Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shepastor: " Just A Reminder that God's Blessings In Your Life Are Secure"

Dear Shepastor Friends,
I am on vacation, however, here’s a reminder that God’s blessings over our lives are secure…

I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth [it], that [men] should fear before him. Ecclesiastes 3:14, KJV

I realize that whatever God does will last forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken away from it. God does this so that people will fear him. Ecclesiastes 3:14, “God’s Word” Translation

Whatever God is doing in your life cannot be stopped, thwarted, dismantled, overrun, defeated, or destroyed by humans or the devil. There is no need to be jealous, covetous, insecure, envious, or fearful. That which God has for you is for you. There is nothing that is happening in our lives that God is not aware of or is unable to guide us over or see us through. We often are the blockers of our own blessings.

Trust God for your blessing, your healing, your deliverance. Stand in the favor that God has ordained for you. Be the overcomer and the conqueror that God has ordained for you to be. Allow God’s love and light to be revealed in you, as well as God’s service and ministry through you today!

The LORD bless you, and keep you:
The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace
Numbers 6: 24-26

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shepastor: “To Challenge you – What Are You Accepting Woman of God?”

Last week Shepastor provided words to encourage you while you wait, considering “God’s Timing.” This week we’ll consider words to challenge you as you minister through leadership.

I Kings 17: 7-16

The Widow at Zarephath

7Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8Then the word of the LORD came to him: 9“Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” 10So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12“As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

13Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.’”

15She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.

On June 16, my husband and I praised God for our oldest son turning 16. While the teenage years prove challenging for a number of reasons – our over arching sentiment is praise. For 16 years ago, I had to have an emergency c-section. Our son was born at 28 weeks weighing only 1.8 1bs. The physicians gave him a 30% chance of survival. The word I received from the Lord, however, was different. Each day we prayed and spoke over him, “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord (Psalm 118:17)!” That testimony is for another day.

That experience taught me many things. One lesson didn’t become clear until we had our second child. With my first delivery, I was placed on morphine for a day. Afterwards I was given Tylenol with Codeine. It was like going from 100 to 1 in 2 minutes. The pain was excruciating. It was painful physically, emotionally and psychologically. The physical pain, however, didn’t trigger any alarms because all my life I’d heard that child birth was suppose to be painful. That was what I expected. That was what I received.

It did not occur to me until after the birth of my second son, having a different physician who provided more thorough and appropriate care, that my first experience was unfortunate and sorely lacking. Before, I was not made aware that additional options were available that could have greatly lessoned my pain. With my second son, another c-section was required, however, different medications were administered and my pain levels were much, much lower.

It was then that I realized my first experience, although emotionally painful, did not have to be as physically painful. While pain had to be involved, the level of pain did not have to be as high. Having learned what should have been done changed my expectations and increased my awareness of how things ought to have been concerning my hospital stay and care.

So often, we as women in general and clergy women in particular expect and accept less than what God has for us. All along we’ve been told that the journey of ministry can often be painful, lonely and a struggle. Therefore when we encounter unduly stressful situations, we simply “deal with it.” Often as ministers and pastors, we expect and accept less from our congregations, telling ourselves, the people and our colleagues, “well, that’s the best that they can do.” Is it really?

I would like to suggest that when we expect and accept less than what is truly the best in terms of service, worship, giving, taking responsibility for the furtherance of the Gospel, etc., we not only do ourselves a disservice, but we rob the people of the opportunity to blossom, thrive and become all that God would have them to be.

In the text shared above, Elijah is sent to a widow woman to receive water and bread. How ironic! God sent this prophet to get practical help – bread and water from a woman who was about to give up – on the verge of death and starvation. She had a son she was trying to raise in the midst of a famine. Yet God sent Elijah to her for food and water. So often we identify with the woman; but God has a lesson for us in the directions given to Elijah!

