Sabbath-Keeping Advice Requested

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Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
As some of y'all know, I've recently come to agree with a fairly strict Sabbatarian position. I've long had a conviction about eating out on Sundays, but actually following through on it until recently was not one of the stronger points in my life. However, as of a few months ago, I decided that I'd get started down the road to quality sabbath-keeping by ceasing to eat out or buy goods on Sunday and to not do any of my classwork on this Day.

I've been struggling to figure out better ways to use this wonderful day better and in a more-God-glorifying way. It is hard because my church only has morning services, and nearly everyone eats out afterwards. I have been trying to initiate hospitality and fellowship with other Chirstian friends of mine for this day, but I've been having difficulty not overworking myself with cooking or other plans and figuring out how best to conduct it. Does anyone have good suggestions for how to better execute this and actually make it of value for my Christian brethren and myself.

So on that note, I have a couple of questions. First, since many of the most straightforward suggestions I've seen for Sabbath-keeping seem to almost require having families, I'm trying to figure out what I as a single young man l ought to be doing to make this a productive day where I make it worthwhile and edifying. Also, with these meals, should I exclusively invite Christians or take a substantially opposite approach?

The second is strictly pragmatic/logistical, and that would be what sorts of meals people tend to prepare for their Sabbath days when they are back home from Church. I definitely want to make meals for multiple people to enjoy, and not just myself.

I apologize if some of these questions indicate obvious answers that I'm not seeing. When you are trying to figure out how to follow convictions, and yet you are the only person around you who believes the way you do on that issue, there's a lot of trial-and-error that one has to do, along with lots of stumbling around digging for the right answers, etc...
 
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Ginny Dohms

Puritan Board Freshman
Those are great questions, and it is very encouraging to see your desire to observe the Lord's Day carefully. I especially appreciate you desiring to do this as a single man. That is a great testimony to your dedication to do what is right and I admire that.

For Lord's Day meals, I find a slow cooker is a truly great benefit. I use mine mostly every week. Our worship service is in the afternoon, so our post-service meal would be the evening meal. Therefore a roast, chicken, stew, chili, soups, or casseroles, will be nicely cooked if I put them in the slow cooker in the morning, and let them cook through the day. The final preparation when I get home can be done within 10 min - just making the gravy, and finishing up the last cooking of the potatoes and vegetables. Salads, desserts, soups and chili can be made on Saturday, so if needed they are ready to heat and serve on the Lord's Day with no fuss.

If you don't have a slow cooker, then a roast or a chicken can be put in the oven on a slow temp when you leave for church so it is done after the service.

There is certainly nothing wrong with inviting non-Christians over on the Lord's Day if the intent is for evangelism and profitable conversations. However, if it is simply for hanging out together, then the temptations to turn on the TV, watch sports, engage in worldly conversations, and activities will be a cause for diverting your attention from the things of the Lord. So if you see that as being the case, then I would probably stick with having only Christians over.

Isaiah 58:13-14 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
Yeah, being single & figuring out how to spend your time on the Sabbath can be a challenge . . . some thoughts:
Are there any families at your church that wouldn't mind you hanging out with them - not necessarily for lunch, but maybe in the afternoon? (I've been very blessed to have some friends who don't mind me crashing their place Sunday afternoon sometimes).
Are there any ministries in your church (or even another church in the area if for some reason the first isn't an option!) that you could get involved in - or help start? (I.e. afternoon services at nursing homes)
How involved are you in the take-down / clean-up after the worship service at your church? (I realize that this may be a lot different if you don't rent a building and have snacks afterwards, like at our church - but I'm assuming that there is still work to be done, even if that's the case!) Often those jobs get left to a very few people, who end up staying late almost every week . . . and often they have other obligations as well, which make this difficult. So consider helping out there if you're not already.

(I'm staying out of the meal question because most of the time I don't cook Sunday dinner for myself - I either eat at church, go visit my family, or eat leftovers . . . the one time I remember having people over - to avoid the whole going-out-to-eat scenario, we made breakfast together, which was a blast. So I would suggest maybe cooking something *with* the people you're having over - it's a lot more conducive to fellowship and can be a lot of fun!)
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
With regards to Sunday meals, there's always the old Dutch standby that I remember from when I was young: a hearty soup made the night before with buns (on which was put black forest ham, cheese, or best of all, paard rookfleis - that's smoked horsemeat for those of you with strong stomachs. Mmmm, mmmm. Can't see horsemeat cold cuts selling real well in Texas, though.)

No cooking on the Sabbath and a good meal.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'll be honest with you Scott, it's gotten harder for me to honor the Sabbath than it used to be because we used to have a very hospitable Church and Evening Worship. Sunup to sundown was either in Worship or in somebody's home with about 10 other families in fellowship and a meal followed by Evening worship. I become very wistful sometimes.
 

Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
I'll be honest with you Scott, it's gotten harder for me to honor the Sabbath than it used to be because we used to have a very hospitable Church and Evening Worship. Sunup to sundown was either in Worship or in somebody's home with about 10 other families in fellowship and a meal followed by Evening worship. I become very wistful sometimes.
Rich, I know what you mean quite well. The unstated "Sunday Football" schedule of my church (that's what I'd call the schedule of church that owns its own property and has 9-12 PM Sunday activities) is vexing, especially to this student who functions best in the early afternoonand early evening. Not having a car (still working on remedying that) does preclude me from the small group sessions in the evenings, but even that's distinctly different, since there's an ugly afternoon gap left.
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
I've often thought that evening worship services are great for visiting other churches... if your church doesn't have one, Scott, you could try to find others?

Sundays are when I love to use the microwave for all those prefab foods... frozen BBQ sandwiches that take, like, one minute to cook... A few slices of bacon from Costco... etc.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
and no horse meat either!

Hey brother, don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Salty, paper thin, on a fresh bun with some butter (I can almost taste it now!)

At this time period in America there has never been an easier time to obey the Sabbath and refrain from work.

:amen:

You know, I think that even at that point, 25 years ago, it was not so much about defining what was work and not work, but that it was a special meal for the Lord's Day as it meant a mother's hands could be free (and it made for relatively less work than a full meal). Crock pots are a Sabbath favorite in our family now too.

We listen to mp3s of sermons before church, spend time talking to the children, go over catechism with them; it is a time of quiet with the family. And though we are indeed idle at times, (I slept about 2 hours this past Sunday afternoon) we try to keep our focus clear.

I like the idea of spending time with the church body beyond just services. We've never gone to a church that did this, but it sounds great. :2cents:
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Sabbath Day Activity

It sounds like some you have been blessed with a practice similar to ours on the Lord's Day. We have many that drive a long distance to church, so we have our first worship service at 10:00AM, which lasts until 12:00 or 12:30, and we then have a break, lasting until 2:15. During this time, we have a meal, each family bringing their own (although a lot of sharing inevitably goes on) with a lot of time to discuss the sermon, or other Sabbath-Day topics. We then have our second service at 2:15, which lasts until 4:30 or so, after which we have a Catechism Class for those who are studying their memory work. During this time snacks are prepared, more fellowship, Lord's Day conversation, etc. After class, we all get a snack, and then have an evening class, usually short, on some pertinent topic. After that, more fellowship, Lord's Day conversation, etc. until it tails out at about 7:30-8:00 or later sometimes. In this way we provide a way for the folks to spend an "entire day in Zion". We do try to keep the meals simple...Slow cookers, "Crock Pots" sandwiches, microwave, etc. all figure greatly into meeting our bodily necessities. But the key to the day (apart from the ordinances of worship, which are the most important) is the talking, conversing, encouraging, discussing, learning, etc. with and from one another. It truly is refreshing.

Rev. Todd Ruddell
Pastor, Christ Covenant reformed Presbyterian Church
Wylie, TX
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I'll be honest with you Scott, it's gotten harder for me to honor the Sabbath than it used to be because we used to have a very hospitable Church and Evening Worship. Sunup to sundown was either in Worship or in somebody's home with about 10 other families in fellowship and a meal followed by Evening worship. I become very wistful sometimes.

I agree here. We at Village Church try to provide as much fellowship time on the Lord's Day as possible for that very reason. We have singles in our church and it can be uncomfortable for them to hang out with families. (especially if they are 'older' singles) Perhaps this is a suggestion you could make to your elders.

Here is a question that you can help me with. What can I do as a pastor to reach out more to the singles and make them feel more wlecome and less uncomfortable?
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Pastor Klein,

As the Lord would have it, I was just speaking with an "older single" (female) in our Church about that. She was asking about why the women of our church, on the Lord's Day didn't speak more about theological topics, but shared ideas on child raising, home making, etc. I suggested to her that we do many things not by design, but by default. In other words, the ladies are not theological dunces, rather quite the opposite (in my opinion). They speak of these things because they're high on their list of importance, and duty. I suggested to her to start a ladies reading club, or somthing like that, (not so formal) where many of the ladies of the Church would read a portion of a good book during the week, and discuss it on the Lord's Day. This, I believe, will help the ladies, married or not, to be pressed into some conversation more interesting to them all. There is plenty of time for such informal discussion during our Lord's Days.

Or, perhaps couples might do the same, or mixed groups. But that interaction is very important for the community aspect of the Covenant Community. (Malachi 3.16)

All good providence to you sir!
 

