RETRO – BACK TO THE BASICS
Leisure Suits You
February 12-13, 2005
[Tape begins with music playing while Ed enters stage; Ed sits down and plays the drums for six beats and hits the symbol on the seventh.]
If you have your Bibles turn to the book of Genesis, Chapter 2, Verses 2-3: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing so on the seventh he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Now turn to Exodus, the next book, Exodus Chapter 20. I’ll read verses 8-11: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days ye shall labor and do all your work but the seventh is the Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your man or maid servant nor your animal nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that’s in them. But he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and he made it holy.”
Sometimes I’m driving in my truck and the kids will be in the back and I’ll go, “Hey, kids, match this beat.” [Ed drums out a rhythm with his hands.] And they’ll try. [Ed mimics his children matching the rhythm with their hands.] I go, “Hey, man you’ve got it!” Then I’ll raise the bar. [Ed drums out faster rhythm.] They’ll go [Ed mimics children repeating]. “You’ve, you’ve got it,” I say. “You got it, you got it!” God does the same thing. God beats on the steering wheel on the dashboard of his vehicle. He looks back over his shoulder and he says, “Do you feel me?” He says, “get my rhythm.”
What’s God’s rhythm? Six and one. Six and one. Six and one. Six and one. [Ed plays the drums again] 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, rest.
A great drummer is the back bone of the band. And believe me, I’m not a great drummer. I’m a frustrated drummer. Have you heard a band and you go, “Man, the band, I thought they would be good, but the drummer is horrible. The (guy or girl), they have no rhythm.” Great drummers know when to strike the drum [Ed plays the drums]. They also know when to rest. They know when to play [Ed plays the drums]. They know when not to play. They know the difference between music and noise.
God has a rhythm. Everything has a rhythm. The universe has a rhythm. The planets in our solar system have a rhythm. The earth has a rhythm. The seas have a rhythm. The four seasons have a rhythm. Our bodies have a rhythm. Our heart has a rhythm. Our lungs have a rhythm. Our golf swing, hopefully, has a rhythm.
Everything is about rhythm. We’re made that way. God created us that way. And God says, [Ed plays the seven beats on the drums], “Match my rhythm. Match my rhythm.” Know when to play; know when not to play. Know when to strike the head of the drum; know when not to strike the head of the drum. Know when to hit the symbol; know when not to hit the symbol.
You might be going, “Rhythm?” Six and one, six and one…. “Ed show me God’s rhythm.” I just read it to you! God commands us to live with his rhythm. God commands us to feel his beat. God commands us to get into his groove. He set the groove back in the book of Genesis. He has commanded us in the book of Exodus, “Remember my rhythm. Work six; on that seventh day rest. Beat the drum hard for six beats then rest.”
God knew that we would want a model. God knew we would say, “Well, give me an example! Show me the importance of rhythm.” God said, “I’m it. I’m your example. I made the heavens and the earth. It took me about a chapter—six days, Genesis 1. In Genesis 2, God said he looked at everything then he rested on the seventh. We’re to get into God’s groove. We’re to feel his rhythm. Six and one, six and one, six and one. We’re made for rhythm.
I’ve got to ask you a question: Are you taking a day of [Ed hits symbol] rest? God knew the tendency that we’d all have to relegate and orbit our lives around work. He knew the tendency that we would have to become obsessed with the market place, obsessed with our careers. Workaholism is an accepted addiction. People brag, “Man, I’ve not taken a vacation in like three years.” Macho, macho man! I wanna be a macho…. What is up with that? You’re out of beat. You’re out of rhythm. You’re making noise, you’re not making music. This is foreign to a lot of people. “Wait a minute, Ed, you mean God wants me to recalibrate? God wants me to reconnect? God wants me to take a day off?” [Ed hits symbol] Yes!
Today’s message is more about your concept of God than it is a certain day. A lot of us have a hard time realizing, understanding, the fact that when I take day off [Ed hits symbols], God smiles. His heart beats fast. We’re in his rhythm, and we can do some great stuff between the notes—in those margins, in those spaces that God has given us. God commands, six and one, six and one. He models, six and one, six and one, six and one. He does that. He doesn’t need to model it. Omnipotence doesn’t get tired. The inexhaustible one doesn’t get exhausted. God’s holy. He’s sovereign. He did it because he set forth his pattern that we must live by. The world is made this way. We must get into the groove. We must find the rhythm. And God is looking back at you and me in the back seat and going, “Okay, okay, do you feel me? Get my beat.”
