Scripture: Matthew 11:28, Mark 6:31, Acts 10:38
Date: 01/15/2011 
Lesson: 3
Mental and physical stress can negatively affect your health and attitude toward life. The Bible offers advice for managing stress.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church to worship with us and study with us. We're so glad you joined us. A very special welcome to those of you that are joining us as guests this morning, and a special welcome also to those who regularly attend. And a very special to you who are joining us from across the country and around the world faithfully every Sabbath, or whether you're just tuning in for the first time this morning, welcome.

And we know that you will truly, truly be blessed. So if you would like to get out your hymnals at home and your hymnals here and sing with us this morning, we'll be starting with hymn number 100, "great is thy faithfulness." And this comes as a request from stewart, anyel, and eileen in australia, ralph and birdie in the bahamas, valencia in belize, anita in the british virgin islands, caroline in Canada, adelia in dominica, zonali in england, tomkin in fiji, felicia in France, hyacinth in india, jody, carl and pallivon in jamaica, chris and amanda in Massachusetts, celina, jonathan in the netherlands, anyel and art in the Philippines, sepho in south africa, marvin in south korea, rhonda in trinidad and tobago and manny in the united arab emirates. Hymn number 100, and we will sing all three stanzas... If you have a special hymn, a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I'd invite you to go to our web site at And there you can click on the "contact us" link, and you can request any hymn in our hymnal.

And we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. The next hymn we're going to sing this morning is hymn number 81, "does Jesus care?" And I know you all know the answer to that very question. This comes as a request from Joseph in afghanistan, acelia and ernesto in Alaska, noel and cathy and janelle in australia, ralph and birdie in the bahamas, raulie, richard, marcel and stacie in California, tata in camaroon, rosalee and naneth in Canada, judith and Daniel in colombia, nobani and juanita in england, Michael in florida, pastor Peter in ghana, nalisa and linda in grenada, melissa in honduras, bob in Idaho, nardia, sandra, nevelle in jamaica, gloria in Maine, mary in Michigan, les, roy and Esther in New York, sandy and verne in North Carolina, harold in Oregon, steve in Pennsylvania, nicky and geradeth in Philippines, hanna and hazel in saint lucia, jerry and nella and malla in south africa, abel in thailand, Martha in trinidad and tobago, caltop in vanuatu, zorida in venezuela, and kennedy and manza in zambia. And then there also comes a little note from a gentleman, Joseph in kabul, afghanistan, and he says, "I am in a place where there is no church. I consider myself a member of the Sacramento central church.

Please continue with your ministry." Thank you, Joseph. Hymn number 181, "does Jesus care?" We'll sing the first, second and the third verse... Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, thank you so much that we know the answer to that question, that you do care, that you cared enough to send your child, your son as a baby to become a man to give us an example of who we can be through you. And Lord, we can't do anything on our own.

We are wretched and naked and poor and blind. And we just thank you, Lord, that you have every answer to every problem. So we lift up our hearts and our minds and our lives to you this morning in honor of who you are. And we thank you for this Sabbath day that we can come and lay our burdens at your feet and that we can rest from our cares. We just thank you so much.

So please be with Pastor Doug as he brings us Your Word today, Lord. Just open our hearts and our minds so that we can have a renewed, revived relationship with you that will take us through the end and through eternity. We love you, Lord, and we cannot wait 'til you come. We pray these things in your holy and precious name, amen. Our lesson study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central.

Morning. Thank you to our song leaders and musicians. And that last song in particular, just right for the lesson that we're going to be studying today, talking about stress. And we'll get to that in just a moment. I want to welcome our friends who are watching on television or listening on the radio or watching and listening on the internet.

We want to welcome you to Sabbath school at central church. And as you heard someone just say, one of our requests that came from afghanistan, they said, "well central church is like my church." And actually we are for a number of people. We have members that are scattered around the world that do not have a local church they can attend for whatever reason. And if you do not have a church family where you can attend or worship, we'd love to adopt you. If you'd like to know more about that, and being part of the Sacramento central church, go to saccentral.

org. You'll find information there. You can contact us and we'll talk to you about that process. We're continuing with our lesson dealing with the subject of human emotions. It's called, "Jesus wept.

