Simple Pace

Good morning and welcome to Journey church.  My name is Phil and I’m one of the pastors here on staff and it’s a wonderful morning to worship with you.

I’d especially like to welcome anyone here today visiting us for the first time.  We started Journey almost nine years ago with the intent of helping people who are curious about God learn how to discover him.  And so it’s not unusual for us to have people on a Sunday morning who have never been to church before.  Or for whatever reason haven’t been to church for many many years.   And if that’s you we are especially glad you are here.  And I’m going to do my best to help us learn about the life of Jesus.

See, there is more to Jesus and the bible than teachings about God.  Which is theology.  Or even teachings about right and wrong – which would be ethics.  When we look at Jesus we find a lifestyle.  We find a person who lived his life in a certain manner.

And what we receive from Jesus is an invitation to live life as he lived it.  He invites us to a lifestyle.   And this morning I want to talk about a word we don’t often associate with Jesus but we certainly applies.  That word is unhurried.  Jesus invites us to live an unhurried life.

Hurry is an enemy of spirituality.  It’s an enemy of the soul itself.  Hurry hinders the soul.   This morning I want to make a case against hurry – I want to show you from the bible that Jesus lived without hurry, and then I want us to consider what it would take to eliminate hurry from our life.

This is, undoubtedly, ironic for some here, right?  Some spent a good portion of the morning trying to get your kids to hurry up – so we can get to church on time.  Hurry up – you don’t want to miss the donuts, lets go let’s go lets go!  How many have uttered those words?  Raise your hands?  This is a safe place to confess your top parenting tips and tricks!

Believe me, if my kids were younger I’d have used that one myself.  I know all about the time challenges we offer to kids.  I bet you can’t get your Pajama’s on and into bed by the time I count to ten, can you?  You better hurry up!

Then kids go to school and the teacher’s like, I bet you can’t line up in under ten seconds.  ten nine.  Hurry up you can do it kids!  And by the end of the day the kids are like, adrenaline junkies, trying to hit imaginary time lines.

Why are we like that?  Why are we so often in a rush?  What happened to my time? Don’t we live in an age filled with gadgets and technology that promised to save us time?

I still remember the day in the early 1980’s when Scott Fry’s parents bought a microwave and Scott brought all us kids in the kitchen and put a hot dog in the microwave and hit a button and thirty seconds later that hotdog was piping hot.  To this day I can remember thinking – the world as I know it has just been change – I will have so much more time on my hands.  Cause I could eat a hot dog in 30 seconds.  So I could prepare and eat lunch in less than 60 seconds?  What will I do with all the rest of my time?

I remember buying a mobile phone in the early 1990’s and I thought – are you telling me that I can call people while I’m driving the car home?  Do you have any idea how much more time I just created in my life?  The cell phone has given me hours of time that I will simply not know what to do with!

I remember getting email and learning about the wonders of email.  You mean I can write one letter and send it out to five people at once and they read it – and it’s immediate?  I mean, do you have any idea how much time I just saved in my life?

Has any of that panned out?  Instead of saving time and making life less stressful, they acted as accelerants – that has caused my daylight to burn faster and hotter than ever.

Did you know that in 1942 a survey of Americans said that 85 percent of Americans got more than 8 hours of sleep a night?  Now about half cannot muster 7 hours a night.  Indeed – 52 percent of Americans under the age of 50 say they know that they need more sleep.  They know their life would be better, their health would be better if they got more sleep.  Which begs the question, why don’t we?  What’s keeping us from that? I know kids, right?  Blame it on the kids.  Sure.  I guess people in 1942 didn’t have any kids.  Oh snap!  Theory busted.

Well, what’s changed that has causes us to live our lives at such a frantic pace? Perhaps technology?

I remember when I bought my first Iphone I thought – I just made my life a whole lot less stressful.  Yuck yuck yuck!

How many times a day do you think you touch the screen on your phone?  Studies I heard about this week said that the average American touches their phone screen more than 2600.   The average American looks at their phone screen now 2.5 hours a day.  Those are averages the younger you are the more we look.

According to a study done three years ago and reported in Psychology Today, cell phone use is now climbing the charts as one of the biggest hindrances to healthy marriages.  It used to be that things like finances and kids and in-laws caused problems in marriage, but the phone has climbed the charts.

They call it technoference, and – it doesn’t matter what you are doing on the phone- texting, checking scores, playing games, updating social media – it’s created marriages where two people sit in the same room but are not present with one another.

The bottom line is that we are saturating our lives with things that draw us away from people we love.  Which is why hurry is so deadly – it saddles us with shallow things that seem to make us feel like we are accomplishing something all the time.

But the soul cannot grow by accomplishing things.  The soul likes to savor.

Psychologist Carl Jung wrote, ‘Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.’

