Simplify: Be Rested by Rick Shurtz

When we are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life or uncertain how to respond to the tragedies of life, we need to SIMPLIFY.

In a chaotic world, where we catch a glimpse of heaven and experience a glimpse of hell, we can learn to live for what matters when we SIMPLIFY.

At Gateway Church in Austin, we continued a series called Simplify

You can work through the Next Steps for this message with your family or in a small group.

To watch, the message from Rick Shurtz, go here.

To listen to the message I shared at Gateway South including the interview with Phillip and Rachel Rogers, listen here:

Here are notes of what we shared:

What do we do when you’ve HAD IT? What do we do when we can’t take it anymore?

  • Do you get loud?
  • Do you get quiet?
  • Do we grit our teeth and push through it?
  • Do we slump our shoulders and feel sorry for ourselves?

When we have scattered responsibilities and priorities, we can become overwhelmed!

Consider Psalm 55:6-8 – 

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”

We all have moments when we feel like flipping out or escaping, but instead what if we could learn to have a peace in the midst of the chaos?

Talking about Solomon’s reign as King, we read:

For he ruled over all the kingdoms … and had peace on all sides. – 1 Kings 4:24

Too often, the problems in one setting have a way of showing up in new settings.

We need to address the external realities that need simplification. Too often we work too much, buy too much, eat too much, and do too much.

However, our mission is deeper.

Our mission in this simplify series is not just the less is more approach, even though that certainly comes to play.

Our mission is how do we live simple lives in the midst of our realities and responsibilities? How do we do that?

Let me give you a picture of what I want from the life of Christ.

That day when evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. – Mark 4:35-38

Can you picture that?

I used to read that and think Jesus was being a little insensitive to the rest of the crew, but the further I get through life, the more I want to be like him in that boat.

Jesus gives us a picture. He finds rest and peace in the midst of life’s storms.


We’re going after the perspective and the practice of REST.

Let me share an equation I’m convinced is true:

Non-stop life = Cluttered life


Israel, as a nation, was living in the land of Egypt, and they were oppressed and enslaved. Through divine intervention, they broke out of slavery, and they did exactly what my Psalm longed for. On their way to the Promised Land, Israel found themselves hungry and began to complain.

It was the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” – Exodus 16:1-3

They’re just two and a half months into their journey, and yes they’re no longer enslaved, but the desert isn’t exactly what they hoped it would be!

God hears their cries, and listen to what he does:

The Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. – Exodus 16:4

God is going to provide bread for them. The people are to collect this bread, but they’re to only collect enough for THAT DAY. Then God says this:

On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” – Exodus 16:5

So the instructions were very clear.

  1. Bread is coming.
  2. Do the work you need to do to collect enough for that day and that day alone.
  3. Then the day before the Sabbath day, a day when God wanted them to rest, they were to prepare enough for two days, not just for that specific day.

God was teaching His people to trust Him to provide what they needed – not what they wanted – but what they needed every single day.


  • What is the perspective we must carry?
  • What are the practices we must engage?

Too often, we feel like: “I’ll rest… when all of these responsibilities are done.”

  • We do not rest by completing it all.
  • We rest by entrusting it all.

Five Practices to Rest

1.  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” – Exodus 20:8

This commandment to rest makes it in God’s top ten!

It’s right alongside Do not murder, Do not steal, and Do not commit adultery.

Take one day a week and REST.

What’s the big deal?!

Why does God care about this enough to put it along side commands against murder and theft?

Yes, I get it, we should rest, but is it really THAT big of a deal?

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves. – Psalm 127:1-2

Here we’re told that God is involved in our work. The builder labors in vain, we’re told, if God’s not in it. So God is involved in the midst of our work, and God’s not interested in our working round the clock. He grants us the gift of sleep.

Gallup reports that in 1942 Americans averaged 7.9 hours of sleep per night. In 2013 we averaged 6.8 hours of sleep per night, a whole hour less, on average.

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. – Proverbs 23:4

Wearing yourself out to get rich is aligned with trusting in your own cleverness.

The degree of rest in your life is a direct reflection of the degree of faith in your life.

2. “Eliminate hurry from your life.” – Dallas Willard

Consider another moment from Jesus’ life. Messengers come to Jesus and tell him that his friend Lazarus is sick and dying. Here’s how He responded:

So when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. – John 11:6

Seriously? He waited two more days?

They expected Jesus to drop everything and run for his friend, but Jesus didn’t do so because He had insight.

Something big was happening, and the Spirit of God led him to move slowly.

Lazarus ultimately died, which led to criticism of Jesus, but it then led to Jesus raising him from the dead, which is what God had in mind.

There will be times we need to move quickly and to kick it into gear, but that time is not all the time!

We have all the time we need to get done what God wants us to get done on any given day. 

We may not have time to fulfill our own agenda,
but we have plenty of time to fulfill all God has asked us to fulfill.

3. Learn to say “no”!

For example: reject culture’s obsession with non-stop kids’ activities!

Activities build competencies, but rest builds character.

Yes, get your kids involved in things, that’s important, but our culture has taken kids activities and put them on steroids.

4. Become generous with your finances and your time.

Rather than trying to accumulate more, learn to live on less. Start by living according to God’s economy. By giving God the first 10%, we can learn to live on 90%.

Too often, the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) makes it hard for us to say “no” to things God does not have for us to purchase or to accomplish. The fear of missing out is real.

  • “What’s going on!?”
  • “I have to know! What’d they say? What’d they do?!”

Turning off the phone, stepping away from Facebook, or Instagram, or whatever it is that you do, will be an act of faith.

Your life and your friends lives will be just fine—and actually a whole lot better—if you turn the volume down on these things and see the world that is around you right here and right now.

Hear carefully this verse from Thessalonians:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you. – 1 Thessalonians 4:11

We don’t live in a quiet culture.

The noise is always with us unless, of course, we turn the volume down.

We can lead quiet lives, mind our own business, work hard, and trust God with the world.

5. Pray slowly

I’m convinced that even our prayers are hurried and without rest.

Quiet yourself. Talk to God…maybe even audibly.

For me, I get a journal, and I write my prayers out which keeps my mind from wandering.

But as I do, I’m picking up life’s responsibilities, and I’m entrusting them to God.





For Those Who Are Weary and Burdened

Jesus said this…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28


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