If your rechargeable batteries run out of steam, you know what to do. Plug ’em in and give ’em a boost. We can do the same thing for ourselves when we run out of steam. If we only know where to put the plug. Join me to hear how to plug into the ultimate source of power. (Recorded February 14, 1999)
Watch The Video
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
1. Go where Jesus went: to the Father
Mark 6:31, Matthew 14:23, Matthew 26:36, Luke 6:11-12
2. Stick to your knitting
Acts 6:2-4, Exodus 18:13-23
3. Divert Daily, Withdraw Weekly, Abandon Annually
Psalm 5:3, Mark 2:27, Leviticus 23:39
The art of in-flight refueling:
KC-130 Hercules refueling 2 F/A-18 Hornets
A 1997 article by Bob Griner about enduring in ministry, which applies to all of our lives.
Ministry is a marathon,” Rick Warren insisted in the April 23 chapel service at Southwestern. Warren, pastor of the 13,000-member Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., said “it’s not how you start in ministry, it how you finish.”
Using II Corinthians 4:1-18, he gave seven secrets to Paul’s ministry to explain “How Not to Perish in the Parish.”
1. (v. 1) Remember that God, in His mercy, “has given us our ministries. We do not have to earn our place as a pastor or leader in the church. Remember God’s mercy. You don’t have to prove your worth through your ministry and you don’t have to wallow in your mistakes.”
2. (v. 2) Heed the warning for Christians not to distort the Word of God and to be truthful and honest in everything. “Maintain your integrity, because integrity produces power in your life, while guilt zaps your energy. You need to finish with your character intact.”
3. (v. 5) Be motivated to work for Jesus’ sake, not out of selfish desires. “We need a right motivation. A lot of guys start off as servants and end up celebrities. You need to learn to live your life for an audience of one–Jesus Christ.”
4. (v. 7) Realize that Christians are only human. “We must accept our limitations, and the quickest way to burn out is to try to be Superman. Humility is being honest about our weaknesses.”
5. (v. 15) Develop a true love for others. “Churches thrive, grow and survive when love endures. You must love people or you won’t last in the ministry. Churches love and grow because people without Jesus die and go to hell.”
6. (v. 16) Allow time for inward rejuvenation. “Divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually. Take time for recharging. Like the Air Force, we need to learn the art of mid-flight refueling. You don’t have to land every time you need refueling.”
7. (v. 17-18) Stay focused on the important things, and don’t get distracted by momentary troubles. “Keep your eyes on the goal, not the problem. Only he who sees the invisible can accomplish the impossible.”
To be a winner in the marathon of ministerial service, Christians need to realize that “great people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination,” Warren concluded. “If we run from problems, we’ll never be able to become what God wants us to be.”
Hi this is Eric Elder and welcome to live from The Ranch. We are broadcasting this message tonight about recharging your batteries. If you are like me you get tired and you get worn out. You need a place where you can go, something that you can plug into so that you can renew your strength. You can come back again and do the things that God has called you to do.
But the problem sometimes is “Where do we plug in?” “How exactly do we rekindle our strength?” There is a story about a man, you may have heard this, who said, “I never get hungry, I never get thirsty and I never get tired.” Someone asked him, “How do you do that, not get hungry or thirsty or tired?” He said, “Well, I eat before I get hungry, I drink before I get thirsty and I sleep before I get tired.” As amusing as that may be there is actually TRUTH in that. That we can actually throughout our time we can do an in-flight refueling (I will explain that later). How sometimes we don’t even have to come back down to refuel. We can stay up there and refuel while we are in mid-flight. God has a way that we can do that. It is to plug into the same thing that Jesus plugged into.
So tonight I want to take you through some of the things that Jesus did as He performed some of His greatest miracles in front of some of the largest crowds. Yet He had a special source of power that He went to when He needed strength and when He needed to get plugged into and get recharged one more time. So if you would like to learn from a master teacher, Jesus Himself, I invite you to join me for the rest of this message – live from The Ranch.
Scripture to Read
We have some Message Notes on the screen that you can take a look at if you would like to follow along with me. I also would like you to read some of these because they contain scripture that you can look at and get some encouragement as well. If you would look at those on your screen right now, just go back to the screen where you came from and pull up the Message Notes (where it says Message Notes). I am going to play a little bit on the piano and I would like you just to read the four or five verses that are listed there while I am playing. You can just read those and talk to God while I play the piano. Just ask Him to speak to you tonight through this message.
1. Go where Jesus went: to the Father.
I love that last verse on there that talks about,
“It was one of those days when Jesus had to get away.”
