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Teamwork makes the dream work!
imagery: The front of the boat has a drummer ….God is seeing a rhythm/ pace that we all need
to get into. The rowers in the boat have their oars and there is a technique and skill needed in order for them to be able to move in unity to eﬀectively and eﬃciently move the boat forward. If one/ few of the oarsman row out of sync with the others then the boat will be pulled oﬀ course. It is important that we understand the pace that God wants us to move at. You also have the Helmsman at the back of the boat with rudder steering
the ship…this is the Read more…
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John (v.2)
Today I want to encourage you to take care of your emotional health. Last year we tackled the subject of ‘burnout.’ It had been raised by a few in the leadership and I have to be honest here, I was of the opinion ‘ what do you mean burnout, get a grip.’ However the Lord had me do some research on the subject and I was surprised at the insight and the reality check which was to follow. I followed it up by having a training day with the total focus on the signs, cause and remedy for burnout. If we are going to arise and build and release arrows this year then we need to be health to even get up and do the work.
The following is from a Pastor (Carey Nieuwhof) who experienced ‘burnout’;
Seven years ago, I entered into the darkest period of my life. People had always warned me I would burn out. I thought I could prove them wrong. And usually I did. I would get tired – out of balance – but when I saw the edge, I could always pull myself back.Until seven years ago.
I found the edge, and as I was falling, I knew this time I realized I couldn’t pull myself back. Although I’m not a person who suffers from depression, I’m sure I would have gone to the doctor and received a diagnosis of clinical depression that summer seven years ago. It wasn’t your stereotypical depression.
I could get out of bed every day, and I did. I kept praying and reading my bible.But my speed decreased to a snail’s pace. And hope felt like it had died.My motivation and passion dropped to zero. (Make that zero Kelvin). I had never been there before. I knew many in ministry had gone down this road before me, and what scared me is that some of them never made it back.
For them, ministry was done. And sometimes, tragically, they were done – hope never fully returned and they didn’t ever become the person they were before.That was the last thing I wanted to happen to me.
Looking back, the diagnosis is still a little elusive and mysterious.Who really knows what corrodes the soul to the point where it deflates?
But I’d say the most likely candidate for what derailed me is what I’d call emotional burnout.
In caring for others I had not adequately cared for my heart or soul, or let others who wanted to care for it do so.
I spiralled down for about 3 months before I hit bottom.
Then with the love and assistance of a great wife, board, leadership team, close friends, a counselor, and a very gracious God, I slowly began to recover. It took, honestly, a few years to really feel full stride again, but I recovered to 80-90% of full strength in the first year. The last 10% took two or three more years.
The good news is, there is life after burnout (my next post will be on ways to recover from burnout).
I’m writing this because burnout seems to be an epidemic in ministry leadership.
In fact, there are more than a few of you who know you are right on the edge of the cliff you could so easily fall of of. And probably a few of you who are in free fall right now.
Why is that?
More than most environments, ministry combines what you do (your work) with what you believe (your faith) and your community (your congregation/friends). Without skillful navigation, that can creates a roller coaster of emotions that push leaders toward burnout (I’ve written about the emotional roller coaster of ministry here).
So how do you know if you’re heading for burnout? Here are 9 things I personally experienced as I burned out.
I hope they can help you see the edge before you careen past it: 1. Your motivation has faded. The passion that fueled you is gone, and your motivation has either vapourized or become self-centered. 2. Your main emotion is ‘numbness’ – you no longer feel the highs or the lows. This was actually one of the earliest signs for me that the edge was near. I wrote more about emotional numbness here. 3. People drain you. Of course there are draining people on the best of days. But not everybody, every time. Burnout often means few to no people energize you anymore. 4. Little things make you disproportionately angry. When you start losing your cool over small things, it’s a sign something deeper is very wrong. 5. You’re becoming cynical. Many leaders fight this one, but cynicism rarely finds a home in a healthy heart. 6. Your productivity is dropping. You might be working long hours, but you’re producing little of value. Or what used to take you 5 minutes just took you 45. That’s a warning bell. 7. You’re self-medicating. Your coping mechanism has gone underground or dark. Whether that’s overeating, overworking, drinking, impulsive spending or even drugs, you’ve chosen a path of self-medication over self-care. Ironically, my self-medication was actually more work, which just spirals things downward. 8. You don’t laugh anymore.Nothing seems fun or funny, and, at its worst, you begin to resent people who enjoy life. 9. Sleep and time off no longer refuel you. Sometimes you’re not burnt out; you’re just tired. A good night’s sleep or a week or two off will help most healthy people bounce back with fresh energy. But you could have a month off when you’re burnt out and not feel any difference. I took three weeks off during my summer of burn out, and I felt worse at the end than when I started. Not being refueled when you take time off is a major warning sign you’re burning out.
Identifying with just a few of these signs might just be a sign that you’re tired.
If you identify with half, you might be close to the edge.
If you identify with most or all, well, you might be in the same place I found myself–burnout.
If you are burnt out, I would encourage you to seek immediate professional help – a medical doctor and a trained Christian counsellor.
