“I talked about my sabbatical from the pulpit,” said Pastor Mark Brewer. “I even brought up the Elders at each of the three services, and brought up all of the pastoral staff. But, the congregation still had questions.”

  • “Mark, there’s an undercurrent that you are halfway out the door,” some said.
  • “Mark, are you coming back?” several people asked rather pointedly.
  • “Mark, are you being disciplined by the Elders?” queried one lady.

“I knew,” said Mark, “that in churchland, people cloak things in Christianese. The one lady came from a church where sabbatical was code for discipline. So I told everyone that I had negotiated hard for the sabbatical.”

Sabbaticals can be code in the church. It is a seemingly easy way to get rid of a staff person or for the staff person to go looking for a job. Is a sabbatical a siesta, a period to rest before returning to work? Or, is it for study, preparation for continuing ministry, enrichment of the mind and soul?

When the Rev. Dr. Mark Brewer, Pastor and Head of Staff at Bel Air Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles went on sabbatical in October of 2006, he faced all these questions.

About Mark Brewer

Mark’s primary spiritual gifts lie in leadership and preaching, each enhanced by his warmth, humor, humility, intellectual rigor and vision. Mark’s passion is “weaving a fabric of friendship across the city.” His desire is to equip his missions-minded church with bold and fresh ways of connecting with the city.

Mark is a third-generation Presbyterian minister’s son. He received his early education in Denver, Colorado and did his doctoral work at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena and in St. Andrews, Scotland. He served as Pastor in the Denver area for twenty years, not only building up his own congregation but reaching out to the larger Denver community in urban and suburban alliances as well. He was involved in starting two different churches in Denver, each growing to several thousand members. Colorado Community Church notes that: October 1993, Dr. Mark Brewer holds the first steering committee meeting to discuss his vision for a different type of church in the Denver metro area.

Mark launched the nationally syndicated radio ministry “A New Day for America” which seeks to build relationships between the urban and suburban churches. He was also head of “Denver LINK,” an organization that builds relationships among the spiritual leadership of the city.

In 1992, Mark served as Senior Pastor of a large church in Detroit. “It was during his short time in Detroit that the passion of his life took hold. He found joy in building relationships between worlds that people said could not be bridged, discovering that it is possible to be in cross racial, cross denominational and extremely hostile situations while bringing true healing, by applying the truths of ‘family systems.’”

In 2000, Mark’s book A Walk Into The City was published. He writes about discovering the principles of the new relationships between urban and suburban churches, bringing to light the attitude of service and reconciliation.

He is on the Board of Directors for Committee to End Divestment: “a Committee coalesced in early 2006 around the belief that a mistake made in 2004 by the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) needs to be corrected. That mistake involves resolutions about the Middle East.” In a web article for Christianity Today, Rabbi Yitzchok Alderstein writes, “When I called the Rev. Mark Brewer, pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian, former spiritual home to Ronald Reagan, he told me that no issue has produced as much irate reaction from his parishioners as this one.” “James Rudin, in his Religion News Service column of September 23, stressed the opposition of many prominent Presbyterians to the resolutions. The General Assembly ‘fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch going down,’ he quoted the Rev. Mark Brewer.”

In June 2001, in a resounding vote, the membership of Bel Air voted to call Mark as Pastor and head of staff. He is no stranger to Bel Air. He served the church for three years as an intern, from 1978-1980, while attending Fuller Theological Seminary.

He has also been featured on the streaming video show, America At Worship. In a message entitled, Running Away, he “offers advice for those times when we feel almost as though our hearts are breaking.”

About Roger Dermody, Executive Pastor

Roger likes to say, “I was bitten with the missionary bug very early.” At a young age, he lived in Cameroon, Africa with his parents, who were serving as short-term missionaries with the North American Baptist Convention.

After receiving an undergraduate degree in architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he practiced architecture for five years in Los Angeles. Roger then joined Bel Air staff as the Director of Student Ministries, Director of College Ministries, and Interim Director of Missions. Roger received his Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1996 and was ordained in 1997. He has also led the contemporary worship service at Bel Air.

Roger is an “on-call” chaplain at UCLA Medical Center, the Dean of Forest Home’s Annual College Briefing Conference, a design Architect for the Christian Environmental Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of Living Hope in Los Angeles, and Lasting Impressions in Zimbabwe. He was National co-chair of a church-wide mission strategy for ministry in high education.