" And today we're going to be getting into lesson number three. And oh before we do that, I always forget, we have a free offer. The lesson today is on stress, perfect. The free offer today is called "from stress to joy." "From stress to joy." And we'll send it to you for free. Call the number, it's on your screen.

Or if you're listening on the radio, it's 866-study-more. That's 866-788-3966. Ask for the lesson, "from stress to joy," or for the free offer, "from stress to joy." We'll send that to you. Now today's lesson is really part two of the lesson I did with dr. Derose last week.

I asked him if he'd help me this week, but he's in florida. And I said, "so come on home," but he decided to stay. Anyway, but today we're really dealing with stress. Last week it was anxiety. We're talking about human emotions.

I think most of us can see there's a connection between those two. A lot more information we can share about having peace as a Christian, which is really the antithesis of that stress that so many people struggle with. Now I had something here that I thought was relevant. In America we live with perpetual stress because we're always--here it is. We've got our homeland security advisory.

And today it's orange. Now how many of you check this every day? I think it's been orange for a long time. It may have bumped up to red once or twice. It might even be yellow today, which is simply elevated. There's two other levels we have not reached since 9/11.

That's the guarded and low. So you've got the red, the orange, the yellow, but we've been living in the red, orange and yellow since 9/11. We have not gotten down to the blue or the green yet. Have you heard them issue, "everything is--we've got a blue advisory today." That seems kind of depressing, blue advisory. Or you've got the green advisory.

But you know, I think that really is indicative of American life. We sort of live in the yellow to severe levels, don't we? All the time. And I think that's exacerbated by the fast pace. We've got all of these time saving devices in our world today. You buy a cell phone to help make you more efficient, right? And now these, you know, handy dandy cell phones do everything.

They've got your calendar on them. People can text you on them. They can send their Facebook messages to you. You can surf the internet with it. If you're in a meeting, it won't ring, but it'll buzz and let you know someone else wants to talk to you right now.

You'll have to make a note of that. And they're really supposed to make our lives easier. But in one sense they kind of make 'em more stressful. In case you didn't know, some people wonder, "Pastor Doug, I called your home phone and your cell number and I couldn't get you at either phone. What was the problem?" I'll tell you right now, I'm not at all ashamed to let you know, when I get home, I leave my cell phone in the car.

Because if I didn't do that, then I would have no personal life or family life at all. And it's already--it's already--I'm pretty strained. Let's talk about stress a little bit. Wait a second, let me ask you a question. How many of you feel like you have too much stress in your lives? Let me see your hands.

Oh that's--how many of you feel you have just the right amount? Some of you. How many of you feel like you don't have enough? Well, do you know some stress is good? Let me read to you, I did a little study on stress. And this is outside of the lesson in preparation for today's presentation. What is stress? The stress response is the body's way of protecting you. When working properly it helps you stay focused, energetic and alert.

In emergency situations, stress can save your life, giving you an extra strength to defend yourself. For example, on spurring you to slam the breaks to avoid an accident. If you see all the taillights light up ahead of you on the freeway, and you think to yourself, "you know, slamming on my brakes now is going to feel stressful, so I'm just going to let it go." Well, that's not the right response. You need some stress right then. Stress also helps you meet various challenges.

It's what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work. It sharpens your concentration when you're attempting the game-winning free-throw. Or it drives you to study for an exam rather than watching tv. But beyond a certain point stress can stop being helpful and it starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships and your quality of life. You know, I think God designed where we stay somewhere between the blue and the yellow, but not be living in the orange and the red of stress all the time.

What causes stress? The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you or forces you to adjust can be stressful. This can include positive things, such as getting married. Well, you think that's positive, but it can be stressful.

Buying a house, good thing, but it can be stressful. Going to college, receiving a promotion. What causes stress depends on at least part of your perception of it. Something that's stressful to you might be--not phase someone else, they may even enjoy it. For example, your morning-- now it doesn't bother me for instance to sit up here and to talk in front of people.

