The Renew in You: How to Refresh, Restart, and Reset with God

Well, folks. We’ve made it.

The summer solstice, the midyear equinox, the halfway point, whatever July is to you, we’re here and still in one piece. Who would have thought making it this far would feel like such an accomplishment?

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Memes aside, as some of know, this is a special time of year for me – a time when I reflect and consider adjustments for the year moving forward; however, this year, I want to shake things up a bit. Rather than share reflections on lessons learned, I want to focus today’s post on finding rest through refreshing, restarting, and resetting with God. Yes, I get how the series sounds similar. Outside of our personal computers, I bet most of us use these terms interchangeably. Still, there are critical differences worth discussing as they relate to our emotional and spiritual well-being. As such, I encourage you to keep an open mind and a sensitive heart as we explore the depths of this topic.

Without further ado, let’s dive in…

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  1. Refresh

When I say ‘refresh’, what immediately comes to mind? An emerald beach resort, snow-covered slopes, a sparkling beverage?

Okay, okay…so these are some of my favorite things. But to an extent, you can see the common denominator. Generally, when we consider what refreshes us, our minds gravitate to what instantly gratifies us. Whatever can elevate our spirits in the heat of the moment, whatever can distract us from despair, chances are we receive it as refreshing.

Yet, while there is an interim component to refreshment, from a biblical standpoint, refreshment isn’t refreshment without sustaining momentum. For example, if you’re in a desert and find an oasis, the kiss of water to your lips is just as much refreshment as the long-term fill you carry on with. While the express relief is undeniable, it’s made more powerful through the restoration of heart, soul, mind, and strength to its original design.

Perhaps this is why the theme is threaded through all Scripture:

“And I will bring a piece of bread to refresh and sustain you; after that you may go on, since you have come to your servant.” And they replied, “Do as you have said.” ~ Genesis 18:5 (ESV)

“The law of the Lord is perfect (flawless), restoring and refreshing the soul; The statutes of the Lord are reliable and trustworthy, making wise the simple.” ~ Psalm 19:7 (ESV)

“He refreshes and restores my soul (life); He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” ~ Psalm 23:3 (ESV)

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].” ~ Matthew 11:28 (ESV)

“Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 (MSG)

Upon further review, these passages tell me four things:

  1. Refresh is not only a footstool to rest, but can be the rest itself ¹.
  2. Refresh is often the next step towards righteousness (in particular resisting fear, receiving grace, and stilling our inner being).
  3. Refresh is designed to lead us towards places of freedom, health, and unity.
  4. Refresh is centered in the abiding of God’s nature.

Therefore, if you ever feel like a stalled webpage, don’t just receive God’s ‘refresh’ as momentary rest, but embrace it as sustenance taking you deeper into His love. ‘Cause truth is: Refresh is not simply what you take in, but what you allow to put out. All the more reason to rest in knowing even when there’s a setback, there’s a kickback with God to pursue. 

  1. Restart

Rolling with the browser analogy, as many Mac users know, a ‘refresh’ is not always a surefire cure-all to the ‘death spiral’.

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Sometimes, you need a hard restart to reboot your system to access files more quickly; think ‘have you turned it on and off again‘ but next level.

Assuming you can relate, consider the parallels to mental peace. Like refresh, restart implies calibration, alignment, and engagement to a higher form and by proxy, an ideal intent. Granted, a restart is more disruptive but it can also lead to more enlightening outcomes.

Take this year, for instance. These days there’s no question we’re experiencing unprecedented disruption. While we’re not encountering radical crises such as world wars or great depressions, we’re still seeing almost every nation being impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On the surface, this captures a historic screenshot, but digging deeper, look at what it’s inspiring. Despite so much on hold, we’re seeing people revising their priorities, pursuing dormant dreams, and encouraging their way out of complacency. Even in the most unlikely scenarios, people are beginning to care again at fundamental levels once taken for granted. An exciting, if not, thrilling development in a year many have thrown the towel on.

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As for how we ‘restart’, I submit we first take inventory of what we’re clinging to. Ask yourself, ‘What and where are those internal points of desperation? Are they guiding me to Jesus or pulling me away?‘ Be honest and know your wilderness is not the problem, but rather your commitment to the road God has made in it. From there, remember the secret of being content in every situation is God as your strength providing all you need for good work, faith, and life in abundance. Where you need to ask for purity, ask for purity. Where there’s past to surrender, surrender it.  Where there’s pleasure in stronghold, ask God to orientate your perspective. No matter where you are, what situation you’re in, you can pray, ‘God, I long to see not only what you see, but how you see‘ so I may not lose sight of your faithfulness and the ‘why’ to which I am called.

Of course, this is just a proposed template; obviously, be Spirit-led and discerning in your approach. For now, I pray and trust this guide can help start your ‘restart’.