Leviticus Chapter 23 talks about a number of feasts and celebrations for God’s people. God says, “You work six and then take a seventh day.” And not only did he say that, but he says we’re to have these celebrations. He talks about the fact that someone back in Biblical times decided to find a way to work during their day of rest, you know what God said? I’ll take those people out. He was using that as an example for all of us to realize and to understand the fact that God is serious about a day of rest. (Ed hits the symbol) Do you have a hard time accepting the fact that God loves it when you go out to eat with your Peter, James, and John group – your friends when you, when you have incredible food. When, when, when you sing, and, and when you just laugh until tears stream down your face; when you, when you hang out with people who recharge your batteries on that day (Ed hits symbol on drums) of – do you have a hard time of understanding that? So often we have a difficult time with that because we’re so performance driven. We think, oh, God loves me more when, when I’m working and when I’m go-go-going and doing, doing, doing, and preaching, preaching, preaching, and traveling, traveling, traveling, and doing deals and doing this and this activity and that activity. It’s time to stop. It’s time to get off the treadmill. It’s time to take a day of (Ed hits symbol on drums) rest.
Too many of us are living by an unsustainable rhythm. Have you ever heard this song before? (Ed beating drums fiercely) That’s Wipe Out! (audience laughing and clapping) And that is what a lot of us are doing to ourselves. We’re wiping ourselves out with this unsustainable rhythm. I couldn’t keep it up any longer. I, I, I couldn’t keep up the pace, I just stopped; it wiped me out. How about this? (Ed plays drums to a different beat) Metallica. I had to do that (Ed hit symbol on drums).
Did you ever own a leisure suit, guys? Lift your hands, if you owned a leisure suit, come on, this is church, lets be honest. I owned one. A lime green model. Leisure suits, man, they had to be the worst fashion in the history of dress. The great thing was you could dive in a pool with them and come right back out and you looked great, you know? You couldn’t get around anything that was hot – the whole thing would go up in flames (Ed gestures and audience laughs). We say well, man, leisure suits, that’s John Travolta, 1970s, Bee Gees type stuff; no it’s not. Leisure suits. Man they’re in style today and God has one especially for every single person here. Tailor made for us because “leisure” God says, suits us. What does the word leisure mean? Look it up. In the Latin, it means to be “permitted.” To be permitted. God has given us permission for a day of (Ed hits symbol on drums). We have to turn around and give ourselves permission for a (Ed hits symbol on drums). We work six, then we rest. Six and one. Six and one. Six and one. God commanded it. God modeled it. God said if you don’t do it, your schedule will destroy you. You cannot play Wipe Out because your schedule will wipe you out. Get into my rhythm, God says.
I’m a “why” guy. Why would God do this? Why would God make us and tell us to jump off the treadmill and have a day to relax to reprioritize and recalibrate and redo everything. Why would God say that? I think there’s a physical reason behind it. There’s a physical reason. Production analyst recently said, oh, you can work too much it’s bad for the human body. God’s been saying that for thousands of years. Tell me something new, brother. That’s old stuff. Production analyst. Physically we need a break. Physically we need to disconnect.
One time Jesus did all this incredible stuff in this town. Casted out demons, and healed people, and preached sermons and this town said, Jesus stay, please stay, here’s the key to the city, just stay! You know what Jesus said? Nope, sorry. Gotta go. See you later. He left. Jesus, the Son of God, had no problem telling hordes and hordes of people who needed him, “no.” Read about how many times Jesus spent time alone. Read through the Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and highlight all the times Jesus drew away to a deserted place. Where he drew away in solitude. You see in the original text you didn’t have chapters and verses like we do now. And so often now these Gospel writer’s, these master story tellers, would link an intense activity from the life of Christ with rest. Either before or after one of these IMA’s these “intense ministry activities” from Jesus. Mark Chapter 6 verses 31 and 32, the disciples, man, they were, they were fried. They’d been preaching and teaching and healing and casting out demons and check out what, what Jesus did; verse 31, he said to them, come aside by yourself to a deserted place and rest for a while. He was saying, guys, you’re gonna fry at this pace.