Why?  Because hurry puts doing above being.  And the soul needs to be.  Not just do.  And we can’t be – quickly.  We can’t put “Become a better human being – on the double!” on our to-do list for the day.  It doesn’t work that way.

If we spend all of our time rushing from one thing to another, and fall into a bed exhausted at the end of the day, what do we learn about who we really are?  What do we know about our soul?

Our soul needs slow.  It needs rest.

But most people don’t know how to not hurry.  Did you know that you could go to the doctor know and be diagnosed with something called hurry-sickness?  True.   It happens in people who almost become addicted to the adrenaline of rushing around.

I’m not so sure I don’t have it.  For instance – this week I went down to the airport because I have a friend who works there and we were going to eat lunch.  For a variety of reasons I was late and so I was walking quickly through the front doors of the airport when all of a sudden this lady comes by and she’s announcing to every one – excuse me, I’m sorry, I’m late, I’m afraid I’ll miss my plane – excuse me and she’s busting it through the airport.

So I’m like, sweet, I’ll tuck in behind her and she can clear the path for both of us.

Anyway – get this – she walks onto the escalator going up and suddenly she stops.  She’s just riding the escalator up.  Are you kidding me!  And she’s in the middle blocking it -and all I could think of -was you fraud!

You should at least be walking up the escalator.  Really, you should be running up the escalator, like Usain bolt – think of how fast you could go if you sprint up the escalator.   You should be going so fast that you get catapulted off the top – land like Iron man with your fist in the ground,  Now that’s in a hurry.  But no – this lady is riding the escalator like it’s the dumbo ride at Disney.

See, I’ve got hurry sickness.  You probably do too.  Any of you ever go into the McDonalds cause the drive through line was too long?  And you’re like, I can save countless seconds if I go in there – and you’re racing the car that was in front of you.

And walk inside the McDonalds and there’s a red digital sign over the drive thru window that’s tracking how long each order is taking – 45 seconds per order – and you think to yourself – wait – it takes 45 seconds to cook, wrap, and bag my double cheeseburger, fries and medium soda?

Well no wonder the line of cars is so long – let’s step it up people.  It’s 2018!  It shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds!  I’ll probably eat that burger in 30 seconds, so – you do your part people and I’ll do mine.

We are a hurry sick people.  And we are damaging our souls.  Hurry wounds the soul.  And if we aren’t careful then we live our lives like hot potatoes being tossed from one event to the next until we reach the end of the day and fall into bed completely exhausted without ever giving our souls a chance to breath.

Hurry stymies and stunts the spiritual growth of soul.  It’s an enemy to spiritual life.

Author John Ortberg was at one time in the 90’s the teaching pastor at Willow Creek church in Chicago – which was the largest and perhaps most influential church in the united states at one time.

But his heart was unsettled.  He wasn’t really growing in his faith.  And so he called up a wise sage, a guy by the name of Dallas Willard, and asked him, “What do I need to do to be spiritually healthy?”

After a pause, he heard Dallas say, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”  Okay, Ortberg says, I’ve written that one down.  What else?  Another pause.  “There is nothing else.”

Ortberg goes on to write, “For most of us, the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith.  It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. 

Jesus knew the importance of battling the hurry bug.  In fact – if you were to read the gospels (Matthew Mark, Luke and John) I think you’d find that though Jesus was very busy – he was never in a hurry.  In fact, at times when life was at it’s busiest, was when we find Jesus being intentional to plan breaks of unhurried time with God.

Let me show you what I mean….  In the book of Mark 6 we read this… the setting is that the disciples had been sent out by Jesus to minister to people in His name, and they’ve just returned and they are full of stories and excitement.

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 

These ministry teams have had a wonderful ministry- so much so that by the time they all come back to re-group – each of these teams of disciples have people following them.

31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 

Now have you ever been so busy that you haven’t even had a chance to stop and eat?  Ever been kind of proud of that?  It is kind of exhilarating, isn’t it?  Look how important I am!

One might think Jesus would at this point turn to his disciples and say, “You know what to do, now, so let’s get to work!”  And turn them loose on the crowd.  Instead Jesus says,  “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  Mind you – crowds of people with real needs pressing in on all sides.  Plenty of work yet to be done.  Lot’s of unchecked items on the to=do list.  But Jesus says, this work we are doing is too important to not stop and rest.

This is not the first time.  The gospels describe many times when Jesus would get away, climb a mountain alone in order to commune with God. This is the manner – the lifestyle Jesus both lived and taught.

How did Jesus teach us to pray?  Matthew 6:But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private.

Now is this a law?  No – it’s a lifestyle.  Regular times of non-hurried time with God.  Jesus was the master of an unhurried life.

Ruthlessly eliminating hurry from our lives will bring health and life and healing to our soul.  NO one ever hurried themselves into a spiritually rich life.