Just as Mark has written directly on current cultural “hot topics,” so has Roger. He posted on the web an article on “What about sex before marriage?”

Roger’s passion remains firmly grounded in missions. He has led short-term mission trips to such diverse places as Romania, Bulgaria, Zimbabwe, Germany, Egypt, Belize, Mexico City, and South Central Los Angeles. “I love to walk alongside of people who discover how incredible God is, by getting out of the pew, rolling up their sleeves, and sharing the good news of His Son in word and deed, in neighborhoods very different than their own.” Roger’s life goal is to know Christ and to make Him known.

About Bel Air Presbyterian Church

The church has seven ordained pastors and over sixty program staff. It has an annual budget of $6.8 million.

“It has become one of the most influential churches in Los Angeles. Many members of Bel Air Presbyterian Church are involved in the entertainment industry, and tend to be affluent and prominent within the Los Angeles and Hollywood communities. Bel Air Presbyterian Church is the church that former President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan attended on Sundays after leaving office, and Mrs. Reagan still attends. Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey, and Leonardo DiCaprio are among celebrities that attend services. The church had over 2,000 members as of 2005, making it one of the largest Presbyterian churches in the United States. It is affiliated with Presbyterian Church (USA).

The Spiritual DNA

Mark writes about Bel Air:

“Ever since it was established in 1956, Bel Air has been known as a church deeply committed to Christ, committed to caring for the hurting, with a heart for missions. Building upon our past, we’re growing into a church for our present times: a church that seeks to be a blessing to other churches and ministries in our part of Los Angeles … a church that is intentional in loving people and growing disciples … a church that is alive with authentic relationships—real relationships with Christ and each other … a church that seeks to return the ministry back into the hands of the people … a church that is characterized by the joy of serving the Lord together.”

“Our mission field is not only our ‘Base Camp’ on Mulholland Drive, but connecting with churches in the Valley and the Westside, downtown, and literally the world. If you’re just checking out this ‘Christian thing,’ or are serious about making a difference for Christ, we’d love to have you be a part of our spiritual family.”

“We believe that salvation is merely the first step in a continuing lifelong process of discipleship. Our community practices a variety of disciplines to nurture the likeness of Christ—including worship, character development, evangelism, service, stewardship, and fellowship. Corporate worship is at the center of the Christian community’s life and, as such, should be the best possible in the Reformed tradition. Our worship services include elements of the old and new, the contemporary and the traditional.”

Two Earthquakes

The Los Angeles Presbytery approved in 1946 a tentative location for a new church in Bel Air. It wasn’t until ten years later that 51 people were able to meet. “Work on the church building began in October 1956, and the rock blasting and grading work took seven and a half months.” For a church built on solid rock, it would soon have two earthquakes.

In 1964, the congregation called the Rev. Donn D. Moomaw as pastor and head of staff. The church rapidly grew and soon required three services each Sunday morning. Bel Air decided in 1983 that a new 1,600-seat sanctuary was needed and, in 1988, ground was broken. It was dedicated in 1991.

The church suffered a spiritual earthquake in 1993 as Rev. Dr. Moomaw resigned as head of staff. He was a UCLA first two-time, first-team All-American football player, ultimately elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. “His most famous parishioners were President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy; Moomaw gave the invocation at both of Reagan’s inaugurations. His tenure at Bel Air Church came to an end when he pleaded no contest to ecclesiastical charges of sexual harassment.

The second earthquake was physical. In 1994, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook the Los Angeles area and widely damaged the church. “A pipe connected to the sprinkler system in the new sanctuary burst and caused major damage to the Casavant organ; and cracks and broken windows were widespread. The sanctuary was classified to be unsafe, and worship services resumed in Evans Chapel. Repair work extended over a two-year period.”

The two earthquakes were a challenge for the church to overcome. The church was without a head of staff for more than two years. In 1995, a new pastor was called “and under Dr. Wenning’s leadership, the attendance, ministry, and finances continued to rise; and the church was able to add to its ministerial staff by extending a call to the Rev. Roger Dermody, Jr. in 1997.”

In 1998, a contemporary worship service began on Saturday evening in the chapel. It was moved to Sunday morning the following spring. “In 2000, the worship schedule changed to a traditional service at 9:00 and a contemporary service at 11:00, both in the Sanctuary. A second contemporary service was added on Sunday evenings in 2002.”

The pastors of Bel Air actively speak on vital current issues. A congregant, Matt Singley, writes about Bel Air: “I love how our church lives out authenticity. Authenticity involves many aspects including transparency, honesty, humility and forthrightness. It’s that forthrightness that led our pastor, Mark Brewer, to write a quick article about homosexuality on the god-answers.com website. Issues like this are so challenging, most churches avoid this and the other “big” issues like the plague; or they give a very vague answer like, “love the sinner, hate the sin” (which I think is actually acceptable, albeit confusing to those you are trying to have a conversation with that don’t believe in God). I think that Pastor Mark has written a biblically-centered, loving piece. Mark wrote in that article: “We have many gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ who attend Bel Air. I’m often asked, “How do you want them to feel when they attend your church?” The resounding answer is I want them to feel welcomed, loved, embraced, supported, and challenged. I also want them, as I do for myself, to live the life of holiness.”

The church is also involved in the media and arts. In addition to having a pastor focusing on this area, Mark speaks out on it. In an article on video games, Ian Hardy, the North America technology correspondent for BBC News, cites Mark: “When you say it’s a Christian movie, novel or video game you expect it to be really schlocky and cheesy,” said Pastor Mark Brewer of the Bel Air Presbyterian Church. “It’d be great one day for people to say ‘this is Christian’ and know that there’s going to be quality to it. “But that takes discipline, it takes money, and it takes a craft and the dedication to do it.”

The church is influential in the denomination of the Presbyterian Church USA. On the future of the PCUSA, “Pastor Mark Brewer says Bel Air doesn’t want to make a move out of PCUSA alone: ‘Right now there’s this awkward pause. Everybody’s got their hand by their holster, but nobody’s drawing yet. And the denomination’s waiting now, looking around the room, going ‘Who’s going to make the first move?’ Pastor Brewer says that in ten years he’d like to see either the PCUSA reformed to be driven by the pure gospel, or he’d like to belong to a new gospel-driven denomination in its place. Bel Air session considers redirecting $75K in denominational giving to evangelical groups. Bel Air plans to sponsor gathering of West Coast evangelical PCUSA pastors. Online recordings of Bel Air Town Hall Part 1 & Part 2.”

Mark can be critical of those who try to redefine the core of the gospel: “When referring to the Trinity, most Christians are likely to say, “Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.” But leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are suggesting some additional designations: “Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-giving Womb,” or perhaps “Overflowing Font, Living Water, Flowing River.” The Rev. Mark Brewer, senior pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church, is among those in the 2.3-million-member denomination unhappy with the additions. “You might as well put in Huey, Dewey and Louie,” he said.”

The Sabbatical

When Mark was negotiating the terms of call to come to Bel Air, he included a sabbatical in his fifth or sixth year. “This was my second sabbatical, the first was twenty years ago. It was a totally different story as I mostly studied at St. Andrews in Scotland.”

“Most don’t take sabbaticals because they fear it may roll on them.” By this he means that adverse effects will happen in the pastor’s absence. “The congregation suffers if you don’t take it because a good sabbatical models health to the congregation about life’s fears and work.”

Mark left in October 2006, made a mid-sabbatical visit in January for three weeks and then returned to the church in March.

Mid-Sabbatical Break

There was tragedy in the middle of the Sabbatical. Mark’s wife sister-in-law died very suddenly of cancer. “So, because of this, we came back in the middle.” This became a three week mid-sabbatical break.

“The break definitely did interrupt the sabbatical, but we were on the way back to Australia. I did some counseling and dinners every night—which I wouldn’t recommend.” Roger commented, “I could argue the mid-sabbatical break both ways, as I was concerned for Mark and Carolyn.” In the mid-sabbatical visit, Mark preached once and met with the new Elders.

Study and Results of the Sabbatical

During his sabbatical he studied at Oxford and then at other various cities. “Study was my main focus. I over commit anyway and my wife is an amazing sightseer. I would study all day long. I had a problem at Oxford as I couldn’t get into some libraries—since I was not a Ph.D. candidate. I worked on a book too—on spiritual intelligence, a quadrilateral based on Scripture, reason, wise counsel (from the living and dead) and prayer. There was great material at Oxford that will never go online or be published.”