Think about it again in Leviticus Chapter 23; for there were many coming and going. And they did not even have time to eat. All these people were taking chunks out of Christ and the disciple’s lives. Just, just, just chunks, just taking stuff and taking stuff, and taking stuff. So they departed, verse 32, to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. Jesus had what, three years to change the world. His public ministry lasted 36 months. He spent so much time alone. So much time in solitude. If the second person of the Trinity did that and needed that I think you need it and I need it too. Just for physical reasons. One day Jesus was, was tired. He sat down by a well and told his disciples to go into town and grab some Taco Bell or whatever. Jesus was tired. He needed rest.
When was the last time you spent time alone? When was the last time you spent time in solitude? So often silence is the, is the loudest noise because it is so foreign to us. That’s where God speaks in those spaces, in those periods of (Ed hits symbol on drums) rest as we recharge our batteries physically. We’re not made for this insane pace. And there in lies the problem of technology. We’re always tabbed into technology. Tied into it. Always beeping and answering and typing and talking and ugh (Ed gestures). We need to take a day, at least a day, where we unplug and disengage. Where we don’t run errands; where we don’t do the mundane stuff; but we plan a Sabbath, a day of rest; a day we can recharge physically, hang out with our friends and family; have great food. We need to do it for physically reasons.
We also need to do it for spiritual reasons. Let’s go back to Jesus. It’s a pretty good example wouldn’t you say? He being God. Ugh, Luke Chapter 4 verse 16; and on the Sabbath day, he, being Jesus, went into the Synagogue as was his custom. Jesus worshiped corporately. It was his custom. He, he, he needed that spiritually on that day of (Ed hits symbol on drum) – he needed to go and corporately worship. Almost every week someone will walk up to me around the community and they’ll go, Ed, I almost didn’t show up to Fellowship Church this weekend. And when they say that, I can, I can tell you what they’re gonna say for the rest of the time. But I did and I’m glad I did because that message was directly to me. I mean like, were you following me around this week? How did you know what to say in my situation? I stopped and said, wait a minute, that’s not me, I’m just teaching you the word of God. That’s the Holy Spirit of God. Invariably, whenever we miss a weekend that is that weekend, I’m telling ya, that God has something special to deposit into your spirit. So whenever you miss, make sure to leverage technology in a good way. Log on to Fellowshipchurch.com and you can watch the talk. There’s a good side to technology and a downside of technology. But if we’re not careful, technology can become the tail that wags the dog and that dog is a (Ed gestures dog sounds) pit bull. It will eat your time up and my time up. It’ll eat up our day of (Ed hits symbol on drum) rest.
Emotionally we need to recharge. That’s another reason why God commanded it and models it. We need it emotionally. Matthew 4, you’ve got the temptation of Christ. When did that occur? It occurred after a spiritual high point. After he was baptized. He was driven out into the wilderness after he fasted 40 days and 40 nights. After he was emotionally depleted, physically, what happened? The evil one came in and turned up the volume. He turned up the temperature of temptation. Sometimes we’ll see men and women of God fall into spectacular sin. And people will go, awh, I can’t believe she did that. I can’t believe he was involved in that. Man! They’re, they’re just full of junk you know. They’re really not believers. I’m gonna tell you something. I’ve known many men and women, great leaders to fall into sin. They were doing great physically; they were doing awesome spiritually, but they neglected one gauge. The emotionally gauge. When you are fried emotionally, when your battery is dead emotionally, you’re more susceptible to temptations and doing things you would never do otherwise. You’re more susceptible to overeating, over spending, pornography, illicit relationships. We forget the emotional gauge. That’s why God says, six and one, six and one, make sure to take that day of (Ed hit symbol on drum) rest. (Ed begins beating drum sticks to a rhythm). We need to go with God. We need to stand up and get serious about this. We need to realize that, that God smiles when we have fun. You see this is blowing a lot of your concept of God away of what you think. I’ve gotta perform; I’ve gotta work harder; I’ve gotta preach harder; I’ve gotta run faster; pray longer; memorize more; I might go to the seminary. I might….all that stuff is cool, chill. God loves you and me as much when we’re chilling as he does when we’re just going nuts.
