Category Archives: energy sappers

Energy-Sappers: Smoldered Wick

 

Smoldering Wick 

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These statistics below are for pastors and their wives. However the energy-sappers are for everyone.

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STATISTICS ABOUT PASTORS

Pastors today are faced with more work, more problems, and more stress than any other time in the history of the church. This is taking a frightening toll on the ministry, shown by the (North American) statistics below:

Pastors:

· Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.

· Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.

· Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

· Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.

Pastors’ Wives:

· Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses feel their spouse is overworked.

· Eighty percent of pastor’ wives feel left out and unappreciated by the church members.

· Eighty percent of pastors’ spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.

· Eighty percent of pastors’ wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they are really not.

Pastors’ Relationship With the Lord:

· Seventy percent of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.

· Ninety-five percent of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.

· Eighty percent of pastors surveyed spend less than fifteen minutes a day in prayer.

· Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

Now… take a moment and give us your energy-for-God sappers. What have you found that depletes your desire to get up and serve the Lord?

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Here are ten energy-sappers:

10. Compromise.

You’re doing something displeasing to the Lord and you know it. The guilt lingers and weighs you down. When you try to read your Bible, pray, or worship, the fog is so thick you could cut it. God seems far away, and you know without being told it’s because you moved. You’re being torn down the middle and it’s a miserable feeling. The greatest compromise, I have found is not only in doing obviously sinful deeds. It is when we are operating in our own goodness and works based on our own performance. This births a cycle of defeat, frustration and utter failure. We must come to end of ourselves and stop trying to operate in self-salvation. We can never save ourselves, ever be good enough or do good enough deeds to please God. Only our Faith Pleases GOD.

Isaiah 59:1-2 comes to mind. "Your sins have separated you." Confess them and move back closer.

9. Nay-sayers.

The discouragers around you are constantly pointing out that you cannot do this, you are not the Christian you ought to be, the Bible cannot be understood, your prayers never go beyond the ceiling, and your pitiful offering amounts to nothing. To make matters worse, sometimes that negative voice hounding us is our own. You lose heart and want to give up. I listen to words very carefully to make sure that they are coming from the proper source. The source of Grace and Truth. I stop listening of speaking when I am sensitive to recognize that the Word’s of Grace and truth are not present. This takes years of Practice and development by the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 103:1-5 comes to mind. "Bless the Lord, O my soul." Speak to yourself words of faith. Believe your faith and doubt your doubts.

8. Nit-pickers.

A family member, a colleague in the office, or a so-called friend has taken it as their personal calling to remind you of your failures in living up to the standards you claim. Your clothes do not match, you need a haircut, why do you waste your time on those books or that writer or that church, why aren’t you exercising more, you’re putting on weight, and I don’t think you’re right for this. Of course, he tells you this for your own good. You leave your friend’s presence feeling worthless and hopeless. I have been o

n both sides like many who have been the unkind friend to the Hurting and not deeply caring enough to take time to be a hope-bringer of God’s wonderful Peace and grace. I have been on the receiving end of harsh criticism when I was sick for an extended period of time. Either has changed my personal character for the better and changed the words I chose to use. If my words will not edify and build an individual I keep them to my self. Words are very powerful and need to be used carefully. Even when words of Correction are sometimes needed, I take the opportunity to have the word’s be of encouragement that help an individual be able to be convinced of the Word of God in their personal capacity.

Philippians 4:8 comes to mind. "Whatsoever things are true, think on these things." Choose where your mind will land and come to rest and what it will feed upon.

7. Time-wasters or Bloodsuckers.

A few years ago, we would have named television as the biggest time-waster. It still is for many, but these days, the tube has lots of competition: the computer, computer games, the telephone, worthless reading materials, shopping, mall-crawling, and such. Each person has his own battlefield in this regard. But it’s not just the time; the problem is that it robs you of your energy for God or service to His will for your life. It weakens your discernment in relating to other people. Be AWARE that their are many bloodsuckers in the Church who will sap the strength out of you if you let them. I always want to remain tender to weak individuals in the church and make my self available to loving them where they are in life. This is ultimately Christly time management and requires being lead by the Holy Spirit. Some pastors that I have spoken to who are extremely successful church planters Have stated that they do not do any counseling anymore nor do any thing but invest in this future generation’s leaders. They focus on building the next generation of leaders in the Church so they can in turn invest in weaker individuals. I personally have done both and not been overwhelmed by caring for those who are poor in spirit and weaker members of the Body of Christ. I never want to become a man who forgets where he came from, I was once one of those weaker individuals who was definitely poor in Spirit. God sent a Man of God to me to teach me to walk with Christ moment by moment. I needed plenty of Biblical Counseling, Nurturing, Grace and practical love when I came off the streets homeless at 19 years old.

Luke 18:1 comes to mind. "We ought always to pray and not to lose heart." The old hymn told us to "Take Time to Be Holy." It takes time.

