≡ Menu

Oomphless, But in a Secluded Place

Resting on the Rock(ing Chair)

3 April 2021

Dear friend,

Title image showing a very tired labrador retrieverI’m so dog-gone tired that cat-naps won’t suffice.
I find myself envying ol’ Rip Van Winkle
just a bit!1

Photo of a rocking chair on an outdoor porch

This is what an idyllic vacation dream looks like for me; but it doesn't hold a candle to the Secluded Place where “He restoreth my soul.”2

Yes, this newsletter is a bit late, and it’s a bit different. I just haven’t had the internal oomph to write it and get it published. Oh, don’t worry. External circumstances are going well, the blessing of God seems to be on our activities, the path ahead looks bright, and we are healthy. We had our Finest of the Wheat annual board meeting this past week, and we were all giving thanks to God for His goodness and blessing over the last year.

But having acknowledged that, I also realize that I’ve reached a point of temporary burnout. It happens now and then, since I usually go nonstop, and I’ve learned through experience that it’s nothing that should raise alarm bells. Experience has also taught me that it’s rather futile to harness the remaining “fumes” of my willpower in order to “blast through.” In burnout times, the most fruitful response, yielding the quickest recovery time, is to listen to Jesus when He says, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31).

My idea of a “secluded place” is a rocking chair on the porch of a cabin in the woods — no phone service, no internet service, just my Bible, a few books that I never seem to have time to read, and a large notepad to capture thoughts from my reading and ideas for my writing. But since such cabins are expensive to rent, I am making do with the rocking chair in my office, trusting the Lord to be my “Secluded Place,” and waiting on Him to “renew my strength.”

“I Will Remember”

Decades ago I heard Brother Ed Corley preach on Psalm 77 and I’ve never forgotten the heart of the message — in times of exhaustion, depression, defeat, and discouragement, David encouraged his heart by remembering the works of God for the children of Israel and on his own personal behalf. The refrain “I will remember” weaves itself through the lyrics of David’s song, reaching its crescendo in these words in verses 11-13:

11I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember
Your wonders of old.
12I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds.
13Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?

So, in that spirit and motivation, and with the childlike simplicity of that old children’s chorus…

Stop! And let me tell you
What the Lord has done for me!

Two photos of a pickup truck's diesel engineAngel’s new diesel engine is now chugging away!3

Cover of the e-booklet 'The Feasts of the LORD: God's Prophetic Calendar' by Percy Gutteridge

A solid, encouraging message!

Photo of a Guatemalan husband-wife pastoral teamHere’s a shot of church-planters Wilder and Venesa Hernández. They need intercessors…4

  • In Honduras, the rebuild job on the engine of Pastor Angel Alvarez’ pickup truck has been completed. So his “Gospel workhorse” is back on the road again, thanks to your generosity. I’m hoping to visit Honduras later this year so that I can “hitch a ride” with him.
  • Denise and I were both able to receive our first Covid vaccine shots. It’s still a very strange system here in Virginia, in that she has to drive to a rural town 34 miles away to receive her shots and I have to drive to a city 15 miles away to get mine. Never mind — we’re each one shot away from being fully vaccinated, and so one step closer to being able to travel again. Thanks to those of you who have been praying for this!
  • As promised, we were able to complete and publish, both to the website and as a Kindle e-booklet, Pastor Percy Gutteridge’s message The Feasts of the LORD: God’s Prophetic Calendar. The Lord led us to dedicate this message to the late Pastor Jim Bogosian, who was one of the key figures in an organization called Bethesda Teaching Ministry, the non-profit that preserved and distributed Percy Gutteridge’s audio messages for so many years. Thank you to those of you who prayed Denise and me through a very challenging editing project.
  • Remember the Zona 18 Church land-purchase project in Guatemala City that I mentioned in the last newsletter? Your generosity allowed us to make a $2,500 donation which is exactly 25% of the Guatemalans’ first fundraising goal and over 11% of the total loan they took out against the property. This church, along with the young pastores Wilder and Venesa Hernández who oversee it, have found favor with the gangs and drug dealers who operate in Guatemala City’s Zona 18. They respect the work they see the ministry doing on “their turf,” especially among the young people and children!

Some Fresh Infillings Needed Soon!

Most of you can take a sick day now and then, but you probably can’t call into work and say, “I’m tired, so I think I’ll just take a week or two off,” can you? Yeah, me neither! I only have another day or two to rest up and then…

Photo of a class of older seminary studentsVenue: A North Florida Theological Seminary class I taught in 2019. I spy with my little eye two pastors, a business owner, an elder, a teenage worship-team member, a Jesus-hungry octogenarian (no, not the one you think!), and a church leader.5

Photo of the Iowa Holiness Association meeting tabernacle in University Park, IowaIf you don’t have a week-long church-camp or other retreat you can attend on a regular basis, you don’t have any idea of the blessing you are missing! They are truly “times of refreshing” from the Lord. We are blessed to attend the IHA camp meeting, let alone to minister.6
  • Denise and I leave for the Jacksonville, Florida area. Lord willing, I will be spending the entire day on Saturday April 17th teaching at North Florida Theological Seminary. And I may be ministering three or four times split between two churches during various services. I shall need more than a “battery recharge” for all of that; I shall need a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit! For that infilling, for God’s blessing on the teaching, and for traveling mercies I covet your prayers.
  • As far as we know our schedule right now, I will be able to devote much of the month of May to preparing for my teaching assignment in June (see below). You who are intercessors: please ask the Lord that I might have a sensitive spirit, a hearing heart, and special grace and understanding to refine and focus the topic that has been on my mind and spirit.
  • Then in June, Denise and I will be driving about 1,200 miles (~1,900 km) to Iowa where I have once again been invited to be the week’s Bible teacher at the annual Iowa Holiness Association camp meeting June 13th through the 18th. Plans are afoot to visit friends and supporters in Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and perhaps even one from Kansas. My teaching is just a portion of all the ministry that will be going on at camp that week, so I ask that you would generously spread your prayers over the evangelist, the children’s workers, and the youth workers, so that we might see a harvest of many souls and many new people being filled with the Spirit of Jesus!

If it’s all right with you now that I have finished this newsletter, I think I will return to my office rocker (so that you will know that I’m not off mine!) and to my “Secluded Place” — in the Lord.

Much love in Jesus,

Jim

Tax-Deductible Donations Gratefully Received
Have you thought about making this a monthly gift?

  1. Graphic created by Jim Kerwin using a photo courtesy by Shaun F from Pixabay.
  2. Image by Greg Waskovich from Pixabay.
  3. Photos courtesy of Pastor Angel Alvarez
  4. Photo courtesy of Atilio Chávez
  5. Photo courtesy of Rennard (“Rick”) LeSesne
  6. Photo by Denise Kerwin
0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.