Sabbath Keeping: Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest

Overview

Let's give ourselves an A for effort.
We keep our minds so preoccupied with work projects that we act and think on autopilot. We keep our kids so occupied with activities that they need day planners before grade school. We keep our schedules so full with church meetings and housekeeping and even entertaining that down-time sounds like a mortal sin.

When we fail to rest we do more than burn ourselves out. We ...

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Overview

Let's give ourselves an A for effort.
We keep our minds so preoccupied with work projects that we act and think on autopilot. We keep our kids so occupied with activities that they need day planners before grade school. We keep our schedules so full with church meetings and housekeeping and even entertaining that down-time sounds like a mortal sin.

When we fail to rest we do more than burn ourselves out. We misunderstand the God who calls us to rest--who created us to be people of rest. Let's face it: our rest needs work.

Sabbath recalls our creation, and with it God's satisfaction with us as he made us, without our hurried wrangling and harried worrying. It also recalls God's deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, and with it God's ability to do completely what we cannot complete in ourselves. Sabbath keeping reminds us that we are free to rest each week.

Eighteen months in Tel Aviv, Israel, where a weekly sabbath is built into the culture, began Lynne M. Baab's twenty-five-year embrace of a rhythm of rest—as a stay-at-home mom, as a professional writer working out of her home and as a minister of the gospel. With collected insights from sabbath keepers of all ages and backgrounds, Sabbath Keeping offers a practical and hopeful guidebook that encourages all of us to slow down and enjoy our relationship with the God of the universe.

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Editorial Reviews

Ruth Haley Barton
"I chose to read this manuscript out of sheer longing and delight because the idea and the reality of sabbath keeping is so compelling to me these days. It is a wonderful book that articulates all the questions that we wonder about and then explores the sabbath as a discipline that soon becomes one of God's greatest gifts to us as human beings. It is a gift that is, as Lynne so eloquently describes it, full of grace, freedom and abundance. Reading this book made me love God more because he thought to craft a gift that is so beautiful and extravagant but also so practical and necessary. The sabbath is a discipline that will save our lives."
Doctor - Stephen A. Hayner
"I've tried so many times to be a better sabbath keeper—but I'm just too busy. And so are my family and friends. We've made a virtue out of being overworked and then rationalizing that as faithfulness. Lynne Baab's book not only called me up short but also called me back to a biblically sound and graciously practical reconsideration of God's gift of sabbath. This is the best book on sabbath that I've seen, and my life is changing after having read it."
Keri Wyatt Kent
"Sabbath is not just a day off. It is a way of life, a gift of grace. To rest, to sabbath, to stop--these are ways of acknowledging and receiving that gift. Drawing from the wisdom of the best thinkers on this subject and her own deep experience of the power in 'stopping,' Lynne Baab guides us to a place of rest. She exhorts us to walk in the 'rhythms of rest,' and to realize that keeping sabbath is a way of affirming the deep love of God that cannot be earned through frenetic activity. I recommend this practical and life-giving book."
John Ortberg
"Dorothy Bass once wrote that the commandment to observe sabbath is the only one people brag about breaking--being busy is equated with being significant. Lynne Baab has rediscovered the gift of sabbath keeping and offers wise counsel on the importance of doing nothing."
Marva Dawn
"Every voice prodding us to keep the sabbath in these hectic times is urgently needed. Lynne Baab's voice is clear; her suggestions apply to a great diversity of people; her own practice offers an excellent model. Keeping the sabbath changed my life; I pray that you too know the freedom of its rest."
Ray S. Anderson
"Finally we have a book on the sabbath that avoids the polemics of sabbath law and recovers the biblical and practical experience of sabbath rest. Lynne Baab reminds us that we do not just keep the sabbath as a religious ritual, but the sabbath keeps us as a gracious gift of renewal. Regardless of one's tradition, this is a book that will provide both a theological and practical guide for creating an intentional sabbath experience. This is a 'one size fits all' prescription for maintaining spiritual fitness in a secular culture running at a 24-7 rate. Read it, practice it, and find rest for your soul."
Don Postema
"Lynne Baab is passionate about the sabbath. Having personally experienced the spiritual enrichment of sabbath keeping, she writes to entice the reader to gratefully accept God's gracious invitation to sabbath rest and renewal. She explores Jewish and Christian sabbath traditions and writings, plus practices of her friends and her family, in this gentle yet challenging book that is practical and practicable. It comes from her heart and will speak to yours. It could change your lifestyle and enhance your relationship with God!"
Lauren F. Winner
"Sabbath Keeping is not just a gentle and informative introduction to sabbath; it is an inspiration. Without question, this is the best book I've read in years on the art and discipline of keeping sabbath. We live in an age of hurry, an age of multitasking and stress; we could not need Lynne Baab's book more."
Dr. Stephen A. Hayner
"I've tried so many times to be a better sabbath keeper--but I'm just too busy. And so are my family and friends. We've made a virtue out of being overworked and then rationalizing that as faithfulness. Lynne Baab's book not only called me up short but also called me back to a biblically sound and graciously practical reconsideration of God's gift of sabbath. This is the best book on sabbath that I've seen, and my life is changing after having read it."
Publishers Weekly
In a gentle, concise style, Baab (A Renewed Spirituality) recommends a weekly day of rest as a gift from God that teaches Christians about grace. Although rules and puritanical solemnity have tarnished Sabbath-keeping in the United States, Baab commends the practice as a balm for frazzled moderns: "The frantic pace, the exhaustion that accompanies it and the resulting emptiness call us back to a rhythm that includes stopping and resting." While Sabbath-keeping is commanded in the Bible, God intends it as a reminder of freedom and abundant life. Baab suggests that Christians customize their Sabbath: All are called to cease from work, but one person's work could be another person's play. (Baab also says the Sabbath may involve freedom from multitasking, technology, media, shopping, competition, talking and anxiety.) Also, she says, the day for the observance does not matter, as long as it is consistent. Baab covers the scriptural reasons for Sabbath observance, but the best sections of this work deal with the personal and the practical. Her account of living (and keeping the Sabbath) in Iran, Israel and the United States instructs and fascinates. One particularly helpful chapter about creating a Sabbath celebration offers tips about making the day special. Winsome, passionate and persuasive, this will convince many Christians of the continuing relevance of the Fourth Commandment. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Baab, a Presbyterian minister in Seattle, WA, has written a brief but heartfelt book on the advantages of Sabbath observance for Christians. She learned Sabbath observance practice in Israel more than 20 years ago, and her family has practiced Israeli-style Sabbath ever since, refraining from work. Baab finds that Sabbath, in a world from which most "blue laws" have long since disappeared, shows us "our necessity and our significance," teaching us "grace in a deep, experiential way." Many Christians and non-Christians alike, seeking reasons to find areas of respite in a nonstop world, should find illumination and help in her words. For most collections. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830832583
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 1/6/2005
  • Pages: 132
  • Sales rank: 901,470
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne M. Baab is the author of multiple books and Bible studies. A Presbyterian minister, she completed a Ph.D. in communication at the University of Washington in 2007 and moved with her husband to Dunedin, New Zealand, where she is a lecturer in pastoral theology at the University of Otago.