6. Starvation.

When you’re really hungry, instead of pausing for dinner, you gulp down a soft drink and a bag of chips. Now, you have stopped the hunger but you’re starving your body. A few minutes later, your wife or mother calls you to dinner. You beg off; you’re not hungry. You dare not admit what you just did. That foolish scenario happens spiritually, too.

Try this experiment. After watching two hours of television–especially sitcoms of the type the networks are running these nights–get up and go get your Bible and read a couple of chapters. You’ll have to make yourself do it. After a steady diet of mental junk food, you have no appetite for real nourishment. I also am carefully monitor what I am allowing to stimulate my mind. Plenty of things and images bombard our mind in billions of parts per second that we are not conscious or aware of the stimulation. These stimulations seem to dull  the ability for us to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit through the Word of Life the Word of God.

Matthew 4:4 comes to mind. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." And Psalm 34:8 "O taste and see that the Lord is good." You need to feed your soul if you expect to have any energy for God.

5. Fatigue.

You’re doing good work; you’re just doing so much of it that you’re exhausted. When tired, you get irritable and are no fun to be around. You end up having to force yourself to do your spiritual activities. It’s not an admission of weakness to confess you have physical limitations, that you need 8 hours of sleep at night and maybe a little rest in the daytime and a vacation once in a while. Many of men have burned out because they failed to spiritually disciple themselves to take a Sabbath day per week to renews and be strengthened by God. This is not a mandatory for we are under Grace. I believe in strong work ethics and long Hours. What is the use of working hard and not being sharp. What is the use if God decides to use you for a task and you are so exhausted you fail to hear the whisper of His Voice. We can Work Hard by Working Smart. Working Smart is to take any day of the week to be our Sabbath day for renewal. I also have counseled numerous burned out pastors who in over thirty years of ministry never took a single day off, not even a well deserved biblical sabbatical. They are not walking with God today nor are they finishing the race well. They started very well and even impacted my life personally when I first became a Christ-Follower, they are now left the ministry and are drifting daily farther away from God.

Mark 6:31 comes to mind. "Come ye apart and rest for a while." And Matthew 11:28-30: "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden."

4. Depression.

You are a Christian, one who believes your Bible and has the Holy Spirit, so how could you be depressed? Ever say that to yourself? The roots of depression (mental, emotional, whatever) are many and complex. You might need to remind yourself that some of the finest Christians ever to walk the planet have battled depression. You have good company. Those believers made the same discovery you have made, that sometimes you just have to get up and go on with your day while depressed, that you don’t dare give in to it. Missionary leader and inspirational writer Elisabeth Elliot has said that when she’s depressed, her method for dealing with it is: "Do the next thing." She does not make a long list of tasks to accomplish that day, but does the next thing before her, then she looks around and decides what is next, and so forth.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 comes to mind. "Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines… yet I will exult in the Lord." Praise Him anyway.

3. Rebellion.

Compromise is one thing; you rationalize a sin and turn a blind eye toward a practice you know is not wise and is hindering your spiritual life. But rebellion is another matter altogether. In rebellion, you drop all pretense about wanting to do the right thing. You enthrone your self and devote your life to pleasing only you. This really gets scary when you’re in the Lord’s service and draw a paycheck from a church or religious organization and yet are in rebellion against the Lord. I’ve been there; I know. People are looking to you for spiritual direction and expecting to hear God’s voice through you, but what they are receiving is shallowness and staleness, negativism and putdowns, all bubbling up from the acid eating away at your soul.

Revelation 3:4-5 comes to mind. "I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember… and repent." The prodigal son story of Luke 15 applies.

2. Laziness.

Sloth. Idleness. Lethargy. Listlessness. Dullness. Slackness. Find yourself in any of these? You just can’t make yourself get up and do anything spiritual such as reading the Bible or praying meaningfully or volunteering for a service project. You "just don’t feel like it." Sound familiar? There’s a law of physics you may be familiar with. Inertia is the tendency of an object at rest to remain there, and a moving object to continue moving. Now, it takes energy to get the object moving and it takes energy to stop it once it’s in motion. Like priming a pump, we use energy to get energy. This pertains, whether speaking of the physical or the spiritual.

Proverbs 6:6-11 comes to mind. "How long wilt thou sleep, O thou sluggard?" Wake up. Get up.

1. Satan. The enemy himself.

You wondered if we would get to that? The unholy trinity of the world-the-flesh-and-the-devil are always at work to discourage believers from living the life Christ commands and we profess. The devil has had longer to study human nature than we, so he knows methods we have yet to discover. He uses detours, overloads, and even good works to keep us from doing the best things. He uses our diversions to sap our time, people to sap our joy, and work to sap our energies. Our time gone, our spirits depleted, and our energies sapped, we decide not to read our Bible tonight, to skip on our prayer time, and to get our rest tomorrow by sleeping late and skipping church. Chalk up another victory for the roaring lion who walks about.

I Peter 5:6-9 comes to mind. You know what it says. "We are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11

Now… take a moment and give us your energy-for-God sappers. What have you found that depletes your desire to get up and serve the Lord?

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