But when they ask folks to itemize what are some of the most stressful things that they experience, you know what's number one on the list? Speaking publically terrifies some people. It used to really scare me, but you can only stay stressful so long and pretty soon you have to sort of get used to it. So what causes stress for one person may not for another. For example, your morning commute may make you anxious and tense because you worry the traffic will make you late. Others, however, think, "oh, I love my morning commute.

I like to listen to relaxing music or programs on the radio or the cd." Alright, here are the ten most stressful events in life. A spouse's death, divorce, marriage separation--notice the first three there have to do with relationship--a jail term. How many of you were-- I don't want to ask. Death of a close relative, injury or illness, marriage--and this just not divorce, it's just ongoing marriage can be stressful, fired from a job, marriage reconciliation, retirement. Now notice that it puts retirement in among the ten most stressful things.

Some people when they retire, their whole lives have been defined by their work and they don't know what to do. Others become stressful because their spouse is retired and now they're around all the time. What are some common external causes of stress? Major life changes, work, relationship difficulties, financial problems, being too busy, children and family. Common internal causes of stress: inability to accept uncertainty. When people are uncertain about the future, that can make them very stressful.

Pessimism, negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, lack of assertiveness. That's--i struggle with a couple of those there. How do you respond to stress? Someone said that one doctor described stress in three ways. One is they put the foot on the gas. They get mad and they go real fast.

You ever met people like that? Then you go the others, they're afraid and they freeze up. They put the foot on the brake. And then you got the worst of both worlds; they keep one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas. You probably drove behind those people before. Some of the physical problems of too much stress.

There are some cognitive symptoms. Memory problems. I've wondered what was causing it, I thought it was just old age. Inability to concentrate, poor judgment, seeing only the negative, anxious or racing thoughts, constant worry. There are emotional symptoms of stress.

Moodiness, irritability or short temper, agitation, inability to relax, feeling overwhelmed, a sense of loneliness and isolation, depression or general unhappiness. And I could go on. Then there are other physical symptoms, but I think some of this actually comes out in the lesson. Alright, just giving you a big overview of what is stress. We're going to study it.

Now we're going to look at it from a biblical context. And we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Matthew 11:28. And I'll be reading this from the new king James--or I guess it's in the lesson it's the new international version. Are you ready? Please say it with me.

"Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened. And I will give you rest." And so God is inviting us to have peace and rest in him. That doesn't mean that you won't have any of the healthy forms of stress in your life because those are good things. But it's the stress that hurts our health that's unhealthy obviously. Now as we get into the lesson, one of the characteristics of the last days is increased stress.

I think we gave this to somebody, Luke 21:25. Did somebody get that verse? "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken." Notice that. Men's hearts failing them for fear because of the expectation of those things that are coming. There seems to be an increase or an acceleration of stress in people's hearts in the last days as they look at what things are going on in the world around them. You know, I may have mentioned this last week, but I thought it was interesting that one of the headlines for 2010--now for our friends that are watching, this is actually Christmas day in December when we're recording this lesson.

I know it's going to be broadcast in January. But they're summarizing 2010, and they're saying that based on natural disasters, this has been one of the worst years in a generation. How many of you saw that headline? You didn't see that. Oh, it's true. And then they, you know, they looked at the haiti earthquake, the chile earthquake, they had some indonesian earthquakes, volcanoes, heat wave, fires.

Yeah, well they're talking about the natural disasters, yeah. That's not even counting the other disasters that they've had and the cholera outbreak. And you start looking at some of the headlines and you would think what kind of headlines might create stress in the last days? "Worst year for natural disasters," that was a headline. Another headline said, "cholera outbreak feared in haiti." It's a plague. That's one of the signs, Jesus said, "wars and rumors of wars.

" Any of you noticed last week, "north korea threatens nuclear retaliation." I thought it was interesting, one of the fox commentators on the news said north korea said that they are going to declare a sacred holy war on south korea. And he said, "what are they doing declaring a sacred holy war? They're atheists." Do atheists declare a holy sacred war? I thought that was very interesting. But I mean that's a headline. You know, one nation declaring a nuclear war or threatening nuclear war. Would those kinds of headlines after a while, would they make you stress, or would they make you numb? You know some people, the church sort of gets anesthetized by all of that.

