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We Find Our Rest.. In His Cross

We Find our Rest in His CrossSAMSUNG

Matt 11:25-30


As we learn the depth of the grace of God, how it floods our lives, may we learn to trust as children, leaving our burdens behind, and learning to rest in His presence!


A Parker Parable….
Being a Christian is like Playing Golf…..


It leaves me a little in awe how often my life includes lessons that coincide with the message of the sermon for the week.  It happens most weeks, sometimes multiple the same lesson learned through the experience of several lessons, and sometimes one of them is perfect to use in the sermon.   When those happen, I call them “Pastor Parker’s Parables” even though they are the lessons I learn…the one’s I’ve been taught.

So get ready, this week, the parable is that, “Living the Christian Life is like playing golf!”

No, I don’t mean the part about the frustration, the anger, losing things left and right, from golf balls going in the water to one’s temper, to all desire to keep going.

Well, those things are included, it’s what called the law….

But there is another aspect to golf, that is not about suffering, but actually develops character, and joy….

A Little Success is a dangerous thing!!!!

The day on the course starts our great… well, great for me.  Nice strong drives… decent bogies, nothing too pathetic.  Then, on the par 5…. confident in my drive, the ball dribbles off the tee, it wouldn’t even make it to the parking lot!  The next 6 hits went about as far, one even bouncing off of three trees to land at the base of the first one!  The next hole – a par three (that mean you meet the standard by getting the ball in the hole on the third “hit”)  the penalty strokes for getting the ball in the water exceed par on their own!  Frustration is set in, every possible change to my swing is being analyzed…… I am relying on every bit of wisdom.. and failing.

We are like that in life, things can be going well, we can be doing good, and then confident, we try to do everything on our own,  We want to decide not only what is good and right, but we become wise in our own eyes, trying to solve the messes we get into, because we think it is all about us.

Most of us, at one time or another, fall into the trap that Jesus so clearly describes, when He describes those “who think themselves wise and clever.”
Not that we would use those words, but how often do we try to run our lives?  How often do we set aside God’s word and do things that we think will be beneficial to us, without considering its effect on others, or on us.  The more our playing God fails, the digger the hole we dig ourselves in,   Or instead of trying to run our own lives, it is telling others how they should live, or helping them justify their playing god, in the way they deal with others.

Ultimately, all sin, any time we break any of the commandments boil down to our thinking we know what’s best.  Somehow we think we are wiser, or more clever than God.  That we can handle it all on our own, without any help from Him, or those He sends.

Not only do owe not measure up, but we get more and more frustrated, until we want to give in, or give up…..or just hurl a golf club farther than the ball we hit with it went.

Playing God doesn’t lead to peace, but just frustration and anger and anxiety and….. we don’t ever find ourselves measuring up.  We find ourselves so far from par, from being righteous, from being the people God came to share life with, eternal life, that is.

Even long after we’ve left the course, we are going to feel the frustration, the tension, the disappointment in ourselves.  We will go from thinking we are perfect, to condemning ourselves, putting ourselves down, and giving up what we love, and are meant to do.

No, I am not talking about golf, but the lesson can be seen there as well.

Finding the Ability to Cease, to Give Up Control…


If those who find themselves wise and understanding struggle, it is amazing to see that the simple, that the naïve, that the very childlike do not.

It is because of the ease, the natural way they come to trust in God, to know Him, to walk with Him.  How they accept what is revealed to them by God.

It’s not that they don’t sin, but they learn to seek forgiveness, to count on mercy, quickly. They get to know the Son of God and therefore the Father.

And when Jesus says come, knowing His love, knowing the joy of walking with Him, they come.

And find rest, they find the ability to relax and cease their struggles in life.  They learn to stop trying to force life to go the way they think is best, and just revel in His presence.

That is the key to live, it is what those who think they are wise cannot figure out.  It is because it is something beyond figuring out, beyond our capacity to comprehend.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t experience it….


