Join us for a delicious dinner that will be filled with music and messages of hope and refreshing!
Special music guests ‘Midnight Lights’ from Peace River, AB.
We will be sharing what God has done through Refresh Ministries and will be honouring those who have served faithfully in ministry in the Peace Country area for many years.
The cost of attending is free, but an offering for Refresh Ministries will be taken at the banquet.
Please register here for your tickets to help us to how many to expect! Thank you!
Doors will open at the Pomeroy Hotel (located at 11633 100 St., Grande Prairie) at 6 pm. Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have . . firstname.lastname@example.org
*Pastors & Leaders Day*
Friday, Oct 13:
(Pre-Registration required- $40 includes catered lunch)
9:30 am – 4:00 pm Learn to Lead Transformational Prayer Meetings, United in Prayer
7:00 pm – 9:30 pm Revolution Cry: Citywide Strategic Prayer & Praise (by Praise24 Unity Team)
*How to Pray to Bring About Church & Region-Wide Change (Open Sessions)*
Please note this is open to the general public and all are welcome!
Saturday, Oct 14
(No pre-registration required; Freewill offering will be taken to cover costs)
9:30 am – 12:30 pm Daniel Henderson teaching
2:00 pm – 4:30 pm Corporate Prayer – led by Daniel Henderson
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Evening of extended Corporate Praise & Worship
“ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS” is a ministry retreat designed for Christian workers that will bring rest, spiritual rejuvenation and draw you closer to the One who gives rest.
This weekend of worship and learning will include daily sessions delivered by Dr. Lyndon Wall, founder of Refresh MINISTRIES.
There will be personal time for rest, prayer and connecting with the LORD.
Great food and fellowship with other believers is included!
The desire to have the presence of God among us in more real and tangible ways is a noble hunger of our souls.
Though we know that God’s people can always be assured of his presence, too often we have long periods of time where it seems his presence is missing.Christian history records many examples of personal, church and community transformation when God reveals himself in new and powerful ways.His presence can do more in seconds than we can accomplish through years of hard work.If you have this desire for the manifest presence of God for yourself or your church, here are a few insights to give wisdom to your quest.
My thoughts come out of the story in 1 Chronicles 13 and 15 where King David is attempting to bring the Ark of the Covenant (the symbol of the presence and glory of God) to Jerusalem.His experience can add insight to our efforts to make a way for the presence of God to be among us in a greater way.
First, it may help us to realize that not all people are looking for the presence of God to be among us.
“And let us bring back the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.”1 Chronicles 13:3 (ESV)
These words of King David point out a stark reality. God’s people are not always interested in having him near. We are often okay with his presence being at a distance. I have found that those who want a greater reality of God in their church are sometimes frustrated by the lack of interest on the part of other believers.This story reminds us that this has long been the case.
A second insight is that we must take care not to rely on our own skill and wisdom to bring the glory of God into our lives and assemblies.David gathered a large crowd to celebrate the return of the Ark to Jerusalem and prepared a new cart to carry it to its destination.
“They carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab…”1 Chronicles 13:7 (ESV)
David’s quest to bring the presence of God was noble.He made sure a new cart was prepared to carry the ark, no doubt the cart was made with the finest craftsmanship available. However, it was a lethal decision.As the cart progressed to Jerusalem the oxen became agitated and put the ark at risk.
“When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled.The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark.So he died there before God.”1 Ch. 13:9,10 (NIV)
David had a great idea and he prepared carefully for bringing the ark to Jerusalem, however he mistakenly tried to bring the presence of God to Jerusalem with his own creation and plan.A plan that turned out to be a killer. Uzza, acting to protect the ark, violated the commands of God and was struck down.
There is a human tendency to try to bring the presence of God into our lives and congregations by using our own plans and creations. This does not mean that we have bad motives or that we want something unholy, but the reality is God has planned for the entrance and greater reality of his presence in our lives.He has set forth principles to follow and going with his ways can keep us from unnecessary casualties.We likely won’t see people struck down like Uzza but the death of hope, faith and love can easily happen.Many people have become discouraged in their faith by unsuccessful attempts to bring in a greater reality of God’s presence. Sometimes those who use unsanctioned means may give up the quest all together. It is possible to have a well intended but ill-fated plan.
David soon learned that God had prescribed a way to bring the ark to Jerusalem.
“Then David said that no one but the Levites may carry the ark of God, for the LORD had chosen them to carry the ark of the LORD...” 1 Chronicles 15:2 (ESV)
Later, David speaking to the Levites said, “Because you did not carry it the first time, the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule.” 15:13. (ESV)God was happy to presence himself among the people but he reserved the right to say how his presence and glory should be handled.The same principle applies today.
The question then arises, how does God say his presence is to be invited?In the Old and New Testaments we find a similar theme that answers this question – repentance and prayer.Take for example the words of the Old Testament found in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (NIV)
Compare that with the New Testament scripture of Acts 3:19,20:
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”(ESV)
We also note that the disciples prepared themselves for Pentecost by giving themselves to prayer (Acts 1:14). Prayer was a major factor in the expansion of the church (Acts 2:42). The believers were filled with boldness after a time of prayer (Acts 4:31). Peter’s vision regarding the gospel going to the Gentiles took place while he was in prayer (Acts 10). And the fasting, praying and worshipping leaders of the church of Antioch heard the Lord calling them to send out Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 13:1-4).These few examples point us to the simple pattern that the presence of God was experienced anew when his people humbled themselves and prayed.