And that's one of the signs of the last days. Alright, getting into our lesson, some of the exciting life events that can provide a little bit of stress. And it's taking us-- an interesting study in the Bible is Elijah. And some of what Elijah experienced. You go to 1 Kings 17.

And 1 Kings can read here in the first couple verses. "Elijah the tishbite, of the inhabitants of gilead, said to ahab, 'as the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there will not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.' Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 'get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the brook cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded that the ravens feed you there.'" Now I think most of us know ahab and jezebel, once he said that, and after a few months of no rain, they basically issued an all points bulletin to find Elijah. And it says he sent messengers into other kingdoms to locate Elijah. And everywhere he looked, they couldn't find Elijah.

So the telephone poles all around samaria said, "wanted dead or alive: Elijah the prophet." Would it make you stressful if you went to the post office and you say your face there under, you know, "Israel's ten most wanted," and you're at the top of the list. So you've got this "wanted dead or alive" decree on your head. And then there's no rain, and you can't just go to fast food and drive up and get your food. Someone might recognize you. You've basically got to go into hiding.

You're going to worry, "where am I going to get my food?" Do you think Elijah was stressed? God told him to go and say what he said. He said it. And God said, "look, I'll take care of you. And so he had to flee into the wilderness during this time of persecution. And did God provide for him there? Will that be a lesson for us in the last days? Did God's people have to flee into the wilderness once from pharaoh? Did he provide for them there? And so he miraculously feeds them.

Now we talked--we talked a little bit about this from Matthew 6 where Jesus said, "behold the birds. Behold the grass." God provides for them. Will he not much more provide for you, o ye of little faith." There's a quote from the book, "early writings." And it says, "I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time. And that we will not lack or suffer hunger. For God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness.

If necessary, he would send ravens to feed us as he did Elijah." Now that wasn't the only time he had to depend during the famine on miracles to feed him. By the way, one reason we're going down this road, talking about God's provision, in the list of things that causes stress, finances. And in our day and age, a lot of people don't have money to pay for their mortgage, they don't have money maybe for groceries. There are more people that are visiting the food banks than ever before. You know, we give away food here at central church every Wednesday.

And the crowd's getting bigger. And so some people wonder-- worry. And they wonder actually from day to day and from week to week, where am I going to get enough to eat? Now that's not as bad in North America as it is in many places of the world, people really don't know where they're getting their food. It's interesting, some parts of the world I've been to people are very poor, but they don't worry about food because of the tropical environment and there's just--there's food falling really everywhere. But they're very poor in other ways.

And then there are parts of the world where there's just nothing growing and they have no money. So they've got both problems. Someone read for me 1 Kings 17:15-16. Who did we give that to? "So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which he spoke by Elijah.

" Alright, so here's another example where before God's using animals and nature to feed Elijah. Here he's using people and he's multiplying this bread. And so does God have a lot of ways to take care of our burdens that we can't think of? There's a quote from the book, "Desire of Ages" that if you don't ever write down references, you ought to write this one down, 'cause you can use it. I first learned this years ago. "Desire of Ages" page 330, "the continual worry is wearing out the life forces.

Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage." Continual worry is a yoke of bondage. What does Jesus say? "My yoke is easy. My burden is light." "He invites them to accept his yoke. He says, 'my yoke is easy. My burden is light.

' He bids them, 'seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,' and his promises, that things needful to them for this life will be added. Worry is blind. It cannot discern the future. But Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty, he has a way prepared to bring relief.

Our Heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing." How many times you think, "I don't know how I'm going to get over this problem. I don't know how I'm going to provide." And then the Lord surprises you. And when you think it's going to have to be this way or this way and I don't see how either, point a or point b, is going to ever work out. And God says, "I've got a whole alphabet with a thousand letters in it you don't know anything about." We limit God's ability to provide for us. What we need more of is faith to trust in God.

Our lives--worry is the sand that the devil drops in the machinery of life. And faith is the oil that God puts in the machinery of life. And you know, there's always going to be challenges. There's always going to be some friction. But the fact that most of us are here right now indicates God has somehow kept us going.

And so you need to believe he knows how to do it. Trust him. I think he can do it a lot more freely if we believe. Sometimes he blesses in spite of our lack of faith. Then you run into where it says, the next section, "bitter life events.

