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The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath Hardcover – January 31, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his fourth book, Christian pastor Buchanan delves into the concept of the Sabbath, by which he means both a day and an attitude. He campaigns persuasively for readers to revive the Sabbath as a refuge from our pervasive and spiritually destructive culture of busyness. Buchanan's prose is fresh and immediate, earnest and self-effacing at the same time. Each chapter is peppered with vivid stories from his own childhood and ministries as well as insightful retellings of biblical narratives. Each chapter also ends with a practicum the author calls a "Sabbath liturgy"—something to try out like choreographic notes, "not to be followed slavishly." Indeed, these invitations to put his ideas on living the Sabbath into action are not PowerPoint-style bulleted lists, but brief narrative passages spiced with more stories and engaging insights. The book can be taken as a whole or read piecemeal as rejuvenating brief sermons. It will aid those Christians looking to step off the hamster wheel of modern working lifestyles and find the rest of God—not just "actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God—the things of God's nature and presence we miss in our busyness." (Jan. 31)
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About the Author

Mark Buchanan lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with his wife, Cheryl, and their three children, Adam, Sarah, and Nicola. He is a pastor and the author of five other books, Your God is Too Safe, Things Unseen, The Holy Wild, The Rest of God, and Hidden in Plain Sight. Some days he is restful or playful without shame.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849918480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849918483
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #523,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I began my career as a writer at age 12 - the year a remarkably creative grade 5 teacher awakened in me the possibilities of language and story. I eventually took a degree in writing, but that was simply to refine and hone what I felt compelled to do anyways, whether well or poorly, paid or unpaid, appluaded or scorned.

I ended up, enroute to being a published author, a pastor. My seven books have so far all come out of that world. I am currently in the process of writing a couple of novels. (For the record, I'm not the Mark Buchanan who writes science books).

I enjoy hearing from readers, even when they take issue with something I've written. It lets me know that, at least, the line hasn't gone dead at that end.

Thanks for being one of those readers, even if only in this instance.

Mark Buchanan

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I can't think of too many books I've enjoyed reading as much as The Rest of God. I am not even talking about the content but just the book. I know nothing about the author, Mark Buchanan, beyond what he reveals within the book. I haven't Googled his name and did not read the fancy little printout the publisher sent along with the book. What I do know is that this guy can write. Publishers Weekly says "His prose is fresh and immediate, earnest and self-effacing at the same time." I couldn't agree more. His prose is poetic. It is a joy to read.

But of course the actual writing is only one component of a book and, to be honest, a component that is of lesser importance. Of far more importance is the content. I'm glad to say that, on the whole, I found this a compelling and challenging book. Buchanan argues that as Christians we have lost "the rest of God--the rest God bestows." "In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth." Our culture expects us to work constantly. But God provides us rest in the Sabbath. "Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both a time on the calendar and a disposition of the heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God--the things of God's nature and presence we miss in our busyness." The purpose of this book is "to convince you, in part, that setting apart an entire day, one our of seven, for feasting and resting and worship and play is a gift and not a burden, and neglecting the gift too long will make your soul, like soil never left fallow, hard and dry and spent." He seeks to help Christians understand the importance of developing not just the desire to maintain a Sabbath day but also develop a Sabbath heart.

So how do we do this?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rolf G. Steeve Jr. on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Well written, very insightful and worth every moment of time you invest in reading this exceptional book. I and two other men as an accountability group, just finished this book and we all felt this was an exceptional book that caused us to rethink how we spend our time not only in our private devotions but also with our family and community. It also caused us to look at our work, our families, our life from a totally different perspective.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John C. Nagle on April 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book appears at a time when few people know how to really rest. There are many ways of approaching that problem, but Buchannan's book seeks to reimagine how the biblical Sabbath can lead us to a truer understanding of rest. I read the book to say more about "the rest of God" (the title) than "restoring your soul by restoring Sabbath" (the subtitle), though of course Buchannan combines them skillfully. I enjoyed the many personal anecdotes drawn from the author's years as a pastor, and I equally appreciated the way in which he weaved those stories into more profound themes. The one that struck me most appears in the third chapter, where Buchannan writes that it is simply "our attention" that "God requires most from us." The challenge, of course, is to live out these ideas once the book is returned to the shelf, but Buchannan's imagery and ideas should help in the process of remembering what rest and the Sabbath are all about.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Glenn H. Teal on August 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a huge Mark Buchanan fan.

His writing style is both lucid and lyrical. When it comes to presenting a fresh approach to the time honored and at times time worn practice of sabbath rest -- he gets is mostly right. Most of the insights he shares on reinventing Sabbath are helpful and encouraging -- especially for those of us who take life at too fast a pace too much of the time. Admittedly there are places where Buchanan's stories and illustrations seem disconnected from the truths they are meant to elucidate. But even then -- they have a memorable quality all their own.

Like I said -- I'm a huge Mark Buchanan fan and 'The Rest of God' didn't change that.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By on June 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Author and pastor Mark Buchanan tells readers why he became a Sabbath keeper rather than a Sabbath breaker --- and it wasn't for any gloriously pious reason. In fact, Buchanan writes that after working for forty straight days and feeling obsessed (driven even), he grew increasingly slothful. Yes, Buchanan was busy. He was also irritable, paranoid, bitter, self-righteous and gloomy. He slowly came to realize that Sabbath-keeping is more than simply a day off; it must morph into an "orientation --- a way of seeing and knowing." States Buchanan, " is both time on a calendar and a disposition of the heart." Further, learning to keep the Sabbath well must start with how people think, which, in turn, will lead to a dramatically different direction offered without apology, and invite and embrace a fresh way of living, working and seeing.

Buchanan, whose prose is always lyrical, has done a superb job at approaching this oft-worn topic from a singularly unique angle. At first glance, readers may presume that the author's topics are timeworn and tired; these assumptions could not be more erroneous. Every chapter is deliciously ripe with meaning and overflowing with delightful insights on living, working and playing in this world of demands, deadlines and soul-destroying detours. Buchanan redeems every aspect of life by offering a Sabbath-keeping perspective that provides hope, resurrection and renewal to believers who are willing to put off faulty archetypes and, through imaginative faith, walk toward a life unfettered by former societal chains.

The author even brings up liturgy --- a term (and practice) many evangelicals may be tempted to squelch --- and explains the term's original meaning, its "other-orderedness" that he shares at the close of each chapter.
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