Consider some of the lessons we can learn from Elijah’s obedience to instruct this woman to give…

When we teach God’s people to take care of His prophets, we teach them to put God first…

Most of us would be astonished, appauled and repulsed by the thought of asking someone who was starving to give us anything, let alone their last morsel of bread and water! Yet the Lord, whose thoughts are not our thoughts and ways are not our ways shows us a powerful spiritual example. When we honor God with our best through sacrificial giving, He tremendously multiplies the little we have.

The sacrifice this woman gave had less to do with Elijah and more to do with stretching her faith. If Elijah had not obeyed God and instructed the woman to give, even in the midst of abject poverty, the woman would not have received the blessing of vessels filled with oil and bread that never ran out!

When we teach God’s people to step out in faith and give their highest and best first, we teach them that God uses each of us in unique ways.

Most of us would have argued with God, dismissed His directive as selfish and unthinkable and would have listed all of the reasons why this woman shouldn’t have been asked to give her last and her best. But look at what God teaches us through Elijah’s example – when we step out on faith, stop leaning to our own understanding and simply follow God’s principles of putting Him first – the Lord opens up new possibilities and miracles happen.

God’s people suffer when we don’t teach them to honor His house, His servant/leader and his Word. This is not simply teaching “prosperity Gospel,” or taking advantage of the poor. This is teaching God’s people that we all must bring the best of what we have to God, no matter how small and watch Him make miracles happen. God’s people remain stagnated, depressed, oppressed and living beneath their blessings because we are afraid to require them to give and do their best in all aspects of their walk with the Lord.

- When we try to do everything instead of delegating responsibilities – we are robbing God’s people of developing their gifts and talents.

- When we expect and accept less than what God says we should have, we run the risk of living in unnecessary pain, struggle and bitterness

- When we identify only with the widow woman, seeing ourselves as giving our all, and not challenging our congregations to do the same, we miss the opportunity to stand in the role of the prophet, like Elijah, leading God’s people to see great and mighty works happen in their individual lives, families and communities as they give their highest and best.

Woman of God, learn a lesson from the example of Elijah – learn that it is good to expect and accept the best. Learn to not only model sacrifice, but to teach the importance of taking care of the Lord’s vessel. Learn to delegate. Learn to wisely challenge. Realize that you get what you accept.

Understand that to whom much is given, much is required.

Are you conflicted about expecting more from the people you serve? Have you fallen into a pattern of low expectations? Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shepastor: To Encourage You While You Wait…God's Timing

Today, Shepastor offers words to encourage you while you wait for your change to come...

“God’s Timing”

Psalm 31: 9-15

9 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

10 For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.

11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.

13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.

14 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God.

15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

This particular song has been called by one commentator, “David Under Stress.” He named it so because the writer, thought to be David is making an earnest plea to God to deliver him from vile and destructive enemies. Jesus also quoted a verse from this Psalm while dying on the cross, “Into thy hands, I commit my spirit,” (vs. 5). David is longing for God to get him out of this pit, this trouble, this trap that it seems that enemies have laid for him.

But in the midst of his longings and mournful prayers, David also expresses trust. He says, “my times are in your hand.” David didn’t know when or how God was going to deliver him, but he trusted, he expected that God would deliver him, in God’s own time.

It’s hard to operate on somebody else’s time. Independence can be a wonderful thing. I remember I could not wait to get my driver’s license because I was tired of having to wait until somebody picked me up and then having to wait for them to take me home. When I turned 16, I thought the world would stop spinning on its axis if I did not get my drivers license.

I remember my daddy taking me out to the old Rubber Bowl in Akron, putting up sticks to mimic the cones to teach me how to maneuver, how to parallel park etc. I thought I had it down pat until it came time to take the test. Two times I failed because I either touched or knocked over the cones. I received a letter that informed me that if by the third time I did not pass the test, I would have to wait six months. You should have seen me crying and praying out to the Lord, “Lord, PLEASE help me to pass this test.” Praise God, I did!

I didn’t like it, but I had to wait. Waiting is no fun. Now what I just described would be considered by some to be a light matter. When I was 16, I thought the world was going to come to an end, because that was my perspective at 16. But now at age 47, I realize that there are some heavier matters, for which we have to wait that far out distance getting a drivers license so that I can come and go as I please.

