The Common (Yet Neglected ) Problem of Burnout

In September of 2016, Crossway asked their readers to answer some questions related to burnout, “a state of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion caused by living at too fast a pace for too long, or by living with too many stresses in our lives.”

In total, over six thousand people filled out the survey, offering a fascinating (albeit sobering) look into this common yet often neglected problem—a problem that affects our society, our workplaces, our churches, and our homes.

In addition to viewing the infographic below, you can also download a PDF version (one pagemultiple pages) for easy sharing and printing.

2017 Reset Burnout Infographic.6

Check Out


A Letter from Kabwata: We have lost the sense of God | Conrad Mbewe
Listen to this passionate please from Pastor Mbewe:

O for a generation of young people who will once again have the atmosphere of eternity upon their souls. O for a band of young adults who will have a profound sense of God that will make them to cry as Isaiah cried, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” O for authentic biblical Christianity to once again permeate our churches. When God raises up such a generation, we will rest assured that the future of the church militant is in good hands, for the people who know their God will do exploits for him. Until then we should weep in prayer and refuse to be comforted. We have lost the sense of God!

Working Women Are Leaving the Church. Here’s How to Bring Them Back| Diane Paddison, Institute for Faith, Work and Economics
“It is possible to stem the tide of working women leaving the church. See that working woman, acknowledge her, and provide opportunities for her to connect, learn, and serve. With the church’s help, she can transform her family, her workplace, her church, and her community with the gospel.”

This Clinic Has Rescued 30,000 Babies. Every One Has A Beautiful Story | Jay Hobbs, The Federalist
“Ten years into Heartbeat of Miami’s history, Avila has seen more than 30,000 women who were vulnerable to abortion instead choose life for their babies.”

To the Unknown Pastor | Jordan Standridge, The Cripplegate
“I’ve often heard Paul Washer and Steve Lawson say things like, ‘the best pastors in the world pastor small churches and no one has ever heard of them,’ and I’m not sure I ever agreed with them until now.”

Oddly Fashioned Heroes | Mike Brooks, For The Church
Similar subject to previous post above:

More than likely, you and I are the products of this quiet faithfulness. We stand on the shoulders of men and women who dug their heels in where God had planted them. Plodding men and women whose names will never grace the covers of books found in retail. Men and women whose online followers may never number in the thousands, or even the hundreds for that matter. Men and women whose greatest one-liners will grace only the ears of a few. And yet, these are the men and women God uses. Over and again, far and above what our minds could possibly conceive, He uses them.

3GT Episode 30: Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. But How? | Gentle Reformation
This episode of the Gentle Reformation Podcast answers questions about how to keep the Sabbath like Jesus did.

The Jerusalem Chamber
Another podcast for your listening pleasure and spiritual edification:

The Jerusalem Chamber is a unique collaborative effort between pastors Shawn Anderson, Kyle Borg, Nathan Eshelman, and Joel Wood to provide a round table discussion on the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Making the Wisest Use of Our Time | Paul Tautges, Counseling One Another
“Every week, each of us has 168 hours. If we were to try to account for those hours, we may allocate about 56 hour s to sleep and 40-60 hours for employment, including commutes. That leaves 50-70 hours/week for shopping, education, family, church, and household responsibilities. Once all of that is factored into the equation, the Wall Street Journal recently concluded the average American still has 5 hours and 13 minutes a day for leisure activities. That should lead us to ask ourselves a few questions.”

Dispel the Myths About Down Syndrome | John Knight, Desiring God
“People with Down syndrome, in particular, need to be recognized and celebrated as valuable by Christ’s church because societies and governments around the world do not see them as wonderfully made people:”

Kindle Deals

Preaching the Whole Counsel of God: Design and Deliver Gospel-Centered Sermons by Julius Kim ($3.99)

A Basic Guide to Eschatology: Making Sense of the Millennium by Millard J. Erickson ($2.99)


Inclusion and Exclusion of Special Needs in the Church
Check out this discussion I had with Kara Dedert about church community and special needs families. Kara shares her journey with a special needs child at her website, and has created an online community for for moms of children with special needs called the Live Better Members Club.

10 Mistakes Churches Make with Special Needs Families

Yesterday I took part in an online webcast with Kara Dedert and her support group for families with special needs, Live Better with Disability. The subject was Inclusion and Exclusion in the Church. The aim was to talk about how persons with disabilities are an indispensable part of the church and how we can work that out practically.

As I told Kara, I have much to learn in this area and even while preparing for this seminar I felt convicted about how much more we should be doing in our own congregation. Here’s what I put together for the webcast. I hope it will serve the church and special needs families by identifying areas for growth and action. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what else can be done in this important area.

What mistakes do Churches make when it comes to special needs families?

Inaccessibility: Difficult to access main sanctuary or other facilities and services.

Inflexibility: Resistance to adjust service times and format, youth activities.

Impatience: Frustration with inevitable service disruptions, but also staying with the family through difficult seasons.

Insensitivity: Comments, conversations, and decisions that unintentionally wound special needs (SN) parents and families.

One-sidedness: Exclusive focus on how the church can minister to SN families rather than also how they can minister to church.

Why do churches make these mistakes?

Lack of knowledge: They simply are not aware that what they are doing/not doing is having such an impact.

Lack of theology: An absence of a theology of disability, or a poorly developed one.

Lack of leadership: The leaders are not being good examples in this area.

Lack of vision: Failure to cast positive vision for serving SN children and their families

Lack of initiative: Waiting for problems/complaints to arrive rather than seeking feedback and input.

Lack of money: Some of the accommodations and adjustments are expensive.

Lack of people: There are not enough of the right kind of people to offer some services.

Lack of love: Self-centeredness that focuses on what the church is losing by welcoming SN families in worship services and church activities.

