Monday, June 30, 2008

Charging batteries?

while we continue talking in the other thread about books to read, and while Brian gets ready to lead us in a new topic, I thought I would ask you guys what is your favorite way to charge your emotional batteries? What do you do for re-creation? Any hobbies?


smokin joe said...

I used to have a lot of enjoyable hobbies before I started graduate school: sailing, target shooting, riding a motorcycle, smoking a pipe, pleasure reading.

Now I am down to just one or two ... at least once a week I take a book over to read while sitting by the water and smoking a cigar. usually, I have a couple of beers with me. Thats about all I have time for.

steve H said...

I read -- mostly mysteries -- and enjoy music for recreation.

smokin joe said...

have we already talked about this before? I can't remember.

Another thing I enjoy (or used to enjoy) was reading a Louis L'Amour book late at night will sipping wiskey or something ... sadly, he died and didn't write anymore books... I read all 80 of his books at least twice and some of them three times.

John M. said...

Hobbies: Cars - Classic Cars, Custom Cars, Muscle Cars and Hot Rod/Street Rods. I enjoy going to shows and reading magazines about them. Since I can't afford a real one, I build plastic model car kits and collect diecast. Reading. Worshiping and singing with my guitar. Listening to music.

Other things that recharge my batteries. Being with my wife. And Sunday mornings at Panera Bread with just the Lord, me, a cup of coffee, my Bible, my current reading, and sometimes my computer.

Patrick said...

Lately I've found that every activity is unrelaxing without Jesus. That's cliché, yes, but He is fulfilling.

Skating on my longboard is super relaxing, as is surfing and sitting on the beach. Cigars and my pipe are wonderful, too, especially in the late morning or afternoon. And on a different note, walking nine holes of golf is simply delicious to my soul.

Had I a wife, I'm sure it would be relaxing to spend time with her.

don woolley said...

Umm...recharging emotional batteries? recreation? hobbies?good ideas! I'll add those to my to-do list. lol

Seriously, I suck at these things and I really need to do a better job in this area.

smokin joe said...

Don - when I was your age, I sucked at it too. I remember when I turned 40, I heared a teaching by Bill Hybels on "Gages, Gifts and Games" in which he talked about emotional burnout in the ministry. I was already burned out but did not realize it. Thats when I got busy and started learning how to recharge my batteries.

Another issue was the gifting issue. Although I have some gifts in leadership, outreach and counseling, I do not have a strong pastoral gift. But there seemed to be no other route for me to channel my spiritual calling than starting and leading churches... looking back now, I realize I was not functioning in my true giftings, which contributed to my burn-out.

Its too bad that we cannot start life over after we hit 60 and have learned important life lessons.

Patrick: I forgot to mention sitting on my front porch with my wife and a beer and watching the sunset. Its cheap, low energy and in Florida, often breath-takingly beautiful.

Patrick said...

Joe, that porch moment is one of my short long-term goals. haha

"Its too bad that we cannot start life over after we hit 60 and have learned important life lessons."

I'm 23 and taking notes. Speak freely.

Randy R. said...

If the skies are clear, I love to go sky-diving. If it is overcast, then I do bungee jumping, perferably off high bridges. However, if it is an overcast, rainy day, then I like to go scuba diving in the ocean full of sharks! I know, I know, those of you who know me, know that I am full of s_ _ _ t!

Actually, I resonante pretty close with Joseph, except I am not a big cigar smoker. He is the one that turned me on to "recreational reading," which I love, and he turned me on to missions . . . both on the same trip! It was July 1995, and I too was dealing with some burn-out issues in my early 40's. I was visiting with him in Miami a few days before we and a team of young people (including now one his son-n-laws (Carlos), one of my daughters, and Micah Heath) were heading to Columbia, South America (my first mission trip). We watched the movie Apollo 13 togther, and then I bought the book and read it on our trip. I was literally, no exxageration here, reading the final pages as our flight made its final approach to the Miami Airport!

Now, 13 years later, I have read more than 60 boooks just for recreational purposes, and I am perparing to make my 10th mission trip this summer. Believe it or not, one of the absolutely most realaxing, enjoyable, and exciting things I do is travel on these short-term trips. Seriously, nothing charges my batteries more!