I will come back to that in a minute. Have you ever had one of those days where you just needed to get away? You just needed to spend some time with the Lord? Look at some of those days with me. In Mark 6:31 where Jesus found His source of power. The first point of the three points I want to make tonight is to – PLUG INTO THE SOURCE. Go to prayer just like Jesus did. In Mark 6:31 it says,
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
This was something that Jesus was telling His disciples, as the crowds were so numerous. It says,
“because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Jesus and His disciples were so busy and they were so flogged by people looking for healing, looking for the way of eternal life that they would sometimes not even be able to eat – the crowds were so much. So Jesus very much validated a time to withdraw. Even when there were demands all around them and Jesus and the disciples could have healed many more people who were there. They knew that they needed to get away and get some rest and so they withdrew for a period of time. It wasn’t very long though because you will see in Matthew 14:23 that the crowd followed them and He did the miracle of bringing 5,000 people food. It was after that when He once again told the disciples, it says,
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”
So once again Jesus was getting away. On His way to getting away people came to Him and He went ahead and did a miracle and worked with them but He continued on His journey to go ahead and get away and spent some time on a mountainside and prayed. In the garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:36 He went with some disciples and He also said,
“Stay here for awhile while I go over there and pray.”
This last verse here in Luke 6:12, it says,
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
THIS IS THE POWER SOURCE!!! THE ULTIMATE POWER SOURCE THAT WE CAN PLUG INTO!
When we plug into The Creator of the Universe, when we can put our cord in and just go right to HIM and draw our strength from HIM. That is the ULTIMATE way we can get energy, we can get life and we can have the abundant life that Jesus talked about.
Look at what happened in this verse, in verse 11 it says, Jesus had done a great healing, it was on the Sabbath day and some of the teachers of the Law got very upset with Him and in verse 11 it says,
“But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.”
This is when they first began plotting to kill Jesus. The next verse says,
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
2. Stick to your knitting.
I would say that Jesus was having one of those days when here you do a miraculous healing and people are out to get you. They are out to kill Him. They actually wanted to come and take His very life. You may have had some of those days as well. Look at what He did when He went away to pray – this brings us to our next point. I call it “stick to your knitting”.
What Jesus did was He found out FROM THE FATHER what He was to do next. He knew that people were plotting to take His life and the very next verse after He prayed, He said,
“When morning came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles.”
Somehow Jesus foreknew that something was going to happen to Him and that He was going to lose His life. So God had told Him to call twelve apostles who could take the message of Christ even further after Jesus was killed. So Jesus came down from that praying that night with His next step clearly in mind.
1) when we go away to pray we are recharging our own batteries. We are getting strength. We are just getting time away to rest. But,
2) God will give us our next step. He will tell us what to do next so that we can go out and do what He has called us to do.
On this point I want to say that when God tells you what to do – do what God tells you – no more – no less.
Stick to your knitting is what it is called in business circles. When a company starts to stray too much from what they were created to do what the company was formed to do; they seem to lose some of their momentum. They lose their purpose; they lose their focus. In successful business books they say a company ought to “stick to their knitting”. Stick to what they know best and invest their time and energy in what God has called them to do. Now a company may not use God’s strategy or the knitting analogy that I have just used but God wants us to use that. He says, “I have called you for a reason. I have called you to do something. When you do that very thing you will find peace and you will find rest and fulfillment. Then come back to ME again when you need a little more peace and a little more direction in your life.”
Learning from the Disciples
Here are a couple of examples of people who needed to stick to their knitting. In Acts 6:2-4, if you have a Bible and would like to turn there with me. Acts 6:2-4 this is the story where the disciples were together and they were having some complaints that they needed help with the distribution of food to the widows. There were people that were needing food and the complaints came to the disciples of what were they going to do about this food problem and how are we going to handle it? You will see in verses 2-4 what they did:
“So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
Here the disciples, the Twelve, knew what they needed to do. Mainly to take the message of God forward and they needed to devote their time to ministry and prayer and not be distracted by something that was a very good thing and a godly thing (the distribution of food) BUT it wasn’t THEIR CALLING. They were called to minister. They were called to pray. So they said, “Let’s call some other godly people who God has called to do this.” They found seven who they believed were called to do it. They said, “Now you seven please take care of this. We will turn this responsibility over to you.” One of those was Stephen, who later became a martyr and who testified of the great power of God. He did great things for God even in the distribution of food, the thing that he was called to do. So as long as the disciples stuck to what they needed to do they wouldn’t lose their focus or be distracted.