Lack of communication: Discussions and decisions that are not communicated or explained.

Lack of specialization: Educational programs that take little account for SN kids.

What can churches do to make things easier for SN families?

Knowledge: Ask for input from SN families. Consult with other churches on what they have done.

Theology: Read Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses our Brokenness to Display His Grace

Leadership: Leaders model and exemplify attitude, words, and actions towards SN families.

Vision: Cast care for SN families as part of God’s and church’s mission. Also the role of SN kids and families in serving the church and others.

Initiative: Regular scheduled survey of SN families to see if any problems have arisen. Not just when problems arise. Ask about biggest challenges/needs

Money: Raise and allocate funds for graduated program of building accessibility into the church and also paying for respite care.

People: Identify and train people to offer suitable care in nursery and for “buddy” services. Also for home respite. Remember non-SN kids in family.

Love: Teach people how to care for and include SN families. Address failures. Provide opportunities for date-nights and marriage-refreshing. Express affirmation and appreciation for the families.

Communication: Consider consequences of decisions on SN families, explain the “why?” behind the “what?”

Tailored programs: Including one-on-one discipleship of SN kids.

What other mistakes have you seen churches make in this area, and how can churches better serve the special needs community?

Check out


Announcing The Winners Of The 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards | Fast Company
Celebrate human creativity and enjoy some entrepreneurial inspiration.

Preaching about race: Keeping the big picture in view | ERLC
“A genuinely Christian attitude toward ethnic and racial diversity is not one of toleration, but celebration. The inclusion of ethnically diverse peoples in the Church is God’s intention, fulfilling his gospel promise (Gen. 12, 15; Eph. 2, 4; Rev. 5, 7). The glory of the triumphantly consummated kingdom of Christ will be demonstrated by the multi-ethnic diversity of worshippers from every tribe, language, people and nation. These categories must help frame our sermons.”

Why I Love the Psalms | Robert Godfrey
“I was converted to Christ as a junior in high school through the ministry of a church that primarily sang the Psalms. So, for many years, I have lived with the Psalms and have come to know some things about them. But only in recent years have I found them profoundly engaging and fascinating.”

Authority and vulnerability: 2 necessary ingredients for redemptive leadership
“What is your natural, tempting go-to response when under pressure in a leadership position? Exert more power? Withdraw? Or suffer silently in self-pity? What does biblical leadership look like when those under you aren’t following? How do you put together both Matthew 28:18-19 and Philippians 2:3-8—all authority and ultimate humility—in a single leader? ”

Kindle Books

For your non-Kindle book buying needs please consider using Reformation Heritage Books in the USA and Reformed Book Services in Canada. Good value prices and shipping.

Preaching and Preachers by Martyn Lloyd-Jones $3.99.

Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself by Joe Thorn $3.99. My favorite small book.

The World of Jesus: Making Sense of the People and Places of Jesus’ Day by William Marty $0.79.

New Book

Discipleship With Monday in Mind: How Churches Across the Country Are Helping Their People Connect Faith and Work

Two Books for Women Struggling with Pornography

There are plenty of books for guys who struggle with porn. Sometimes, they make passing reference to women who have fallen into this habit, but it’s often assumed that men are the main offenders.

Sadly, research statistics are showing increasingly large numbers of women who have become porn addicts. Or maybe they are just admitting it more. Last week I chatted with Tim and Aileen Challies about what resources they would recommend for Christian women ensnared by this sin. Among many helpful suggestions, they pointed me to the following two books:

Purity is Possible by Helen Thorne.

Beggar’s Daughter by Jessica Harris.

Having read them both through, I’d recommend Purity is Possible to any Christian woman struggling with lust, porn, fantasy, etc. It’s theologically sound and perceptive, it’s short and to the point, it’s practical and hopeful, it’s biographical and personal, and it’s beautifully Christ-centered.

I also see an important role for Beggar’s Daughter. It’s more of a biography and is much more transparent and revealing. That’s why I would only recommend it to women who were deep and long into porn and fantasy. It would give them someone to truly identify with and give them hope. But I wouldn’t advise it for someone whose sin in this area has been short and limited, as there’s the danger that some of the details in the book could inadvertently entice to sin or plant ideas that were not there before.

The Big Question
That raises a big question: How much personal details should books like these contain? If an author only speaks vaguely and generally about these sins and their battles with it, then sinners in the pit of porn cannot identify with it and find hope. Also, the sense of shame is deepened as “we’re not allowed to talk about these sins.” That drives further secrecy and hiding.

However, if an author goes too far in revealing too much, then innocent minds can be corrupted, seeds of sin that were never previously thought of can take root, and curiosity can stimulate further experimentation.

That’s why I wouldn’t recommend either book to women who are not falling into this sin. But for those who are (or who are helping those who are)  Purity is Possible would be my first choice. It strikes the best balance between helpful revealing and careful reserve. However, if a woman is deep and long into porn, then I’d add Beggar’s Daughter to her reading.

Needless to say, I don’t think any man should ever take on such counseling assignments alone. Ideally, a strong mature Christian woman should take the lead and always be present if the pastor has to get involved.

Learning to Live a Grace-Paced Life

How do we live a grace-paced life in a burnout culture?

An Interview with David Murray from Crossway on Vimeo.

  • 0:00 – Who did you write Reset for?
  • 2:31 – What do you mean by the phrase “grace-paced life”?
  • 6:28 – What would you say to a young church planter who desires to live radically and burn out for Jesus?
  • 9:57 – Does your book include practical, tactile, next-step action points?
  • 13:46 – In what ways is your book specifically targeted at men?
  • 14:44 – How do you hope the Lord uses your book in the lives of those who read it?

Read more in Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture.