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Cycle of Grace: Sustenance


well my wife hates putting gas in our car she will wait as long as possible until that number gets to zero thankfully we have a car that will tell us exactly how many miles we have but she will wait until it gets to zero before she fuels up our car and I'm just curious how many of you are like that no judgment from here I'm just curious how many of you wait as long as possible all right I had a few of you okay there's you're not alone Susanne I'm doing that for your benefit but also to show you that there's really not that many that do that but anyway but this is what we do with our souls all of us do it we run and we run and we run and we run until we're on empty and we don't even realize we're on empty until we crash until our the the the car stops I love what John Ortberg writes in this book we're basing this series that were on called the unhurried soul he wrote this book soul keeping he writes this the soul was not made to run on empty but the soul doesn't come with a gauge so what do we do to refill our soul he also tells this story from an American devotional writer Lettie Kalman who wrote about a traveler who's visiting Africa and with a group of people carrying her bags and guides and she was hoping to make the journey quick and so she they they made great progress on day one she was super encouraged because they went many miles on that first day but then on the second day all the carriers and guides refused to go any further they said well they just stopped and she asked well she was frustration just like she asked the leader why why aren't we moving we made such good progress day one and the guide said that leader said well the the first day we traveled too far too fast and now they are waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies well she she reflected on this and she came to this decision this idea this whirling rushing life she says which so many of us live does for us what the first March did for those poor jungle tribesmen the difference they knew what they needed to restore life's balance too often we do not we run and we run and we run and we get weary and tired and Jesus speaks to us about this life in Matthew chapter 11 let's put it up on the screen and I want us to read this together this is a passage that we're basing this series on and it's a call to rest and I want us to read this out loud together are you ready go 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 learning how to lean into the rhythms of God's grace how grace shows up in our lives this rhythm or as or bird calls it a cycle of grace really has several steps in it three of which we're looking at in this series last week Pastor Bo talked about the step of acceptance that that the rhythm of grace includes acceptance it actually has to start there where where you know that that you are entirely and unconditionally loved by God that that she said that if you can't see the love of God you need to find a seat where you can see him you need to change your position so that you can experience the unconditional acceptance of God your soul will not find rest without it and the second step in this cycle that we want to talk about today is soul the soul's sustenance how do we refuel and replenish our souls jesus said in John chapter 14 I am leaving you with a gift he's telling his disciples that he has to go and there there's there's anxiety and and sadness and even depression and he's saying I'm leaving you with a gift peace of mind and heart and the piece that I'm I want to give you as a gift the world cannot give see we we strive and we strive and we strive to find peace in this life at the world cannot give it it cannot give us what the lasting peace and and and rest that jesus promised us so don't be troubled or afraid Jesus says because what I offer you this gift that I want to give you is is peace and life and rest to your soul Jesus lived a very busy life he was he had to he was itinerant preacher and he went from village to village to village he traveled all over that region and not by car he walked there and and as he walked there everyone wanted to to touch him to connect with him to be healed by him to to challenge his authority to to I mean people all the time were coming to him the masses were coming to him and the religious rulers who didn't like him were challenging him all along the way and he had to find places within the context of that kind of life for rest and for refreshing and for refueling so what did Jesus do to refuel his soul well there's a few things that this is this isn't a comprehensive list by any means a stretch of the imagination but this is a list of things that Jesus did to replenish his soul and as I read this list you might can start to consider is there anything on that this list that I might begin to to use in my own life to refuel to take a moment like okay I need to start practicing some other things in my life to refuel mine so so here's the soul replenishing practices of Jesus prayer he prayed often he he got away to pray he found a quiet place and spend time with his father he he had a circle of close friends I don't think we should ever underestimate the influence the impact that Peter James and John and his other friends had on his on his soul that that there were times I mean he it towards the end of his life he's like come and pray with me and I think that was a common occurrence that he invited people close to him to be a part of his of his journey and I think that replenished his soul he didn't invite everyone to that kind of proximity closeness with him but he had a few people that were were extremely important in his life regular worship he would often go to the synagogue and and as the Jewish tradition was and in involve himself in worship scripture meditation we see when he was twelve years old that this is that that he was in knowledge had knowledge of the word and he and it was something that he soaked himself in God's creation he loves spending time in God's creation most of his ministry happened around lakes and mountains and and and and he took long walks I mean he had to but I think he wanted to as well but he took long walks and I love this he welcome children I'm gonna come back to that in a moment and how life-giving that