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The Next 30 Days.

Several years ago I tried doing the Whole30.  In case you don’t know what it is, you probably will not want to pay attention for a few moments.  The idea is that you take all the fun things…sorry…I mean…processed foods and foods we don’t “need” out of your diet and eat only lame things…sorry…I mean…whole foods for 30 days.

No dairy.

No grains.

No legumes.

No sugar.

No alcohol.

The idea is you flush out things you don’t need for 30 days.  Then you slowly add stuff back in and see how your body responds.  Supposedly you aren’t supposed to stay on it forever…just reset your body and mind.  Because also during that time, you start to break some habits and emotional responses to food.  Since you can’t have dessert, after 30 days you no longer crave a pint of ice cream before you go to bed.

When we did Whole30 the first time, I was so committed to it.  I worked diligently and I had kept sugar and really any of the restricted foods from passing my lips.  In fact, during that time, my boss and pastor had a big birthday party, so we ate all this southern food, Louisiana style…and I know this may come as a shock, but none of the food was Whole30 approved.

So, I drank plain old unsweet tea.

I know.  Feel sorry for me.  I’m sure you already do…

I went back up to refill my tea about halfway through the meal from where I got it before.  I sat down at my seat.  I took a big gulp and realized…the tea I had been drinking had been traded out for sweet tea.  I was like 20 days into this commitment and I had sugar water in my mouth.  Have you ever watched a grown man spit tea back into his drink at a birthday party?  I have.  First hand.

When we finally finished, making it through Halloween, the thanksgiving season, and everything else during the fall, I felt so accomplished.

We finished the day before Thanksgiving.  So on Thanksgiving day, we tried to eat Whole30 stuff…but we’d gone 30 days without anything fun.  So, inevitably I tried a few things.

Then as the day went on, I had more and more stuff that was definitely not Whole30 approved.

That whole, “slowly reintroduce food in and see what your body can handle” went out the window.

And of course, as Thanksgiving bleeds into the Christmas season, it didn’t take long until I was entirely back to eating exactly what I ate before I had started.

As you may know, we just finished the sabbath experiment.  We took 4 weeks and looked at the ideas of stopping, resting, delighting, and worshiping as a part of our discipleship to Jesus.  We looked at what it looks like to push against the ways of the world, to choose to live differently, not just for a day off, but for a day where we truly trust God.  Where we pause all of our to-do list and we truly find rest and renewal in the one who created us.  I know some of you already practice sabbath, some of you tried again or for the first time, some of you had great success, some of you struggled, some of you didn’t try…and some of you have no idea what I’m talking about.

No matter where you are on that spectrum.

Here’s where we can all learn.

It would be easy to spend 30 days or so building your life around a rhythm of sabbath and trusting in Jesus.  But just like me with Whole30, slip right back into your life from before.

Yeah, maybe you might still incorporate some ideas or do some “sabbath” type things, but before you know it, you are right back to where you were before you started.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas upon us, it would be so easy to do exactly like I did…but my slip affected my body and mind…to slip on this adds your heart and soul to the equation.

I want to encourage you, don’t let the idea of sabbath or stopping and resting in Jesus on a weekly basis be just a quick 4 week study that you learned about and moved on from.  Let it continue to transform you.

Sarah and I have been practicing Sabbath for over a year and continue to see how transformative it is for us, our family, our faith, and our rhythm of life every single day.  Talk to people who have been faithful to this practice and rhythm and they can speak to the fact that now they can’t imagine not having it.  When we have a weird or off day due to sickness or travel, we notice that our sabbath didn’t happen.

Again, this practice or discipline doesn’t save you, but it will likely change you.

This practice isn’t required, but it is such a blessing.

This practice isn’t legalistic, but if we aren’t intentional we will live like the rest of the world.

I hope that if you’ve tried sabbath, you continue.

I hope if you haven’t tried yet, try this week.

I hope if you are adamantly against it, maybe stop using the word sabbath, and just try having a day for the Lord…the Lord’s Day…and commit to it.  See what God does in that time that has been set aside and see how he works in and through you.  A day where you worship with others, where you stop your busyness and business of the week, you rest and nap, and you delight in all the blessings you have and who God is and what he’s done.

Our faith is not about actions…they never have and never will save you…but your actions, your commitments and follow through will change your life here and now.

30 days can make a difference, but it’s the daily living that changes our life.

So what do the next 30 days hold for you?

We’ve continued on, but the resources will live on at The Chapel’s Sabbath page,  If you ever have additional thoughts, questions, or reflections about the sabbath, please let us know.

A quick note.

This Sunday we will be sharing in communion at 9am.  I hope if you are in town you will come to this lovely time of sharing in the sacrament of communion.

As well this Sunday, our friend and Chapel attendee, Branden Campbell will be preaching.  Branden is a gifted communicator, a great father and husband, a former pastor, and I believe he dabbled in some legit bowling for a season.  If you were with us back in the end of August, you got to hear from Branden.  You will be blessed to worship with him again.

Come for communion at 9am.  Just a quick 15 minute service.

Stick around for worship at 10am.

I know it will be a great morning.

Let us know if you have any questions or need anything.  We look forward to you worshiping at The Chapel this Sunday.