LUP039 – Time for Rest

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll hear in Episode 39:

  • Update – Conclusion of our 2017 Deputation Survey for Churches and Missionaries.
  • Encouragement – When it’s time for a rest – by our choice, or not.
  • Tech. Tip – Why does my computer slow down when it’s not really working hard?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Update

  • Deputation survey:
    • A little over 330 pastors and 360 missionaries
    • Two-thirds of my goal.
    • I’ve always said that I’d publish a report if I got enough responses. Do I call it a failure and abandon the whole thing?
    • Do I close the survey and move forward with the responses that I already have?
    • Do I ignore the original end date and extend the survey? If so, for how long?
    • Reminds me of similar questions that missionaries face.
      • They have a financial support-raising goal
      • They also often have a timeline goal of when they want to finish deputation
      • What do they do when they’ve hit the time and haven’t raised support?
        • Some go with <100%. Some continue. Eventually, some drop out, concluding that being a missionary wasn’t actually what God wanted them to do.
    • So, what was I going to decide? Explore the comparison…
      • What happens if I wait?
        • Like a missionary’s on-field ministry is delayed for as long as deputation lasts, the value of completing my survey and delivering the results will be delayed if I extend my survey.
        • Although some ministries may be waiting for results, they are not continuing to invest while they wait. They’re not asking themselves why they should continue supporting this work as may be the case with churches supporting missionaries.
        • If I extend it, how will I determine a new end date?
          • Do I keep it open-ended until I reach my goal?
            • How long will that take? I believe I’ve nearly exhausted my first-level relationships. A significant increase will require repeated followups. Comments from the responses so far suggest that most pastors don’t really care for the repeated followups. I don’t want to be annoying. I certainly empathise with missionaries who find themselves in this condition, feeling that nagging pastors is the only remaining recourse to get the needed level of participation and partnership.
      • What happens if I give up?
        • Many hundreds of pastors and missionaries showed they’re interested in learning from this survey. They’ve requested the results.
        • I have no delusion that they’re checking their email every day waiting for my analysis, but there will be some who will be disappointed.
        • I’ll let down myself and many friends who have encouraged me.
        • I won’t know where else to invest my particular set of skills in an eternally-meaningful way.
        • The growing vision of streamlining deputation will die. God can use someone else, but it will feel like an unnecessary end to something I’ve felt drawn to accomplish.
      • What happens if I close the survey where I am and move forward?
        • Where did the number 500 come from?
        • Somewhat arbitrary.
        • Wanted something big enough to show me whether there’s enough interest in solving the problems in deputation.
        • Wanted something big enough to get reasonably wide coverage and a good sampling.
        • If I knew the total number of pastors and missionaries that existed, I could do a statistical analysis to determine how many I needed to respond in order to get a representative sample.
          • But – I don’t have a way to know the total number
          • And – I’m already going to have a biased sample, because of self-selection bias.
        • With a missionary’s support level, missing the goal can have a long-lasting effect on the effectiveness of their ministry. Not true with my goal of 500 pastors and missionaries.
    • So, what will I do?
      • One other point to consider: Since the survey was announced, my month of July has been completely spoken for between work, a major communications project at church, and a missions trip out of the country. If I close the survey at the end of June as planned, the results won’t go out any earlier than if I waited until the end of July to close the survey.
      • Keep the survey open one more month, since I now won’t be available to work on the results anyway.
      • Send out one more plea to everyone who gave me their email address, asking them one more time to invite their friends.
      • Plan to close out the survey at the end of July.
      • What about the drawing?
        • Drawing entries will end June 30 as planned.
        • That seems like the only fair thing to do.
        • Not that most people will care. It seems that most of the interest in the survey had little if any to do with the chances of winning something.
  • Oh – and because July will be completely taken up with church project and missions trip, don’t expect a podcast episode the first Saturday in August. I really don’t think I’ll have the time to produce one.

Encouragement

Life does get busy sometimes. I just mentioned that I have so many things going on in July, that I’m going to have to take a month off from this podcast just to get it all done.

It’s hard to make a decision like that. I had to put this podcast on pause once before — when I was focusing on getting the missionary website builder up and running. And like then, I feel really bad now for doing it.

When I start something, I really don’t like to walk away from it. I feel like I’m quitting — like I’m failing.

Well, this past Sunday, my Sunday School teacher made a point that really helped me. He shared an audio clip of a conference speaker quoting 19th-century artist and writer John Ruskin who shared a different perspective.

Keep listening to hear that discussion on Rest.

“There is no music in a rest, but there is the making of music in it. In our whole life-melody the music is broken off here and there by “rests,” and we foolishly think we have come to the end of the tune. God sends a time of forced leisure, sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts, and makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives, and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator.

How does the musician read the rest? See him beat the time with unvarying count, and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between.

Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the “rests.”

They are not to be slurred over nor to be omitted, nor to destroy the melody, nor to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear.”