There’s a very interesting story in the Bible about two sisters named Mary and Martha.  And in the book of Luke chapter 10 we find a time when Jesus had come to visit.  One sister, Martha, is just busting it to make preparations for dinner, meanwhile her sister Mary is just sitting in the living room talking and listening to Jesus as he taught.

Check out Luke 10.  39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

You are worried and upset about a great many things.  Sounds like Martha had hurry sickness.  She was so busy rushing around, she missed out on the important thing.  Time with Jesus.

Author James Bryan Smith explains Why eliminating hurry from our lives so crucial… When we eliminate hurry we become present… We become aware of our surroundings. We see colors and smell smells; we hear hushed sounds and can actually feel the wind in our faces. In short, we “show up” and experience the fullness of life. And that includes, not least of all, being present to God.

Author Robert Barron writes,

“The deepest part of the soul likes to go slow, since it seeks to savor rather than to accomplish; it wants to rest in and contemplate the good rather than hurry off to another place.”

Now, this talk is in the same genre as last weeks talk by Joshua Becker.  Last week Joshua challenged us to think differently about how much stuff we really need.  To live a life without too much, and not too little, but he pointed out that, not many ever give too little a chance.

It would be a mistake to take what Joshua said last week, or I’m saying this week, as “Laws”

Nothing I’m talking about today is a law.  These things as well as last week are not laws.  Jesus didn’t come to deliver a newer, even more difficult set of laws under which we might be crushed.  You thought the ten commandments were hard?  Wait til you read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Jesus is painting for us a lifestyle of simplicity.  Not allowing materialism to creep in and what?  Distract us from the important things.  Not allowing hurry to creep in and what?  Distract us from the important things in life. Indeed from life itself.

Jesus paints for us a picture of a lifestyle that is content and present and unburdened.  Of course there will be times when we are busy – but even then we are able to live unhurried within the busy-ness.

Listen to Jesus one more time, and then I’ll give some practical steps.  But Jesus says this in Matthew 11:28  28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Do we believe this life is available to us?  Do we think it’s out of reach to cross over from weary to rested?  To hurry hurry hurry to, peaceful and present?

It’s not out of reach.  But we will have to be willing to train our souls to embrace new habits.  So here’s some ideas of what we can do to help our soul be cured from the sickness of hurry.

  • Think about the activities of the upcoming day. Instead of waiting until the last minute to go to your next activity, try leaving ten minutes early. Walk more slowly. Drive more slowly. When you arrive at your destination a bit earlier than usual, use the extra time to notice people and things around you. Breathe.
  • Here’s something that will be foreign to many of you. Come to a complete stop at stop signs!  You guys should try it.  What will happen is you will feel like, Ain’t nobody got time to stop at stop signs.  And that is like a sure sign you are suffering from Hurry sickness – when your soul says – I ain’t got three second to spare!  And that will give you a chance to tell your soul to pipe down.  The extra three seconds is time well spent.
  • Consider a fast from media. From television and the computer and the phone, except for work.  Try it for three or four days.  I recently did this as an exercise and I found it extremely enlightening.  And it was like, the first day I was kind of mad.  It was like my soul was angry.  It’s like when you work out for the first time a day later your body hurts and is like, what are you doing to me!  (Now full disclosure – I did it Monday through Thursday – so I wouldn’t miss any of the football games.  But at least I did it!  And so can you!)

But honestly, by the end of the fourth day I was very thankful I did it.  And it’s challenging my thoughts about how much time I spend deadening myself looking at screens.  I needed to remind myself that the key to freeing up room for God is to ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life.

  • Lock down your phone – Turn your smart phone into a dumb phone – it’s funny – when I was reading about the stats about how many times a person touches their phone- I’m like, How pathetic. But earlier this week I accidentally left my phone home – Got to the office – no phone.  I go home often for lunch and I had to ask myself – can I survive four hours without my phone next to me?  And the answer i yes, I did.  I could.  And many of you are like, Obviously you are not a VIP, I could never do that!  I am needed and important and must be available at all times!  The world will come off it’s hinges were I to become unavailable for such a ridiculous amount of time!
  • You have permission to say no to something. It’s okay if you are unable to attend to every opportunity presented to you.  Sometimes you need to say no to something good to give your soul a chance to indulge in something better.  Quietness, stillness.    All of these things are food for a weary soul.

Well, maybe that’s the most important lesson we will learn from our endeavor to eliminate hurry.  The world will go on.  Someday it will find a way to go on without me entirely, and in the meantime, I need to remind my soul that the world does not rest on my shoulders, but on the shoulders of the King of the Universe, who invites me to a lifestyle that is unburdened and unhurried.

And I need to remind myself that the most important thing about me is NOT what I accomplish, but who I become.  And hurrying around all day cannot help me become the kind of person God sees I can become.

So let’s ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our life.  That is all.

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