Monday, May 4, 2009

Preacher Hangover

Today is Monday. How can I tell? PHS. (Preacher Hangover Syndrome) A fellow once asked Jerry Vines why he took Friday as his day off, instead of Monday. Jerry said, “Man, there is no way I’d take my day off on a day when I feel so bad.” Apropos, Jerry. Amen. My only question would be, “You get a day off?”

What is PHS? Many people do not realize that the preaching event is spiritual warfare. When the man of God stands in the pulpit, he is battling in the heavenlies. This is draining upon body and soul. It is tiring. When the body or soul is not at its peak, it can be absolutely draining. That is PHS.

I was at the hospital Thursday when it started. A slight hack, hack. By bedtime I new what was coming. The sinus pressure, then drainage. I awoke Friday with a sore throat and a dry cough. It worsened Saturday, and by Sunday morning, it was a full blown case of sinusitis.

I hack and coughed through two sermons. The spirit was willing, but the body was weak. I have spent too much of today feeling bad. That’s the pastor’s life of course. And don’t you dare think I am complaining! People don’t stop hurting, grieving, mourning, or getting sick because I am any of those things. So we persevere. We do not grow weary in doing well. (Or at least trying too.)

I used Isaiah 40:31 as part of my Esther 5 study last night. Here it is in the King Jimmy. (From my feeble memory banks)

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as on eagles; they shall run, and not grow weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (KJV)

I am waiting Lord. Chuck Swindoll says (Why is it that everything he says is so quotable?!), that when we wait upon the Lord, 4 things happen. 1) Our strength is renewed. While we wait we are re-energized for the battle. 2) We gain a better perspective. A birds-eye view, if you will. The eagle sees things from a perspective that is above our own. 3) We are given a supernatural determination. You can make it through the darkest days with out giving up hope; believing that there is something good and worth fighting for. That these people you have been called to love and shepherd are worth the weariness. 4) Perseverance. Walk and not faint means that you have a stick-to-itiveness. That you are able to go the distance, to fight the good fight, to finish the course.

What is PHS? It is giving your all and then some. It is being weary, and not slowing down. It is feeling lower than dirt, and still answering the phone, still making the visit, still sharing Christ, and still feeling incredibly blessed that you get to.



He Is Our Path

The story is told of a man on an African safari deep in the jungle. The guide before him had a machete and was whacking away the tall weeds and thick underbrush. The traveler, wearied and hot, asked in frustration, “Where are we? Do you know where you are taking me? Where is the path?!” The seasoned guide stopped and looked back at the man and replied, “I am the path.”

I love that story, perhaps mostly because I ask that question from time to time. I have found that living in a small community in South Carolina can be like a safari. “Do you know where I can find Cassatt-Junction Road?” “Sure! Go to where uncle Lem used to have his farm. Turn right by that oak tree where Sally Hoskins was hung by the Yankees back in 1865. If you come to the sight of the Great Barn Fire of ’56, you’ve gone too far. Turn around and go back.” And who can trust the GPS out here. If you are ever coming home from Lake Wateree at night, for heaven’s sake don’t trust the GPS! It has no idea about dirt roads or wooden bridges!

Have you ever asked God if He was sure He knew where He was taking you? I have, and God’s answer is the same as the safari guide’s...“I am the path.” Even if God did tell me what path I was on, I would be as lost as if I were looking for Cassatt-Junction Road. God sees the Big Picture, and I don’t.

God also saw fit to send me a Guide, however. Jesus promised in John 14, “I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit who will help you and always be with you. The Spirit will show you what is true.” (CEV) The Holy Spirit says, “I am the Path.” Whatever storms of life may rage around us, we have an advocate with the Father. No matter how confusing the directions sometimes seem, (where Uncle Lem used to have his farm) Jesus promises us that He “will not leave us orphans.” (John 14:18 NKJV)




This is a tuit. Guard
it with your life as tuits
are hard to come by, especially
the round ones. This is an indispen-
sable item. It will help you become
a more efficient worker. For years we
have heard people say , “I’ll do it as
soon as I get a Round Tuit.” Now
that you have one, you can ac-
complish all those things
you put aside until
you got a Round