The scriptures have given us many examples of the agony of waiting. Abraham and Sarah had to wait until they were well into their golden years before the promise of a son was fulfilled. Hannah had to wait to see if God would grant her petition for a son, all the while enduring the cruel taunting of her husband’s other wife, Penninah, mocking her and calling her barren.

Moses had to wait and wander in the wilderness with the rebellious Israelites, who, no matter how much God did for them, still managed to argue, fight and complain themselves into losing what God had in store for them. Moses had to wait to finally see the promise land yet not enter. Simeon had to wait as he ministered in the Temple, asking God to allow him to see the glory of the coming of the Lord, the child Jesus. Mary and Martha had to wait, wait for Jesus to come after they sent an urgent message that their brother Lazarus had died. They had to wait and watch and wonder.

And sometimes, we have to wait, and watch and wonder- waiting like Job for our “change” to come. Waiting like Sarah or Hannah for something to be birthed in us, waiting like Moses to just get a peek at what God has in store maybe not for our generation, but that which is to come. And sometimes we have to wait for the Lord to come and resurrect that which has died and seems to have no hope.

It’s not easy to wait. Waiting can be hard. Waiting can be discouraging. Waiting can be debilitating. Especially if we are waiting for God to get some enemies off of our backs! If you’ve ever been in a situation like David where somebody is constantly fighting against you, constantly trying to trip you up, constantly trying to lay a trap for you or dig a ditch for you or make some kind of false accusations against you, then you can relate to David’s feelings of anxiety and stress. It’s not easy to wait for deliverance.

But we can learn something from David’s example about how to wait on God in the midst of difficult situations.

(1)David called out to God and placed all his feelings on the line. Get real with God. Tell Him all about how you feel, even if you know it’s not the “Christian way.” David even confessed hatred to God. We know that hatred is wrong, but the only way to get it out of our system is to confess it, look at it and ask the Lord to free us from it. For hatred doesn’t hurt the object of our hatred. Hatred hurts you!

(2) The next thing that you can do is speak in terms of faith. David said, ‘You did not give me into the hands of my enemies.You made my feet to stand in a wide place.” David acknowledged that God was already keeping him. Even though stress was making him sick, David spoke victory in his life. He said that God had put his feet in “wide” places. In other words, God sent David help in such a way that he could go anywhere. God was with him no matter where he went. Therefore, his enemies could not fence him in. He didn’t have to walk around in fear. He encouraged himself by saying, “God is with me!”

(3)David acknowledged that his times are in the hand of the Lord. You can’t do anything to make this valley experience go any faster. But you can look up and live. You can speak those things that be not as though they were. You can say like Job, “all the days of my appointed time, will I wait until my change comes.” David trusted God even in the midst of his most difficult life circumstances. He trusted that God would deliver him, in His time. Pray for deliverance, but accepted that deliverance will come only when God said so. God’s timing is not our timing. God’s ways are not our ways. God’s vision is far above ours.

The Lord knows just when to take you out of the boiling pot that you are in. God knows what He is doing. We don’t know, but that’s where faith comes in. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Faith says that God is in control and no matter how this thing turns out, God is with me, God is keeping me, God is sustaining me, God will see us through. God will give me the strength I need to climb this high mountain, and when I am too weary to walk anymore, faith declares God will carry me.

Our times are in His hands. Don’t allow yourself to be crucified between the two thieves of yesterday and tomorrow. You can’t change the past and God holds tomorrow. Trust in Him at all times and know that the wait will seem like nothing when He delivers you.

Sometimes we have to wait because God is keeping us from something. Sometimes we have to wait because God is preparing us for something. Sometimes we have to wait because God is using us for something. And sometimes we have to wait simply because God said so!

God knows what He is doing. Trust and keep the faith.