John Ruskin

  • Triggers
    • Voluntary
      • Vacation
        • Furlough
        • Many would hardly call this a rest, but it is separation from the work. Hard to leave the field, but you choose to because you know of the importance.
      • Weekend
      • Recreation / entertainment
        • Some sort of deliberate pause from producing
      • Sabbatical
        • I know some leaders come up with their most powerful ideas when they have a deliberate sabbatical – longer than a vacation.
    • Involuntary
      • Illness or Injury takes us out of service for a while
      • Job termination – Fired, laid off, or forced to resign – asked to do something you can’t do in good conscience
      • Civil Unrest
      • Here’s a twist – The Mephisto Waltz by Franz Liszt begins with a full measure of rest. The pianist has to wait before the piece even begins! That reminds me of what missionaries face.
        • Deputation
        • Immigration problems
        • Why would the composer do that? It surely wasn’t an accident. There is music happening during that opening rest, even though there is no sound on the piano.
  • Application
    • Some of these rests are predictable.
      • Should get enough daily sleep.
        • Giving up sleep to get more work done is counterproductive. In most cases, it’s been shown to be more effective to get the needed sleep and hit the task refreshed. For some, that means a solid 8 hours every night. For others, that means a scheduled, guilt-free nap in the middle of the day.
        • These can be more like the breaths between the phrases of our song.
      • One day out of every week.
        • I wonder how many of us in ministry don’t actually get that day of rest.  I know I’ve found myself using at least some of my day of rest for simply a different form or target for my work.
      • Vacations
        • Mine – mountains in N GA
        • Unfortunate… missionaries can’t take or feel they must hide
          • Supporters tease
          • Some in ministry pride themselves in never taking a vacation
          • “You don’t see Jesus taking a vacation”
          • He also had a recorded ministry of only 3.5 years, and it ended in his death. God doesn’t call most of us to the same pace of service.
    • It’s the unpredictable ones that tempt us to question why our music has been silenced.
      • And it’s one thing to turn the page and find measures of rests waiting for you to count through.
      • It’s something different when the music calls for a grand pause, keeping that rest for as long as the conductor deems appropriate.
      • When we don’t know just how long he’s going to hold us in silence, that’s when the rest becomes frustrating.
      • And that is when we must remember that even though there is no sound during the rest, the rest is a crucial part of the music.

How about you? Are you in a period of unplanned rest? Are you eager to serve but being told to wait?

Maybe you’re looking at your sheet of music, and you see not a simple rest, but a giant grand pause. You can’t count the beats and figure out how much longer you must stay still.

You may feel that there is no music in your rest. Maybe you feel that you have come to the end of your tune.

What did John Ruskin say? He said, “If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear.”

The rest you’re going through is part of a grand, eternal symphony. Keep your eye on the conductor. There’s more for you to play.

Tech. Tip

Do you end up using your computer a lot in your ministry? I don’t think I’m completely unique with how much I depend on my computer to get done the things I need to do.

And I bet I’m not the only one who gets extremely frustrated when my computer turns sluggish.

And it’s even more frustrating when you can’t figure out why. You have shut down every program that you’re not actively using. You’ve closed almost every tab in every browser window. There’s hardly anything left for your computer to do, but still it creeps along, taunting you with that spinning mouse pointer and the unhelpful message “Not responding” beside the name of the few programs you still have open.

You even restart the computer, hoping that will help. And it does, for a few minutes. But soon your system starts crawling again

Well, I learned something recently that can be yet another reason for a slow computer, and it has nothing to do with how hard you’re asking it to work.

The geek in me opened up the app to let me know just how much work I was asking it to do. On a Mac that’s the Activity Monitor; on Windows it’s the Task Manager. What I saw was that there was one process using more than 1600% of the computing power in my laptop. Now, from what I know about the kind of chip inside my laptop, there isn’t 1600% of the computer available for one process to take. Something didn’t add up.

The problem I faced was not that I didn’t have enough memory. It wasn’t that I was running too many programs.

My problem was actually ventilation. The computer was just plain getting too hot.

See, laptops try to be very quiet, so they often don’t have huge powerful fans. What some of them do instead is to measure their own internal temperature, and if they start getting too hot, they will pretend that there’s a process running, taking up a lot of computing power. It isn’t really, but it pretends to – only so that there isn’t very much computing power left for the rest of the programs to take. By stalling everything else, this trick gives the computer a chance to rest and do nothing for a while, until it can start to cool down.

But, if you have a stack of paper sitting on the keyboard of your laptop like I did and it’s blocking the path for the air to come in, it’s going to take a very long time for things to cool down.

So next time your computer gets unreasonably slow even though you’ve closed almost all of your programs, take a quick look to see if your computer is getting enough air.

It just might literally be gasping for breath.

Closing

So today, you’ve learned a surprising reason your computer can slow down and a simple way to help it speed back up.

You’ve also heard why we’re going to leave up the survey for another month. You still have a chance to invite your pastor and missionary friends to participate at edifyhub.com/2017survey.

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