could be a soul refreshing that can be in some of you who have two-year-olds or thinking that that's not so refreshing so we'll talk a little bit about that and parties Jesus loved to go to parties he actually went so often that he was accused of being a drunkard and a friend of sinners he loved hanging out and socializing with people I believe these are things that refueled his soul the point of this is that that sometimes we think that soul replenishing happens by withdrawing that's the only way that you can replenish you just got to get away and and and some of you would be like that's not possible I can't I can't get away you know in my life is too busy I have too many demands I owe too much money I've got yeah I just can't get away and and and I want you to hear this that your soul can be refreshed in the midst of the busy in the in the long walks going from one place to the next that you don't have to withdraw in one way you have to engage you have to engage in certain practices in the midst of your life that feeds your soul that replenishes you and refuse you whether it's friends and close relationships or slow dinners or or or getting out in nature or just set some priorities around the feeding of your soul to give yourself permission to say yes to certain things and no to other things so what connects you to God's grace energy and life it will be different for every single one of us the list that Jesus has it doesn't have to be your list it's not like this is the list it's he's created all of us very unique and so what is it for you that replenishes your soul what what is it that and ask yourself the opposite what drains your soul we all know that there are things that SAP us that just take from us and I'm not saying that we can totally get rid of those things but what are the things that inspire you that fill you up author Jen Hatmaker is a pastor's wife she's a mother of five children she's authored multiple books writes a popular blog and for a short while she hosted a renovation show on HGTV so she writes about her life and people often ask her the primary question they ask her is how do you balance work life and community and in her book for the love fighting for grace in a world of impossible standards she compares her experience her journey to watching her nine-year-old learn the balance beam and this is what she writes here's part of the problem we've been sold a bill of goods back in the day women didn't run themselves ragged trying to achieve some impressively developed life in eight different categories no one constructed fairytale childhoods for their spawn developed an innate set of personal talents fostered a stimulating and world-changing career created stunning homes and yard scapes provided homemade food for every mill locally sourced of course kept all marriage fires burning sustained meaningful relationships in various environments carved out plenty of time for self care served neighbors church world and maintained a fulfilling active relationship with Jesus you can't balance that job description she writes it is certifiably insane the only thing worse than this unattainable standard is the guilt that follows when perfection proves impossible she goes on meanwhile we have beautiful lives begging to be really lived really enjoyed really applauded and it's simpler than we dare hope we gotta unload that balance beam see you get to decide and I get to decide what stays on and what gets off I had a crazy week last week it was it was an interesting balance of really stressful and and really life-giving and it's it started actually last weekend at winter camp and I spent the weekend with 400 teenagers and I and yeah and and and I came back filled with life I I didn't I wasn't a cabin leader so I can I can't speak for those cabin leaders who were spent the night with young people it was poor for cabin leaders or the kitchen crew who who gave so much so many hours of service to these kids that just in the I mean cleaning their dishes and I mean it was just amazing to see just how you the body like responded and cared for our young people in there and I'll tell you lives were changed dramatically I mean there was just the speaker was incredible the activities it was just you could see young people there they're their spark I mean it was just like hope hope came in to a generation that desperately needs it so so I came back filled with hope and encouragement and I was refilled and then Monday was the one-year anniversary of my nephew Adams death and then and then Wednesday was a packed day of all my Wednesday's are packed with meetings with staff and people inside and outside the church and this particular Wednesday I started by meeting with my assistant and then I met with a guy named cliff Haynes and cliff was the former one of the former pastors of this church a supervisor of over 300 of our Foursquare churches at one time and even was what an executive level of our entire denomination and he now attends our church he's part of our community and and I met with him and then right after that I met with our speaking team which is a group of 15 people who help these messages be better than they would be if I was on my own a lot better and and then I met and then after right after speaking to him I went to lunch with the owner of thump coffee Bobby Grover who attends our church and is a dear friend of mine and then later that afternoon I went with coffee with a friend longtime friend who is considering being part of sess team and the church plant and then later that evening I play pickleball with a couple other guys from the church yeah so that sounds exhausting but I called my wife when I was coming home from pickleball and I'm I and I granted you I think it was probably a little bit of the endorphins I got from playing pickleball but I was so encouraged by my full day why because everything that I did that day and this doesn't always happen was supposed to be on my balance beam now we all know the opposite and I have plenty of these kinds of days where we pack our days full of things that drain us that deplete us and and and and the key to this idea of refueling our soul is you can't get rid of all of those things but do you have areas even micro spaces where you are able to refill your soul some some of you that's seven days a week and you're