Monday, July 28, 2008

Black Monday

I'm finding out about a phenomenon I've heard about for years, but have never really experienced. Preachers call it "Black Monday", and I can already tell I'm going to have to fight it. It refers to the depression and let down associated with preaching in front of people on Sunday and feeling the "rush" of a week of activity that culminates on Sunday, ends on Sunday night and zaps the life right out of you. I remember having the same feeling when I played football and we'd end the week with a game. The next day was always kind of blah, and I never thought much about it as a young man. As a man in his thirties, I'm starting to think about it.

In an article called "Birthing a Sermon", John Ortberg suggests that sermon preparation and delivery is like giving birth. Although this metaphor is very extreme (it's actually ridiculous, but I still like his point, so don't email me barking about this metaphor), it describes well the kinds of feelings involved in planning and executing a sermon. In the article Ortberg writes, "Sermon preparation is a complex process. When I think about constructing a message, I use the metaphor of having a baby, because I believe the stages are quite similar. There's the initial conception, which is often quite a lot of fun. Then there is gestation, which is increasingly difficult. Next, there's the delivery, which can be a combination of euphoria and intense pain. And finally, there are some post-delivery details." What Ortberg fails to point out is the post-partum depression associated with sermon preparation and delivery.

Today has been a difficult day.  I had trouble waking up and have felt somewhat funky all day.  Thoughts are hard to hold captive, and my energy level is very low.  In the back of my mind I've experienced feelings of dread and despair.  All I can chalk it up to is that there was a lot of build up and excitement for me on Sunday, and when it's all over it's kind of anti-climactic.  

Just thought I'd give you some insight into the mind of a pastor.  I'm better now, but there is some residual lull plaguing me still.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back in the Saddle

It's been a crazy month, and I've been less than diligent in blogging on a regular basis. Sorry about that (on the off chance that anyone out there really cares!). Here's the latest:

  • I'm doing a series on the Gospel of John at my new church.  It's been pretty cool, but I have a feeling we'll be looking at John for a long time.  It's been four weeks and we're still not out of chapter 1!  The most striking thing about John so far is the humility of this loving apostle.  Instead of claiming any authority or power for himself, his life is totally and completely dedicated to pointing others to Christ.  I love it when he says of Jesus, "He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. (John 1:27)"  Talk about a guy who knew his role and embraced it wholeheartedly!!
  • We've been on a couple of cool trips this summer.  First we went to family camp at Horn Creek in Colorado.  The coolest part of that trip was our venture to Great Sand Dunes National Park.  They say certain scenes from Star Wars were filmed there.  I kept hoping to see a Jawa, but lucky for my droids there were none to be found.
View from Star Dune
  • Our second trip was to Navarre Beach in Florida, and it was good as well.  The highlight of this trip was our stop in Baton Rouge on the way back.  Mike the Tiger was active and ready to pounce (no doubt on a Georgia Bulldog or an Ole Miss Rebel!).  The kids enjoyed it, and it was my wife's first time to see the new habitat built especially for LSU's famed mascot.  Oh yeah, and the beach was cool too!

  • We're finishing off the vacation season with some time at our family ranch in DeRidder, LA.  This is the place where I grew up swimming in mud holes and shooting snakes with bb guns.  It's not the prettiest place in the world, but it's home.  Ahhhh nostalgia!

  • I'm finishing up a project for Blue Fish TV that should go to press soon.  It's a study guide for an upcoming video series on Erwin McManus' book, Uprising.  Bet my high school English teacher never thought I'd be published!  Take that Mrs. Z!!

  • Looking forward to being back in Corsicana this week.  VBS will be in full swing, and I'm hoping to finally settle in to life as a sr. pastor.  The honeymoon will be over soon, but I'm hopeful and excited about the future.  
I'll write again soon, and maybe next time it won't be all about me!  Probably not, but maybe.