The Radical Pursuit of Rest: Escaping the Productivity Trap
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The Radical Pursuit of Rest: Escaping the Productivity Trap

InterVarsity Press / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

In The Radical Pursuit of Rest, John Koessler offers honest, biblical reflections on trends in our culture and churches. He exposes misconceptions that we have regarding the concept of rest, as well as offering correction and practices to align our ideas with God's ideal. This book includes reflection and discussion questions designed for both individual and group use. Discover the true meaning behind Jesus' offer of the yoke of rest and restoration for your mind, body and soul.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830844449
ISBN-13: 9780830844449

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Publisher's Description

Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Top Shelf Book Cover Award We live in a culture that values activity, achievement and accomplishment. Whether in our careers, churches, schools or families, busyness is the norm in our lives, and anything less makes us feel unproductive and anxious. We have to work all the harder, then, to pursue true rest in a 24-7 world that is constantly in motion. John Koessler understands that rest is not automatic or easy to attain. He names the modern-day barriers to becoming people of rest and presents a unique perspective on how pursuing rest leads us to the heart of God. With honest, biblical reflections on trends in our culture and churches, he exposes our misconceptions regarding the concept of rest, as well as offering correction and practices to align our ideas with God's ideal. The book includes reflection and discussion questions designed for both individual and group use. You will discover the true meaning behind Jesus' idea of the yoke of rest and restoration for your mind, body and soul.

Author Bio

John Koessler (DMin, Trinity International University) is chair and professor of pastoral studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, where he has served for over twenty years. He is the author of several books, including , , and . He is the general editor of and , and has written for publications like , , and . Previously, John served as a pastor at Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, and served as consulting editor for . He has made numerous radio and broadcast appearances, and is a frequent speaker at pastors' conferences. He and his wife Jane live in northwest Indiana and have two sons. Galli is the managing editor of magazine. He previously edited . He received a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and for 10 years served as a Presbyterian pastor in parishes in Mexico City and California. He has written books on preaching, prayer and the challenges of pastoral ministry, and is a contributing writer to . He is married with three children.

Editorial Reviews

"This worthwhile collection of thoughts about the 21st century church and its connection to rest leads to the key for this book: 'The pursuit of rest is really the pursuit of God.' Koessler assures us that God is in control and that He will take care of things even if we do make time to step away and rest. In addition to refocusing thoughts about our own misconception of God and rest, this book includes reflections and discussion questions for personal and group studies. It will help you rethink your own goals and how you measure success."
"Weariness plagues believers today because we have never mastered rest. Demands at work, responsibilities at church and needs at home squeeze rest from our lives leaving us panting and unfulfilled. We desperately need 'the radical pursuit of rest' as expertly explained by Koessler. Drop the chains, pick up this book and learn how to truly refresh your soul with biblical rest."
"Hurry, crowds and noise are enemies of the soul. Our addiction to busyness hides the path to true life. In The Radical Pursuit of Rest, John Koessler shows us a more excellent way. It is the way of Christ. Read this book and learn the unforced rhythms of grace."
"We live in a restless world in desperate need of those who would invite us into the restful, unhurried kingdom of God. John Koessler provides just such an invitation. The Radical Pursuit of Rest is biblically rich, theologically well-rooted and thoughtful throughout. I encourage you to read it as a good guide into God's gracious and multifaceted gift of rest."
"Here is the extravagant promise of John Koessler's wise, pastoral book: none of us needs to work harder at rest. Rather, rest is laid at the table of grace, which God himself has prepared. In this way, it is rescue for the weary and hope for the heavy-laden. When we realize that God hasn't invited us to share his busyness but enter his rest, we reclaim the holy leisure of worship. That's an invitation I can't seem to resist, and I'm thankful Koessler has made it so clearly and compellingly."
"When John Koessler writes a book, I read it. His latest volume on the pursuit of rest is a prophetic word to an evangelical subculture that sometimes worships at the altar of productivity. As always, John openly shares his own sometimes-crooked journey towards finding genuine rest and offers some practical help along the way. This excellent book will make you rethink your own goals and how you measure success."
"Most of us yearn for some R & R, but we set our sights too low. It isn't just that we don't do Sabbaths well. We can hardly imagine what Jesus meant when he said, 'I will give you rest.' John Koessler, with his characteristically lucid and artistic writing, welcomes us into a kind of leisure that does not require us to wait for our day off. The Radical Pursuit of Rest helped me see sloth, ambition, technology and even death with biblical eyes."
"Speaking with wisdom and probing insight to a restless, production-driven culture, John Koessler has written a thoughtful, profound and eminently practical book. Like a jeweler, Koessler turns the idea of holy rest slowly in the light, allowing each facet to gleam brightly. It is rare to find a book that is, on the one hand, so deeply theological and, on the other hand, so close to the realities on the ground that it has the potential to change the ways we plan the day."
"Koessler does a great job of explaining how they help fight against our out-of-control ambition, fear, and fatigue. He's able to see and explain the problem clearly, and present hopeful solutions in a fresh way. . . . It is, as you might expect, refreshing."

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  1. Debbie from ChristFocus
    Harrison, AR
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Thought-provoking book. Well worth reading.
    February 29, 2016
    Debbie from ChristFocus
    Harrison, AR
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "The Radical Pursuit of Rest" is about pursuing the physical and spiritual rest that's a gift from God. The author looked at Scripture's description of rest and contrasted it to the busyness and restlessness that our culture promotes. He showed how rest is a gift from but also a surrender to God as we must trust that our worth and safety does not depend upon our efforts.