Learning from Moses
The same thing was happening to Moses. If you will turn back to Exodus 18, where he began to be overwhelmed and overburdened by the things that God had called him to do. His father-in-law Jethro came to give him so advice. This is Exodus 18:13-23, but let’s just start at verse 17 and take a look there (you can look at the rest later),
“Moses’ father-in-law looked at what Moses was doing and he said, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice,
What was happening is all the people were coming to Moses, everyday, because they wanted to hear a word from God. They needed to hear from God on what to do, how to decide matters and cases, what God’s will was for their life. Moses felt that was what he was called to do – an obligation of his. But he had so many people out in the desert, 1/2 a million perhaps, that were out their wandering with him. They were all coming to him on various days wanting God’s will. So what Jethro, his father-in-law, says in verse 23,
“if you do this”
Which was to turn over his responsibilities to several other trusted men and appoint them over some of the people. So when the people had a problem they could come to another godly man, hear some wisdom and then go back. If it got to difficult they could bring it to Moses but otherwise the people, who were in charge, could take care of it. Jethro said,
“If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied. Moses listened to this advice and he did everything he said. He chose capable men…”
In this way Moses established a way that he could continue to do what God had called him to do which was to lead the people. But he could lead by turning over some responsibilities to others.
So I want to encourage you on this second point that as Jesus tells you what to do and God explains these next steps to you that you would just stick to those. “Stick to your knitting.” Do what God has called you to do. There may be things that come up that you need to do but for the most part make sure you stay with what God has called you to do. If you can find better people to carry out some of the other responsibilities, do that. They will be satisfied, the people who you are ministering to will be satisfied and you will be satisfied as well.
3. Divert Daily, Withdraw Weekly, Abandon Annually
Now the third point I want to mention tonight has to do with the concept called in-flight refueling. In fact I put a picture on your screen there in the Message Notes of an airplane who is being refueled as he’s flying in the air. There are actually two of those airplanes and there is a third airplane that is pulled up next to them and as it drops some tethers, gasoline cables, that go and connect to those planes. Because the third plane is much larger it can carry a lot of gas and it refuels those two fighter jets. So those two fighter jets never have to come back down. They can stay up in the air. The big tanker goes back down and gets more gas, whenever they need to, and refuels them while they are still in the air.
We need to do that sometimes. Sometimes we don’t have time to get away. We don’t have time to go and take a retreat. We don’t have time to take a vacation. But we need to mid-flight refuel. We can do that by coming to God.
Here are three practical steps for doing that. Rick Warren suggests these; he runs a church of 13,000 people. He has these three practical pieces of wisdom.
Divert Daily, Withdraw Weekly, and Abandon Annually
These are ways that we can get our focus while we are going and as we are going through the day. On the divert daily there is a verse in Psalm 5:3 that talks about coming to God everyday,
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
This is David and he says, “In the morning I come and lay my requests before you, God, and I wait in expectation.” This is a daily diversion from whatever David had to do for the day. You could divert in other ways. You could divert by just going and doing something that is enjoyable to you for a period of time just to get away from the distractions. It’s like if you are working your whole life just to get to retirement and hope to enjoy life by the time you are 65 you have missed the best years of your life by working up until that point. So you need to take moments throughout your life and not live for what is down the road but live for everyday. Divert daily.
Second point was to withdraw weekly. Once again it is a biblical concept, the concept of the Sabbath day. On the seventh day we take a rest. It is good that our society is still structured around this where we have the weekends away and we have a seven day calendar. Imagine we only had a three-day calendar and you take one day off. Imagine if we had no days off – no weekends whatsoever, like they did in communist Russia. You go straight through, there is thirty days in the month and you go. There is no such thing as weekends; there is no such thing as the Sabbath rest. It is so good that we actually take a break once a week to be with God, to be with our families, to get away from the things that we do all week long. If you are not doing that I encourage you to do that. Whether it is on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday or whatever day. Just take one day a week just to get away and to just do something that is different from what you do throughout the week. It is a good day for you to fellowship with God and to be refreshed.
Jesus himself said, Mark 2:27
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
Meaning the Sabbath was made for us. It was made for us to have rest. It was made as a God given example when He created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. God made that example from the beginning of time for us to follow so that we could have a day of rest every week and get refreshed.
Thirdly, abandon annually. Again, this is a biblical concept of taking a vacation, getting away, and having a festival before the Lord. Various places in the bible there were these festivals where people were to get away. In Leviticus 23:39 there was one where it said,
“…celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days, the first day is a day of rest (Sabbath), and the eighth day also is a day of rest (Sabbath).”
And all the days in between to celebrate before the Lord as a festival. So there are times ordained by God in the Bible where we can divert daily, withdraw weekly, and abandon annually. In this way we will be able to refuel as we go through life in the day to day things that we do. We will be able to get refreshed and get the energy we need to go on.
If you need to go back over these notes and just take a look at them this week maybe everyday. Just take a look at these notes and say, “Ok, what can I do today to divert? What can I do this week to withdraw? Or this year to abandon?” It might help you to just digest some of these concepts.