Are you waiting for the Lord to act on your behalf? Have you recently weathered the “waiting” and have words of encouragement and advice for other sisters? Post a comment or send me and email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shepastor: Honoring Two of our Clergy Sisters who “ROCK,” The Reverend Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook and The Reverend Courtney Clayton Jenkins”

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! The Lord is steadily opening doors that no man can shut and closing doors that no man can open (Revelations 3:8). Although we still have many more mountains to climb and rivers to cross, we must celebrate the tremendous blessings and opportunities that the Lord is making available for female clergy in 2011!

Today, Shepastor honors two distinguished, anointed, powerful, beautiful “clergy sisters” that represent a move of God in the land. The Reverend Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, pastor, author, conference founder, first female president of the historic Hampton Ministers Conference and advocate for human rights has just received another elevation from the Lord. She can now ad, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom to her list!

We also honor a local sister from the Greater Cleveland area, The Reverend Courtney Clayton Jenkins, a beautiful young clergywoman that made history as she became the first woman to be ordained at the historic Mt. Zion Congregational Church, in Cleveland, Ohio. She again made history this past Sunday when she, with all the glory and pageantry of a presidential inauguration was installed as the first African American female to become Senior Pastor of the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church – a church that recently lost its building to a major fire.

Read below to hear more of the blessings and victory in their stories…

Shepastor Honors Two of our Clergy Sisters, The Reverend Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook and The Reverend Courtney Clayton Jenkins

Excerpts taken from the American Baptist News Service, (ABNS)


Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, an American Baptist pastor and
motivational speaker, was confirmed by the United
States Senate for the post of United States
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious
Freedom on April 14, 2011.
The position of the
Nation’s top diplomat for religious freedom had
remained vacant since President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009.

On June 15, 2010, the White House originally announced that Obama had tapped Johnson Cook for the position. The nomination expired and Johnson
Cook was not confirmed. Her nomination was officially re-submitted on February 7, 2011.

"Dr. Johnson Cook will bring a passion for
religious liberty rooted in her American Baptist
heritage along with her keen administrative
skills and powerful gifts for communication to
this important position,"
said Dr. A. Roy Medley,
General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.

Johnson Cook served as the founding pastor of Bronx Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in New York. Before founding that congregation, from 1983 to 1996, Johnson Cook was pastor of the historic Mariners’ Temple Baptist Church in New York - which meets on the oldest Baptist worship site in Manhattan, dating to 1795. Mariners’ Temple and Bronx Christian Fellowship are both aligned with American Baptist Churches USA, and Johnson Cook’s ordination is through the denomination.

Johnson Cook holds degrees from Emerson College, Columbia University, Union Theological Seminary and United Theological Seminary. She is the owner of Charisma Speakers and has served since 1990 as a chaplain for the New York Police Department. She advised President Clinton on race relations and also advised Obama when he was a senator. The New York Times has called her one of the best preachers in New York and described her as “Billy Graham and Oprah rolled into one!”

The ambassador-at-large position was created in 1998 by the International Religious Freedom Act, to monitor violations of religious freedom abroad and to advise the State Department on how to respond.

(To read more, visit
World Faith News

Also, visit Dr. Johnson Cook’s website at

The Reverend Courtney L. Clayton Jenkins

On Sunday, June 5, 2011, The Reverend Courtney L. Clayton Jenkins was installed as the Pastor of the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church. I was blessed to be in attendance at the service. The evening was electric! A diverse representation of clergymen and clergywomen from across the Greater Cleveland area processed in and participated in the glorious celebration. An orchestra played as the community choir sang “Lift Up Your Heads O Ye Gates,” and the Negro Spiritual, “This Train.” Preachers, teachers, scholars and community leaders arrayed the pulpit to pray, speak blessings, encourage, advise, celebrate and ultimately install our dear sister!

Her congregation lovingly bestowed upon her a gorgeous robe, inclusive of a vestment that adorned their new church logo – a moving and meaningful act that spoke volumes of the journey they’ve already traveled as well as the road that is ahead. Her multicultural, multigenerational, inner-city congregation experienced a tremendous loss when their beautiful, historic edifice was struck by lightening (literally) and burned to the ground. They faced several options that included closing, merging with another congregation or moving forward. They chose to forge ahead, taking another leap of faith, calling a young, strong, no-nonsense, African American “hip-hop” preacher who also happens to be the “first-lady” of her husband’s congregation (The Reverend Corey Jenkins), another historic church in Cleveland – Shiloh Baptist Church!