    The author discussed the Sabbath, Lord's Day, and worship as well as sloth, selfish ambition, and the fear of the unknowns in our future and in death. The book included questions at the end of each chapter and at the end of the book for individual or group study. Overall, the author was easy to understand. I did pause on occasion to think over what he'd said, but it was not due to confusion or lack of clarity. I'd highly recommend this thought-provoking book.

    I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
  2. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Rest: A Remedy, a Relief, and a Gift
    February 26, 2016
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5


    Rest is a radical practice.

    In our hyper-scheduled culture that worships productivity, its easy to slip into a negative attitude toward those who promote a more rest-filled lifestyle, but The Radical Pursuit of Rest is not seeking to add one more thing resting! to the already full do-list. Author and professor John Koessler asserts that rest is not so much about what we do as it is who we are and how we see the world.

    Therefore, it is not a contradiction for the author of Hebrews to say, make every effort to enter that rest, for it is a gift that comes to the believer, but . . . it is also possible to fall short of it. To those who are weary and burdened, Jesus offers a rest intended to dethrone performance and productivity, a rest that comes through relationship with God, who was, after all, the first to rest.

    The truth is that God is always at work in His creation, but He is also always at rest. Since both our rest and our work have their beginning in God, both are gifts from Him, and one is enhanced by the other. The Radical Pursuit of Rest involves a four-fold understanding of rest:

    1. Rest is a place Hebrews 4:1 speaks of entering rest and falling short of it, but if rest is a country, it is not our native country. This is certainly true of my own uncomfortable relationship with rest. It takes an act of the will to quit spinning the plates and to enter into a time of rest that is consistent with my confessional theology that God is holding together the galaxies and the molecules without my assistance.

    2.Rest is a practice Once the believer relocates into new life, the finished work of Christ serves as fuel to energize rest as well as work. There are behaviors and mind-sets that must be relearned because our culture equates rest with play, and often with activities that are more stressful and energy-draining than our work.

    3.Rest is a standing Rest comes to us as a gift, but at the same time, we must position ourselves in such a way that we are able to receive it. Action is not incompatible with rest, making the spiritual disciplines a good starting place.

    4.Rest is a person Since God is always as rest and always at work, He offers Himself as a place of repose through relationship and a right understanding of grace and forgiveness, peace and purposefulness.

    The Radical Pursuit of Rest presents an important distinction between the Old Testament Sabbath, which looked forward to a promise yet to come, and New Covenant Rest, which looks back to a promise which has been fulfilled. At the same time, there is a posture of faith that they hold in common: the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) threw the people into a level of dependency upon God for provision that Jesus admonishes New Testament believers to cultivate in Matthew 6.

    The What shall we eat? What shall we wear? questions are legitimate concerns if one is pulling back from the very activities that generate a secure living. Sloth, however, is not on the agenda. As rests dysfunctional relative it serves to clarify further the nature of what rest is NOT; i.e. detachment, apathy, or a fearful holding back from action.

    Rest is also NOT complacency. Desire is a natural part of the human experience and is compatible with rest to the extent that one can remain at peace with Gods assignment relative to those desires. Pride and envy have no place in Kingdom-oriented ambition, and ambition for its own sake forgets the nature of God and His call to a life of servanthood:

    If the primary aim of our ambition is to be noticed, we ought to recall that we live within sight of the one who sees the sparrow fall to the ground.

    My understanding of work and rest has a thunderous impact on my practice of prayer. Like John Koessler, I admit that I am more comfortable working than I am praying. It turns out, however, that prayer is crucial if I desire to work from a position of rest, for rest holds my heart in relationship to God, not merely as my operations manager or CEO, but as my Lord and Master. Coming to God for rest through the discipline of prayer establishes my thinking in the present . . . I am here in this moment. God is here, also. Mindfulness slows the racing clock and the silence becomes a fertile place rather than an awkward and stumbling conversation.

    A biblical theology of rest will deepen my longing for a healthy relationship with technology, and will also clarify my understanding of worship which Koessler defines as an exercise in sustained attention that requires us to train our vision to see reality as God describes it. This reality check turns common practice on its head for worship is not a feast we lay out for God. It is the table on which God spreads his feast for us.

    Silence and solitude, attentiveness toward God and mindfulness of his presence, taking the yoke of rest that Jesus offers all lead to a radical perspective on this world that affects even my view of leaving it behind. Augustine was on the right track. The God who Himself rested and who offers rest as a gift has made us for [Himself], and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in [Him].

    //

    This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of Intervarsity Press, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  3. Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Just What We Need!
    February 5, 2016
    Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book blessed my soul. It said so much that needs to be said, yet we never hear. Along the way you get a good understanding of what the Bible tells us about rest. This book is not get apart and rest, or even stop and smell the roses along the way. No, though those type books are popular in our exhausting age, this book goes much deeper in the concept of rest. We dont rest because we dont even know what it is. John Koessler gives us exactly what we need to get our thinking straight.

    He explains how our thinking is skewed these days and affects us as Christians and especially those in ministry. We fall into what he describes as the productivity trap. It has come to us from the business world. We now assume busier is better. We always want to exceed what we have done before. He says,The church is driven by bottom line just as much as a company whose lifeblood is sales revenue. We even to fail to see that worship is a wonderful thing and critically important, though we might feel we arent actually doing anything.

    We get reduced to selling our brandour particular church. We change our worship to consumerism. He says, Visitors are treated like consumers and the churchs members are employees whose main job is to promote the brand. They do not worship; they produce. How incredibly perceptive is what he shares.

    He used the Sabbath and Christs saying I will give you restto explain the idea of rest. Rest is trusting God. He says, Rest is a practice because the work of rest is rooted in the finished work of God.

    There is so much more here. This book is exceedingly valuable. I wish all of us would read it and take it to heart.

    I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
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