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For those of us in the business of serving people we know all to well the meaning of the word ‘burnout’. Burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

Burnout is the culprit in the demise of many relationships from families to ministry to any other service related activity. It is , I believe, the reason many pastor families break up; the suicide rate is so high in the armed forces, and emergency personnel (police, fire, etc). Could it be a major contributing factor to substance abuse as well.


The Apostle Paul describes two types of people in Galatians six, those empowered by human emotions and those empowered by the Holy Spirit of the Living God. Living by the power of the Holy Spirit gives us two things (maybe more). One is the strength to do good when we are unappreciated and expectations exceed our ability to meet them. Secondly we live in the constant reminder that God will eventually reward us for our efforts.


Feel overwhelmed and under appreciated? Remember it’s not your strength or power, but God working through you. He’s never held us responsible for results, he only promises to reward our efforts in his time. Press on mighty warrior!


It seems like an unfortunate reality, at least from my perspective, but people whose main goal in life is to serve people tend to be scrutinized more deeply and misunderstood more often than others. Those on the front lines are more easy to shoot at!

This seems to be especially true for those in ministry and that can be discouraging, debilitating and destructive. I read an article recently documenting the increasing number of pastors who for mental health and physical health reasons have left the ministry.

A personal friend and fellow minister recently left the ministry for this very reason. He’d had a thriving ministry for years until a few people with thick pocket books and strong opinions began to grumble. As he said to me, “It really only takes a few crabby people to destroy a ministry.” He finally left…heartbroken.

While we may not be able to change the target on our chests as servants to the masses (and I refer to those in and out of ministry), we must remind ourselves that even when our actions are misunderstood by the masses, God knows our heart. I remind myself of this truth every once in awhile.

Father, help my motives be pure and my way straight in spite of those who may seek to do me harm through misrepresentation.


Eeyore, the always negative donkey in the children’s story, “Winnie the Pooh” has an incredible knack for seeing the negative in everything. I remember chuckling at some of his statements while reading to my children. In his world there was nothing good. There was no hope. Expectations always fell short.

We can chuckle at this fictional character’s outlook on life, but reality is, it’s easy for us to do the same. It’s easy to live trapped by our past. I’m grateful for a relatively boring childhood, but many are still grappling with abusive homes, dysfunctional families and sometimes, as a result, mental illness or addictions. It’s been said ‘our past can kill us or make us stronger’, and while there is some truth to that, its easier said than lived.

It’s also easy for us as believers to lose hope when we look around us at the direction society seems destined for. Often our belief in Jesus Christ is construed by society as intolerant, out of touch and irrelevant.

Peter wrote his book to Christ followers in a society that, believe it or not, was more brutal to the things of God that the one we live in. Yet he wrote of great expectations. Not because of his past, but because of his future. Not because of who he was, but because of who Jesus is.

Don’t base your hopes, aspirations and expectations on who you are or what you can do. Don’t allow the actions and accusations of others deter you from expecting great and mighty things in your life. Success by God’s standards comes from a live lived rich in integrity and holiness. Success by societies standards is like flags in the wind, being tossed by every new idea. Jesus gives you stability in an unstable world and hope among the hopeless.


Light is an amazing thing.

On those bright sunny days we wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun. Where I live, it’s especially necessary in the winter when the sunshine reflects off the bright snow. Almost unbearable light!

On the other hand, too little light is also a problem. For those of us with waning eyesight, low light makes it impossible to read. Driving at night is always more confident with high beams than low beams because you want to see the road ahead as well as any critters deciding to cross in front of you.

So, light appears to be relative to the person or the situation. That sheds a whole light on Jesus claim that he is the light of the world. (Yeah, I know. Bad pun. Live with it. 🙂 )

With Jesus as the light, he illuminates my life just the way I need it. Light should never be used as a weapon as some have done by beating people over the head with the gospel. Light should never be hidden (I don’t want to offend. Religion is personal business.) Since when is offering someone life saving measures a personal issue.

Shine your light in a way that is attractive, illuminating and beneficial. Jesus never wavered from the truth, yet he attracted those who were living in darkness.


I think, in all of scripture, the one passage that spoke to me most on my journey out of the self-imposed wilderness I was in was the passage in Luke 22 where Jesus predicts Simon Peter’s failure. But the story didn’t stop with his failure. Peter’s failure (by human standards) was God’s tool for greatness. Peter’s failure was the means by which his Heavenly Father made him the leader God needed to empower and encourage his church in the early years.

The best part of the story is that Jesus prayed for Peter. He didn’t pray that Peter would be delivered, he prayed he would be strengthened. He didn’t pray Peter would fail, he prayed that WHEN (not if) Peter returned, he would encourage us.

Peter’s spiritual failure didn’t make him perfect, but it gave him an new outlook on life; a new appreciation for grace and forgiveness; a new energy to reach out to the struggling.

Nothing much has changed. We still fail. Jesus still prays for our strength. We still have a ministry. I hurt when I think of all the wasted years; all the unwritten stories; all the changed lives that could happen if we realized God can use your weakness to be strong in him.

Have you failed? You are a valuable tool in God’s kingdom. Don’t stop at the sifting. Let the grace and power of Jesus Christ strengthen you for the work God has for you. Don’t live in failure any longer!

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