I would also encourage you to talk to a close circle of friends.
Today is Day 13 of our fasting and prayer. We are pressing into the final stages. The water is troubled so you can still jump in if you haven’t already. God is moving in HIS Church. Today I want to send a word out to all the singles within the RICC family. You are all major stake-holders in RICC and I’m looking forward to see you grow in the things of God. While not everyone desires marriage, for those of you who do…this is a word for you. I preached this a few years ago and as we are in that season of building I want to build you up with these nuggets.
Divine Relationships…don’t be unequally yoked…..
1- Adam had an affinity (Relationship) with Divinity before he met Eve. He had a RELATIONSHIP with The Lord before Eve came along. God had breathed in man so he could live.
Genesis 2:7 NIV  Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
We need to build up our prayer life and our study of the Word before a potential spouse comes along. So many couples today are out of synch as they don’t share the same passion for the Lord. The fact that you’re both Christian doesn’t mean that you should tie the knot. The divorce rate amongst Christians is appalling.
2 – Adam had a RESIDENCE before he met Eve.
Genesis 2:8 NIV
 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
My brother’s seek to purchase your own place or at least have a place to live where you have sole responsibility, especially if you desire to marry. Don’t be living with your momma and be dating. Have a plan, save for a rainy day. Build your reputation, ensure that you’re not in debt, build up your profile so your name is good before you give it to a lady.
3 – Adam had RESPONSIBILITY before he met Eve.
Genesis 2:15 NIV  The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Tim. 5:8)
Get a job before you start to date. My sister I know he looks handsome and has some, but if he doesn’t have a job and is work shy…..let him keep moving. He ain’t for you.
He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)
The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway. (Proverbs 15:19)
4 – Adam had RESOURCES and liberality… Groceries comes before the girl.
Genesis 2:10-12 NIV
 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.  The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.  (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)
I know we live in the age of the pre-nuptials. Whats mine is mine and whats yours is yours. Its not the biblical way but I understand that if you’ve worked hard why should you lose fifty per cent of what you’re worth or more. However unless you’ve inherited wealth or land you would have to at least worked hard to acquire it or to maintain it. Don’t rely on just one income stream…the garden of Eden was loaded with varied streams of precious minerals.
Know your worth and your value….build up your stocks and treasury.
5 – Adam had RESTRICTIONS that limit…
Genesis 2:16-17 NIV  And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
There are something’s you can’t have….its like kryptonite to Superman.
There are something’s that are proper and there are some things that are improper.
You can buy your wife Wendy jewellery…..but don’t buy your secretary Cindy lingerie…..
The Lord God said, “It is not good for THE MAN to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
6 – Don’t place a RING on the first one that comes your way…..
Genesis 2:19-21 NIV
 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
If we settle for the first person that comes our way we may end up in A&E, or for my American friends the ER (Emergency Room). The first thing formed out of the ground were wild animals, these were not suitable for Adam to mate. There are plenty of wild things out there in our world, some have crept into the Church and are disguised has sheep….we need discernment and the Shepherds rod to drive them out. In our British culture the men refer to women has birds, hence all the clucking, squawking and being hen-pecked. However they are not the one for you Sir. Adam had the opportunity and the authority to name what God brought to him.
 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.  So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.
Next on the list as relational possibilities was the livestock. Bulls and Cows. I’ll leave the explanation to your own imagination as this is a blog (lol)
Genesis 2:19-20 NKJV
 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.  So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
Genesis 2:21 NIV
 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.
God has to put us in a deep sleep….so we can know for sure that it is God who will bring our spouse to us…..some of us are sleeping in Church because we’ve been up all night online looking for Mr Right….or Inga from Sweden…..
God has to anaesthetise us to remove stuff from us as we are carrying too much baggage…..we aren’t ready for marriage until we have had surgery.
Some of us who are married have to be careful that we don’t allow what God has removed to grow back……oh so now our wives don’t look the way they used to….after 2 or 3 kids…..we’re hooking up with the ex or the new girl in the office….
The ribs are the closest things to our heart…..sometimes the sister is trying to be closest to the wallet….we must be willing to be what we want our spouse to be….
7 – This Relationship needs the intervention of the Sovereign.
Genesis 2:22 NIV  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
It was God that brought Eve to Adam……Adam spoke about her bones….that which he could not see….bone of his bone…..flesh of his flesh. If we are moved only by what we see on the outside we will be disappointed later….and later always comes. When Adam saw Eve for the first time he had poetic licence….
22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
23 And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Gen.2:22-25)
We cannot afford to just live by superficial makeovers, and raw emotion. Marriage is a spiritual as well as a physical union. It is God ordained so allow Him to lead and guide you in your decision making.
The beauty you see today will fade in time…..
Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Genesis 2:24-25 NIV
 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.  Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
To all the girls who are in a hurry to have a boyfriend or get married, a piece of Biblical advice: “Ruth patiently waited for her mate Boaz.” While you are waiting on YOUR Boaz, don’t settle for any of his relatives: Broke-az, Lyin-az, Cheatin-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothingaz, Lazyaz and especially his third cousin Beatinyouaz. Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yoaz!