Thank you, Josesph! Anyone want to join me in Indonesia in August? For your prayers, I am trying to reroute our return flight . . . incase you haven't heard, Chuck and Cherie are engaged and planning on being married August 23. They have asked me along with Cherie's dad, Gary Henley, to preform the ceremony . . . in Morocco! Yes, LORD!

smokin joe said...

hi Randy,

I had no idea that was such a pivotal trip for you. Glad to hear that you have continued with the recreational reading and the mission trips. Wonderful also to hear about Chuck … I am so happy for him.

Patrick: the key thing is to develop early the habit of following the Lord day-by-day – he will lead you places that you would never imagine. Just try not to run ahead of him, or lag behind.

Finally, I keep thinking of more things that I do to recharge myself. I forgot to mention exercise. I love lifting weights and spending time on the treadmill – or taking long walks outdoors. Debbie’s oncologist told us that there is medical evidence that exercise reduces depression by boosting endorphins and serotonin in the brain. There is a literal “runners high” that one can experience with regular exercise.

Speaking of recreational reading, my son is currently reading "Christ the Lord" by Anne Rice.

Several years ago, I read "John Adams" by D. McCullouch ... Deb and I are now watching the HBO DVD series at home. Great for July 4th!

John M. said...

Both of Ann Rice's books on the life of Christ come highly recommended. They're novels but they take no liberty with biblical doctrine, they merely make the Gospel narratives come alive with what could have happened as a creative genius imagines. They will bring you closer to the "real" Jesus.

John M. said...

Speaking of pleasure reading...I'm reading Eric Clapton's autobiography released last year, simply called "Clapton".

Brian Emmet said...

Thanks for this refrshing change of pace! I notice that nearly all of us mention being somehow connected with Creation as a source of refreshment/renewing... I also notice that there are no sunRISE appreciators among us!

Like many of you, I'm a reader and sit-on-the-dock-at-sunset man. We're just back from a week at our small lakeside place in NH. Kathy's grandparents purchased the land in 1924, and built the first part of the cottage in '25 or '26. But the best place is on the dock, facing west, as the water quiets and the sun begins to set. I very much enjoy the quiet... a nice cigar and some port... watching a really terrific sunset fade to black and then have the stars start to pop. That's right about the same time the bats start to flit about, which is nice, because that's also when the skeeters start hunting! The place is far enough away from light pollution that I can see more stars than I ever thought there were!

What is it about connecting with Creation that we so much need?

smokin joe said...

I picked up the biography of John Adams the other night and read through some of it for pleasure. Sadly, I have not had the oppoturnity to read much for pleasure for several years, other than some occasional theological books.

Do any of you find movies to be re-creational? For whatever odd reason, although I occasionally enjoy movies, they do not charge my batteries. I saw "Hancock" (so-so) last night with my son, and a few days ago, Debbie and I went to see "Get Smart" which was pretty good. Over the next couple of weeks I might see "Hellboy2" and "The Dark Knight."

Brian Emmet said...

Haven't been to an in-theater movie for... a long time! And there doesn't seem to be many hobbyists among us!

I've gotten my copy of our McLaren book, along with the Thiessen, so hope you're keeping up with your summer reading list! Plan to launch the McLaren bookchat in a few days... do what you can/what you'd like to to be able to discuss the first quarter or third of the book... No pressure: you're free to feed off/respond to the comments of others, even if you're not reading along.

smokin joe said...

I read the first 80 pages of McLaren, and then gave my copy away to a young Mexican grad student who is a believer and a political liberal ... he has been wrestling with how to reconcile his faith with his political views, particularly concerning the environment. He and his wife went back to Mexico for the summer with his parents and he wrote me to thank me for the book. I'll have to get another copy.

I already started browsing the Tiessen and McDermott books..

One more thought about charging batteries. Deb and I were just reading from a career book called What Color Is Your Parachute" the last chapter which is "How to find your mission in life."

As we read through it, it became obvious to me that my bottom-line passion, the gift God has given me is to network with non-believers and those who are far from God and through friendship to introduce them to God's love, and get them re-oriented toward him. That is what I have always loved is like breathing or falling off a log for me ... and it majorly re-charges my batteries!

That's why I enjoyed starting churches in the early phase, because we almost always started initially by reaching out to unchurched young people. Of course the problems set in once the church was going because other things were necessary, such as admin and counseling ... which are not so much my gifts.

I wonder what gifts we have represented in this group? What aspects of service to others or to God recharge your batteries? And what drains you?

smokin joe said...

oookay.... no response? Looks like it is time to move on to a new topic...

my guess is that Steve's primary gift is teaching, and Brian's is pastoring ... or perhaps both of your are shepherd-teachers if you believe that there are only 4 min. gifts in Eph. 4:11.

