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Eric on the Road

Chanute, KS
May 17
Eric visits Chanute again for two services: 10am & 6pm. Click here for flyer and info.

Hernando, MS
May 20
Pastor Steve Albonetti welcomes Eric for just one service. Don't miss it at 7pm. Click here for more.

Sedalia, MO
May 24-26
Antioch Fellowship and Pastor Steve Graff welcome Eric once again. Join us for these four services. Details here


Click Here to view Eric's complete schedule
We are now scheduling Eric for Churches and Conferences for 2015-2016
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Eric Barger
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Other Featured

That's all I had to offer for the first two weeks since coming home at the beginning of April. Nothing except silence. A few have written me, noticing that I've been missing in action regarding regular emails to our subscribers. But silence doesn't make for good newsletters and articles. So please understand that I don't mean this negatively, but perhaps these musings can be a teaching moment - or a warning for some who'll read them and relate.

This is my 32nd year of traveling 200+ days each year in ministry. I'm accustomed to life on the road. So is Melanie. However, after two and a half months of non-stop travel back and forth from coast to coast, I came home this time with my emotional, mental, and physical tanks containing little more than fumes. Most "driven" people try to just drive through their low points and most find that in so doing they just exacerbate their problems with frustration, inferior output, and sometimes depression. I have learned from experience that when one is dry, exhausted, sick, or worse, it usually just adds exponentially to the problem. No pressing deadline, attention to responsibilities, guilt for not accomplishing set goals, or even financial needs you might have can turn on what just plain needs to be set aside for a season so it actually can come to life again. Silence is hard on goal-driven achievers not used to its stand-still voice. But rest is the God-ordained refresher to revive our passion, zeal, body, and mind both to serve the Lord and to serve others. There simply is no substitute for downtime that can refill our needy physical and mental tanks, just as there is no substitute for supernatural energy of the Word of God for our spirits.

When we look back in retrospect after times of exhaustion, we can see more clearly than when we're in the midst of experiencing real fatigue and, though few around us may be able to detect it, pushing on without taking a break will be like attempting to roll a boulder uphill - at some point our strength will give out and that thing we were pushing will reverse course with crushing results. Thus, it's good to rest and just be quiet - especially if you know deep inside that you are just plain burnt out. That was me a few weeks back.

I remember one December a decade ago when I came off the road and just stared at the walls of my bedroom for 3 days. I had never before experienced anything like that low place and thankfully, with the help of my wife and my trusted friend and ally, Ed Decker, I realized that, though I'd used the phrase "burn out" man times that until that troubling time I really didn't understand what it really meant. If you're driven by goals - even godly ones - burnout is a demon lurking in the shadows that Satan is all too pleased to mug you with. Though I know intently how hard it is to lay goals and schedules aside, we humans were given shelf lives and tolerance levels by our Maker. Ignoring the warning bells that God has built into us will shorten our expiration date, and what good will we be to His Kingdom then?

Burnout is ugly, and many, if not most, of us type "A" personality people have been there, have been close, or perhaps are approaching it now. Sometimes schedules, responsibilities, concerns for family, friends or the world around us take a sneaky toll that can creep up like a thief and rob us of the ability to focus in any way whatsoever. Besides the pressures from around us, type "A's" tend to be driven by - and often ruled by goals. Most of us "A" folk have the tendency to push ourselves to the limit and beyond with sometimes very negative consequences. In essence, the drive that makes us tick can be our undoing as well.

My recent episode is just a temporary speed bump in this ever-shortening journey called earthly life. This little detour was brought on by just not allowing for sufficient time at home in my schedule. But tempering the energy of life - especially if doing so could result in missed opportunities to affect souls for eternity - is often very hard for me to accomplish. So travel I will, and travel much, too. But to be who God has called me and this ministry to be, downtime must be written in stone on my calendar - even though it's digital!

Now, please don't be overly concerned about me. I say that knowing some of you may do it anyway! I am fine, with the exception of a little tweak in my lower back at present. And you should know that my drive and fire are returning to form very nicely. We have some really terrific opportunities ahead for the ministry and my excitement and zeal are rising each day for what is, by God's grace, up ahead. I really don't mean to be overly dramatic here, but I do want you to understand how grateful I am that so many of you pray for us daily and support us on a regular basis.

I believe it's healthy to let my extended group of friends (our email update list) read and perhaps be challenged or warned through these few words. I know that some of you reading this can relate all too well to the meaning of "burnout" - as in "up close and personal" - right at this moment. Perhaps, right now, my short account of what an unrestricted, out-of-control schedule can do is a warning bell personally for you. If so, rest, rest, REST, and remember: without spiritual rest and refreshing believers are easily robbed of the joy, peace, and insight needed to recognize and resist Satan's traps.

In closing, consider that God built a day of rest into life's weekly rhythm and early in His ministry Jesus reminded us that the Sabbath was given for our good.

Consider this as well. In Mark 6, Jesus recognized the weariness of the disciples and called them to withdraw and rest. As hard as the idea of pulling back is for us type "A" guys, Jesus is telling us that it's the answer to being able to finish well the race called life.

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