The installation sermon was delivered by one of her closest mentors, spiritual fathers, and Civil Rights leader, The Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. who declared, “God is doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19) Pastor Courtney, speaking to the ministers and later to the congregation declared, “Today is the conclusion to the introduction…on Monday we work!”

Pastor Courtney was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio and is a 2004 graduate of Spelman College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In 2008, Rev. Jenkins received her Masters of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary with a concentration in Preaching and Congregational Ministry.

She previously served as the Designated Pastor of Shaker Heights Community Church, United Church of Christ. She sits on the board of directors for United Black Christians (UBC); helping them to develop leadership training for the next generation of church leadership. Additionally, she serves as a board member for the Local Church Ministries (LCM) board of directors. Rev. Jenkins was honored to serve as the youngest member of the search committee which selected the current General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. Rev. Jenkins has been done extensive work in church revitalization. Since accepting her calling to ministry, Rev. Jenkins has served several different congregation in a variety of capacities in an effort to support ecumenism.

In November 2001, Rev. Jenkins and a classmate founded HIP 4 HOP Ministries, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit ministry. HIP 4 HOP (Happiness In Praise 4 His Overflowing Presence) works with local churches and other organizations to develop youth and young adult ministries as well as ministry to the “un-churched” and “de-churched.” God is truly using HIP 4 HOP Ministries to prepare the next generation of citizens, leaders and conquers for the Kingdom of God.

She has worked intentionally on anti-racism training, youth rights of passage programs, teaching life skills to those of low-income and teaching African-American history as a form of building up community. Currently, Rev. Jenkins teaches a course on Life Skills to the imprisoned women of Northeast Pre-Release Center. Recently, Rev. Jenkins helped in coordinating a workshop for young adult dating violence in Harlem, NY. She also works diligently with her husband on workshops and seminars on family stabilization.

Rev. Jenkins works with a number of community based initiatives which help to develop pride in one’s community and the importance of giving back. Rev. Jenkins was recently appointed to serve on the board of directors for Project Love, a character-building education and training organization. Through workshops, community events, leadership training and media programs, Project Love empowers teens and adults to create a culture of kindness, caring and respect wherever they go.

Rev. Courtney Clayton Jenkins is married to her seminary sweetheart The Reverend Cory C. Jenkins, Senior Pastor of the historic Shiloh Baptist Church, and a 2003 graduate of Morehouse College. Rev. Cory and Rev. Courtney are excited about sharing a life of love and ministry together.
To read more, visit

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shepastor Highlights: Practical Advice for Overcoming Discouragement

Stuck in the mud, having to convince yourself to get out of bed, “Is this going to be the rest of my life?” Days! We’ve all encountered them and if you haven’t, just keep on living! As clergywomen, many of us have had our fair share of those days. Being people and promoters of faith, it is sometimes difficult for us to “be real” concerning our bouts with discouragement.

An August 2010 article in the New York Times entitled, Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work, declares,

The findings have surfaced with ominous regularity over the last few years, and with little notice: Members of the clergy now suffer from obesity, hypertension and depression at rates higher than most Americans. In the last decade, their use of antidepressants has risen, while their life expectancy has fallen. Many would change jobs if they could.

Public health experts who have led the studies caution that there is no simple explanation of why so many members of a profession once associated with rosy-cheeked longevity have become so unhealthy and unhappy. But while research continues, a growing number of health care experts and religious leaders have settled on one simple remedy that has long been a touchy subject with many clerics: taking more time off.

“We had a pastor in our study group who hadn’t taken a vacation in 18 years,” said Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, an assistant professor of health research at Duke University who directs one of the studies. “These people tend to be driven by a sense of a duty to God to answer every call for help from anybody, and they are virtually called upon all the time, 24/7.”

