God says, “Quit!”

macIn Mac language we could even say, ‘Force Quit.’ ¬†Why? ¬†Because this subject is not easy. ¬†It takes determination and a thought out plan.
Here are some practical reasons for having a day of rest (a Sabbath).

1.  God did it.

His example should be good enough for us.  Period!

2.  God asks tells us to.

Its a simple question of obedience. ¬†As followers, we don’t get to pick and choose when we listen to Him. ¬†God’s not an egotistical power-monger. ¬†He always has reasons behind what He tells us…and we need to be OK with not always understanding those reasons.

3. ¬†We are not God…we need the rest.

Whether you work the ticket booth at the local cinema or you’re the CEO of a major corporation…you CAN take one day a week to NOT work. ¬†Screen your calls, mute your smart phone, don’t check emails, stay away from the office. ¬†Failure to do this WILL cause problems for you down the road.

4.  It says a lot about our priorities when we observe a real day of rest.

¬†Taking a weekly Sabbath day demonstrates commitment to God, our family, and our own spiritual health. ¬†And if you’re a pastor, it models a good example to your staff and church body.
Now, make a list of all the reasons that are keeping you from having a day of rest, rejuvenation, and awareness of God’s blessings ¬†in your life. ¬†Take that list to God in prayer and devise a plan to work past them.
What could you benefit from setting aside one complete day for this kind of rest?
Leave a comment below. ¬†I’d love to hear from you.

Sabbatical | Day 3

This is technically Day 4, but I still want to share from yesterday.

(Be sure to check out my Day 1 and Day 2 posts)

The key moments for me were continuing my reading in ‘No Other Gods’ and having some sweet time of personal worship. ¬†I find it cool how the Lord can enter into fellowship with me while simply lying on my back in my hotel room with my earbuds in.

When we take the time for Him, He takes the time for us.

And as it is with most of my Sabbaticals, I have not done all that I originally intended to at the beginning of the week.  And today reminded me that this is not necessarily a bad thing.

You see, I came upon a Tweet today asking for church leaders to share their story…particularly about their current ‘Phase’ of life and ministry. ¬†I could not resist. I love sharing my story, both the good and the less pleasant sides. ¬†If it hadn’t been for others telling their personal stories I may not be where I am today. ¬†So I share to encourage others.

origami_windmill_hires

Anyway, in doing this I want to share with you a personal quote I included when I emailed them.  Here you go.

“Our partnership with God in His Kingdom work is never contingent upon¬†our comfort, happiness, or confidence.”

 

While I was thinking¬†back over the past 6 months it dawned on me. ¬†God doesn’t wait until we are living on the mountaintop, free of pain and 100% sure of Him being right there with us, to ask us to do something HUGE for Him. ¬†Nothing happens to us that does not pass through His hands. ¬†This doesn’t mean that God necessarily ¬†’causes’ all things to happen to us. ¬†It does mean, however, that when we’ve given God a definitive ‘yes’ He will be active, aware, and verbal in our relationship with Him regardless of what is going on around us. ¬†The critical thing here is to maintain healthy personal soul care. ¬†If we aren’t doing this it can become nearly impossible to hear His guiding voice or feel His involvement in our daily lives.

What about you?  How have you been hearing from God recently?  Leave a comment below.

Sabbatical | Day 2

Reflections

I just love it when The Lord speaks to us outside of the ordinary. ¬†Don’t you? ¬†In the first day of my Sabbatical it took basically the entire day to simply unplug and transition. ¬†I began reading a book titled ‘No Other Gods’ which paved the way for me to really begin hearing His voice a lot today.

So here’s the gist of what I’ve been hearing Him speak into my life so far.

I am the Lord your God…¬† (Exodus 20:2)

footprints_hires
It’s personal… incredibly direct. ¬†He’s lovingly reminding me of who He is. ¬†He is MY GOD! ¬†Mine. ¬†His ear is all mine day or night. ¬†BUT He’s also reminding me that this is a two-way relationship. ¬†He needs access to my ear day and night as well.

“Brent, I want you to be available to hear me when I need to share the¬†deepest things in my heart with you. ¬†I need to know that you care as much about yourself and my Church as I do.” – God

MY GOD is so full of grace and patience.  Can you relate?
I’m loving this sweet time with Him. ¬†My wife has many friends and church family praying for me this week. ¬†It’s working! ¬†Thank you, I can feel the effects of your prayers.
What has The Lord been speaking to you ABOUT YOU recently?  Leave a comment below. 
 