Have you ever had these incredible ideas, these incredible moments, with God? Like in weird places? Like you’re taking a shower, and—oh, oh, that was incredible idea. You towel off and, man, you want to write it down. “That’s incredible.” When you’re driving in your car. “Whoa! Oh, I’ve gotta pull over. That’s unbelievable.” Playing golf. “That’s it! This is cool. Yeah!” You have cool ideas about your walk with God spiritually, about your marriage, about relationships, about your kids, about your career, about starting another company, or about your team or whatever. Why do we have those ideas in relaxed state? Again, all these brain experts are telling us what God has known for thousands of years. They say those are fade A waves. And that’s true, fade A waves hit the coast line of our consciousness when we’re in a relaxed state. When we’re all hiked out by playing [Ed plays the drums] wipe out, we can’t hear those ideas from God. We can’t feel those innovations. We don’t understand those ideas. But when we’re in a relaxed state, the fade A waves hit the coast line of our consciousness and we have these ideas, these angle’s for life. That’s when God speaks to us.
Again, when was the last time you spent a couple of hours staring into space? It might be your most productive time. When was the last time you took a long walk alone? When was the last time you called one of your Peter, James, and John friends and talked about last weekend and just told the same story you’d heard told 50 times, but you laughed so hard tears came out of your eyes. God smiles when we do that.
Leviticus 23—to put in modern day vernacular, God was commanding them to have these big, honking massive, campfire concert, two-week feast-type parties with friends. With people who love God. That’s what God was saying. We have a hard time with that. Physically, spiritually, emotionally. Solitude—taking that day six and one, six and one, six and one, six and one, six and one.
To put it to where we can understand it, God is giving us permission to take 52 mini-vacations a year. That’s what he’s doing. Fifty-two [Ed hits symbol on drum] mini-vacations a year.
If you studied the Hebrew, the word “rest” is from the word “soul,” and it means to be refreshed. So a great translation in the Hebrew of Genesis 2 is that after God had made the heavens and the earth, God refreshed himself. So every time we stop working and start resting, every time we [Ed hits symbol on drum], you know what happens? We’re refreshed. Do you take that day after every six days of work? Do you take that day? There’s no telling what will happen in our lives when we do this. And I truly believe, because this is the 4th Commandment (this Sabbath stuff, this rest stuff), I think the 4th Commandment is probably neglected and broken in our culture more than any other commandment. Take 52 mini-vacations a year.
Do you have a hobby? Something you enjoy doing? Do ya? What recharges your batteries? You should have a hobby. Something you can throw yourself in to. It could be tennis, gardening. It could be the biblical sport, fishing. What is it?
Several weeks ago a friend of mine was out of town. (This guy’s an incredible leader.) He walked into my office and saw a number of fishing pictures, and he stopped and said, “I wish I had a hobby.” I thought he was joking at first, but he was serious. “I wish I had a hobby.” We need to have a hobby. Here, though, is the struggle in our culture. Think of a continuum. On one hand you have the workaholics, this accepted addiction. Macho, macho man. That deal. On the other end of the continuum you have leisureholics. Here’s what leisureholics do. The book of Proverbs calls them “sluggards.” Leisureholics do this. Here’s how they get into God’s groove, because they don’t. But here’s their attempt. [Ed beats drum once, sighs, makes snoring noise. Ed beats drum again]. “Whatever.” And then with leisure [Ed really beats the drums and yells.] “Yeah! Rock and Roll!” That’s not it. “I guess I’ll pick up my paycheck—[Ed beating drums to the beat of the sentence]—just for the activity.” That’s not it. It’s not the rhythm.
Our workplace should become a place of worship—six and one, six and one, we disconnect. We, we, we move away. We draw away. We rest after working for six days. We rest. We rest. We have to take those 52 mini-vacations a year. We have to find a hobby. Something that recharges the batteries.
Also, we need to take vacations. Let me talk about a true vacation. How many people are married here? Raise your hand. You’re married. You need to take a vacation with your spouse alone. I’ll say it again. Take a vacation with your spouse alone. But how about our good friends? No, no. Alone, once a year. At least for a week. “Well, Ed, we can’t afford it.” You can’t afford not to. I would rather you put it on your credit card as opposed to paying all these divorce lawyers squillions of dollars.
That’s what always intrigued me about adultery. People do with someone else what they should be doing with their spouse. Do it with your spouse. God will be glorified. You’ll leave a legacy. Your kids will understand what authentic Christianity is all about. Do it with your spouse. When you go off on a mega vacation with your spouse [Ed makes kissing noise], you’re like, “Man, so this is why we’re married.” You reconnect and reprioritize and re-romanticize or whatever you wanna say, I don’t know. You “re” everything. It’s great. God smiles when you’re doing it.