Put Your Trust in Jesus
If you are not a Christian, if you have not followed Jesus Christ before, these same principles apply to you. They are truths, just like gravity is a truth that works whether you believe in it or not. You don’t have to believe that things fall from down to stumble and trip and fall down. These are biblical truths, they are spiritual truths that if you take time away, if you can divert yourself and take time away and get recharged like Jesus did they will work for your life. But there is one thing that won’t work for your life incidentally. That is your eternal life. If you wanted to get to heaven you do need to become a Christian. Jesus said,
“No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
We must as human beings put our faith in Jesus Christ so that we can have eternal life. If you want that rest that comes eternally for the rest of your life then you need to put your faith in Jesus Christ. It won’t just happen automatically. We actually have a decision to make. I want to invite you to make that decision as well. So if you have NOT made that decision to follow Christ it is very simple. He has already done the work for you. He died on the cross to pay the price for your sins so that you wouldn’t have to. You know that you have sinned. You know that you do things that God doesn’t want you to do. God says REPENT, turn from those sins and follow Christ. If you put your faith in Christ, that He already died for those sins and paid the penalty for your sins and mine. Then you don’t have to pay the penalty and you can come free to God again, not only in this life but also for eternal life.
We are going to pray after I play a song here and we will pray specifically for you if you need to make that decision tonight. We will also be praying for you if you need the refreshment and recharging of God. I want to play a quiet song here for a minute that you can just reflect before God and have a few minutes to just recharge right now, right where you are. Whether you are watching this at work during the week, later in the week, or if you are watching this live right now – I want you to just take some time, right where you are. Close your eyes and just focus on GOD. Just come to the Father as Jesus did and say, “God, I need You! I need Your strength. I need Your refreshment. Fill me up and show me what to do next.” GOD WILL DO IT! I believe it. He said it and HE does it for me and I know He will DO IT FOR YOU! Let me play and you just enjoy your time with God and then we will come back and pray together in Jesus’ name.
Let me say a prayer for you,
Lord, I just pray that You would bless this person watching right now, this couple watching right now. Lord these friends and people I have never met before, but You know them, You know them very well. I pray that You would meet them at their point of need. I pray that You would refresh them, strengthen them, send Your Holy Spirit to fill them up to overflowing. So that they could go back out and do the things that You have called them to do. God, I pray that You would show them their next step and help them “stick to their knitting” and do those things, no more and no less. I pray that they would take great fulfillment in knowing that they are doing what You have called them to do and not feel the pressures of others or even of themselves. I pray that they would only feel the desire and a burden to do what You tell them to do and a great joy when that is accomplished.
God, for anyone who has not yet put their faith in You I pray that tonight, even right now, they would watch and they would want to follow You. For You have the words of eternal life! You are so worth following! I thank You for Your principles and Your guidance and I thank You that You make a way for us to come to heaven. Right now I pray that wherever they are at they would just say,
“God, I repent of my sins. I am sorry for the things that I have done. I ask You to forgive me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died for me so I wouldn’t have to. I ask You to take over my life and help me make my decisions. Be the Lord of my life.”
In Jesus’ name AMEN.
It’s a great thing to come to God and be refreshed and be recharged. I hope tonight has charged you up a little bit more and I hope it encourages you to charge up everyday, every week and every year. Life is to short not to enjoy from now until Jesus comes back. Every now and then we just need to get away and just enjoy some time with God. I know it is hard. I know that things are busy. I know it seems impossible sometimes but I encourage you to do it. God will meet you and He will refresh you and He will restore you. Even if it is like Jesus when He was trying to get away. He got interrupted and had to feed 5,000 people when He only had two fish and five loaves of bread, an impossible request, but He filled it through God’s power. The same way that He continued on His path to go and get away and I pray that you would do that. Even if you are interrupted in your plan to get away that you would go ahead and do it.
I have just finished a devotional that we are going to put in print as well as put on the CD of this piano music. I am going to put it on the website and it’s freely available to you out on the website. I hope that you will take advantage of that and listen to some of the music “Clear My Mind” and just let God clear your mind and read some of the pages of the devotional. They will be up in another week or two where you will be able to read through this devotional called “Two Weeks with God” and enjoy just spending some quiet time every morning soaking up things from the Lord and telling Him what is on your heart. So look for that in the next two weeks or so on the website. If you would like a copy of it in print or on the CD you are welcome to send me an email and we will get a copy to you. We just want you to be blessed. We want you to know that God can clear your mind. God can recharge your batteries and He can restore your soul to eternal life.
How to Get in Touch with Us
If you would like to chat with us further I will be on the chat room after this broadcast at theranch.org. There is a Talk to Someone page, go to the Chat Room at The Ranch and I will be there and a few others will be there to talk and pray with you. We can also talk in private with you. If you would like to reach me during the week there is a way that you can reach me on ICQ (those directions are on the Talk to Someone page) or you can email me.
I am so glad that you joined me and I hope that you will come back again for another segment of live from The Ranch.