John? I am not sure about you... perhaps exhortation? You remind me of Barnabas in the scriptures...

As for the rest of you rascals who read along and rarely comment... no comment! ;-)

Brian Emmet said...

Hey, I've been trying to plow through McLaren and get set for our next Big Topic!

I appreciate Joseph's reminder that recharging doesn't only when we're "off duty," but can also take place while we are in the midst of work. As a Myers-Briggs intravert, I tend to need away-time in order to have energy to engage people, but I also derive a great deal of energizing (at least sometimes!) when I'm doing pastor kinds of things: listening to people, praying with them, feeling that I've been of some service... I enjoy preaching/teaching and storytelling (a form of teaching, I guess). So I think I'm a pastor or pastor-teacher, at least acc. to to Eph 4 schema; acc to Rom 12, I think I'm a mercy-extender; acc to 1 Cor 12... uh, let me get back to you!

don woolley said...

not wanting to be a rascal.... A couple months ago I took an inventory on Alan Hirsch's site ( , which identifies people as apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherd (pastor), and/or teacher.

I showed up as having prophetic and apostolic gifts as my primary gifting.

steve H said...

Years ago Dow gave us Gothard's motivational gift test and I came out prophetic / teacher. A couple well known prophets called me the A-word - apostle. For what it's worth, I obviously am not an apostle in the sense of leading a church network -- although I've led in starting a few works. Actually, if it was a legitimate word at all, I think it may be closer to Terry Virgo's idea of apostle as one who lays foundations.

I am pastoral to a point, but certainly not into pastoral counseling. I think I do often teach with some sort prophetic edge to it. And most of my teaching does focus on foundational issues -- even though I may dig into the roots of foundational concepts more than some.

To tell the truth, I'm mostly just mixed up but I am trying to be faithful in living and teaching what I've received.

smokin joe said...

Don, I am so sorry to hear that... you will be in my prayers! (just kidding -- sort of).

Steve, I have pretty much lost confidence in most of what passes for modern prophecy ... not that I doubt that you are called to lay foundations. I think I am ready to toss overboard the "a" word and the "p" among others until God gives greater revelation...

what you guys have not said, at leat not all of you clearly, is what is it that you do in ministry (serving) that really charges you...

don woolley said...

yeah, thanks smokin joe, sort I will take the prayers though!

i wouldn't want to embrace the a and p words either in the way they are used (abused) in some circles, but I like Alan Hirsch's take on them, which I think is pretty balanced.

John M. said...

Joseph, in the Gothard model that Steve mentioned I came out as exhortation being my primary gting. Teaching was also in there (2 or 3), which I didn't fully understand at the time. I guess it's good that it's there, though, since my primary vocation/ministry has since settled in the classroom.

I think my primary motivation in ministry has shifted from where it was a decade or so ago. I used to find fulfillment in things that Brian described. Now I get kind of disgruntled when I have to do traditional pastoral counseling. My attitude is, "these people need to learn to take care of themselves".

But when I have opportunity to touch the emerging generation -- whether in premarriage mentoring, sharing my heart or just hanging out, it's like breathing pure oxygen.

I haven't gotten to do any evangelism in that context yet, but I think about it a lot, and hope for the opportunity. Where I used to dread and be frightened of evangelism, the idea of sharing my faith in a natural relational way with next generation people pumps my adrenalin.

I have a burden to see things established and foundations laid and to create simple, corporate communities of faith, but I don't seem to have that gift myself. The fruit I bear seems to be influencing and laying foundations in individuals and seeing them spun out into the harvest. Every group that I have brought together or been part of has ended up being centripetal (spinning outward) rather than centrifical (drawing inward). Even way back in 1980 when I moved from Lancaster Ohio to Lexington, the individuals in the cell group I was leading moved several different directions rather than moving with me as a unit, which was what usually happened in those days. Actually, only one couple moved with me, and they were the most needy and dependent couple in the group. The rest were strong, gifted individuals. My move was a catalyst for several to move forward into the things God had called them to.

So, what am I? Who knows! But I do know what rings my chimes these days, and it's 12 to 30 year-olds. I want to see a clean hand off of the baton and lay the foundations of many generations.

smokin joe said...

I like most of the stuff in Hirsch's books... I'll check out the gift inventory you mentioned.

It seems to me that we get tangled up in biblical terminology a lot... and end up wasting a lot of time trying to conform to terms and words that may have meant something entirely different to the people who wrote them.