Let’s talk about something else. Let’s talk about family. Take family outings. I didn’t say family vacations. There’s no such thing as a family vacation. I hope you know that. A family vacation?! That’s an oxymoron! You mean to tell me you go on a vacation with your family? You mean to tell me I go on vacation with my four kids? No! I need a vacation after the family outing, that’s what I need. But our spouse vacation and our family outing vacation should be purpose-driven. One, we go alone. Alone somewhere with our spouse. You know why? To build the marriage. That’s the foundation of the family. That’s the most important relationship with the family. It’s not your relationship with your kids. Remember, spouses stay; kids leave.
We have to have purpose behind our family outings. What’s the purpose? To build the family. And I’m all for, you know, being “buddy, buddy” with other families, but do it with just your family, just your team. If you’ve got multiple weeks then you can invite someone in, but do it alone. See, we mess up. We try to double date all the time or bring other couples in to this spouse vacation, other families. “Come on, come on, come on into our family outing vacation.” Do it alone. Do it alone. You reconnect and get to know. “Well, man, I don’t know what to say to my spouse. I, I, don’t know what to say to my kids.” Just try it! And don’t get hung up on the place. I don’t care if it’s in Corsicana or the Caribbean. In Plano or Paris. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter.
There’s some vacation vandals, though, out there. VOOOM! They’ll come up behind you and take you out. They’ll rob you of the stuff. Like the desperation vacation. A lot of people wait until they’re totally fried. “Oh, I’m fried man. I can’t go another day at the office. I gotta have a vacation.” Please, please, don’t do that! It will take you three months and two years of counseling to get over where you are right now. Plan it and stay with it.
Another vacation vandal: the regimentation vacation. “We wake up at 7:31 a.m. and we go down to the lobby, drink hot cocoa and Cheerios. 8:10 we go on a tour, because at 11:15 we got a horseback ride. ‘Hi, Ho Silver! Away!’ Because at 4:00 we go parasailing.” MOMMY! Ugh! The regimentation vacation, talk about wearing you out. It’s fine to do stuff and to have activities, but lets just chill and have a balance.
Then we have the perfection vacation. “It’s gotta be perfect! It’s gotta be perfect, man! Perfect place. Perfect combinations. Perfect trial. Perfect.” It’s not going to be perfect. My family and I have had an incredible opportunity to travel to some cool places. Been to Hawaii several times. Been to the Bahamas and California and New York, and that stuff is cool and all that. But you talk to our kids about their favorite memories, you talk to them about the magical times, it’s not on the beach, on Green Turtle Key. It’s not in Maui. It’s not in Pebble Beach. You know what their best trips are? Their best times? “Hey, Dad, remember the time when you put the luggage on top of the Suburban in those luggage racks and after we’d been gone for, like, 10 days you drove into the garage and you forgot the luggage racks were up there. And you tore off the top of the garage, and the luggage fell everywhere! You remember that? And you got mad and you blamed Lisa. Remember that?” That’s the fun stuff! Those are memories. You gotta make those memories. So when the tempers flare during those family outings, vacation, just say, “Oh, honey, honey, this is the way. We’re making a memory! Because a couple of years from now we’ll all laugh about this around the Christmas tree, I promise you we will.”
We have some funny stuff happen. One time we went to a place where a friend of mine said, “You gotta go to this place. You can rent this house on the beach. It’s awesome; it’s incredible.” We show up at this house and this house is so tiny with four of us in there, we’re just like this. [Ed gestures.] Man, it was just insane. And at the time, it wasn’t that fun. You know, water just dribbling out of the shower; one shower. We just throw the kids in and, “Okay, you’re through.” The other one, “Okay you’re through.” And now we look back and we talk about that wheels-off trip more than any. The rude people we encountered—we laugh at that now. Now, at the time we didn’t laugh. But now we laugh. God smiles at that, though. Isn’t that cool? He does.
When I was a kid, I wanted this toy called “Tiger Joe.” “Mom and Dad, please give me Tiger Joe for Christmas. Please, please, please.” I woke up Christmas morning, there was Tiger Joe. You know, it was off the hook. And I remember this as a kid, my parents were enjoying Tiger Joe more than I was. And I thought, “Man, that’s kinda weird.” But now I’m a parent. I understand. They were enjoying me, their son, playing with the gift they had given me. God has given us this gift called [Ed hits the symbol] “rest.” He wants us to recalibrate and reprioritize and refresh our lives physically and spiritually and emotionally. And God smiles when we enjoy this gift. [Ed beats drums.] Six and one, six and one, six and one. Do you feel it?