I'm tired. It's a good tired, but I'm tired nonetheless. This has been the busiest four months of ministry I've had in several years. I've been with several you will know from the blog world. I've been in church meetings with Wade Burleson, Kevin Bussey, and Art Rogers, along with a number of churches and pastors you would be just as privileged to know. I've done four day conferences on renewal, week-end family life conferences, multiple day staff retreats on principles of staff relationships, and finally, a three day pastors conference in Denver next week as I preach a four day meeting at Arapahoe Road Baptist church for the fifth year in a row. It has been extremely enjoyable for me and, I trust, for the churches also. A measure of genuine renewal has taken place often. Not everytime, but often, and, I'm tired.
For the next forty days, ending around our forty eighth wedding anniversity on May 28th, I'm not going to post on my blog, prepare a sermon, write on any theological issue, debate any Convention problem, or generally do anything that smacks of my work. My tank is empty and to refill it I will need to do something exactly opposite to what I do in ministry.
I AM going to work my office into shape, [I've built a new office in my back yard] clean the garage and attic, take several friends to breakfast on me, [Chuck, Rick, Bob, Rob, Dennis, and others] take Mary her first cup of Starbucks coffee at her office each morning, [Her office has been moved to one three times bigger than where she was.] take her to lunch every day, and read lots of fiction books and very few theological ones.
I'm going to get my motorcycle ready for a two thousand mile trip the latter part of June, clean my truck up, and generally do little of any consequence to anyone except me personally. [It's not like I expect this to matter but to a few friends who read my irregular blog anyway.] That sounds like a bit of heaven to me right now.
Then I'll be ready. Ready for what? Anything. Blogging. Teaching. Going back on the road. In other words, I will have my tank refilled and ready to go. This is something I've learned through the years and, while pastors can't take forty days every year, perhaps they can take a couple of weeks and do the opposite of what they do in ministry. It's good for the long haul. It lightens the load and retreads the tires. It is just plain fun. I'm doing it again, and, at my age and station in life, I can do it a little longer. Growing older does have its perks.
I have followed the formula of diverting daily, withdrawing weekly and abandoning annually for several years now in order to keep things perking spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally. [With Mary and others.] In other words, to avoid burnout. Burnout happens. Even/especially to ministers. The formula works. I'm sane, [I think] I enjoy life. Mary and I still fight but the real passion is used other ways between us and we're still together. I recommend that formula. I'm at the abandonment phase for 2007. That He is my life and rest is understood. This is just one of the practical ways He keeps me in the reality of His Grace.
At the risk of being blatently self serving here, if you have a need in your church or people for a specialized time or intensive teaching in a particular direction such as their walk with the Lord, family relationships, [marriage/parentings skills] prayer, warfare, or any aspect of the grace life that forty years of pastoring//learning/teaching would give some degree of insight into, [Perhaps more from failure and learning than anything and perhaps very little insight into some things.] let me know. I'm not an evangelist in the popular sense. I'm an evangelist to the evangelized. My message and ministry are for the building of the saints...of all ages. If you need this kind of thing let me know.
Were you to desire to check out my methods, morals, or message simply e-mail any of the above mentioned men I've been with, OR, go to www.paulburleson.com [Disregard the beard in the picture...it's long gone.] and see the possibilities. You COULD call Mary and ask her. You'd get the REAL scoop that way. You can e-mail me off that web-site if you're convinced I'm OK. It would be a personal delight to be with you. My calendar is NOT up to date at all, [and it won't be until AFTER the forty days]] so some dates [few] are already taken for the fall. But I'll bet we could settle on a date and, by the way, you can do that during the forty days since I'll still be checking my e-mails daily. I don't want to cut myself off from civilization.
But the meeting time will need to be the summer or fall as the next forty days are SCHEDULED. I'm going to take the time off. Why? I'm tired. [I think I've already mentioned that] :)