“I studied Augustine, Aquinas and Luther on church-state issues. I studied some in Australia. Here’s the $40,000 conclusion to my sabbatical—ruin a church by having the government help and ruin a city by having the church run it. Calvin had some success, but Constantine is another matter.”

“We want to transform Los Angeles, to bring the political, moral and spiritual institutions together.” For Los Angeles, the conclusion from Mark’s sabbatical was that “I am such an evangelical in the Presbyterian Church USA and we fight the wrong hills in social transformation. We need to just work together. We need more small groups with others, such as the dominant Korean and African-American churches. We need worship field trips—shut down worship and go somewhere else for a Sunday!”

Another passion of Mark’s is the arts, and this was rejuvenated in the sabbatical. “We need to reclaim the arts for Christ. Here at Bel Air we have a ‘Designated Pastor to the Entertainment Industry. We need to take it to the next level.”

“I am more excited to be here now because of the mission—and that was a surprise from the sabbatical. Pastors need to go away to get away and being away I could contextualize the mission of Bel Air. That’s why I studied in Australia and Europe. Australia has some of the lowest church attendance of 3-4% of the population and Europe is 4-5%.” Mark gained perspective on Los Angeles and culture in the United States by being able to reflect on it from a distance.

“In coming back, I also re-contextualized the staff. I saw the people to retain. And, I became more resolved in the others who need to transition. I had ‘away eyes’ when I came back. It was luxury of being objective when I came back. I could say, ‘now I see.’ In coming back, you look at your team very differently. The good and the bad was intensified.”

Communication

Mark stayed in touch with the church in a variety of ways. “I did an email epistle to the staff every third week to let them know what I was doing. I talked on the phone probably only three times to Roger.”

While some in sabbaticals don’t look at any email, Mark found a different style worked for him. “I looked at emails once a week at most. More than that and I couldn’t disengage.”

Mark and Roger questioned how much contact to have during the sabbatical and the form of contact. Should they have a regular teleconference? Should Mark send video messages back to the congregation, like a “man on the street” report about the sabbatical? The decision was to not employ ultra high-tech solutions, but to send an email every third week.

A mistake for Mark was keeping the same cell phone number. “Some people called me every third or fourth day. It was the needy who called or sometimes the very neurotic. They called me while I was overseas. The people that I had in pastoral counseling called me and I should have gotten a different cell number. Some elders contacted me. But, no one was tattling on Mike Hooper or Roger. There were no end runs while I was gone.”

Timing

The timing for the sabbatical was deliberate. The church’s Executive Administrator, Mike Hooper was going to retire in the summer of 2007. Mike was over facilities and finance, while Roger, as Executive Pastor, was over Ministries.

The challenge of the timing was that the discipleship building was in mid-construction. While Mark was on sabbatical, the church staff moved into new offices in March 2007. Construction on the Discipleship Center and Christian Education buildings was completed in June and the site was dedicated in September 2007.

Mark went into the sabbatical, “scratching my head. Why am I going on sabbatical in the vital seasons from October to early March?” These were important times for Bel Air with stewardship, advent and pre-Easter.

Empowerment and Delegating

As a symbol of empowerment, Mark told several people “I hope that you are here when I get back.” The clear implication was that it was possible for staff to be terminated while he was away. Mark empowered Roger and Mike with enormous power in his absence.

“This was a great opportunity to test leadership, to not steer the plane into the hill. It helped clarify the roles too, differentiate from Mike’s and Roger’s roles.” Mike was in charge of building, grounds and finances—Roger’s role was ministry. A key to Mark’s sabbatical was his empowerment of Roger. “I trust Roger and had a great Executive Administrator in Mike.” When asked what he delegated, Mark replied “Everything! Jim Collins in Built to Last said that one of the big determents of an ongoing organization is a strong voice at the top that doesn’t delegate. I felt loved by the church and it has doubled since I have been here, but this is Christ’s church. This is a huge relief to a Senior Pastor. It is the Lord’s church. So go!”