I no longer view the various roles described in Eph. 4:11 as spiritual or ministerial 'offices' ... and I have never seen them work effectively in a particular situation ...NEVER... with the possible exception of 'pastor-teacher' and maybe evangelist. I have come to the conclusion that Paul was just trying to describe different tendencies or emphases that he was seeing in operation. Apostles were simply people who were moving around missionally (at the initiative of the Spirit) and prophets were simply gifted and inspirational speakers (I know that several of you will disagree with me on this).

There are so many widely differing images, definitions and paradigms for the terms 'apostle' and 'prophet' so as to almost make them nearly useless. Most ‘apostles’ define the word ‘apostle’ by whatever their ministry orientation happens to be.

Paul’s list in Eph. 4:11 is significantly different than the list he offers in 1Cor. 12:28 (for instance, he does not mention ‘evangelist’ or ‘pastor’) ... and was written at a later point in time. This indicates to me that it was not set in stone but rather his list was more of a fluid description of what was actually going on, rather than some kind of heavenly order that we must aspire to and attempt to conform ourselves to.

I think that, rather than striving to be apostles or prophets, if we simply follow him and do what he told us to do (essentially love God, our neighbors and make disciples), then we will naturally find ourselves flowing into categories of service that might resemble one of the various kinds of helping and equipping ministries. In other words, it is more important to do the work of service, than it is to label and categorize it.

Right now my ministry is student, husband and friend, with a little bit of a ‘goodnewsing’ flavor. I find that spending time building friendships with unchurched, unbelieving secular young people is really fun, it clearly charges my emotional batteries and it seems to bear good fruit. Also, this seems to be the way God has led me … thus I conclude that this is what I am supposed to be doing. We can call it evangelism if we want to after the fact, although it really does not conform to most concepts of modern evangelical soul winning.

smokin joe said...

sorry, John, I did not see your post when I was writing my last comment. I find myself in the same boat as you in terms of feeling unable to create communities of faith. that has become a very frustrating and disappointing area of my life of the reasons I prefer now to think of myself as an 'evangelist' rather than an 'apostle.'

by-the-way, keying off of Mumford's teaching, centripetal is good! I was thinking about your college group, the Band of Believers, that you have been sowing into ... three of them are now getting Ph.D's and could easily be on track to become college professors... your sowing there has been VERY sigificant and will bear great fruit in the future.

Although I believe in community, and I have always desired it, as time goes on I find myself more and more of an individualist.

Brian Emmet said...

New post up on McLaren!

don woolley said...

smokin joe, I think Hirsch is in agreement with you. He doesn't see them as offices but the way people function. He does emphasize the five spiritual gifts of Eph. 4, but I've read and heard him say, that's not a dogmatic list. I think he sees them more as main headings that other gifts might be listed under (totally my words, not his). His main beef is that the church is centered around pastors and teachers only and this has led to an unhealthy imbalance.

smokin joe said...

to be honest, I thought his chapter on the five-fold ministry gifts in his book The Forgotten Ways was his weakest chapter. I loved the book, but I felt that in that chapter, he was speaking more theoretically than from a solid understanding.

Part of the problem is that there is still some kind of prestige or Christian 'mystique' attached to the words 'apostle' and 'prophet'. It is obvious from 2Cor. that the apostolic calling is what one translation calls "kitchen garbage' ... the point is not to preside in a high position of authority, but to live a life laid down for the sake of advancement of the reign of God.

The other problem is the money trail. Because Christian subculture has been colonized by free market capitalism, Christians are mostly consumers of a religious product ... they will pay for 'services rendered' but not so much for missional advancement of God's purposes.

This means that it is possible to make a living as a pastor-teacher ... if you are good at meeting their needs ... but not so easy to make a living as an apostle, prophet or evangelist. So, those with one of the APE giftings are forced to either pastor a church, or find other tentmaking possibilities.

Brian Emmet said...

Shouldn't pastor-teachers who work faithfully to impart "the whole counsel of God" to their folks be at least as unpopular and "unsuccessful" as apostles and prophets? (Asked partially in jest.)

don woolley said...

smokin joe, I thought it was the weakest chapter as well, but I think the challenge is one we need to deal with. I think it might be from his previous writings, but he posting on his about this very thing right now

Brian, for the part not in jest
:-) ... I'm not sure individually any of us can share the whole counsel of God. i think that's part of Hirsch's point - it's only together that we approach the ability to discern and pass on the whole counsel of God.