" You can read in Jeremiah 19:5, it says, "they have also built the high places of baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to baal, which I did not command nor speak, nor did it come into my mind." I want you to understand how bad baal worship was. They were actually offering their children to this pagan God. So when they had the showdown on Mount Carmel. Everyone know that story, between Elijah and the prophets of baal? At the end of that showdown, God brings fire down from heaven, burns up his sacrifice. Elijah then orders the execution, whether or not he personally participated in it, that day they executed somewhere either 400 or 850, 'cause it talks about the prophets of baal and the prophets of the groves.

And there were two different groups. And let's assume they're all executed that day. Even if they were the bad guys, it could be stressful to see 850 people dispatched. And Elijah was there at least witnessing it, if not participating in it. Then he tucks up his girdle and he runs before the King.

He prays for rain. The rain comes. He has to jog all the way to the city of jezreel. He gets drenched in the rain. We don't know that he's eaten at all that day.

And he's at the gates, cold, wet. And then you can read your verse now, 1 Kings 19:1-2. "And ahab told jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, 'so let the Gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.'" Why would one more death threat scare Elijah? But Elijah got spooked by that. And he became so stressed about it, he got up and he began to run for his life.

What was different about this that scared him so much? You can read in verse 3 and 4, "and when he saw that, he arose and he ran for his life, and he went to beersheba, which belongs to judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, he came and sat down under a broom tree," or a juniper tree, just a piece of desert scrub. "And he prayed that he might die, and said, 'it is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'" What's happening with Elijah here on a practical level? He's tired. His emotions that whole day on Mount Carmel were at a peak. I mean there might have been some good stress.

And there were probably some bad stress, but he's got-- if fire doesn't come down from heaven when he prays, what's going to happen to him? All day long the prophets of God--are they surrounded by enemies? the King is there. He knows if things don't go well that day, then instead of it being a revival, it's going to be a big joke. It's going to seal baal worship. That's a lot of pressure that day. Then he prays and he prays and he prays.

The rain finally comes. The fire comes down from heaven. Then the rain comes. He runs before the King. He's hoping there'll be a revival, but instead he hears the queen is still on the throne, and he said, "you didn't get anywhere.

I'm going to kill you and we're going to go back to baal worship." And he's cold. He's wet. He's tired. He's emotionally spent. He's human.

Then he runs out into the wilderness, and at this point he's exhausted, famished. He says, "just let me die." I won't ask for a show of hands, but have you ever been so worn out with life that you go to sleep at night and say, "Lord, now if I don't wake up--" you know, usually we pray, "and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." Tony campola said, "why would you pray, 'if I die before I wake?' You should say, "Lord, wake me up before I die!" But I've been so tired before, I've said, "Lord, I want to be ready, but if I don't wake up, that's okay with me." You know what I mean? You just get tired. And Elijah was at that point. And God knew that he was just lacking in some practical things. So he sends an angel to him to take care of his practical needs.

By the way, another quote from the book, "Desire of Ages," this is page 120, "satan has taken advantage of the weakness of humanity. And he still works in the same way. Whenever someone is encompassed with clouds or perplexed by circumstances, or afflicted by poverty or distress, satan is at hand to tempt and annoy. He attacks our weak points of character. He seeks to shake our confidence in God who suffers such a condition of things to exist.

" So the devil will look for the optimum moment to attack us. And it's amazing if you listen to the devil. In stressful moments you might utter something absurd like, "Lord, just take my life. I don't want to live anymore." Peter, Thursday night, said, "Lord, we're with you wherever you go, we'll lay down our lives for you. We're on your side.

Though all men forsake you, I'll never forsake you." He felt good. He just had dinner. So he was okay right then. But after not getting a good night's sleep and being discouraged by what was happening to Jesus, he then denies even knowing the Lord a little later. He went from this faithful declaration to a total denial in a matter of hours, 'cause the devil caught him off guard.

You know, i--you look in the Bible, you see king David, his zenith of success is when the devil came to him when he-- his pride was overcome and he was tempted with bathsheba. It had just been success, success, success. And then God caught him at a weak moment--or I'm sorry, God--the devil. Don't get those two mixed up. The devil came and tempted him at this weak moment.