There is no doubt that the Lord calls us to utilize new strategies and make good plans. However, never let us be fooled into thinking that a new plan can replace the timeless principles which open the way to the renewed presence of God.In my 25 years of ministry I have noticed an endless stream of new ideas, strategies and plans being offered as the way to bring life to the church.New worship styles and new organizational strategies have brought more enjoyment and comfort to our congregations, and that has its place.However, one thing I have noticed is that seldom have the new plans brought a greater level of transformation in people’s lives or a greater experience of the presence and authority of God.Yes, people may enjoy church more but the presence of God is as distant as before.Like David, we may desire the presence of God among us, and like David we think we can get it there by building a new cart.Like David we can get a lot of people excited about bringing in the presence. But again and again, God providentially agitates the oxen to derail our well intended plans.Things may go well for a time but in the end God insists on us following his ways.
So I encourage each Christian who reads this article and who desires a greater presence of God in their life or ministry. You have a great desire, it is a godly desire.Just remember, a renewed sense of God’s presence is invited by repentance and prayer not a new creation of our own hands.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (2001), Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Publishing,
The Holy Bible, New International Version, (1984). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
I want to share with you one of the key dynamics in understanding the cause and experience of burnout.
About 16 years ago I went through burnout.Fortunately, the church I was pastoring gave me a sabbatical time to recover and Refresh.During that time I started to explore the dynamics of burnout. The things I learned led me to found a ministry called Refresh for helping people who are going through or in danger of going through burnout.So for the last 8 years I have listened to a lot of stories from people in ministry who are at various stages of ministry exhaustion.As I have heard their stories, I have noticed some factors and trends emerge.I’ve learned one of the keys to understanding the experience, is the loss of hope.
Let me unpack that assertion a bit.When we think of burnout, most often we look to external causes.For example we may say “My schedule is too packed, my health practices are not what they should be, the people I work with are really difficult” and so on.Now I understand that these are factors and sometimes the significant factor but I have found that often the cause goes deeper.As I have mentioned, that cause is a loss of hope.
Proverbs 13:12 “hope deferred makes the heart sick” but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016).
(Pr 13:12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
At the heart of burnout is deferred or denied hope.When hope is missing the heart becomes sick.A sick heart often affects our bodies as well.
There are a variety of hopes we have when we enter ministry.Hope of being used by God, hope of seeing lives changed, hope of helping the hurting or seeing people become believers in Christ.There are other hopes we have for ourselves personally, and for our families as well.One hope we have that perhaps most powerfully affects us in regard to burnout is the hope we have to change our world.
I have found again and again as I talk with people who are struggling with burnout is that they have lost hope in how they think God has called them to change the world.
We generally enter ministry with a vision and hope of how God is going to work through us to make a difference.A pastor may believe God has called him to preach sermons that bring life change yet Sunday after Sunday very little change is evident.A missionary may have a calling to rescue orphans in a needy place in the world yet find that the community they work in isn’t all that excited about their rescue plan.A youth pastor may believe he is called to reach unchurched youth in the community but finds little progress. Little by little the realities of ministry fly in the face of what a person believed they were called to do and the impact they were expecting to have. After a while this begins to erode hope.The confidence of a positive future ministry degrades into a fatalism of a lack of impact.A quiet sense of despair can begin to set in.This can result in a number of physical and mental dynamics.Loss of physical energy, chronic health problems, a loss of joy in going to work, a pessimistic view of people and of God easily develop in these times.
One of the interesting things I have found is that this switch from hope to despair can happen in in a moment.It just may take one discouraging comment or event that moves a person from hope to despair.It’s as if at that moment the valiant battle of faith the minister has been fighting is given up.It’s like the straw that broke the camel’s back.Often when I ask a person if they can pinpoint the moment when it seems their burnout began, they often can identifiy it quite quickly.In that moment it’s like they switched from hope to despair. It’s a moment where the hopes of their calling look impossible to ever be fulfilled.
The recovery from burnout is a process.Usually physical rest is essential, a time of being still and in solitude with God so you can hear the gentle quiet Spirit of God is a must and a willingness for honest reflection at how you got to this point is unavoidable.
If you are at the point of burnout or in recovery, here are some starting questions to consider to help you start on your way.
First, ask yourself….
What is my understanding of my call to impact the world?See if you can write it outin a sentence.
A second question is…
What is my hope level of this happening?Rate on a scale of 1-10.One meaning little hope, 10 fullness of confidence.
Thirdly ask How has your ministry experience affected your belief in yourself, other people and God?Has there been a sliding toward negative attitudes in any of these three categories?
A fourth helpful consideration is consider the difference between faithfulness and impact.Which was your calling to?Often when we are called to a certain ministry, we add our own assupmtions about how that ministry is going to change the world.When our assumptions don’t pan out we move easily to despair.
Fiflly, reflect specifically on how your practical belief about God has changed? I have yet to meet a person in burnout who has denied their professed faith, they will still affirm their doctrinal stand.However, there is often a change in their practical belief.So for example, a person may affirm God provides but practically they may believe “he doesn’t provide for me.” A person may affirm that God is all wise, but practically believe “in my life he doesn’t know what he is doing.”The pressing and disappointing circumstances of ministry often lead to a shift of what a person really believes about the Lord.These shifted beliefs are often at the heart of the despair and lost hope.
Lastly, ask God to show you how to move forward in preventing and recovering from this loss of hope.This will most likely include at least two aspects.The first aspect is that of repentance. Though we don’t like to hear or admit it, we often have attitudes, practices we need to change our mind about and seek God’s forgiveness.A second aspect is that of our practical beliefs.If we practically believe, for example, that God is wise but not in our life, that idea will have to be informed with the truth of scripture through meditation, prayer and the support of others.To leave this unattended, will keep us locked in burnout and in the clutches of hopelessness.
The wonderful news is that there is an escape from the burnout trap.God is able to restore your hope as our practical belief finds its bearings in the truth of God as revealed in Scripture.Times of refreshing await those who seek the Lord.