  1. Reset

Finally, we come to reset, which if you think is similar to ‘restart’, you’d be correct. To reset is to essentially restart, but with one caveat: A reset requires change; a restart doesn’t.

You see, unlike the glorified mulligan that is a restart, a reset goes beyond a redo and into the realm of upgrade. To upgrade anything, you have to put it all on the table. Every detail, every piece, every character…every little thing must be re-examined in the spirit of inevitable revision.

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Now, if you think I’m taking a scenic route in describing repentance, I’m not trying to per se, though it is certainly applicable. Rather, my takeaway with ‘reset’ is the context of the action. Specifically, all of us should regularly take time to get away with God – to retreat with Him for the sake of being intentionally disrupted.

Consider this the full-circle moment of this post: To be disrupted is to know God has a message for you. Whatever the message is, you have to first position yourself to receive it. Hence, why resetting often can’t happen without a break from the ordinary. To receive from the Lord, you have to eliminate potential interferences including innocent routines. It’s not a knock on your daily rhythm, but a call to push to pause knowing God is more important.

My encouragement to you, my friends, is to heed these differences to know the season you’re in. For some of you, God wants to refresh your moment. For others, He wants to restart your walk and/or reset your faith. Whatever the case, don’t hide in the shadow of uncertainty or anxiety. Instead, know the time has never been better to supplicate – to ask God in earnest, ‘Is there a new idea, a fresh work you want to begin in me? Is there a lost truth you want to illuminate in me? Is there anything in my heart that needs to be uninstalled so you can install something in its place?”

And if it helps, think of this way: When you let go of the ‘me’, you can receive the ‘re²’; when you receive the ‘re’, you can find the ‘renew’ – the Isaish 40:31 – in each step:

“…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 

 Selah.

Footnotes

  1. Or is the start of rest itself
  2. Whether it be a refresh, restart, or reset
Cover photo creds: Generals.org (edited in Canva by Cameron & Lyssah Fry)

Bivocational Profile: Papa Pastor

Meet Pastor Aaron. Pastor Aaron is the college ministry pastor at Your Community Church and assists the body by nurturing relationships and spiritual growth within the college and young adult communities. Having cultivated a committed track record over the years, Aaron is finally reaping the fruit of his faithful service.

However, this year, Aaron is having a much harder time delegating ministerial care, overseeing interns, and finding time to provide ministerial awareness and vision to the entire church in light of rookie paternal responsibilities and a more demanding work environment at the digital marketing company in which he serves. With more hours devoted to new work assignments and baby care, Aaron is suddenly struggling to make ends meet as efficiently as he once did.

Granted, Aaron still works with the same kind of integrity, leadership, and stewardship as in seasons past. The problem now is Aaron struggles to find time for the little things…remembering to make certain phone calls, responding to e-mails, making every staff meeting, and following up with team members with whom he’s had to rely more heavily on.

As a result, his students (and their parents) are feeling the early stages of disconnectedness. While Aaron preaches and shows up to personal events whenever he can, the downtick in occurrences, while understandable, is beginning to manifest in lower attendance rates due to the notable drop-off in ministerial effectiveness between Aaron and his subordinates who have stepped up in his place.

Thus, Aaron is starting to wrestle with hopelessness that he can tie loose ends in the face of tighter ultimatums at work and ‘at home’ priorities occupying once-vacant ministry opportunities.

Aaron has a devoted wife who works at a local bakery and thrives ministering alongside him. When he’s not working in church or out, Aaron enjoys hitting the tee at local golf courses as well and the lake on his wakeboard.

Challenges:

  • More time spent on work + family matters = limited availability/in-person interaction with staff/team members/church attendees
  • Has little time to directly develop and mentor
  • Over-reliance on delegating (and forgetfulness to follow-up) leading to cracks in the communicational infrastructure
  • Hopeless and inferiority

Opportunities:

  • Is able to inspire others by a relentless and disciplined work ethic
  • Has stable job to provide for family
  • Brings joy to his family and those within his inner circle watching him grow and mature in new roles
  • Relates better with those in his demographic
  • Is gifted in building meaningful connections with people wherever he’s at

The challenge is real, and so are the opportunities. Do you fit into this profile? What are some other challenges or opportunities you have encountered? Share in the comments below.

Photo credits: Odyssey Online

Bivocational Profile: The Bivocational Pastor…Like My Father Before Me

Meet Pastor Wes. Pastor Wes is the children’s pastor at Your Community Church. He shepherds the K-6th grade population, assists the youth pastor with special events, and occasionally leads worship for various small group functions.

Without question, Pastor Wes loves his role and pursues it with steadfast devotion.

Yet, despite his contagious passion, Pastor Wes carries the unique distinction of not only being a BPK (i.e. bivocational pastor’s kid), but the son of the senior pastor as well.

