Sabbath is Fundamental

This post is part of our 10 Leadership Principles series. Here, you can find more information on the series and catch up on previous posts.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, Sabbath is the day Christians and Jews consider the day of rest. It is practiced on the seventh day of the week and finds its roots in the creation story.

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” Gen 2:1-3” (ESV).

Sabbath is a day of rest where we are called to focus on who God is and what he has done for us. God calls everyone to practice taking a sabbath rest, but for those with primary leadership responsibilities, I think the sabbath is fundamental to your survival. I discovered this over a few years by interacting with a book and a podcast on my commute to work each day.

Using guests and research, Manoush explains the physical things that happen to our bodies, specifically our brains. She makes the case that when we are unplugged from the world/noise around us, we become bored. In that boredom, our bodies have time to refocus and recalibrate. The result is brilliance.

When I hear her talk about it on the podcast or when I read her book, I realize she was primarily talking about the sabbath and the power of practicing the sabbath. Every time she uses the word “boredom,” my brain pops in the word “sabbath,” and it’s like it all came alive in a new way. I found it reinforced the fact that a designer created us and that God knew what He was doing when He told us to REST. Manoush misses or doesn’t connect the dots to what’s going on spiritually, but in reality, she is making a case for taking a sabbath rest, and it’s powerful.

It is here where everything started to come together.

Manoush talked about the chemistry and biology of the brain when we rest, but I added the fact that God is our designer and that chemistry and biology was placed there by design. God has hardwired our bodies to reset and process when we rest. Then He went even further and modelled rest when He created the world and took a sabbath on the seventh day.

The God of the universe, who put the stars in place and crafted us in our mother’s wombs, believes rest is at the core of who we are. But the question you might be asking is probably similar to the question I was asking… why?

When I think of being a primary leader, I often think of what we have discussed in these blogs. As leaders, we are expected to…

  • always have a plan
  • achieve goals
  • always be communicating
  • meet others’ expectations
  • dream big dreams
  • understand your limitations
  • be in community
  • know those around you
  • know ourselves

These are great things to strive for as a  leader, but if we are honest, it’s exhausting. Sometimes we feel we need to carry the world’s weight on our shoulders. We need to always be “on” because if we don’t, who will do the work? Our world is exhausted, and everyone seems to think that if we somehow work harder, more often and increase our productivity, we will find rest, but that, my friends, is a lie.

Whenever I talk to someone in a primary leadership position, and they start talking about how exhausted they are (when they are being honest), I think of Manoush’s book and how we are hardwired to rest. That we can actually succeed and produce more when we take time to be “bored.” These leaders always tell me they can “stop” or are “too busy to rest.” But all of that is a lie; the truth is that they are unwilling to trust.

  • Trust that the work can wait
  • Trust someone else to do the job
  • Trust that the world isn’t going to end
  • Trust that who they are is not what they do

The truth is simple if you want to be a primary leader that actually impacts the world around you, then you cannot afford not to take a sabbath. It is fundamental to your survival as a leader and the only solution to your exhaustion. You cannot work your way to rest… all you can do is STOP and SIT in and be the PRESENCE of God.

But stopping and resting is easier said than done; I know because I’m still trying to figure some of this out in my own life. What I do know is that the act of stopping can be like training a new muscle. It will hurt at first, and each time you flex it, you might not see anything at first, but over time you will begin to see definition and impact.

I want to end this blog different from all the rest. I usually give you some questions to consider and some kind of activity. This time I just want to give you a simple challenge. This week I want you to take a sabbath rest and become bored in Jesus.

Maybe you can’t take a day off; maybe you just have part of a day or just an hour during your commute. Regardless of your time, I just want you to turn off the noise of the world, put your phone away, shut your laptop down and do something that brings you joy. Open up God’s word or just be in silence for a bit. It might seem awkward initially, but embrace it and see where it goes. Then I want you to try it again next week and the week after that… my guess is that it will get easier over time.

This is my prayer for you todayMay the God of the universe who put the stars in place meet you where ever you are. May the day’s worries melt away and be replaced by a sense of peace that passes all understanding. God, would you meet them in their joys and sorrows, in the fun times and the times of hard work? Would you empower them with passion and vision for the people, ministries or organizations they lead? Above all things, God will lead them to a place where their trust in you is at the core of who they are and where they will never forget that nothing in all of creation can separate them from your love. Bless them on their journey and keep them safe… Amen

Five Years and Counting

Thank you to everyone who has come along for the ride, and a special thank you to Sherman, Ken, Jacob, Doug and everyone that has been part of the journey so far. 

What you “do” is not “who” you are 

This post is part of our 10 Leadership Principles series. Here, you can find more information on the series and catch up on previous posts.