Sabbatical | Day 1

A Sabbath, in it’s simplest terms, is a time of rest. ¬†I am fortunate to be on staff at a church that puts a high value on personal health. ¬†We are encouraged to take an additional day each month (or 3 days per quarter) for personal Spiritual rest and rejuvenation. ¬†This is the first church in 23 years of ministry where I’ve experienced anything like this.

relaxing_nature

Every time I am on a Sabbatical experience I like to journal my thoughts. ¬†It keeps me focused. ¬†It’s a form of meditation for me.

So, I’m out of town for 3 days. ¬†Mostly, I try to catch up on sleep and enjoy some much needed solitude. ¬†But I do have a few areas of focus for those 3 days.

Reading | A significant part of my reading plan does include the Bible and a couple different devotional resources. ¬†Additionally, I am reading ‘No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols‘ by Kelly Minter.

Prayer | I am very intentional to pray over my family.  This is always first.  I am also praying for the next 6 months of our new multisite church campus.  Prayer for specific families, continued healthy growth, and renewed vision are key focal points this week.

Entertainment | I like to eat at places I usually don’t get a chance to eat at where I live. ¬†I will also try to watch 1 or 2 movies on Netflix, since I don’t normally have time to watch many movies during a regular work week. ¬†And adult coloring (a form of art therapy) is something new I’m trying this week in an effort to clear my thoughts. ¬†Looking forward to this.

Planning | This will include looking ahead at the next few months. ¬†Strategically making initial plans and doing a little self-evaluation as well. ¬†I will normally try to schedule my next 3-day Sabbatical during this time. ¬†If I don’t it will likely not happen when it should.

Have you had any kind of a Sabbatical experience before?  What did you do?  And if not, what part of this post sounds intriguing to you personally?

Join the discussion, leave a comment below.

 

Photo credit:  pixshark.com 

The One Commandment Most Church Leaders Break Often

Church leaders are some of the worst examples of modeling healthy rest.  I wrestled with this for years!

God even commands us to do it……yet we don’t.

calm

…the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work… ¬†Exodus 20:8-11

Now, I’m not talking about a legalistic approach to the Sabbath, which includes checking off a ton of boxes to show we are ‘keeping the law.’ The deeper purpose of the Sabbath is so much more.

Taking one day every week and giving it Sabbath consideration does two things.

  • It proves to God that we really do care about what He tells us.
  • It forces us to create healthy margin in an increasingly busy society.

So…why do church leaders constantly struggle with taking a full day of rest?

Guilt | This is especially true of senior leaders. ¬†“The church is paying me to be the Pastor at all times.” ¬†No they’re not! ¬†You are in your leadership position to lead the congregation in healthy relationship to God. ¬†That means letting others see in you how to live the life God has called us all to live.

Poor time management |¬†“There is work to be done every day of the week.” ¬†Yes there is, but it can be done in six days. ¬†Pre-plan your studying, phone calls, meetings, appointments, and regular tasks to fit into 5 or 6 days. ¬†This is what ‘keep the Sabbath holy’ means.

Savior complex | Can I just shoot straight on this one? ¬†If you think you can’t take a literal day of rest because someone in the church ‘might need’ you, there’s a problem. ¬†What eventually happens here is people in the church learn to lean more on us as pastors and less on their faith in Jesus.

May I offer you a challenge? ¬†Take one of your regular days off and give it Sabbath consideration. ¬†For me, that day is Monday. ¬†Sunday is church and leadership…that’s work.

Be sure to check out my post on ‘4 Tips To Having A Good Day Of Rest.’

If this helped you, I’d encourage you to share it with someone else who could use it today.

Join the discussion.  Leave a comment below. 

Top 5 Recent Leadership Posts

feedbackBelow are my¬†most popular posts on leadership. ¬†I’m sharing these with you for one key reason. ¬†I am looking to making a few¬†small adjustments with¬†my approach to my blog and I really need your input. ¬†Take a look.

1) Manage your life, or your life will manage you

2) Your worship style is not working

3) We’re going to skin our knee on ministry work

4) 5 tips to having a good day of rest

5) Taking the Church’s Biblical pulse

Now tell me…which of these post did you like the most and why?

What aspects of the content did you find most helpful, and what material do I need to change or completely get rid of?  Are there leadership topics/issues that I am missing?