just running and you're tired and you're weary and you don't know what to do and some of you do you need you need to take a day off you need to take a day where you allow your soul to be restored and do you know what you would do if you had a day do you know what kind of activities you would do to refuel your soul if you if you got an hour what would you do if you got 30 minutes what would you do what are the things in your life and and you can you should start making a mental list you might even want to write it this is so important to the our souls being whole and healthy then for me on Thursday was the anniversary was my son's birthday he would have been 24 years old on Thursday chase who died and sad it was it was awful day awful day and and then Friday I don't know if we did it on purpose or not but we had our three-year-old niece spend the entire day with us and spend the night with us she's a great niece so it's almost like a we don't have grandkids yet we don't have what it Hudson say good one dad my head and my son Hudson over there he said he's the only married one at this point we do think that's a prerequisite by the bed anyway but so we had that we had my great niece come over and stay with us and she's three filled with energy and I know a little bit of now of what it's like to have a grandkid and it's so great to give him back right like what is he quit when is granny come in on Saturday morning I like that was Grady coming but that day we was filled with soul refreshing there's something about looking into the eyes of a child who with wonder and curiosity and life and joy and the things of this world haven't corrupted her yet and I hope never will and it's like he's something beautiful about that that can refresh our own Souls and but it's not easy it has it comes with intentionality and one of the keys is of soul replenishing is finding spaces in the middle of the busy I was talking with our young speaking team there they're young you have young families young kids and they looked at me like Steve this is impossible to find space our lives are crazy man our kids are just it there it's all-consuming work and family and all of these things and kept talking about it and Jenna she mentioned how she's learning to take a moment while she's nursing her young baby of soul refreshing just breathing and the love and mercy and grace of Jesus in that moment been talked about his son Joel putting him to bed at night reading to him and then taking another thirty minutes after his son falls asleep just to lay in bed and take deep breaths and allow his soul to be renewed see that we have to find spaces searching for the sacred in the midst of the crazy sane tenacious of Loyola back in the 16th century talked about this matter of fact some of his language still floats around in certain Christian communities and he went through great trials and through that he out of those experiences he wrote about two different types of practices or experiences things that he called constellations and things that he called desolations these were practices on one hand constellations that renew the soul and then other practices desolations that deplete the soul and he uses it he used it as a decision-making tool something that I think we could use even as a decision-making tool for our own lives to answer the question what should I say yes to and what should I say no to and here's his list it's a lengthy list and you can google it later st. Ignatius consolation and desolation but here's his desolation activities these are the things this is how he when he it was a grid for him to go like I'm gonna run all of the things all of the decisions that I have to make all the activities all of the opportunities all of the decision everything I want to run through a grid do will it drive me down the spiral ever deeper into my own negative feelings will it cut me off from community well it make me want to give up on things that used to be important to as somebody positive for just a moment as every yes that we say in life is a note to something and I'll tell you so usually something more important that gives life to us that we end up saying no to because of all the other yeses the demands that are placed on us by this world and I know we can't get rid of all of the demands but but can we start to exchange desolation activities for consolation ones and does it make us want to give up on the things that used to be important to his crowds out our distant vision covers up the important moments of our journey with God it drains our energy and here's consolation these kind of a grid again of how to make decisions will it lift my heart so that I can see the joys and sorrows of other people well it bond me more closely to others will generate creativity and fresh ideas will it refresh my inner vision will it show me where God is active in my life and where God is leading me and will it release new energy in my life these are just a grid how what should I say yes to what stays on the balance beam and what needs to drop off the balance beam see we don't we don't have to make this overly complicated I think it can fill these lists and like what do I do and just ask yourself what fuels me what drains me just make a list this week today what fuels you and what drains you it may require other changes you know you might need to have some internal you know not don't sweat the small stuff all right you might actually need to get away you might need to take a long walk today is a really good day for that we don't have days like this in January very often what a great day for that maybe you need to go to more parties maybe need to have more social interaction spend more time in prayer I I was thinking about this hard week and Friday having scout and then Saturday I decided to Scouts my great-niece and so I decided on Saturday because it was just it was just a hard week so I decided I'm gonna go one of the things that fuels me is getting on my motorcycle and going on a ride so I had a three hour ride planned and so I took off at 10:00 earlier that day Hudson my son asked me if I wanted to play pickleball I said I need to go out and ride my motorcycle so he's about 20 minutes into my ride and I was just being refreshed it's like this is awesome and then I felt like I I don't know if it was just the the clean