In light of this, Pastor Wes often feels he doesn’t measure up, especially with respect to his dad. In addition, he feels overlooked, burdened by the weight of other people’s expectations, and discouraged by an increasing lack of edification.

the-struggles-of-a-pastors-kidFurthermore, Wes finds it hard to connect to his peers and other staff due, in part, to “last name association” with the senior pastor. Some church congregants even go as far to criticize Wes for his father’s actions, while others intentionally ignore him as a passive means to avoid confrontation.

However, none of this is new to Wes, having grown up with the PK label his entire life. Internally calloused yet perseverant, Wes questions his path as one regularly  torn between home church allegiance and his dream to escape the shallow stereotypes of his surroundings.

With a limited church salary, Wes supports his family by working part-time as a barista and an online tutor/teacher at a local homeschool tutorial. When he’s not ministering to young people, Wes enjoys spending time with his wife and dog, running insanely long distances to stay in shape, and playing soccer at a local recreational league.

Challenges: 

  • The PK label – often feels neglected, judged or both.
  • Not given opportunities to shine due to senior pastor’s fear of showing favoritism.
  • Lack of encouragement and communication with other staff assuming he gets enough of this from his family.
  • Lack of connectedness with the rest of the body.
  • Doesn’t feel grace to grow.
  • Often feels invisible.

Opportunities:

  • Finds strength in overcoming on a daily basis.
  • Is driven to depend on God for identity and purpose.
  • Is gifted in helping others struggling in the same boat.
  • Character constantly refined by “in church” challenges.

The challenge is real…and so are the opportunities. Do you fit into this profile? What are some other challenges or opportunities you have encountered? Share in the comments below.

Photo credits: christianpost.com & ungrind.org

Bivocational Profile: The Road Warrior

 

Mpreaching.289120859_stdeet Pastor Randy. Pastor Randy is the associate pastor at Your Community Church. He assists the senior pastor in project coordinating, oversees house church and new member ministries…and is regarded as one of the nicest people in town.

Yet, despite his warm nature, Pastor Randy is a mystery man, with bivocational obligations keeping his church attendance in check.

Truth is: Randy is a road warrior…an aerial champion who travels heavily to meet the requirements of his personnel recruiter position. Unfortunately, due to his loaded schedule, his influence is somewhat hindered by limited availability.

No doubt, Randy is committed and takes his ministerial responsibility seriously. For instance, Randy will use his “down time” at an airport or hotel to catch up on weekly correspondences with church members and staff.

However, Randy finds it hard to keep pace relationally and organizationally, as he’s often the last staff member to receive important updates (If only they use ‘Slack’). Furthermore, since Randy often misses out on opportunities to offer timely insight, the majority of church attendees aren’t aware of his spiritual giftings.

Randy has a devoted wife and a couple rambunctious kids who hold down the fort while he’s away. When he’s not on the road, Randy loves soaking up quality time with family and friends, whether it’s at the movie theater or serving the homeless at his local community center.

Challenges:

  • Limited availability.
  • Tendency to over-rely on technology versus in-person interaction.
  • Little time for family and peers due to heavy workload outside of church.
  • Has little time to directly develop and mentor.
  • Struggles to communicate from the road.
  • Often feels invisible.

Opportunities:

  • Is able to inspire others by a relentless and disciplined work ethic.
  • Has stable job to provide for family.
  • Is gifted in building meaningful connections with people wherever he’s at.
  • Has the tools to inspire people, even at a distance.
  • Character constantly refined by “real world” experiences and challenges.

The challenge is real…and so are the opportunities. Do you fit into this profile? What are some other challenges or opportunities you have encountered? Share in the comments below.

Photo credits: travisallendot.com & pixgood.com.

Bivocational Profile: The Very Involved Volunteer

coaching-cartoon-peerprograms-ubc-caMeet Jack. Jack is a volunteer at Your Community Church…and is involved. Very involved. So involved, he’s often misunderstood to be a full-time staff member. Not like Jack seeks to milk the myth; he’s just really passionate about serving people. Jack is a newly wed and works 30-40 hours a week as an Apple specialist at Best Buy. He has no kids, but dreams of having them, which is partly why he commits 25-30 hours a week as a volunteer in the youth and tech ministry programs. In the rare case, he’s caught up on both work and church, Jack can be found hanging out with senior high youth at the rec center or movie theater.

Challenges:

  • Time management is weak.
  • Tendency to over-exert is high.
  • Little time for family and peers due to heavy workload in church and out.
  • Unbalanced priorities with respect to community overall.

Opportunities:

  • Is able to use IT skills in both spheres.
  • Uses church community as a bridge to bless colleagues at work.
  • Is constant in loving people, allowing non-churched and churched peers to trust his counsel and encouragement.

The challenge is real…and so are the opportunities. Do you fit into this profile? What are some other challenges or opportunities you have encountered? Share in the comments below.

Photo credits: volunteerswmi.org & volunteerweekly.org