Archives For Sabbath


Recently, researchers from University College London compiled data on the relationship between working hours and heart attack risk in over 600,000 workers, as well as similar data on stroke risk in over 500,000 workers. They found that those who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 13% greater risk of a heart attack, and were 33% more likely to suffer a stroke, compared with those who worked 35-40 hours per week.


Honestly, when I read those stats it was a wake-up call to me. So much so that I unplugged from technology for the entire week of Thanksgiving. Why?

I’ve been pushing a pace well beyond 55 hours a week on an endless pursuit to search for validation from others and my heavenly Father. It was day four of our getaway, as I was listening to worship music, I stumbled upon a random tire pictured below.


I immediately heard the words,

“Ricky, my son, you’ve been concentrating so much on your fuel, move, and lift tires that your rest tire is completely flat. In fact… it has a gaping hole in it. Today, I want that to change in your life.”

I sat down on a log beside the water and journaled the two pages below.  My handwriting suffered on this day.  I blame it on the wind.

Rest 1

Rest 2

The Lord has continued to confirm those words in my early morning devotional time. On December 10 I read these words,

“Finally, the earth is at REST and QUIET.” Isaiah 14:7 NLT
“In that wonderful day when the Lord gives his people REST from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains.” Isaiah 14:5 NLT
“Worry weighs a person down.” Proverbs 12:25 NLT

I was reminded that God told his son, Jesus, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” He spoke those words before Jesus did one act of ministry. Let that sink in.


I love the mantra Rick Warren uses to find his own rest. What is it?

Divert daily, withdraw weekly, and abandon annually.

For me practically:

  • I plan on being very intentional during my 52 Sabbath’s this year by escaping away for an extended time with the Lord and getting in nature.
  • I plan on scheduling a monthly retreat day and four quarterly solitude retreats
  • I have already scheduled in my 2016 calendar multiple family vacations and family camping trips

Can I ask you something? Do you feel like you are pleasing the Lord? Do you know what would please him more than anything right now?

Be secure in knowing that you can take your foot off the pedal and rest. It’s OK. Remember, unless he builds the house the labors labor in vain anyway.


  • if you’re a parent maybe you can tag team with your spouse and escape away for a few hours
  • if you’re an entrepreneur pencil in an entire morning to unplug, go on a nature hike, or take a nap
  • if you’re a pastor take out your calendar and schedule your 2016 vacations
  • if you’re a missionary schedule a block of time to do absolutely nothing and just breathe knowing the Lord is in control of your finances.

Do me a favor huh? Comment on this article to commit to action what you will do to find rest before the end of this week or email me back I’d love to hear about what you do!

I leave you with these lyrics from a song called “My Grace” from the album Future Bright & Free.

“I’ve seen your weakness and I am powerful. I’ve seen your failures and I am merciful. I’ve seen your heaviness and I will give you REST. I’ve seen your loneliness and I am with you. My grace my grace is yours.”E My Grace, Album Future Bright & Free

*Thank you to John Ross M.D. for writing this article that originally woke me up from my slumber and where I got the research.



Amy had just shared the Prodical Son story of the jealous older brother. Camden’s eyes began to tear up as he knew what was coming for Cale. He says these words that shook my core, “Daddy, I don’t want Cale to get spankens. Can you give him three of my marbles?“. As I went to sleep my eyes filled hearing these words,

“Ricky, this is what I wanted for you today. You aren’t in control. You wanted a perfect day. This day wasn’t about what you wanted, but what I wanted for you. More than anything you could have received from your hike, the mountains, the conversations, I wanted your family to have grace. None of you are perfect and “It Happens” and “It” will happen again, but my grace is sufficient. Stop trying to plan your perfect day, and look to the one that is perfect, and what I want to show you.”

Sabbath….. is more than I can describe. It is an adventure, an escape, a day of surprises, it’s a day to stop doing, so He can do. Sabbath is a lesson awaiting to be learned. Sabbath is food for the soul. Sabbath can also be painful, because it can involve a change of plan, pruning, thwarting, and surrendering control.

What can you do to establish Sabbath in your life?  These last three posts aren’t to share with you how I’ve nailed it down, seeking perfection, but to encourage and challenge you to seek REST in your own life.  I’m still trying to figure it out and wish I could say every single week “It Happens”, but it doesn’t and I pay the price.  I’m trying to be intentional about fleeing away for some “Personal Retreat Days”.  I’m trying to figure out how to get sips from the living water and how to encourage Amy to do the same…. not an easy task with three small kids.