Lynne is the author of eight books, including A Renewed Spirituality, Sabbath Keeping, Fasting, Sabbath, Personality Type in Congregations, Embracing Midlife, Beating Burnout in Congregations, Reaching Out in a Networked World: Expressing Your Congregation's Heart and Soul and Friending. She is also the author of three LifeGuide Bible Studies.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. A Gift for Our Time
2. What Happens When Everything Stops
3. Does God Get Tired? The Sabbath in Scripture and Christian History
4. A Day Without a "To Do" List
5. The Making of a Sabbath Celebration
6. Too Busy to Rest? Obstacles to Keeping a Sabbath
7. Going It Alone and Other Practical Issues
8. Call the Sabbath a Delight
Appendix A: Some Jewish Sabbath Prayers
Appendix B: For Further Reading
Sources
About the Author
Scripture Index
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    As a pastor, this year I wanted to offer small group gatherings to prepare for Easter. Everyone who heard of my plan gave me the same answer: 'It sounds like a great idea, but we just don't have time.' I was ready to take another look at Lynne Baab's book, Sabbath Keeping. Baab weaves through the book her conviction that the sabbath is a gift to be received and enjoyed. She sets out the purpose of the sabbath as, '...to clear away the distractions of our lives so we can rest in God and experience God's grace in a new way.' She deftly avoids the potential of legalism in sabbath keeping by encouraging each reader to consider what a day of rest would look like to him or to her. She suggests the possibility of refraining from whatever might appear on a 'to do' list during the rest of the week, or whatever feels like work. Gardening, for example, could be a wonderful expression of sabbath rest for one person. Others might look forward to a day of giving no thought to weeds or fertilizer. The book moves from dealing with common misunderstandings of the sabbath to the author's own introduction to sabbath keeping, and on to such practical issues as when and how to celebrate a sabbath, and confronting the obstacles that might come up in keeping up a practice that runs so counter to our 24-7 culture. Baab's own decades of sabbath keeping, along with her study of the subject and interviews with more than a hundred sabbath keepers keep the book practical. Sabbath keeping looks different for a young family than for a single person. An introvert will not experience sabbath rest in the same way that an extrovert does. A retired person, one with a Monday-Friday job, and someone who works varied days and shifts will each experience sabbath differently. Each reader will find examples that fit his or her situation. I particularly appreciated the sense of lightness, of freedom in the book, the openness to experiment with sabbath practices for a few months and then to try something different. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and discussion, and with prayer suggestions related to some aspect of Sabbath keeping. With eight chapters, it is just right for a family, a couple of friends, or a small group to go through in two months of weekly meetings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2005

    This book shows how to experience the joy of the Sabbath!

    This book is an easy read, but packed full of practical wisdom about keeping the Sabbath. It helped me see how the ancient tradition of Sabbath-keeping can benefit us in the fast-paced world we live in today. Lynne recognizes the vast differences in each of our lives, and has ideas and suggestions that we can each apply in the way that works for us. If you want an easy way to understand how observing the Sabbath can bring joy to your life, just set aside a morning to do nothing but sit on the couch with this book and a cup of coffee or tea. You'll be changed after the experience!

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