Of all the post so fsr in this series, this is the most personal one because it’s one of the questions I have struggled with the most in recent years. So if you have been reading along, this post will feel a bit different than the rest because I want to tell you about my journey and challenge you with this question, is what you “do” who you are?

For years, my good friend, mentor and all-around amazing human Randy Carter has, on a fairly regular basis, asked me the following question whenever we talk – “How’s your heart?

This is the first question he asked me when I lost my job as a Youth Pastor back in June 2019. He was also not the only one to ask me that question, but whenever I was asked, I always replied with the same answer: “Though I don’t like or agree with the situation, my heart has been at peace.

This response caught a lot of people off guard because the reality is that people expected me to be angry, frustrated and frankly pissed off. Because I had lost my identity, my job, my title and my influence. From the world’s perspective, I lost everything. I had every right to be negative and kick up a fuss on my way out the door. But that’s not how I felt, and it’s not where my heart was. Were there bad days? Of course, but they didn’t change how I felt.

Now I didn’t just arrive at a place of peace all at once, God had been teaching me something for a few years now, but I only started to put it together that summer when I lost my job. The peace I felt was rooted in the fact that something more than my job defined me. My success and identity were found in something more than my job, title or influence. I found the truth rooted in three storis.

The Twins – I was a person (and sometimes still am) who liked to be in control. I am not a control freak, but when you have been in ministry/youth ministry, as long as I have been, you learn how to control the chaos, or it will overwhelm you. The challenge is that when things are outside your control, it can drive you mad. My twins were born at 26 weeks, and everything about those early days was 100% outside my control. There was absolutely nothing I could do to help them. All I could do was surrender my control to God. Only He could be their provider. When the girls were finally brought home and relatively free from medical drama, I realized God had solved my control problem by giving me two amazing daughters who were a constant reminder that I was not in control, but God was our provider.

Family First – Over the last few years, God has been realigning my priorities to the new realities of my world. My wife and I were married for thirteen years and had a good rhythm before these two little people entered our world, and everything changed. It wasn’t enough to be home more; I had to be “present.” Not just a passive member of my house but actually present in my world. This meant I had to say no to things, good things, and Godly ministry things because my first calling was not my job (church paid ministry); it was to my family.

I’m a Christian – A few years ago, I asked myself, “am I just a professional Christian?”. I’ve been in paid ministry since I was eighteen and only became a Christian at fourteen. This has been all I have ever known, and in 2018/2019, I was wrestling with work, life and ministry. I couldn’t find a balance or the lines in my life. I ended up asking myself: “If I wasn’t a pastor, would I still be a Christian?”. The immediate answer was YES… but it took several months to work out in my heart. Would just attending church and serving to be enough for me? What’s my calling? What’s my ministry? What defines? The answer was point #2 – Family First.

The peace in my heart came about slowly through this journey. It has come about by asking tough questions about life, love, and faith. I know who I am, what I believe, what my calling is and where my priorities are. The result of this process was coming to an understanding that what I “did” was not who I was.

Being a Pastor was one of the greatest honours of my life. I loved working for the church and getting paid to do what I loved, but my identity was not found in those things. I took a lot of heat for saying no to “good things,” “Godly things.” But my job, my role and my reputation didn’t define me… Jesus did. I love Jesus, love my family and will always place family over all things. It’s my first calling, not because I’m some super human; it’s actually an exercise in trust. Will I trust that Jesus is enough for me, that He is more important than my job, role or reputation.

What you “do” is not “who” you are

As primary leaders, I think we can too easily get caught up in our jobs, roles and reputations. The world also tells us that young bucks are biting at our heels to take our places. So we push harder, work more, and seek more success, and for many of us, the pressure of it all causes us to lose sight of our identity. We begin to believe that what I do “IS” who I am, but that is the great lie of the modern world.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him” – 1 John 3:1


This week there is only one question to think about, is what you “do” who you are?


Take some time to explore today’s question. You can do this any way you want but if you want a guide to follow, consider the following steps.

  • Find/create some space to be still.
  • Pray about the question.
  • Write down all your priorities.
    • The things that make you tick and get up in the morning. 
    • Number them based on what you/others think is the most important. Start with #1 as the MOST IMPORTANT and then go until everything has a number.
  • Pause and pray about the question.
  • Now circle five priorities you think should be the most important in your world.
  • Pause and pray about the question.
  • Now check off what you think God would say are the five most important things in your world.

Sit on the discovery for a few days. Pray about it when it comes to mind, and consider asking someone you trust to pray with you. After a few days, take some time to ask and answer the question… is what you “do” “who are you”?