Kristine with a K

Puritan Board Freshman
I am so encouraged when I see these threads regarding keeping a Christian Sabbath. Out here in the liberal PNW, it often feels like no one else in the world believes in keeping the Lord's Day.
Three cheers for crockpots, sandwiches, paper plates, and dishwashers to help us keep the day holy!
Have you considered having some of the young people from your church over in the afternoon or evening for hymn-singing, Scripture-memory, or a good ol' game of Bible Trivia?
When we're on our own, we have a unique opportunity to spend lots of time reading, praying, and taking advantage of another fine treasure of modern-times: online sermons!
:book2: :pray2:
 

jenney

Puritan Board Freshman
Well, I do have a family, so you are right that my Lord's Day looks pretty different from yours!

One single guy at our old church invited us to spend the day with him at his apartment: my husband, me, and our six daughters all in a one-bedroom apartment. My older girls ended up taking over the meal preparation and we grown ups sat on the couch talking while the roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed asparagus were in the works. If you are brave, you could try that!

It is a good day for reading good books, especially the ones that take a long time to get through, like Owen.

It is a good time for extended prayer, learning new hymns, studying Scripture in a more in-depth way.

When we lived on the east coast our church didn't have an evening service and we listened to sermons on sermonaudio in the evenings.

Those are all personally edifying, but it is a day for mercy toward others, as well:

Visiting the elderly or infirm in a nursing home
We write letters of encouragement to the brethren in our church and to missionaries that we support. We also pack up the boxes we send to missionaries we support with books, cds, letters, photos, favorite foods, etc. and we pray for them as we do.
We keep a list of members of our church and pray through the list.
I know of a church in the midwest that has a prison ministry on Sunday afternoon. The men lead a Bible study there. That's a real commitment, and obviously not for everyone, but it is something some can do.

As to whether you spend the time with other Christians or not, I think you have liberty of conscience there. You have to ask what the purpose is of either. Will unbelievers be too great a distraction for you, or is your goal to reach out to them and you can do that? Will believers-only make you treat your life like a monastery where you are protected from the "heathen" out there or will it be a much needed haven from the storms of the world that you are immersed in M-Sat?

I don't spend a lot of time with unbelievers on Sunday because I really need the day to feed my soul. A single person may have more free time to be "fed" during the week and can spare Sunday afternoons to reach out to others. I have some days where the baby is up before I am and the oldest has a girl crisis that requires my ear until midnight and I get virtually no time at all with the Lord (alone). Sunday is the one day i am guaranteed time with my Savior and I need it desperately! So I feel that I am too weak to reach out a lot to the lost on that day. Instead it leads me off to worldly thoughts and entertainments.

That said, we do try to have our daughters' friends stay with us when they want to and several of them are not believers. We include them in our Bible study and our singing of hymns and share our faith with them. I am not so tempted by preteen girls' conversation as I am by grown ladies whose worldly gossip can draw me in like Powerbait! (however, I don't recommend that you, a single male, have single girls over! That wasn't my intention! :p )

I think fellowship with the body is a great thing about the day and I don't mean what a lot of churches do when they say "fellowship". Not mindless chatter about American Idol or what Britney's haircut looks like but talk of what the Lord is doing in our lives and how we can pray for one another. We ask what good books people are reading, how they sat under the sermon, what Scripture they are memorizing. We try to share honestly our hearts and care for the needs of others. If you try to have Christians over, keep your focus on loving them and making them feel like you treasure them instead of worrying that the house is big enough and the food fancy enough.

For meals, we try to keep things very simple. We eat sandwiches a lot or leftovers or salad. We eat at church most Sundays so it has to be portable, too! I used to make fancy meals but it made me more focused on the food and impressing people than on loving them, so I stopped that and had to humble myself to hear things like, "is this all you normally eat?" and "growing up, we never used paper plates on Sunday!" But providentially, I needed that sort of humbling!

I don't know if that is helpful but I am wont to multiply words without actually saying much of substance, so I'll stop now.

It's great the effort you are willing to make. If you are ever in Northern CA, stop in. We'll offer you sandwiches! ;)
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Dear Pastor Klein,

As the Lord would have it, I was just speaking with an "older single" (female) in our Church about that. She was asking about why the women of our church, on the Lord's Day didn't speak more about theological topics, but shared ideas on child raising, home making, etc. I suggested to her that we do many things not by design, but by default. In other words, the ladies are not theological dunces, rather quite the opposite (in my opinion).
:amen:

When is it that all of your ladies are talking about child raising etc? After church in the doorway or do you have a special 'ladies meeting' or is this during some kind of communal meal?
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Pastor Klein,

Our Sabbath days are spent almost entirely at Church. So there is plenty of time for good conversation between services, and afterward. Setting out snacks, preparing light meals, or simply sitting at a table after a meal is completed--nothing formal really, just folks that love to share each other's joys and pains--I know it sounds cliche', but it really is true.
 

puritan lad

Puritan Board Freshman
Amen on the Slow Cooker. I use it every Sunday. There is a relatively inexpensive one called the BBQ Pit. Throw some Chicken with Peanut Sauce in it with some potatoes and carrots, got to church, come home, and dinner is ready.
 
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