As cellphones and social media expose the clergy to new dimensions of stress, and as health care costs soar, some of the country’s largest religious denominations have begun wellness campaigns that preach the virtues of getting away. It has been described by some health experts as a sort of slow-food movement for the clerical soul.

In the United Methodist Church in recent months, some church administrators have been contacting ministers known to skip vacation to make sure they have scheduled their time, Ms. Proeschold-Bell said. The church, the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination, led the way with a 2006 directive that strongly urged ministers to take all the vacation they were entitled to — a practice then almost unheard of in some busy congregations.

“Time away can bring renewal,” the directive said, “and help prevent burnout.” (Taking a Break From the Lord’s Work By PAUL VITELLO
visit to read the entire article.)

Burnout and discouragement can go hand in hand. Today, Shepastor revisits words of wisdom from Pastor Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. His article entitled, “How I Get Up When I’m Feeling Down,” provides down to earth, biblically based guidance to help clergy rise above the stress, strain and discouragement frequently associated with ministry.

Read on and be blessed!

Shepastor highlights: “How I Get Up When I’m Feeling Down,” by Pastor Rick Warren

How I Get Up When I'm Feeling Down
By Rick Warren

I couldn't count the times I've wanted to resign in the past 21 years at Saddleback church. It has not been easy. Can you imagine setting up and taking down an enormous church every week for 16 years? That's what we did until we finally built our own building 5 years ago. It was quite tiring - emotionally and physically.Nowadays, discouragement usually hits me on Mondays. Even though we have a building now, preaching 5 weekend services still drains the life out of me. But I know I'm not alone.

In speaking to the Southern Baptist Convention, Jimmy Draper once commented, "We are a denomination of discouraged leaders." I think that's true of all denominations. After listening to the feedback of the 172,000 pastors who've attended a Purpose Driven Church seminar, I've concluded that most pastors struggle with chronic discouragement.But there is an antidote! I discovered it in the fourth chapter of Nehemiah years ago. It has been a lifesaver for me to remember 4 simple principles.

FIRST, I REST MY BODY: The fact is - you're a human and human beings need to do human things - like rest and play and relax and have hobbies. Psalm 127:2 says, "It's vain for you to sit up late and rise up early." Sometimes the most spiritual thing I can do is to just go to sleep!

SECOND, I REORGANIZE MY WORK: Nehemiah did this when they were rebuilding the wall. When his people got discouraged half way through the project, he reorganized them by families, making specific assignments along the wall. This is an important truth to remember. Sometimes, when you're discouraged, it's not that you're doing the wrong thing; but rather that you're doing it in the wrong way. You don't need to quit the ministry. You just need to reorganize how you are going about it and learn some new skills. Try a fresh approach. Attack it from a different angle. Learn. Grow. Reorganize!

THIRD, I REMEMBER THE LORD! Discouragement is an attitude and attitudes are always a choice. I get discouraged when I choose to think discouraging thoughts. But no one is forcing those thoughts on me. I can choose to focus on something else, (like God) if I want to.

FOURTH, I RESIST THE DEVIL: The great pastor R.G. Lee once said, "If you don't get up in the morning and meet the devil, you're just headed the wrong way." We are in a spiritual battle, and the devil doesn't want the kingdom of God to advance. As a pastor, you're on the front line, so you're going to get hit. The devil will attack you with every kind of thing he can think of to discourage you. He is the accuser of the brethren and he would love to neutralize you with discouragement. James 4:7 says, "Resist the devil!" Don't give in without a fight!

You can't control the cantankerous or carnal people in your church. But you can choose how you respond to them. And you can choose whether you're going to let it discourage you or not. There's an old phrase: "Tough times never last, but tough people do." It's true. So don't give up! God is not finished with you! Rest your body. Reorganize your work. Remember the Lord. And resist the Devil.

God bless!
Your friend, Rick Warren
Saddleback Church

To read further, visit,

Have you experienced or are you experiencing burnout? Are you battling discouragement? Have you triumphed over a valley experience in your ministry? Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris