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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’


It has been crazy busy around here this Fall. In addition to normal pastoral duties I’ve been running a New Members’ Class and Officer Training on Saturdays. This means that the Session has to spend time interviewing new members, and soon will examine officer candidates. As a Session we’ve finally finished our revised By Laws and new Manual of Procedure (I can really hate trellis work), and we are getting ready to present a Master Site plan and “Bridge” Plan to renovate and expand our current facilities. Our music director took an unexpected leave of absence for a month so I had to provide additional leadership to our music ministry. There were also a few unexpected “crisis” that ate up time and energy. You know they will happen, but you don’t know when and they seem to come in bunches.

As if that wasn’t enough, in addition to normal Dad and Husband duties, two kids and CavWife had surgery this Fall. We had family in town for about 2 weeks and missionaries stayed with us back in September. I’ve also been editing a book in the hopes of publishing. Part of that has included some structural changes in chapters.

So obviously I should read Kevin DeYoung’s latest book Crazy Busy. Just makes sense, right?

Absolutely! The subtitle is A Mercifully Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem. The book really is short- 117 smallish sized pages that make it easy to  read in short blocks of time.

“If you have creativity, ambition, and love, you will be busy.”

In terms of material he covers, I’ll start with the end. He admits that we should be busy because God has given us plenty to do to fulfill our calling. The problem is not being busy, but often we are busy with the wrong things. As a result we are often unproductive. This is not a call to the life of leisure, but wisdom: choosing the best instead of the good or the not-so-good. The reason we in the West tend to suffer, so to speak, in our busyness is that we don’t expect to be busy (and suffer) in addition to an unwillingness to make difficult choices.

“Paul had pressure. You have pressure too. But God can handle the pressure. Do not be surprised when you face crazy weeks of all kinds. And do not be surprised when God sustains you in the midst of them.”

Kevin writes the book from the perspective of a man who struggles with busyness. He is crazy busy himself and much of what he writes is what he is trying to implement. He hasn’t arrived at the perfect point of balance in his life. He is not making promises either as if he’s offering a 7-step plan to achieve bliss.

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It was a bit more than 30 days, but I finished Running Scared: fear, worry, and the God of rest by Edward Welch this morning.  Though the book was a tad uneven, overall it was a very good book providing meaningful help for all who struggle with fear and worry (which would be all of us).

Welch covers fear & worry in general, and then moves into some specific fears and worries.  He covers money and possessions, people and their judgments and death, pain & punishment.  Along the way, Ed Welch keeps connecting them back to the gospel.  Our fears are about more than our thoughts or chemical inbalances (though medications may relieve extreme symptoms enough for you to begin dealing with the root issues).

“Your fears are more about God than you realize.  Along the way that light also helps you see yourself more clearly.  What you see is that the world is organized into two kingdoms, and the boundary between those two kingdoms, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn observed, cuts right through each of our hearts.  Our preference is to straddle that line, but our patient God keeps persuading us to be wholeheartedly devoted to his kingdom.  There is no other way to distance ourselves from fear and anxiety.”

That is a great summary of this entire book, found in his last words.  The chapters I found most meaningful were: Your Fear, Fear Speaks, Anxiety and Worry Chime In, The Manna Principle, When the Kingdom isn’t Enough, Grace for Tomorrow, Where is My Treasure? Whose Kingdom?, and Pray.

Ed Welch isn’t holding out a simplistic version of “believe in Jesus”.  This is about the tough work of faith and repentance which is continually opposed by the flesh (Galatians 5, Romans 7, Ephesians 5 among other places.  He paints the picture of an on-going war, not a decisive experiential battle.   The decisive battle that won the war was fought, and won, by Jesus.  What He did, He did as our representative.  Among other things He resisted the temptations to fear anyone other than God, and anxiety.  He also paid the price for our sinful fear, worry and anxiety which are signs that we are really struggling with our allegience to God and His kingdom.  This is why it is important that Welch keeps bringing us back to the Gospel and its implications which alone can truly transform us rather than put a bandaid on the problems that distort our hearts.

Well worth reading for any pastor, counselor and person who just plain wants to understand what is really going on with their own fears & worry, as well as what Jesus has done on our behalf regarding them.

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Here are some quotes from Jack on prayer (mostly) from The Heart of a Servant Leader.

“He needs to break down our tendency to cry out in prayer, ‘Your will be done,’ and then to get up and still try to impose our will on circumstances.”

“Christ is the exclusive Head of the church and has His own methods for planning and developing congregations.  To ignore His methods is to put the leader’s work into a straitjacket and to generate frustrations and tension of the wrong sort in the leader’s inner life.”

“This was one big thing, a coming of Christ to His church, humbling us through corporate prayer so that He could express His personality through our oneness.  Such prayerful unity releases us from our crippling personal concerns and suspicious anxieties.”

“As we pray (together), correction from one another ceases to be a threat and becomes a way of release from the bondages of our small visions, self-centered motives, and lust for pre-eminence.”

“God-given prayer and praise have as their essence a waiting on God, a willingness to be wrought upon by the hammer  and the fire of the Almighty, until the chains of self-centered desires fall away from the personality, and the love of Christ becomes the deepest hunger of the inner life.”

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