And he didn't trust in God is what I meant to say. And so this is what happened to Elijah. What did God do for Elijah during that time? He ran out in the wilderness, he prayed he might die, did God chastise him or what did he do? God's therapy, 1 Kings 19:5-9. What were the simple remedies provided for Elijah during this stressful time in his life, and what can we take for this for ourselves? How are our physical actions impacting either for good or for bad? An angel woke him up, and what did the angel say? "What's the matter with you? How come you lost faith?" The angel--he woke up and there was food there. Angel said, "eat, drink.

" Sounded like a Jewish mother. "You're not yourself right now. You need nourishment." This is a physiological problem. Sometimes the combination of stress internal with external circumstances, the internal stress can be resolved by taking care of physical needs. And then you just have to deal with the problems.

You ever noticed that sometimes a good night's sleep and breakfast can change your whole perspective on life? And problems that you went to sleep that thought were insurmountable, you wake up and you're able to somehow find solutions for those problems just by getting a clear head, a little rest and maybe some nourishment. And so he ate what the angel gave him, and the angel didn't say, "now keep going." The angel said, "now go back to sleep." Actually the angel didn't say that, he just went back to sleep. So what does that tell you? He was exhausted. He didn't even get up and talk to the angel. He went back to sleep, woke up again, the angel fed him again.

He needed time to assimilate. He needed time to rest. Then he went on the strength of that food 40 days and 40 nights. So what did the angels do for Jesus after his 40 days of fasting? Was he tested there? There was a big test. Was he probably a little stressed? I mean, any encounter with the devil can't be peaceful.

And it says that angels came and ministered to him. And I think one of the things they did is they fed him there. And in the same way that God fed the children of Israel in the wilderness, God's church during the dark ages, 1260 years, does she flee into the wilderness? I'm in Revelation 17. Does he nourish her there, when you're being hunted for your life? What is the food that God feeds his church. "Man doesn't live by bread alone, but by every word.

" You ever find that the Bible helps you cope with stress? Can the promises of God give you peace? I think I had a verse here I was going to have someone read, psalm 55:22, psalm 5-5:2-2. You got that, andrew? "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee; and he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Now Peter quotes from that when he says, "casting your cares upon him because he cares for you." Within the Word of God there are a multitude of exceeding great and precious promises, that as you read these, they can actually give you peace. Alright, let me give you another example. Jesus is brutally murdered, unfairly tried, not in that order, unfairly tried, brutally murdered. The disciples' hopes are dashed.

They're stressed. Two of them walking that same day from Jerusalem to emmaus, they encounter Jesus. What does Jesus do for them to change their whole attitude? It says beginning at Moses and in all the Scriptures he showed that he was the Christ. So he begins to apply the Word of God. What happens to their hearts? Are they soothed by the promises in the Word of God? They don't want to let him go.

They say, "stay with us." So the Bible completely changed their attitude. So now when they went down the hill, they were discouraged. They were distressed. They were despondent. The Word of God was open to them.

It never says they even ate anything. Let's hope they did. They now are so excited, they go up the hill. They got the good kind of stress now to tell the disciples, "he's alive." But their whole attitude is different. And a joyful heart works wonders, like a medicine.

Jesus' method--should say methods really--to manage stress. This is in your lesson under day four. Mark 6:31, I gave this to somebody. Mark 6:31, "and he said to them, 'come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.' For there were many coming and going and they did not even have time to eat." Well, Jesus, that's not the loving thing to do. There were still people waiting to be served.

Many coming and going, and Jesus said, "we've got to escape and rest a while." "No, you're supposed to stay until everybody is ministered to and everybody's question is answered and everybody has all their needs supplied." Do you know some people that try to do that? If you live your life so that you can't ever take care of yourself until everybody else gets what they want from you, you won't have any of you left. Now this is hard for Christians to understand, but in the Christian life you can-- an ax that is sharpened cuts a lot better. And if you don't take time out every now and then, you keep swinging and swinging, and you don't take time to go sharpen your own ax, you're not as efficient in ministering to other people another day. It's like a doctor on a battlefield doing constant surgeries. After a while he has to rest.

But there's still soldiers that need surgery. If he doesn't rest, he's going to make mistakes that will do more harm than good. At some point, he's gotta rest. You all see what I'm saying? And some of us I think as Christians, we think it's unloving to tell people no. Sometimes it's the most loving thing you can do is to tell someone else, "I can't help you right now.

I can't do that right now." Because I love you, I gotta take care of myself. A lot of great workers for God have burnt themselves out because they thought it was un-Christian to stop what they're doing and walk away and say, "I've got to come aside and rest a while or I can't help anybody anymore." And you burn the candle at both ends. It's a very important principle. I mean Jesus, he worked hard. I'm not talking about lazy people using that as an excuse.

Jesus worked so hard that he'd fall asleep in a boat and even a storm couldn't wake him up. So it's not a question of being lazy. It's a question of saying humanity has its limits. And you've got to know part of God's plan, part of serving God is taking care of yourself. Now you may have detected that this is a sensitive point for me, because I grapple with this all the time.

You wonder at what point do I say, "you know, brother, sister, I can't answer your phone right now 'cause I want to eat dinner with my family." "Pastor Doug, you're not very loving. That's not very Christlike. I'm having a problem." But you got to draw lines. You gotta have what they call this, what? Boundaries. And Jesus was telling the disciples, look, you gotta have boundaries in your life.

And you why it said, "come aside." Aside from what? Aside from the crowd that they were ministering to. They had to separate to a quiet place where they could be restored. Now have you noticed that God prepares people all through history for different ministry by kind of getting them off by themself for a while. And it may not be just the Sabbath. The Sabbath--and I should probably talk about that.

The Sabbath would be exhibit a of time that God has set aside every week for us to come aside from the worries and the troubles of life and to rest, to spend time with him. Now Sabbath's not only a time for corporate worship. I think every Sabbath day is great if you could have some time alone with God. Now don't neglect the corporate worship because it says, "do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together." I don't want to--i don't want to condemn anybody. But you know some people, this particular Sabbath school lesson is on Christmas day.

Have you noticed how quickly you got to church today? There's nobody on the streets. But in the e-mails that were being chatted around, some people said, "well, it's Christmas day, and so we're taking church off." And I thought to myself, a verse went through my mind. And it said, "you have a fine way of setting aside the commandments of God in order to observe your tradition." What should come first? Corporate worship and study is part of Sabbath-keeping. There's plenty of day left to be by yourself and to rest and do all those other things. But this is the high point of the week for Christians is we come together to learn about God in our study and to worship God in our worship service.

And I'm so proud of you. I told Karen, I said, "I don't know what's going to happen to Sabbath school this morning." I'm so proud of you all here. We got a good representation today coming to worship the Lord and to study His Word. I'm thankful you've got those priorities. And so this is part of that rest.

But there's also something to be said for getting out in nature. Did God take Moses out in nature to prepare him? Did Elijah spend some time in nature before there was Mount Carmel? We don't know how long it was, but maybe a year he was by the brook cherith and just exposed to nature and preparing for his time with God. And there's a lot to be said for country living. And some of you have heard the message I delivered on when do we head for the hills? Country living, we believe in that. There's also a ministry to be done in the city among the people and the lost, right? But Jesus said, "come aside and rest.

" They needed to rejuvenate. You know, our bodies are designed so that our cells replace, our systems recover. Something happens when you go to sleep at night. There's a restoration that takes place. Sometimes depending on if you strained something or sprained something or broken something, it takes different periods of time to recover.

And doctors will say, "that injury, that illness, you're going to need this much time." But it takes time to recover sometimes. And if a person has spent weeks in almost non-stop ministry, 24 hours may not be all you need to recover. That's why we take vacations. Problem is vacations can be very stressful. The difference about when Jesus said, "come aside and rest yourselves a while," they didn't have to get a plane, did they? That was the difference.

There was no commercial travel involved. That's what's stressful. Any of you ever notice you got to come home from a vacation so you can recover from it? The vacations in our culture can be stressful. So you need to be able to just put aside your worries and go aside. You know what I do.

