Divorce has become a major plot line in entertainment today. Although we all know the divorce rate is over 50% in the USA, I have observed that many divorces occur with couples who have been married well over 20 years and are each over 45 years of age. This has astonished me.
There are certain seasons in my life when ministry and other responsibilities are so difficult and my schedule so demanding that I feel like I am doing violence to my soul. (It’s as if I were taking a knife and intentionally sticking it into my body.)
As I analyze what I do and how I feel during these seasons, I have come up with several ways I have done violence to my soul. (Whether or not these seasons can always be avoided is not the point of this article.)
As a pastor for more than 30 years I have seen many people serving in ministry burned out in the name of Christ, then fall away from their purpose. This is even very common among senior leaders, but it can be avoided. In the past several years, I have personally experienced my mind being tired, requiring me to pull back for several months lest I burn out! The following are signs that show whether you are on the verge of burnout or breakthrough:
Through the five plus decades I have lived in NYC I have observed many kinds of people. For the sake of this article I will break these people down into two categories: those with a victim mentality and those with a victor mentality.
Those with the victim mindset interpret the world totally different from those with the victor mindset. The former views an obstacle as an unfair challenge and the latter view obstacles as an opportunity to overcome. You can also say that in American politics, candidates attempt to appeal to one group or the other. To the victims, they pledge their intervention and to the victors they promise opportunity without as much government intervention and rules.
The older and more mature in the Lord I become, the more I have learned to simplify my life and personal goals. Years ago my personal mission statement, vision statement, and goals were about two pages long. Now they are all one short sentence: “Love God and love people.”
We are all aware there is a dearth of fathers in our land that is cursing our American civilization.
The millions of men in prison confirm this. An overwhelming majority of them have never had a normal relationship with their biological fathers.
In this covenant-breaking society and culture it is very common when those involved in a conflict or disagreement respond in ways that are not conducive for healthy relationships. Unity is so fragile that Jesus had to pray that His glory would be revealed in it (John 17:21-23).
As a pastor who has made a living observing human nature and behavior the past 30+ years, I have seen people who are unconsciously driven by forces of negative human behavior that lead them to self-destruct. Among such behavior is emotional deprivation disorder, a term used by noted psychologist Conrad Baars in his important book Feeling & Healing Your Emotions. This is one of the most common negative human behaviors that I have seen.
All of us have numerous areas in our lives that are broken and out of place. This is the result of a chain reaction through multiple generations due to the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve.
Although all human beings have been confronted with the guilt of their own sin (whether they have heard the gospel or not, the Holy Spirit was sent to convict the world of sin; read John 16:7-8), those of us who are believers have responded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
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