Keri Wyatt Kent invites readers to rediscover the ancient practice of Sabbath in this practical and accessible book. Kent’s experiences as a retreat leader and a journalist collide as she offers true, interview-based stories along with scripturally based advice and guidance on how to live in a rhythm of work and rest she calls “Sabbath simplicity.”
Based on what Jesus taught about Sabbath and how he practiced it, Kent explores six aspects of Sabbath as Christian spiritual practice: resting, reconnecting, revising, pausing, playing, and praying. These are the antidote to our restlessness, isolation, and our hurried lives, workaholism, and self-absorption. Living a nonlegalistic, sanely paced, God-focused life leads us to freedom and grace, joy and connection.
A group study guide is included, making this book an excellent choice for small groups.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Keri Wyatt KentKeri worked as a reporter for 8 years before writing her first book and is the author of several books, including Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life (Revell) and Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life (Jossey-Bass). When she’s not busy traveling around the country to speak and lead retreats, she’s writing. She’s a regular contributor to several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman, MomSense and Outreach magazine, as well as several websites and blogs. She’s a member of Willow Creek Community Church, where she has taught, led groups and volunteered in a variety of ministries over the last 21 years.
Learn more about her ministry at http://www.keriwyattkent.com/.
Learn more about Keri at http://www.keriwyattkent.com/.
Where did you get the idea for the book? What compelled you to write it?
Rest is a practical guide to living in Sabbath Simplicity. It answers questions like “what did Jesus teach about Sabbath?” and “How can I implement a Sabbath day into my life?” I have seen that the pace of our lives blocks us from spiritual growth, and I wanted help people who are overwhelmed by that. I wanted to share the blessing of keeping Sabbath with other people who feel frazzled because they are too busy. No spiritual practice has formed me more deeply than taking a weekly Sabbath day to focus on loving God and loving others. It’s an amazing gift and I really want to share it with others.
What are the major themes of the book?
The book explores six themes: resting, reconnecting, revising, pausing, playing, praying. These are all aspects of a Sabbath Simplicity lifestyle, which is a sanely-paced, God-focused life. It also looks at what Jesus taught about Sabbath. The main take-away, though, is that anyone can begin to live a life of Sabbath Simplicity. It’s a non-legalistic, guilt-free look at how to order your life in a way that brings freedom and joy.
What kind of research did you have to do for the book?
I’ve been practicing Sabbath myself for almost twenty years, so I drew from my own experiences. But I also interviewed dozens of men and women about how they’ve implemented this spiritual practice in their own life—everyone from parents of young children to grandparents. Many of those people’s stories are in the book. I also read just about every book & website out there on Sabbath, and did in depth studies of Exodus and Leviticus which talk about Sabbath and the closely related topics of Tabernacle and Jubilee.
Why do you think people find rest and Sabbath to be difficult to implement?
Well, I think they are not very motivated to practice Sabbath because they expect that it will be heavy with rules and legalistic lists of things you can’t do. But really, Sabbath is just the opposite—it’s freedom. You set yourself free from the tyranny of your work and chores for a day. The other reason we don’t rest is because we believe a little too much in our own competence. We think the world will stop spinning, if we stop running. We have not learned the word that is the key to a life of Sabbath Simplicity: enough. So we say yes to far too many activities, obligations and things. We think we need more, when really, we have enough. It’s a profound realization, a truth that will set you free.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
If you read Rest, you will realize that anyone can start a Sabbath Simplicity journey, and you can do it today. It’s a process, building a practice and a lifestyle, and it will take you a while. It will look slightly different in different people’s lives. But you can begin it immediately, and it will bring you joy, freedom and spiritual growth.
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