We are in 2020. Everybody’s talking about the pandemic. COVID-19 is everywhere people are dying, people are sick, and it’s tough. As a pastor, we have to have messages that are relatable, that can bring people up out of those horrible environments that are suffering from coworkers, family members dealing with this dreaded disease. It’s all around us. It’s on every news channel, you’re hearing it 24 hours a day, social media is everywhere. From a pastoral perspective, I’m supposed to always be in carriage up on cloud nine, hanging out with Jesus. But it’s not always that way. This year has been tough. I’m talking about death, not necessarily COVID-19. But death in itself. We’ve lost people in our assembly, that were at a ripe old age. We know that death is inevitable that you’re going to go through that portion of life, and you’re going to meet your maker. But it’s not good for those that are left behind. We have to deal with the loss.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to bury my pastor’s wife. I remember 2006 burying my pastor. And that was difficult. Then I get a call on Friday, ‘hey, our mom’s in hospital. It’s not looking good. We need you to pray’. We have these times we go to the hospital, as a pastor, you talk to people, before you know it, they’re doing well and they’re checked out. But this is one of those times where they don’t get to check out. I get the call and I go to the hospital. I pull into the parking lot and I see the daughter crying, the kids crying, the grand-kids crying. And we get the news that she passed away. It was tough. My spiritual mom. She nurtured me from when I received Christ into my life and the baptism of the Holy Spirit in water baptism, all those things. There she was through every phase of that spiritual wall. She was there for a lot of natural things – the birth of my son, the marriage to my wife, all of these stages in my life, she was right there, a pillar in my family, much like my natural mom. We got to do the funeral and I tell my family, ‘hey, we got to get out of town. I just can’t deal with this today. I can’t deal with business, I can’t deal with the church, I just need to get out of town, talk to a couple of my spiritual fathers in the Lord, get some encouragement from them’. I took the family to the mountains, about hour and a half away, to just hide out for a day. I got my thoughts together, and, rejuvenated, came back, got ready for the Sunday service, which was on the eve of the funeral. I had to prepare for that, to preach a message for that and not have a funeral before the funeral. These are things that we have to juggle. These are things that we have to deal with. And we can do that in a sensible way if we have enough balance in our life.

One of the things that I want to encourage you to do is find that balance, you have to know when to turn the switch off. To get away. To get out of town, you got to find out when you need to get into a book and read up on something that you’re not even comfortable with dealing with yourself. For me its grief. I personally don’t have a big problem with grief. But when I’m dealing with family members or church members or friends that are dealing with grief, I need to be able to relate to them. So sometimes I need to stick my nose in a book, Google some things to be relatable. And so, we all have to find those balances in our lives. And it’s not always easy. But it is doable. You can do it. I want to encourage you today to find the time to get the balance. Jesus went away to pray after the death of John the Baptist, he had to pull away. It’s right there in the book of Matthew, John the baptizer has been beheaded. Let’s get away.

Jesus takes his disciples away to pray. So, you need to have that time to get rejuvenated in God to have those refreshing times. If you don’t, it can lead into a time of depression. And many pastors are in the pulpit preaching under the cloud of depression. They’re walking in a fog. And they can’t really get through that to minister to you effectively, or to others effectively because of the fog of the depression. I’ve written a new book called Two Wives In The Parsonage, and one of the chapters is all about depression, just want to read a little clip from the book. How to deal with depression, you know, because of the false pretense of living in a glass house, there’s a lot of added stress that comes along, mentally, because everybody’s watching. This is something that’s tough. Everybody’s watching you living in that glass house. I’d be glad to work with you and talk with you more on a one-to-one basis if you’d like to get to that next level. But if you just want to get the book, read through the book, I’d appreciate you doing that as well.

God bless you.