The Rest….


It has been said that it is not the power of the swing that causes a golf ball to sail far, but the smoothness of that swing. That a relaxed smooth that might appear to be effortless will cause it to go farther than one is far more powerful but is forced.

The same is true for a believer in Christ.

There is Jesus, saying come to me, and I will give you rest…

I love how the paraphrased translation the Message says this….

29  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. 30  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
   Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)

That’s what the yokes are for, as we see in Hosea,

4  I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.”

The blessing of being yoked to Christ is learning to live in His grace, His love, His peace.  It isn’t about God controlling us, or turning us into robots, it’s about teaching us to live.

When you go through physical therapy after surgery, as many of us have done around here, as some are doing right now, the therapists aren’t just trying to cause us pain, but teach us how to move again, so that other places don’t give out.  What seems like a curse, or may cause a curse or two, is there to help us live as free as possible.

When a golf instructor has you swing the club over and over, without hitting anything, he’s conditioning you body to do what is right.  Same for the martial arts instructor who makes you punch the same spot in front of you 10,000 times.

Hear the Message again,

29  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. 30  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”   Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)


Where do we walk, bound to jesus?  Learning His grace?

To the cross, and then to the resurrection.

To see God’s handiwork through all of life – even suffering, even death…for even there, in the shadows of death…. we find His life…eternal, everlasting, immortal.

We can stop guessing, we can stop trying to play God, or pretending we are wise and clever.

We can move with Him, through our baptism, to the altar.  To look upon His sacrifice, His body given for us, His blood shed to seal His contract with us, to seal us to Him. We can move with Him, as He takes our burdens, as He takes our cares, and anxieties, and binds Himself to us, that we may know how to live.

To live, now as well as then, in a peace that passes all understanding, a peace in which we are kept, heart and soul… guarded by Jesus Himself.

Golf and the Art of Discipleship

Devotion/Discussion thought  of the day…

It’s after 2 o’clock and I am finally writing this entry, because I went golfing with a good friend and his son – both of who are much better golfers than I ( I also had some visits to make… please keep my friend Brenda in your prayers – she’s awaiting some reduction in swelling so they can remove her gallbladder..)  I had planned to be back here around 10- – but life happens.

A s I was playing golf, it caused me to contemplate on our lives as disciples of Jesus, as those who try to walk with Him, imitate him (or imitate those who serve Him imitating Him).  Far too often, my concentration isn’t enough – and though I hit off the tee well, and onto the green, I end up three putting.  Or maybe my weight issues cause some imbalance in my swing – and off goes the ball into the trees.   And sometimes, on the hole that appears to be the hardest, we relax knowing we can’t make it – and instead hit it perfectly, and find ourselves wondering why we can’t do this – every swing, every time.

It’s that Romans 7-8 thing – the things I want to do – I can’t manage to – the things that I don’t want to do – dang it that’s just going to happen (like on the 7th and 9th hole – where I hit the ball into the same spot in the same exact sand trap!!!!)  So often in my Christian life – oh does that happen – I sin and can’t avoid it, I get frustrated because I can’t play like Tiger or Phil, I can’t seem to overcome the sins and anxieties caused by not trusting in God.

As the round ends, as you enjoy a diet coke (or a beer – but we were playing to early for that) , the game fades away, as you remember the laughs, the companionship, and realize what a great time you had – kicking back in the sun, enjoying the trees and the silly squirrel that wanted to attack the ball. That’s what makes the day – not the frustration of averaging a double eagle.  So to – at the end of the day, as we realize that our bad “putts” and hooks have been forgotten, as we enjoy the day in the presence of our Father in heaven… as we realize that He just enjoys the walk with us – and He’s the One who judges whether the day was a success, or not – that’s life.

Don’t take the game seriously – enjoy the companionship, the fellowship… with the One who for joy endured the cross, and for laughs let us invent golf…..

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