid? While I have been paid as a musician at special performances at other churches (I’m usually asked to bring the PA and record the special event as well), I would not consider a paid ‘gig’ on Sunday mornings to be going to church and I believe most of the churches here in Nashville stopped paying musicians a few years back for that very reason.

    But, of course, ample opportunity is given for people to give their money so that the show can stay on the road, so to speak.

    I’m not a big fan of talking up a collection but the pastor has to eat and the building is not free… again if everybody sees the building as their church and uses it more than an hour a week this stops being any issue.

    You are a musician … so am I. We are very fortunate in that we can exercise our hobby in front of an audience. Do you remember what the churches did before they invented the ‘worship team?’ They had an organist or pianist and they played songs that everyone knew so that they could actually participate in the singing, rather than be frustrated with having to learn yet another unsingable song.

    I think the old hymn book is pretty much unsingable, I mean there are no spaces for breathing in most of those songs. If you go back to Solomon’s time there were paid musicians and they got loud – see Psalm 150 – so the ‘organist or pianist only-thing’ is the preference of a generation nothing more. I would like to have times when we go unplugged with either just singing or an acoustic guitar (and in fact I am starting a new service Sunday night that will be just that). As for exercising my hobby in front of an audience there are ample opportunities to do that outside of church, I try to blend in and go unnoticed as much as possible in church. I know others want to ‘wow’ the congregation, I don’t like that attitude either.

    Yeah, I sound a little upset, but that’s the way i see it.

    Again, not sure what you’re upset about – there are churches that still do it the ‘old way’ maybe you need to find one, or start one.

    God bless,
    -jim

  5. Wow!..This has really opened up the old can of worms. The whole point is to take a day of rest. I know everyday is the Lords day but you have to rest sometime. Not resting I believe is the root of a lot our problems in today’s society. We are busier today than we have ever been. There is a reason life is sometimes referred to as a “Rat Race” We have this insatiable appetite for more and more stuff and we are killing ourselves to get it. Plus on top of that we have more things to occupy (waste) our time than ever before. Folks we need to “slow down and smell the roses” This is another reason why a lot of people do not attend Church. They are too busy. They have packed their schedule so full that Church gets put on the back burner. And right next to the Church on the back burner sits the family. That’s why we have to make time to worship our Savior, spend time with our families and get some rest. And all this can be done at the same time.

    Now to address wellwateredgarden “They had an organist or pianist and they played songs that everyone knew so that they could actually participate in the singing, rather than be frustrated with having to learn yet another unsingable song.”

    Well I have never been to a church where the words for a song were not made available to the congregation to be able to sing along. Besides Psalm 96:1,2 (ESV) tells us “Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day” You guys in the “ Worship team” are doing a great job. Trust me I sing in the choir and we love to sing new updated songs. And BTW the congregation loves them too. I agree wellwateredgarden might want to look for a new church…Peace…

  6. wellwateredgarden Says:

    Thank you all for the comments. I apologize for the venting, but I see today’s big churches as not much more than glorified youth group meetings where the more advanced in age no longer feel comfortable and welcome.

    There have never been more and better preachers, musician, teachers, authors, etc. than today, yet the Christian church as we know it is in freefall while Atheism and other religions are advancing.

    PS … I am a musician in my church but I don’t (or would want to)
    get paid.

  7. Chris,
    It’s all got to be kept in balance, keep in mind that in OT-times people worked hard (Sunup until Sundown) 12-16 hours a day for six days a week so the Sabbath was really a command to let the workers rest. Electric light in factories made this even worse in modern times; you may be old enough to remember Solidarność, the Polish Solidarity fight for a 6 day work week. In post WWII Poland the working class was being forced to work pretty much all the time, something like six 16-hour days and 12 hours on Sunday. In that context keeping the Sabbath takes on a different meaning as opposed to the average person in the US (where we have a lot of free time). As if we needed fuel for the discussion, here are a few verses on laziness.

    Proverbs 6:9-11 (English Standard Version)
    9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
    10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
    11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

    Proverbs 19:23 (English Standard Version)
    23The fear of the LORD leads to life,
    and whoever has it rests satisfied;
    he will not be visited by harm.

    As far as wasting time, anytime that is not spent glorifying God is wasted. It’s been the week to slam Facebook since it just turned 5-years old however I can’t blame Facebook for time away from family anymore than I can blame bars for keeping people out late; people have to hold themselves accountable for how they use their time. I use Facebook to be a Christian witness and spend as much time blogging (about Christian matters) as I do on Facebook yet I bet there are those who would say it’s all wasted time. Some guys attend a men’s breakfast once a week to discuss their Christian walk, I happen to think blogging is a better way (for me) to have community; I mean what’s one hour a week compared to being able to reach out anytime.

    Again Chris, I was impressed with your post and I think the discussion is all good stuff.
    God bless,
    -jim

  8. Thanks brother..I also think we are making good use of our time fellowshipping with our blogs. It’s one way to use technology to our benifit.
    wellwatergarden I feel you with the younger music..I think we have a good balance of old and new at our church, it’s a far stretch from a rock concert but I believe it does glorify God..Thanks for the healthy discussions guys..Chris

  9. Our church has more than its share of church burnouts for some reason (misery loves company?). Ten years ago they made a conscious decision to strip down all church programs to the bare minmum (no Sunday School, no organized youth, no committees except the elders, just Sunday service, fellowship groups and accountability groups.) Worship is 2 unplugged guitars, there’s signup sheets for coffee prep and nursery and everyone helps with chairs.

    This is not for everyone but it saved a small church plant from overloading its small core group, which is often the death of a church which doesn’t grow past a certain point – it loses core members through burnout. And we got our day of rest back.

  10. Church burnouts… its sad how at some churches if you volunteer for anything they will lean on you for more and more until you break. Then they wonder why nobody wants to volunteer…there’s no perfect (local) church on earth.

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