My Heart Is Broken

"Jim Howard, lead pastor of the Valencia campus of the more than 6,000 member Real Life Church in California fatally shot himself in the head at home Wednesday after a protracted battle with mental illness."  You can read the article here.

Every time I hear this my heart breaks.  Please pray for the church and pray for his family.  Loss, no matter how it happens, is still painful.  

So many times we try to answer the question, "What happened?"  Understandably so, our hearts search for an answer, a cure, an explanation.  The truth is, we may never know.  

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Here are a few truths you need to understand.  

Pastors are human.  Some think that the Pastor can do more than he or she was created for.  Discover what your pastor's limitations are and then refuse to allow them to have to go there.  

Cut your Pastor some slack.  Pastors make mistakes.  Sometimes big ones.  I heard a parishioner say once, "I thought pastors weren't supposed to make mistakes." Forgiveness goes a long way to the overall health of the pastor and their family.  

Stand in the gap, be an encourager.  Don't be an overzealous cheerleader.  That's annoying.  But tell your pastor that you love them.  Tell them that you're glad they are a part of your life.  Tell them that God is doing great things through them.  

Is this a spiritual thing?  Yes, it can be.  Satan will do all he can to destroy the leadership of the church.  If he cannot do it from the outside, he will attack the mind and heart.  I'm not saying that this is what happened to Pastor Howard.  But I do know that it happens.  Pastors, surround yourself with people who are called to pray.  Then ask them to pray a hedge of protection around you every day.  

Stop whining.  If you have a problem with your pastor, practice Matthew 18 and go work it out.  Do not gossip, criticize or backbite.  I can tell you that this is the ground that can foster a lot of depression. 

To pastors or anyone else who needs to hear this.  If you need help - go get it!  I don't' care who you are.  God has gifted people with the ability to help you.  Reach out to them.  Talk to them and let them help you.  If people reject you for making healthy decisions, start hanging around people who will love and accept you.  Reject the rejects.  

PRAYER:  Dear Jesus, this is Russ, and I am praying for anyone reading this blog who needs your encouragement and help.  Move heaven and earth on their behalf.  They need you right now.  AMEN