Tag Archives: sabbath

Review of “A Sabbatical Primer for Pastors” by Clayton Blackstone


“You will never know how hard it was to keep you boys busy,” my dad acknowledged in a moment of morphine-induced honesty following surgery for colon cancer.

“Did it ever occur to you to give us a day off?” my youngest
brother asked.

Dad hesitated, but only for a moment — “The thought never crossed my mind.”

“Keep busy” buzzes in my head. My daily “to do” list gives an often distorted shape to my day.

In A Sabbatical Primer for Pastors, David Alves raises his voice over the buzz. “God is taking you out of the brick making business,” he writes. With frequent references to his own story, David argues that Sabbath and Sabbaticals offer a God-designed way for me to be free from the drivenness that has served as a constant companion since my youth.

The Primer troubles me with a question that lingers like the scent of a powerful perfume: which father’s voice will shape the remaining years of my life?

–Clayton Blackstone, author of Meet Me for Breakfast and Pastor of the Advent Christian Church in Bangor, Maine

Just Reviewed: Sabbath Keeping

Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of RestSabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest by Lynne M. Baab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sabbath Keeping is a fresh look at an important antidote to our chronic busyness.

I love it that Lynne Baab does not approach the topic from the vantage-point of “law.” Rather, she comes at it through a seasonal metaphor. Life is full of seasons. Sabbath rest is an organic, season in our week. It is a rhythm of life. Those who participate in this special gift of God–one day out of seven–experience a harvest of peace and joy in the midst of their lives.

She also gives practical helps for those interested in going deeper or launching into a Sabbath. She gives multiple solutions for those who want to move out of the cultural torrent, to the still waters of a deeper spirituality.

Since I have been keeping a Sabbath with my wife for two years now, I find her suggestions and conclusions to be right on target. I highly recommend this book to veterans or those just thinking about the need for a quiet space in their week.

View all my reviews

Solitude, Silence, and Simplicity

One of the most important things that happened to me on my sabbatical this spring was that I learned more about myself in relation to my spiritual formation in Christ. I have often stressed solitude, silence, and simplicity for myself and others. But somehow the Lord impressed upon me the need to go higher up and deeper in. I need to press in to that quiet place with him. So I have made solitude and silence a major priority in my life. They counter my tendency to talk too much or be too “busy” with people–too external. They make me stop to wait upon the Lord. They quiet my eagerness to serve by making wait to see what my Father wants me to do, not what I think I need to do.
In my renewed emphasis upon these important spiritual disciplines, I reread a past blog I wrote, The Simplicity of Solitude. I enjoyed going back to it. I thought as I read that perhaps this could be helpful to my friends and family as well. I recommend it to you. But find a quiet time and place to put it into practice.

Come to Me


Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

–Matthew. 11:28

Real rest–soul rest–is found in one place. Jesus is the true source of so much and now we find that he is the end of our striving and busyness too. He is our REST and QUIET–our peace.

He invites “ALL” of us to “come.” The only prerequisite is that we be weary and heavy laden–weighed down in heart, weary from our labor, worry, concern; tired from trying to be strong, from carrying burdens (not intended for us to carry); and, from an overload of responsibilities that wear us out. Some may be tired of just living–striving for acceptance, defending from rejection, protecting our reputations, guarding our livelihood or looking for one.

But . . . we need to be willing to lay our “stuff” down and pick up his “easy” yoke and “light” burden. His yoke yokes us with him–along side him. We connect and couple ourselves, by an act of the will, to go where he goes, to move or stop when he moves or stops. Actually, our second act of the will. Our first act is to “come.” We must, like Mary, choose the better part–to place ourselves in the presence of Jesus–at his feet, listening to what he will say. So I go in the morning to him. I wait on him. I don’t fix myself up first to make myself presentable. I simply sit, quietly, choosing to give him my weariness of soul and lay my burdens down.

He is always there, so that I might be yoked to him and learn from his humble, gentle style. That’s how we know it’s him–by the character of his teaching style. We run from any other voice (Jn. 10:4-5). He is never harsh with us. When we come he speaks gently and welcomes us. He promises not to reject or chide us for coming. To go to Jesus is to begin the first day all over again–everything fresh and new. He is the One who told us that forgiveness was to be lavish and always ready to welcome the one who needed it.

PRAYER: Lord, I hear you calling (Isa. 55.3). I come, just as I am. Help me to receive your REST. I desire to make the exchange you invite. I give you my stuff and take yours in exchange. Thank you for your gracious invitation to those of us who have gotten weary and weighed down. How is it that you are so marvelous to me?

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