air and being outside and being on my bike or if it was the Holy Spirit sometimes you just kind of go with it you know and I felt like you know you've gotten the good refueling right now and your family's at home and I was like done and it wasn't out of guilt because my family also refused me it hasn't always been that way but in this season they refuel me and I turned around and I rode back and I did a 40 minute ride instead of a 3 hour ride and it was perfect and then I was able to go play pickleball with my son and and I beat him pretty well and that was all that's always refueling he doesn't have the mic right now he's really bad because it's not true he is better than me but what refuse you spend time doing those things what drains you spend less time doing those things you know what it is that that brings life to you and refreshing to you and hope to you and what are those things that when you when you enter when you when you engage in those activities are in those relationships it brings life and what are those things and activities and even relationships that drain you it's ok for for you to go like I'm gonna say I'm not gonna say yes to every request Jen Hatmaker she's right so that one of the things that drains are saying yes to every coffee invitation she doesn't say yes she has boundaries in her life and she she creates space for her to do the things that bring life to her that's what connects you to God's grace Jesus did it he set limits on his interactions with people he set limits even on how many people he healed he set limits on how much interaction he had with religious leaders he had a life where he he couldn't always get away from everything that drained him but there was a rhythm that was constantly refueling him he never I won't say that I think he did he did get to zero hmm that's interesting at one point in his life but the general rhythm of his life let me let me stop there just for a second Jesus ran out of gas he ran out of his soul was empty just prior to the cross and the Garden of Gethsemane invited his friends to come along with them because they were people who replenished his soul and they they weren't able to stay up with him and he's always by himself and she's never by himself though because he recognized that he had this relationship with the father this connection that he had fostered that he had developed that sustained him and it sustained him in that moment when everything else kind of fell away and he was on zero there was still a connection that he had with his father where he was able to pray not my will but yours Father be done would you close your eyes with me and this was unplanned as you can tell and but in this moment I can't think of a better thing to do in response to this message but to reconnect our souls back to the source of life like a like a plug back into an outlet like a like pouring gas back into the tank it's a reconnecting of our souls with the source of life you don't need me to lead you in this you can do this right where you're at any time of the day in this moment and every moment so take a deep breath go ahead and just maybe just put your hand put your hand on your chest right now just go ahead everybody that put your hand on your chest and take some deep breaths and and now I keep doing that just keep doing that at a dozen times just feel the rhythm feel the rhythm unforced rhythm it's what we were made for it's how we were made Jesus we lean into the unforced rhythm of your grace Jesus we try to strive and strive and strive to find peace never taking a moment a pause in our busyness to breathe in your life and breathe out those things of anxiety and fear that keep us striving so we take a moment today Jesus take a moment right now to breathe in your life your grace your mercy and we breathe out fear anxiety we thank you for your life Jesus we thank you she showed us the way to refuel our tanks we love you in Jesus name I want to invite you can look up I want to invite anyone that would like to receive this life that maybe you've never prayed a prayer like that but maybe you did it just because I asked you to but this it was unfamiliar to you it was new to you and you you never had a relationship with Jesus but in that moment and and right now you feel like I want to begin that I want to like acknowledge that I started a relationship with Jesus today where I'm inviting his life to to be breathed into my soul and I want to follow him and I want to give my life to him and if you made that decision would you would you make sure that you grab a begin packet it's just a simple white packet has some resources in there to help you start on this journey with Jesus that there at all the exits there at the tables with lights on them here in the front are right and left that says begin on them and make sure you grab one of those packets also our prayer team anybody over there prayer team wave those little blue wands over here at our prayer wall they are available they'll also be up here towards the front as well and if you'd like to get prayer today maybe you're just filled with anxiety and this message just you just like Manny I certainly did not intend to heap guilt on you but that's what you feel right now and would you make sure that you don't leave for getting prayer and just soaking yourself in the mercy and love of God for your lives and and and then make a list make a list today of the things that fuel you the things that that give you life and I want to give you permission if you needed my permission to do more of those things and that Jesus would help us know what to say yes and no to keep like ruthlessly eliminating hurry from your life all right that's all I got one last thing is two two last things one I'm gonna be out in the atrium lower atrium just in just a couple minutes for our welcome event if you're new to Westside if you're new to this community of faith I would love to meet you there's a few other pastors and leaders there as well so make sure if you're new come over and for those of you that are interested in getting more information you have questions about the church plants Seth and his team will be out in the atrium and you can get more information there god bless you guys we'll see you next week have a great week [Applause]

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