Thursday, 08 February 2018 10:20

Relax and Back Off

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Last Friday I came home from work and was struck with a strange emotion, panic. That was unusual. I had not felt such emotion in some time. We Christians are, in theory, supposed to have it all together. And we pastors are to be an example to everyone else. Right!

My week had been hectic, something every night, and I was facing two funerals and a church anniversary on Saturday. The busy week left me struggling with my sermon for Sunday. My preparation did not seem to flow. In addition, I had a two-hour training event facing me on Sunday night. I felt un-prepared for that event,

So, where do you start when you feel panicky. My first step was to relax and back off. I was too consumed, way too close. I had to back off and put everything in perspective. Putting things into perspective required that I spend time praying and affirming God’s involvement in my life.

God does not need perfect sermons. God does not need perfect preparation. This is not to downplay these actions. We should strive to create sermons with excellence. We should always be prepared. However, we need to be reminded, it is not about us. No matter how perfect the sermon or intensive the preparation, fruit comes from God. When I relax, back off, and pray I am putting my situation into context.

I am reminded of the occasion when the Israelite people were trapped between the waters of the Red Sea and the approaching armies of Pharoah, King of Eqypt. The people were panicky. The Bible says they “lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them.” (Exo. 14:10) A few verses later we read where Moses put things into perspective. He told the people “stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.” (Exo. 14:13) Moses’ words reminded the people to trust God.

After praying I went for a jog. I handled my panic with prayer but then I attended to my physical needs. Many times, we neglect the physical aspect of our condition. A good session of exercise will help us relax and clear the mind. You may not be a jogger, but you can go for a walk, go hunting, fishing or whatever clears your mind. This is what Elijah did in I Kings 19. He took a retreat and attended to his physical needs by sleeping and eating.

Finally, after praying, putting things into perspective, and managing my emotional and physical health I returned to my sermon preparation and the teaching session that was rapidly approaching. God places teaching material and ideas in our minds that can only be secured by relaxing and trusting Him. Usually when I question whether I have something to say, I discover God has placed rich lessons in my heart that need to be dug up through relaxed meditation and prayer.

By the way, the sermon and teaching event turned out well. I had something to say and I felt good about the presentations.

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