Bel Air was in the middle of a building project when Mark went on sabbatical and it was delegated to Roger to work with the architects. For most Executive Pastors this would be a chore, but Roger was an architect before entering the ministry. Mike Hooper helped as well, “and we had an architect on staff, so it worked well—most decisions were done before Mark left, so it was good.” There were challenges with the building project. “We rushed to move into our new offices before Easter. Mark had just come back but his office wasn’t done. For three months his office was being worked on.”

Roger and Mark commented on staff morale during the sabbatical. Roger said, “there wasn’t a strangeness to it; we did well.” Roger had concerns about two staff members and how they would work during Mark’s absence.” Mark set the boundaries for the staff and empowered Roger by saying to several staff members, again with the phrase “I hope you are here when I get back.” Some staff wanted to preach more and other staff wanted more ministry responsibility. “But in the end,” Roger said, “it all righted itself.”

During the sabbatical, the church was looking for a replacement for Mike Hooper, the long-time administrator. Mark commented, “We should have talked to someone to do the search during the sabbatical, but didn’t.” Roger picked up the thought, “So when Mark got back we didn’t have anyone. It was our first time to use a search firm and the process was okay.”

The pulpit of a large church is both vital and influential. Mark filled it with a mix of “outsides guns” and Bel Air staff. “We needed continuity in preaching. I didn’t want to see ‘the pastor of the week,’ so not all staff preached, while others we booked for three weeks.” Roger said that “we had strong feelings about having a consistent thread, no pastor de jour; someone has to be the visible up-front face to the congregation, stitching the services together. But being in this role felt presumptuous to my colleagues. It was Mark’s call, and the right one; my motivation wasn’t for power, but I wrestled with the role. I don’t want to be egocentric.”

Simply put, Mark put Roger in charge of the pulpit. Further, Mark told the staff of his decision, so that he was the “bad guy.” Roger spoke on five Sundays. They had twelve Sundays from outside speakers. Two other pastors spoke for a total of four Sundays. “The only feedback that we got was that there wasn’t enough color or women speaking,” Mark noted.

While in the role of the lead pastor, Roger and his wife, Megan, attended many church and social functions. “We were surprised at the parties at Christmas. Since Mark was gone, we went to them. This church is out of control in its ability to party. It is so LA. Mark will have many a night of two parties.” As Mark is an extrovert and loves the social events, Roger found it tiring.

Re-entry

“At first there was a bizarre rumor that Roger and I were at odds with each other,” Mark said. “The rumor was that we both were leaving after a huge fight. Yet, I wouldn’t have done it without Roger and Mike—I trusted the team back home.” With laughter, Mark shared that “the budget went up and attendance went up while I was gone. If I went away for another six months, we would make a fortune. Attendance surged just a little when I came back.”

“I felt very affirmed, loved and missed, but the church is less fearful of me being gone now. We can do it. I have only been here six and a half years. I brought a different kind of personality to it. It is good for me because I feel less of the weight of the church.” Roger agreed with this and felt that the church was healthier because of the sabbatical. They reported that the staff felt the same.

Policy and Sabbaticals for Staff

Bel Air offers a six-month sabbatical at full pay or a twelve-month sabbatical at half pay (see the Appendix for the policy). To date, one Associate Pastor has taken the 12-month sabbatical. A year is a long time to be away from the church and ministry. In the case of that pastor, there were elements of the position that changed in the year that she was on sabbatical. At the beginning of the sabbatical she and Roger were peers and at the end, Roger was her supervisor.

Roger plans to take a sabbatical soon and work on his dissertation. Yet, in response after Mark’s sabbatical, “there’s no waiting list yet from the staff.” Since none of the other pastors have been at the church for seven years, Mark and the Associate Pastor are the only pastors to have taken a sabbatical in the existing policy.

The sabbatical policy at Bel Air applies only to ordained pastors.

Examples from Other Churches

A Senior Pastor’s Second Sabbatical: Grace Covenant Church of Austin

At Grace Covenant of Austin Texas, the Senior Pastor is Dr. Matt Cassidy. While at Grace, he completed his second three-month sabbatical in 2007. His first three-month sabbatical was in 1996. Two other pastors have taken sabbaticals in 2005 and 2007. Prior to going on the second sabbatical, Dr. Cassidy and this author had an “interview sermon,” to talk about the biblical Sabbath and sabbaticals. Similar to what Mark Brewer did in having the Elders and staff come to the pulpit before his sabbatical, this sermon was to help the congregation cognitively and emotionally understand the purpose of the sabbatical. The following material is excerpted from that sermon.

Matt Cassidy on His Current and Past Sabbatical

“Our family will be going to Colorado for a number of weeks. Then, just Melinda and I will take a trip to Canada where I will be taking classes from Dr. Bruce Waltke. Dr. Waltke is an unparalleled academic scholar who is the authority on Hebrew and especially the Old Testament covenants. I look forward to studying under him since we will be studying the Joseph epic in the fall. I previously had a class with him via tape. He is notoriously famous for being one of the most difficult faculty members at whatever seminary he taught at.”

“And then I will be taking some courses on my own in philosophy, psychology and literature. I didn’t have much exposure to these subjects in my undergraduate years.”

“Eleven years ago, the church gifted me with a sabbatical. There are different ways of looking at it. Certainly from the church’s standpoint, it was a very good investment on their part in my coming back and doing a better job. It was very good for me because at that point in my life I was pretty much done. I was dried out and desperate. That sabbatical gave me a chance to restore my spiritual life, physical life, marital life, family life, and in so many different ways. During the sabbatical itself, I was working as a teaching assistant for Haddon Robinson, who is the foremost teacher on how to preach more effectively. I was helping with two classes, the 101 and the 201 courses that he taught, reviewing the sermons of the graduate students there and how to make it better. In that experience, unbeknown to me, I learned how to become a far more effective teacher in that I was able to evaluate my own work and predict whether next week’s sermon was going to be any better or worse than the previous week. Dr. Robinson insisted that we, the two interns working for him, should take our lessons back to our churches and teach those classes. I taught that course about ten times.”

Matt Cassidy on “Why the Sabbath?”

“It is hard to answer with any degree of confidence. I think in the nature of God, He is showing Himself to be a leader and a role model. Also, it demonstrates that rest is a part of worship. The first two chapters in Genesis are about worship. We talked about salvation being defined as bringing things back to the way they were meant to be. Even in the creation story, the creation story is incomplete if you cover just days 1-6. The creation story is complete when we say there is a seventh day and rest is part of that. You will see that in nature itself. The heart must rest between beats. In music there is a rest. There is Selah in a book of poetry called Psalms. David and the other authors of Psalms say rest. They don’t mean stop worshipping. They mean that is part of the worship itself. I think God here is saying—rest is part of who I am.”

“There are two times in the Ten Commandments where Sabbath is mentioned. The Ten Commandments as a structure of a covenant is found in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5. Deuteronomy is supposed to be a second book, Second Law. But when we look at these two passages that are supposed to be identical, we find they are not. Their nuances bring out the various reasons why we ought to be celebrating a Sabbath. Let me introduce the comparison and contrast from a quote by Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God: ‘Exodus grounds the Sabbath in creation. Deuteronomy grounds it in liberation. Exodus remembers Eden and Deuteronomy remember Egypt. In Exodus, Sabbath-keeping is about imitating divine example and receiving divine blessing. In Deuteronomy, it is about taking hold of divine deliverance and observing divine command.’”

“In Exodus 20:8, the longest of the Ten Commandments, mind you, and it is the part of the Ten Commandments involved in worship. Exodus 20:8-11 says: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.’ In that passage, we see that God has blessed that day and made it holy because that is the creation account. It is like Him. This is playful on God’s part. When we imitate God on the Sabbath, He says, ‘why don’t you just do what I did. I worked six days and I took a day off. You act like Me and you’ll find out on that day that you are nothing like Me.’”

“We are in His image but He is not in ours. We are like Him but He is not like us. On that Sabbath day, that is the day when we stop everything because most of us are consumed with the idea that we would rather be God. We could control things better. Things would go better for us. On that Sabbath day, it is like the quote, we have to unwind and start to realize that we are very little people. We are very small in the grand scheme of things. That humbling thing helps us enjoy God in His greatness and helps us understand our limitations. And God uses Himself as an example like a parent would do at three o’clock on an afternoon with a raging three-year-old. He says,”Look, reason will not work here. ‘Why don’t you just come and lay down with me. I will tell you a soft, slow story as I tic