So try it yourself.  Pull out your calendar and pick one day a week where you will stop….. doing and just simply be.  I promise it will be worth it.


The worst explosion in Van Pay history….. in the pants…… of my 5-year old Cale. I will spare the details but for the next 20 minutes perfection was gone…. the hike I had envisioned was gone. Our friends took advantage of this beautiful opportunity to continue down the trail, and we finished cleaning up the poop of the century. We drove back down off the mountain and an hour later I found myself washing our car as I pouted.

Why did we work so hard for this day, this perfect day, when “It” was going to happen and the “then’s” were going to happen? Why was this day thwarted? Why?

I had prepared for it. I had planned for it. I was in control… or was I? Was God teaching us a lesson? Were we being sharpened or pruned? The answer would come later in the evening as our family joined together for our new traditional “Family Church” on Sunday nights. We sang songs, we prayed, we shared scripture, and then the moment came.

We were discussing rewards and consequences with the boys. Camden had seven marbles in his jar that he could exchange for his reward. Cale was negative three marbles and the agreement is that this means spankens. I won’t take the time to go into our philosophy of discipline, but this is what was going to happen. It was breaking my heart. It was also breaking the heart of Camden.


Sabbath…. What is it? Why is it so incredibly hard to apply? Why do I battle against it when it is the very thing I need so desperately? I coach people in their fitness to keep four tires aired up so that their vehicle, the body, will stay on the road to physical health. One of those is REST. Hebrews 4:9-11 says,

“There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.”

Rewind a few days ago on Saturday. My family worked hard to set up our new desire for a Sabbath. I’m not talking just a day off from work. I’m talking rest, reflection, being together, letting go and letting God put us back together again, focusing on Him, not doing anything for Him, but just being with Him and each other. I love what one of my favorite authors Mark Buchanan says,

“Sabbath is imitating God’s own rest in order that we might become more like God and yet know that we are not God”

So we cleaned floors, we did laundry, we made our grocery run, and so on you know all the chores and errands a family of five needs to do. We worked hard so that we wouldn’t have to on our Sabbath. Guess what? We did it. We finished our to do list and went to bed eager for what the next day held… our Sabbath.

I awoke early, poured a cup of coffee, meditated and anticipated one of the most beautiful moments of my day… the sun rising again. It’s a reminder every single day that God’s “Son” rose for us. Our family ate breakfast and joined together for prayer and worship. We gathered together with others at Flatirons Church to reflect, worship, and let God convict is through his Word. It was to set the tone for our “Perfect Sabbath“. I envisioned it already, had it planned, and I would be in control as the Priest of our family to make sure it was perfect.

As the hero to my family I long to be, most of the time I’m floundering at this, we escaped into the mountains with friends to play, rest, and soak in God’s creation. I couldn’t wait for Amy to see the amazing beauty of Brainard Lake (pictured above) and pictured hiking the trails with my boys tagging along, Ainsley cooing as we went, catch a glimpse of a moose (I shot one of those once… wasn’t suppose it…. yep), and uplifting conversations. Then….. it all unraveled.

My picture perfect Sabbath was being thwarted. We remembered to bring everything, but lunch. How does that happen? It does and it did. Then….. after over an hour’s drive the weather changes as it does and it did in higher elevation. Then…. as we drive back down to another trailhead, we can’t get a parking spot. Then….. Ainsley is hungry and it delays the alternate hike. Then….. as we all get ready at one more chance of perfection “It Happens“.

Wanted to take a moment away from scripture reflections or something with The Well.  I am absolutely thankful for my family and at 31 years old eating up my time with them.  This morning we hit some garage sales, landed a sweet Bass Pro tackle bag, and started a new summer tradition.  We went to Owasso and picked black berries.  Cale is a monster picking these things!  We went to Funtastic Island and ate shaved ice……. We even caught part of some huge motor cycle event in Collinsville and saw a helicopter – made Cale’s day.

Tonight we planned on eating out with friends but last-minute cancelled.  We took advantage of the babysitter and Amy and I enjoyed an evening alone together.  We caught a flick and ate mexican on an outdoor patio, dropped by the dollar store and grabbed a deck of cards, and enjoyed uninterrupted conversation.  I am totally in love with my wife after 8 1/2 years and want to give her a special early birthday shout out coming this Monday!  Happy Birthday precious thank you for your patience and being my “steady stream of stability” and giving me such amazing boys!  I’ve not always been the husband or father that I should-be been, but I’m passionately working on it!