Archive for the ‘Pastor(ing)’ Category

Here are some things that caught my attention from around the world wide web.

Trevin Wax over at the Gospel Coalition had a great post about the value of stay at home moms. Great encouragement for those who are able.

Gospel Centered Discipleship had a great series of posts on “Kids in the Family of God” by Ben Connelly. Here parts 1, 2, and 3.

Matthew Molesky reminds us all how to fight fear. A needed read and reminder for me.

CJ Mahaney had a great post on the Grace of the Lord Jesus. While I’m still digesting this, it’s good (… and obviously too deep for me).

 

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Here are the some things I found around the web, maybe you missed them … maybe not … all are worth a look.

Carey Nieuwhof wrote a post over at Orange Parents about parental influence (how it’s gained and lost). Good stuff.

Brian Croft had a post on Practical Shepherding about how pastors can affirm the priority of the family.  It’s short but didn’t go where I thought it would.

Sam Luce had a post on his blog about protecting kids from materialism.

Dustin Neely had an essential post over at the Gospel Coalition on the importance of leading your family well.  As pastors please read this!

Greg Baird posted on kidmin360 the traps that catch kidmin leaders. Very helpful.

Thom Rainer had about post on his blog about leadership that I found helpful, hopefully you will too.

Here is the latest batch of things that caught my attention around the web:

Gospel Centered Discipleship had a re-post by Justin Buzzard entitled “How to Disciple a New Believer“.

Epic Parent had a eye-opening post on “Acceptable Child Abuse“.  EVERY parent needs to read this.

Kevin Scott had a great post about “Things a Daughter Needs From Her Father“.

Jeff Bethke posted on “10 Things you have to do if you want the next generation to listen“.

Craig Jutila over at Empowering Leaders had a great post on “Questions to ask before making a change“.

Here are parts 1 and 2 of this series to catch you up.

So I ran too hard, for too long, without really resting and last February ended up in the hospital with what ended up being panic/anxiety attack.  I was more focused on my  ever increasing “to-do list” (which I was falling farther and farther behind on).

Part 1 of this series taught me that I can be more productive by using schedules and being willing to delegate. Part 2 continues to remind the “doer” in me to rest in the completed work of Christ on the cross for results.

Now on to the hard part, at least for me …

Avoiding Burnout

As I’ve said, I’m a doer. I am wired to do, do, do, until I can’t do anymore. Over the past 2 years of working 60+ hours a week, I’ve done a lot of doing.  Feburary taught me that all I was doing, by my doing, was burning myself out. While I have the passion and desire to do great things for God, I lack the will and the strength.  I was trying to do it on my own.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
(Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV)

 What I wasn’t doing

1`. I wasn’t “… being strong in the Lord and the strength of His might.”  I was constantly trying to get things done in my own weak and pathetic strength. As I child of God I have access to this strength but rarely used it. My pride kept telling me, “I got this.” While I was spending time in the Word and in prayer, looking back, it wasn’t enough. Both need to be increasing, especially prayer (which is a weak point for my undiagonsed ADD).

2. I wasn’t armored up. (See what I did there, that’s an Iron Man reference … comic book geekery still representing). My focus was on tasks and the problems people were bringing to me, not on the enemy. Not on the one who whispered lies to me about how important these tasks are and ultimately the author of people’s problems. Because I wasn’t protecting myself from these assaults, I became vulnerable to trying to use my own strength and wisdom to get things done.

3. I wasn’t standing … I was running. I wasn’t standing in the midst of battle with the only weapons I had (Word and prayer) I was running to “do” and to “fix”.  This running is much like spinning our wheels; it may look and sound good, but ultimately gets us no where.

What I am doing now

1. I am praying more. I am spending much more time in prayer throughout the day. Even with my ADD I can still shoot up 1 or 2 sentence prayers as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind. I have to remind myself that prayer isn’t an event to participate in, but a lifestyle to embrace.  These prayers are focused on expanding God’s glory and victory over sin. I’m praying for all types of situations, not just those that effect me or my church directly.

2. I am looking to God for strength. Some of those prayers are asking for both God’s strength and wisdom. I know I’m weak. I know I need help.

