January 2024 Column

The Rhythm of Sabbath

Lord of the Sabbath

Amidst the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of work, family, and the never-ending to-do lists. The constant noise and chaos can leave us feeling drained and disconnected. In the midst of this chaos, Jesus invites us to embrace the rhythm of Sabbath – a divine pause to recharge, prioritize spiritual renewal, worship, and deepen our relationship with Him. As we enter this new year 2024, let’s explore the significance of the Sabbath and reflect on how we can align our lives with the rhythm that Jesus, the embodiment of the Sabbath, exemplified.

At the heart of the Sabbath is the recognition that God created a rhythm of work and rest. In the book of Genesis, we see that after six days of creation, God rested on the seventh day, sanctifying it as a day of rest (Genesis 2:2-3). The Sabbath is not just a day off but a deliberate and sacred pause in our lives. It is a time to cease from our regular activities, to rest, and to focus on the divine.

Jesus, being the Lord of the Sabbath, emphasized its profound significance during His earthly ministry. In Matthew 12:8, He declares, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” This statement not only underscores Jesus’ authority over the Sabbath but also reveals that He is the embodiment of the Sabbath itself. By recognizing Jesus as the Lord of the Sabbath, we are invited to enter into a deeper understanding of rest – a rest that goes beyond physical rejuvenation and delves into the spiritual realm.

January is often associated with new beginnings and resolutions. It is a time when many set ambitious goals for the year ahead. In the pursuit of these goals, it’s crucial not to neglect the importance of rest. The Sabbath provides a weekly opportunity to step back from our endeavors, allowing us to recharge physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

In the Gospel of Mark, we find Jesus withdrawing to solitary places to pray (Mark 1:35). This intentional separation from the demands of His ministry highlights the need for solitude and communion with God. Similarly, our Sabbath rest is an opportunity to withdraw from the noise of the world, to find solace in prayer, and to reconnect with the source of our strength.

As we delve into the rhythm of Sabbath in January, it’s essential to prioritize spiritual renewal. Engaging in activities that nurture our faith, such as reading Scripture, and spending quality time in prayer, becomes paramount. The Sabbath is a designated time to deepen our relationship with God and to align our hearts with His purposes.

Consider incorporating a devotional time into your Sabbath routine. Choose a passage of Scripture, like Matthew 12:8, and meditate on its significance. Reflect on Jesus’ role as the Lord of the Sabbath and what it means for your life. Allow the truth of God’s Word to permeate your soul, bringing about transformation and renewal.

Questions for Discussion

In what ways can incorporating the rhythm of Sabbath into our lives positively impact our overall well-being, considering the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of rest?

Considering the challenges of modern life, what practical steps can individuals take to carve out meaningful Sabbath moments in their busy schedules?

Reflecting on personal experiences, share a time when observing a Sabbath-like rhythm positively impacted your life, fostering a sense of peace, renewal, or enhanced spiritual connection.

In the midst of the new year’s resolutions and the busyness that January often brings, let us not forget the profound invitation of the Sabbath. Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath, beckons us to enter into a rhythm of rest, renewal, and worship. As we align our lives with this divine pause, we find that our year is grounded in a deeper connection with God, enabling us to navigate life’s challenges with grace and purpose.

As you embark on the journey of  2024, may you discover the beauty of the Sabbath rhythm – a rhythm that restores, renews, and draws you closer to the One who is the embodiment of rest itself. May the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:8 resonate in your heart, reminding you that He is the Lord of the Sabbath, and in Him, you find true and lasting rest.

Contributors

Editor & Writer
Xiomara Perdomo

Xiomara Perdomo

Assistant to the President for Mission

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David Asscherick

David is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and ARISE co-founder and instructor. Since his baptism in 1999, David has traveled the globe preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Violeta are the happy parents of two boys, Landon and Jabel.

Keynote Speaker

Benjamin Lundquist, host of Rise & Lead, will headline 2023 AYP Convention.

Benjamin Lundquist is a top motivational speaker and one the leading voices for leadership development and empowerment. He is passionate about helping students and professionals see their worth and value, see themselves as a leader, and see their potential to change the world. The message he shares is motivating, relatable, and highly practical. Audiences are challenged to take extreme ownership of the unique gifts and opportunities they have. He is an international speaker and host of Rise and Lead Podcast which has been downloaded in over 110 countries providing aspiring and experienced leaders of all ages with world-class content and conversation. He frequently speaks at corporate and faith events, universities, and high schools.

Identity in Christ | Breakout Track

April is currently an associate pastor for discipleship at Keene SDA church. She is enrolled in a dual graduate program for Public Health and MDIV chaplaincy. She enjoys working with different ministries that highlight service, hospitality, and life enrichment. 

Her hobbies include traveling, reading, music, and extreme sports. An introvert at heart, she enjoys moments with close friends and in the quiet. Her and her husband, Blake Snyder reside in Burleson, Texas.

Purpose & Calling | Breakout Track

Ann Roda likes to describe her life as one long adventure with God. She began her career as a registered nurse in OB then transitioned into healthcare administration. Then, God unexpectedly redirected her path to the Adventist Theological Seminary, for an MDiv, and into pastoral ministry. She spent 15 years as a church pastor in Marietta, Georgia and Fulton, Maryland. Six years ago, God had another adventure for Ann, and called her back into the health care ministry, serving with Adventist HealthCare as Vice President for Mission and Spiritual Care. 

This position is the perfect combination of both pastoral ministry and health care. Ann is married to Jose Hernandez, a licensed professional counselor. Ann and her husband enjoy hiking, biking, and traveling.

Relationships | Breakout Track

Stephen and Felecia Lee are partners in the mission. They share a mutual passion for young adult ministries and using their talents to share the Gospel online and through speaking engagements. Stephen helps individuals and businesses function more efficiently through time management and productivity techniques. Felecia is a full-time homemaker and also the founder of the New Wives Club. 

In addition to this, she runs a program teaching women of color how to learn principles of faith through natural hair care. They live in New Hampshire and speak in different places on topics related to singleness, courtship, communication, evangelism, and faith.

Spiritual Health | Breakout Track

Shawn is passionate about generations coming together! She grew up in a four-generation family business and knows, from first-hand experience, that when people of all ages work together, everyone wins!

She has a B.S. in marketing from the University of Nebraska and is an award-winning sales and marketing professional. Her professional certifications include being a member of the John Maxwell Team and DISC Behavioral Consultant. Recently she published her first book “Strategies for Generational Inclusion at Work.”

Communities | Breakout Track

Michael Gibson currently serves as the Lead Pastor at the Keene SDA Church where he most previously served for four years as Pastor for Young Adults and lead Elevate, a growing and thriving young adult community in Keene. Michael is married to Melissa and they both enjoy the outdoors, long walks, and traveling to new, unexplored places. 

Most days, when he’s not teaching, preaching or studying, you’ll find him playing disc golf or working on home renovations with Melissa. They recently welcomed their son, Micah Eden, into the world last October and ever since, life has taken on a whole new meaning. Above all, Michael and Melissa have a passion for discipleship and telling others about the incredible God they serve. For them, the gospel boils down to loving God and loving people.