Refresh, Renew, & Recharge



            “I would rather wear out than rust out!”  That statement has been attributed to President Teddy Roosevelt and has been repeated many times, including me.  It sounds good and gives a sense of being a hard worker and not lazy but maybe it reveals weakness more than strength.  One Christian website recently reported that their most watched video in the last 30 days was “Resources for Hurting Pastors.”  The reality is that God does not want us to burnout but to be refreshed, renewed, and recharged in Him on a regular basis.  Offering water to thirsty souls requires you to make sure that you are personally drinking from the fountain.

            Burnout can occur when we allow too much “stuff” to clutter our daily lives.  If we do not allow God to control our calendars than circumstances, conflicts, and contentious people will.  Many have surrendered part of their lives to the Lord but struggle when it comes to surrendering their calendars to Him.  This is why we need to meet with Him daily and show our love for Him by setting time aside to sit at His feet and hear from Him.  Also, we need to withdraw weekly from the hustle and bustle of this chaotic world we live in today.  It is difficult at times to slow down and unplug from the busyness of the ministry.   

In a sermon by PJ Noland on keeping the Sabbath holy he said, “Are you responding to people out of burnout or holiness?”  The answer to that question is found in whether we are allowing God to pour His holiness into us.  We will never be what God wants us to be without taking the time to rest in Him.  It is in during these regular times of spiritual rest that our souls can be refreshed, renewed, and recharged.  Thom Rainer in his blog wrote about Seven Keys to Preventing Pastoral Burnout.  Here are three that relate to resting in the Lord:

  • ·        Be intentional about down time. Pastors need it. Their families need it. Every week. Don’t skip vacations. Go on occasional retreats. Don’t lose your family by trying to save your church.
  • ·        Do not neglect your prayer life. Pastors told me repeatedly that, as their prayer life waned, their burnout increased. Prayer was first ongoing conversations with God. But it was also a time for spiritual refueling.
  • ·        Do not neglect your time in the Word. We heard similar stories from pastors who began neglecting their time in the Bible. As that time waned, burnout increased. All the pastors noted that time in the Word was time beyond sermon preparation. It was a time of personal devotion and study.

Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Make sure that you have surrendered your calendar to the lord so that you sit silently alone in His presence weekly and daily.  These times are necessary to replenish your souls.  We live in a very noisy world and there is more now than ever speaking into lives that may not be of God.  Everyone is connected to something all the time ie.; cell phone, Facebook, MP3 player, TV, and the list could go on and on!  We must unplug the noise of technology in order for the Lord to pour His nutrients back into our souls!

Don’t wear out, rust out or burnout but rather schedule time to be refreshed by the Lord.  My friend and church planter Rob Hager constantly reminds his people and others that God does have a better way.  He tells us to Submit, Surrender, & Sync or you will struggle, strive, and strain.  You submit to the Father like Jesus (not my will), then you surrender completely like Jesus (crucified with Christ). And then you can sync to the Spirit like Christ (I only say/do what I see the Father saying/doing). 

You see God really does have a better way for us and it begins with surrender.  We must surrender our time to Him so that we do not burnout.  We can be refreshed, renewed, and recharged.  Set apart time every day and weekly, a Sabbath, so that in silence, solitude, and simplicity He can pour the spiritual nutrients into your soul that all of us so desperately need.  Thanks PJ for allowing God to use you to challenge me and to inspire this article.  Thanks for the quote by Matthew Sleeth, “Sabbath is simply presented not as a rule to be kept but a freedom to be entered into.”

Here are some refresh, recharge, and renew rhythms we all need in our lives:

  • Divert Daily – Make sure you are practicing your daily time with the Lord.  His mercies are new and fresh each morning.  Approach His word with two questions: What are you saying to me? And, what do you want me to do about it?
  • Withdraw Weekly – Everyone needs a day off to recharge.  What is it that recharges your battery?  What can you do to unplug from the normal and can refresh you spiritually, emotionally and physically?
  • Measure Monthly – It is good to review on what you have accomplished.  Praise God for the victories and count the many blessings in your life, family, and ministry.  Pray for the challenges of the next month!
  • Quarantine Quarterly – Make sure you get a way for a prayer retreat at least every three months.  This is a focused time to hear from the Lord and to hear His still small voice.
  • Abandon Annually –  Go on vacation and get away to allow yourself time to unwind and recharge.  Also consider every year going to a conference that will feed your soul and pour into your life and ministry!

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