Book Review #2: The Burden Bearer

41fzLV03QwL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_In Matthew 11:28-30, the Lord said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you restTake my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” As we seek to serve Christ, we can often become weighted down with burdens of our own making.   In the midst of our daily lives, we often tend to look to ourselves and our abilities for the strength to survive another day: we become reliant on the things that we know and the jobs that we can accomplish. While we are busy serving Christ and making “sacrifices” for Him, we begin to see ministry in the light of “what” we are doing. We become so obsessed with doing things for the Lord that we neglect to develop a meaningful relationship with Him. In other words, our focus becomes the service itself, rather than the Saviour we are serving. Instead of allowing the Lord to carry the weight and give us rest, we shoulder the burdens on our own and end up weary, worn, and broken.

This book is written in allegorical form, similar to Pilgrim’s Progress, and tells the story of Carrier, a Christian whose focus in life is to be as strong as he can to carry the burdens placed upon him by the Burden Bearer. As His relationship with the Burden Bearer grows stronger, Carrier realizes that his thought process has been flawed: his burdens have not come from the Burden Bearer but from Carrier’s own desire to succeed and his fear of looking weak in the eyes of others. In time, he learns to place His burdens at the feet of the Burden Bearer and then rest in Him to find true success. Throughout his journey, Carrier must battle his inclination to pick up those old burdens and add more in order to prove his strength and worthiness for the journey. The Burden Bearer is always present and ready to assure Carrier that He can carry those burdens far better than Carrier will ever be able to do on his own. In the end, Carrier serves the Burden Bearer happily until he is able to lay his burdens down one final time and meet the Burden Bearer face to face.

Each chapter in this book contains two parts: a piece of Carrier’s story and the practical application for Christians today. It is filled with Scripture, as well as personal stories from the life of the author. If you are struggling to survive in this journey that we call “life,” I would encourage you to read this book. If you wish to find true success in the this Christian journey, you must realize that just making sacrifices or staying busy for the Lord will not bring you the peace and rest that He offers. You must “yoke up” with Him and allow Him to carry your burdens. The Burden Bearer: Who’s Carrying Your Load? will give you practical advice and Biblical principals to make that possible.

This book can normally be purchased for $14.95 from http://www.strivingtogether.com.

Advertisements

Coming Soon!!!!

books“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

~~ Harry Truman~~

If you read my most recent post about ministry (What is Ministry?), you will know that I have struggled somewhat over the last few months with how to proceed with this blog. Honestly, I have had quite the case of “writer’s block.” Since all five of my kids are visiting my parents over Spring Break, I will have quite a bit of time on my hands (Yay, me!), and I have decided to dedicate some of it to reading. I know that I will not get to read all of the books on my list over the break (I’m also planing to sort through the stash of old papers, schoolbooks, and miscellaneous “kid stuff” that is now taking up space in what is supposed to be my sewing room!), but I would like to make a nice dent in the stack! I know that these books are going to be an encouragement to me, and I want to share some of what I learn through them by publishing a book review post for each one that I finish!

Here are the books on my reading list:

  1. When Others Make Your Life Difficult (Daniel E. Miller) – This is a booklet that my Mom gave me last summer. It has short, easy to read chapters and is filled with Scriptural principles.
  2. The Burden Bearer (Paul Chappell) – I won this in a drawing at our church’s annual Ladies’ Retreat last fall, and I have been slowly reading it since then. It has been a blessing so far, and I look forward to finishing it soon!
  3. Off Script: What to do When God Rewrites Your Life (Cary Schmidt) – My friend Stephanie recommended this book to a new mom in our church, and it seemed like a book that I could learn from during our time of transition!
  4. Out of Commission: Getting Every Christian Back to the Great Commission (Paul Chappell) – My husband and I were both encouraged to hear our pastor, Pastor Brandon Sichting, talk recently about several books that he has read that have challenged or encouraged him in the ministry! This is one of those books, and I am excited to read it as well!

I hope that you’ll join me for this new adventure and that it will be a challenge to you to find Godly reading material that will encourage you in your Christian walk!

What is Ministry?

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”       ~~Matthew 20:28

“…and took upon him the form of a servant…”     ~~Philippians 2:7

What does it mean to live “ministry” life? For as long as I can remember, I have equated being “in ministry” only with those who were in “full-time ministry”: the pastors, staff members, evangelists, missionaries, teachers, etc. whose livelihoods came from churches or their associated ministries.  For the past few months, I have honestly felt a little lost. When we began our life together almost 15 years ago, we surrendered our lives and our home to “full-time service” and willingly followed the Lord wherever He would have us to go in pursuit of that calling. Then, life happened, and circumstances we may never fully understand landed us in a time of transition between ministries: a season when being “full-time” was relegated only to memories of the past and hopes for the future. For two solid years, we have prayed and waited and prayed and waited and prayed and waited for the Lord to open a door to another ministry position!! As I write this, we are still praying and waiting, which has lead me to ask, “What about the present? How can I write about living ministry life when, at this point, we are not really ‘in ministry’?”  This time of transition has taught me many things (which I may write more about in the future), but one of the most important is that our entire Christian life is supposed to be about ministering to others. After all, isn’t that what ministry is about in the first place? It is not about position or prestige or programs. Though having a full-time position may bring a certain prestige and may require participation in various programs, that is not the heartbeat of ministry. In truth, ministry is about people: it is about building relationships and serving others. Indeed, the foundation of all ministry (and, therefore, of Biblical leadership) is a servant’s heart! That is what Jesus had. Jesus Christ, the only man ever truly capable of speaking with all knowledge and authority (prestige), chose to leave his Heavenly position to come to this earth and live the life of a servant!  I have determined that, as we wait for God to show us His plan regarding full-time ministry, I will ask the Lord to give me the opportunity to serve and minister to people who are hurting! When the Lord does answer our prayers and fulfill our desire to return to a full-time position, I will continue to ask Him to guide me to those who are in need of a friendly smile, a kind word, or a helping hand. Certainly, I have not conquered this necessary aspect of ministry, but I would like to believe that I have learned something over the last two years: there are hurting people everywhere. There will always be people in need; and, therefore, there will always be a chance to live “ministry” life!

One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff

christmas-554720_640Before I offer some practical ways to make the holidays enjoyable for ministry families, allow me to say that this is written primarily to help and encourage the pastor’s wife as she seeks to develop strong bonds with the wives of the men who serve alongside her husband. These “family” ties will be vital to the success of the ministry. Though your husband bears the majority of the responsibility for leading the staff, you can play a key role in helping the wives be active, excited participants in the many ministries of the church. Continue reading “One Big, Happy Family: Making the Holiday Season Enjoyable for Your Staff”

If I Never Had a Sorrow

sun-and-rain-shannon-story-7250I am currently mulling over a few different topics for my next article, but I thought I would share a couple of blogs that have been an encouragement to me recently. My husband has begun writing a series of articles about dealing with hurt. He has posted the first two already, and I have been blessed by what he has written. You can view them at his blog, http://www.iknowwhom.com. Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to make a quick, last minute trip up to Avon, Indiana, to see Jennifer, a college friend of mine who was in town for a pastor’s wives meeting. Though we only had a little while to chat (while we shopped at Goodwill – Who can beat that combination?!), I thoroughly enjoyed our time. She introduced me to another wonderful pastor’s wife named Leah, who blogs at http://embracingrace.com. I believe this was a God-ordained meeting, as I needed some encouragement that day! Leah, Jennifer, and the other ladies in their group were and have continued to be an answer to prayer! Last Sunday, a special speaker at church read this poem at the conclusion of his message. (It was written by his wife, Ashley Allen. You can check out her blog at http://lcid-counsel.blogspot.com) It spoke to my heart, and I thought maybe you would enjoy it, too. Continue reading “If I Never Had a Sorrow”

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help

1981935_761714377185816_1782420764_n

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak…” Acts 20:35

 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love…” Romans 12:10

“Remember them…which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:3

As Christians, we are to follow the example of Christ by willingly serving others (Philippians 2:7). Our relationships in this life, both with other Christians and with the lost, are to be characterized by charity, kindness, brotherly love, and any of the other virtues that we would want bestowed upon us in our time of need (Luke 6:31). Sometimes, in our service through the ministries of the church, we look for ways to help behind the scenes. (Who puts up the seasonal decorations you see when you come in for services? Who cleans the nursery or the bathrooms? Who vacuums the hallways or changes the lightbulbs?) These areas of service are necessary and important to the work of the church, and those who do them should not be overlooked when we are giving out our thanks. Investing in others, however, will often require that our service literally become more hands-on! No matter what our insecurities or fears, we must reach out to offer support to those who are grieving loss. Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 3) – Reach Out to Help”

Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 2) – Realize Their Struggle

woman-crying11It was a beautiful fall morning in my classroom. My 3rd-5th grade students were busily putting their homework into their assigned baskets and getting their supplies ready for class to begin. Just before we officially began the day, someone popped into the classroom to say, “Pray for Mrs. X. She is at the hospital now and will hopefully have the baby soon.” One of her older children was in our class, and we were all excited to meet this new member of the family. There was an extra special excitement in the air now. We said our pledges, and I bowed my head to lead the class in prayer. I asked the Lord to bless our day and keep our minds focused on what we needed to learn. I began to pray for the mother in labor with her precious baby, and that is when I lost it. With a very shaky voice and eyes filling with tears, I quickly ended the prayer. I hurried to the door and closed it behind me, barely making it out before the tears began to flow freely. My baby would have been due in a matter of weeks! Continue reading “Suffering in Silence: Ministering (Part 2) – Realize Their Struggle”