You've heard me talk about this ad nauseum. But we have our cabin up in the hills. And every now and then, there's not a lot of preparation involved in going up there. We've actually got like spare clothing up there so I don't do much packing when I go. And it's just so nice to hop in the car and go up there and have no plans.

Go somewhere where you don't have a sightseeing tour, where you know, "today, we're going on this tour. And tomorrow we're going on this tour. And then we got this tour, and we're going to go see this museum." Oh man. Gotta come home and recover. To go somewhere with no schedule other than, "I think I'll go for a walk out in the woods.

" It's so nice to rest and restore. By the way, that's what the word "recreation" means, re-creation. Real recreation is where-- football doesn't make for recreation. Now I'm not down on football. Tell you what, you know, football they say is the sport that causes the most injuries.

Now there might be other sports than that, but the American pastime that causes the most. And so you want recreation where you're restoring your health and things are getting back up again. And then there's another very important aspect in this lesson that is a stressor relief valve. Acts 10:38. "How God anointed Jesus of nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

" So part of what Jesus did--now did Jesus look upon his work as a burden or was it a pleasure for him? Jesus was restored by helping others. Here's an example, woman at the well, she comes to Jesus. The disciples have gone to buy Jesus food, 'cause he's hungry. And he talks to this woman at the well, reveals he's the Messiah. She accepts him, gets everlasting life.

She goes to tell her village about Jesus. The disciples come and say, "Lord, we know you're hot and you're tired, you're exhausted, you're thirsty. Here's we've got some food for you, we've got some refreshment." And you know what he said? "I've got food you don't know anything about. I have been restored. I have been encouraged by ministering to others.

And this woman has accepted me. That is my food." You ever felt relief and blessing because you were able to do something for someone else? It then actually-- it energized you. Sometimes, I'll just be honest with you, at the risk of someone misunderstanding, pastors have an almost-- if you have a large church, there's a never-ending list of people you should see. And you can't always see everybody. And sometimes I think I should go see this person.

They're in the hospital or whatever. And I think, "ah, but I'd just really rather go home and do something else." And I say, "okay, Lord, I'll do it." And I go, and I visit them. Ninety percent of the time I come away from that visit, I am invigorated somehow by doing it. It has been a blessing. It has restored me.

And I say, "Lord, what a blessing it is to give, even more than to receive. Why do I neglect it?" And so sometimes I think we miss one of the great stress relievers that Jesus modeled for us in his life, and that's to have lives of ministry. Whatever your purpose in life is, whatever you do, if you view it as ministry, then you're going to find I think the greatest balance. You live to serve God. That's the pattern that Jesus gave us.

He spent his life ministering to others, serving others. And he found the greatest refreshment in doing that. It's more blessed to give than receive. Well, friends, we've run out of time for today's lesson, but we did pretty good. We got through most of it.

And I want to remind our friends that we do have a free offer. That free offer is, "from stress to joy," and we'll send it to you for free. Just call that number on your screen: 866-study-more. That's 866-788-3966. By the way, for those who are watching live, this is the last lesson technically in 2010.

God bless you. And pray that you have a blessed year. For those who are watching it prerecorded, you're wondering what I'm talking about, because we're already in 2011. I sort of live in alternate dimensions between when it's being broadcast and when it's actually being recorded. God bless you, friends.

Thank you for your study time. And God willing, we'll be back together again next week. In the same way all of the planets in our solar system revolve around the sun, everything we do here at Amazing Facts revolves around the nucleus of God's Word, the Scriptures. That's why we're very excited to tell you about the release of a new resource that will bless you in your personal study. It's the Amazing Facts prophecy study Bible.

And this Bible is like no other. It is filled with wonderful resources. Of course it has a concordance, it has the maps, red-letter edition, new king James version, how to understand the history of the Bible, and best of all, all 27 of the popular Amazing Facts study guides are in this Bible, answering questions like, "how will Jesus come?" "Who is the beast?" "What is the Mark of the beast?" "What does the Bible say about death and hell and heaven?" And much more. If you'd like to know how you can obtain a copy of this incredible Bible study resource, then simply call the toll-free number on your screen, or go to

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