I’d love your input. ¬†Either comment below or email me at brent@ccclive.org

(photo credit: www.jeffbullas.com)

Manage your life, or your life will manage you!

photo by: www.southernfriedscience.com
photo by: http://www.southernfriedscience.com

Are you tired, stressed, or in any other way overloaded by the pressures of this life?  Well, I have good news and bad news.

Bad news:  Join the crowd!  All of us experience this from time to time.  In our busy society, this is not going away.  (I know, encouraging, right?)
Good news: ¬†These pressures of life can be limited to short seasons and not the daily ‘norm’ that most Americans have come to believe.
Let me suggest 3 methods that I have personally begun to implement over the past year. ¬†Don’t get me wrong on this. ¬†I’ve still got some improving to do here, but I’ve come a long way in this area. ¬†I hope and pray for you to experience the same.
#1 ¬†Take a real day off: ¬†Everyone needs rest…both mental and physical. ¬†You are not super human. ¬†Seriously, there’s no law that says you cannot take care of you. ¬†And let me say this loud and clear. ¬†If you happen to be employed at a company/business that expects you to work 10-12 hours a day seven days a week (and even working from home), you need to find a different job! ¬†You can read more on how to take a day off effectively here.
#2 ¬†Set healthy priorities: ¬†I’m not talking about writing a productive task list for work. ¬†Try spending a couple of hours contemplating your current life while sitting in your favorite coffee-house. ¬†Take a notepad (or notes app) with you to jot down your thoughts. ¬†List 2-3 lifestyle changes you would like to make. ¬†Maybe its reading a good book for half and hour each night before bed. ¬†How about not responding to email or phonecalls (texts) after 6 or 7pm? ¬†Perhaps its doing some intentional grocery shopping on the weekends so you’re prepared to eat healthier during the busy work week. ¬†I think you get the picture.
#3 ¬†Plan ahead: ¬†To make the prior two points a reality you must schedule them as if they are actual appointments. ¬†Before my daily morning quiet time ¬†and trips to the gym became routine I actually put them on my iCloud calendar. ¬†Place all your work and personal items on the same calendar! ¬†This way they won’t overlap. ¬†And we all know what happens when they overlap…….our personal time gets bumped every time. ¬†Plan your entire week before your work week starts. ¬†If your job is a difficult one to do this with, plan for each day on the evening before. ¬†Trust me, mastering this practice will greatly decrease your stress levels. ¬†It has for me.
Whether you are an executive in corporate America, fast-food worker, pastor, parent, or student…these are all possible for you. ¬†Make them a reality, both for your sanity and for your future (not to mention for those around you).
Pray and meditate on this Psalm each day.  Give your life focus.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
Prioritize your life, or life will make your priorities for you!  

Subscribe to the blog HERE.

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

The Dark Side of Ministry

photo by: deathstarpr.blogspot.com

Just before Summer kicked in to full swing, I was able to take a few of my key leaders to the FAM Conference at Azusa Pacific University in CA. ¬†Its a new conference…their first year. ¬†And what an amazing experience it was! ¬†So many great speakers were there, including Doug Fields. ¬†My wife and I were able to sit in his final breakout session. ¬†He started off the hour with this quote:

The dark side of ministry = always more to do.

Wait…there’s a ‘dark side’ to ministry? ¬†(that’s sarcasm) ¬†Ha, ha, ha. ¬†If you’ve been in vocational ministry for even 6 months you probably know what Doug was referencing. ¬†Work, work, work only leads pastors to neglecting their own health, family, and living life to the fullest! ¬†Look, when God commanded mankind to honor a day of rest he didn’t include a special clause that excludes pastors. ¬†We need rest too! ¬†The real question is are you ceasing to work when you must? ¬†Stop! ¬†I can answer that question for you…and I don’t even know you. ¬†If ‘most’ of your weeks in ministry (in and out of the physical office) consist of 50-65 hours, you are slipping to the Dark Side.

Its true, there IS always more to do! ¬†Always one more phone call to make. ¬†That important email can’t wait until morning. ¬†I really need to be the one to visit so-and-so in the hospital. ¬†Etc…..etc……etc. ¬†The examples never end.

The bottom line is this: ¬†There’s no shortage of work for tomorrow, but rest for today is a rare commodity!

I ask you, how can you be proactive to address this and remain healthy enough for God to use you to your fullest ability?