3. Standing – I standing in the midst of the battles God has placed me in, waiting on Him to give me what I need to be successful for His glory (not mine).

I know this has been a lot about me. My prayer is that by sharing it, God can help others avoid my mistakes.

Most of you have probably already seen these, but in case you missed them here’s what I’ve been reading and being challenged by online.

Sam Luce has been “Redefining Ministry”.  Here are parts 1 and 2.

Greg Baird reminded us of “10 Stupid things We Do In Children’s Ministry” (or any ministry for that matter).

Nathan Bingham linked to an blog post by Michael Hyatt entitled “4 Characteristics of Effective Communication“.

Tim Challies had a post on “Why People Backslide“.

Hope these help and encourage you as they have me.

The first post in this series was started a while ago. Things happen, some out of my control, some due to my own laziness and/or lack of discipline (as far as blogging goes). But I need to get this out, if not for me, then for you. Avoid what I did.

So, here we go …

My over night hospital stay back in February, made me re-think the way I was handling my schedule. I was running too hard for too long and my body simply shut down due to fatigue. This forced me to re-evaluate.

Step #1 – stop running. So far, I can honestly say it’s working. Through delegation and a revised schedule, I’m getting the things I have to do done (and doing them better). Now, on to step #2 …

Resting

In Matthew 11:28 – 30, Jesus reminds us:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (ESV)

I had been running … hard, but not really resting … at all. I felt like I was always “on the clock”. I felt like I couldn’t say, “No.” to tasks or people. This constant running finally caught up to me. I needed to not just read Jesus’ words, but apply them.

“… and learn from me …”

I got very good at going to Jesus when I was in “crisis mode”. I was up against the wall of a self-imposed deadline or an ever growing mountain of tasks and just despair. I would cry (… actually whine) out to Jesus, “Help me!”

I wanted the rest, but I was way too busy to “learn from Him.” What does that even mean anyways? I had to learn (again) that I don’t have the strength in and of myself to accomplish what God has called me to. I needed to learn (again) that I need to rely on God to give me His strength and allow Him the freedom to set my priorities. I needed to learn (again) that my rest is found in Jesus’ finished work, not in my skills or abilities to “get things done”.

Jesus was re-teaching me, rest is found in following His example. Jesus was often up early, alone with God in prayer. He relied on His heavenly Father to provide Him everything He needed to be successful that day. My personal time with God is critical to the success of me as a husband, father, pastor, and person. For a while it became something I did just to check off my list of things to do. I wasn’t resting in His presence, I was rushing to get it done and move on to more important things. In essence I was trying to earn my salvation.

“… my yoke is easy …”

Jesus’ way of doing things is always easier than my way. As I over-think, over/double book myself, I ended up just burning myself out. I needed rest. The kind of rest that only Jesus’ finished work on the cross can provide. The kind of rest that provides for all that I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). The kind of rest that declares, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

So, am I doing less? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense of less time running from item to item on my “to-do-list”. No, in the sense that my responsibilities haven’t changed. The difference? I am resting in the hands of my Savior and God, allowing Him to show me what needs to get done and what can wait until later. This yoke is indeed easy and light. Much more easy and much lighter than the one of my own making. Rest where it can truly be found, in Jesus.

To be honest, I’m still working on this one. It resurfaced again at the Together for the Gospel conference as Matt Chandler was speaking. I realized I was more focused on my despair over the item that weren’t getting done on my “to-do” list, and not on the hope that is in the finished work of Christ. The doer in me, still thinks it’s about what I do, and not about what Christ has done. Still learning …

Here are the blogs that have caught my eye recently:

epicparent.tv posted entitled “The 3 F’s of parenting“. It’s solid … a must read for dads.

Brian Croft over at practicalshepherding.com wrote a post answering the question: “What are a few of the consequences that result from a pastor’s neglect of his family?” Again, very thought-provoking and convicting.

And finally …

Tony Merida wrote a post publishing on gospelcentereddiscipleship.com about the “7 reasons people don’t meditate on God’s Word“. This is a great reminder (and kick in the tail for those who need it … like me).

Hope these bless and encourage you as much as they have me!