When you received your calling, you were anointed, you were appointed, and you were set apart for ministry. The value God placed on your calling, regardless of the situation you find yourself in, has never changed in the eyes of the Lord. Pastoring is rewarding…and exhausting. It is a high calling that many don’t understand or relate to. Because of this, many pastors may get run down, burned out, discouraged, and in so doing, lose sight of the Vision God gave them. Sometimes, in the busyness of ministry, a pastor can lose sight of his value and feel reduced to a social organizer, Board and congregation referee, administrator, and custodian. And that is not counting when they go home to their families. The Enemy may constantly attack, and when they are exhausted, will attack more. At ERC we want to give you a place to be rested, refreshed, and strengthened. We want to provide an atmosphere where you can find clarity, purpose, and new direction, because your life and ministry is SO VERY VALUABLE to God, His Kingdom, your family, and the lives of those to which you minister.
We have served in ministry for all our married lives either as volunteer staff, or on paid staff, and most recently as Senior Pastor in Fort Gratiot, Michigan. When the Lord released us from ministry in Michigan, he put a burden in our hearts based on Ezekiel 37, and the Valley of Dry Bones. We were reading the passage in March of 2017, and heard the Lord say, “I want you to create a retreat center for Ministers who need a sabbatical, or who are in burnout, or who have gone through burnout and are no longer in ministry. I have a plan for their lives, and my calling on them is irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29 ESV)
The context of the passage is Israel’s redemption, and as I am applying it, to the redemption and reconciliation of ministers. We heard Him say, “I have called them for a purpose, and just because of their falling, I have not relinquished the call I have placed on their lives.” This totally rocked our world, because religiosity would say, “…there is no way you can enter back into ministry,” but as the end of this passage says, “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has become His counselor? Or Who has given to Him that it shall not be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him, and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:34 – 36. Who are we to say what God can and cannot do. The Grace of God is always working towards reconciliation and restoration. At ERC, this is our desire too. To bring restoration, refreshing, and reconciliation to Pastors and their wives.
This is what we believe the Lord has called us to with his help and anointing. Who are we to do this work, but to be faithful servants surrounded by others to help bring restoration to men and women who have counted themselves, and been counted by others, knocked out and down for the count. God has another plan.
Restoration. This is God’s plan from the beginning. When Adam and Eve were in the garden and ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, God wanted to restore man. Was there consequence? Absolutely! Women were given the burden of pain during child birth and would be ruled by her husband. Men were given the burden of working the ground to bring forth it’s fruit, which in the garden was freely available. With the sweat of our brow, we would eat the bread from the grain that was produced, and we would return to the dust we were made from. The consequence was real. So was the process of restoration.
A price had to be paid, and a sacrifice had to be made, in order for restoration to take place. Blood had to be spilled for the remission of sin and we were separated from God. The final sacrifice was paid by Jesus on the cross when he gave his life for us. His blood paid the price for our restoration, and the veil in the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom, giving us access to the throne of God, and we were restored.
But the final restoration waits for us yet. Regardless of your belief on eschatology, the final reward is we are restored to his physical presence at the return of Jesus, when we are taken up in a twinkling of an eye. Restored physically and spiritually to what we were truly meant to be. So there is consequence, positive and negative, to the things we have done. Restoration is in God’s plan, not to be separated for eternity as long as we submit to Him and His plan. The process of Physical restoration looks different for each one. The process of Spiritual restoration is the same for all. Will you accept his plan of restoration for you? Let Ezekiel Retreat Center be a part of that restoration in your life.
God Hath Not Promised — Hymn
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
–Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)
Which pathway will you choose? A realignment must happen or you are setting yourself up to repeat the same mistakes of the past. It is up to you to choose to let God realign you. When you go to a Chiropractor and get your back realigned, it doesn’t happen all at one time. It is a process and takes time to heal. With each adjustment the spine moves incrementally until the pain is gone and or the pressure is relieved. God forgives and restores you spiritually to the position you were in. This is a given. Sometimes it is not that easy with man and mission driven by consequence rather than grace. However this may be a part of the process we need to go through in order for realignment to happen as well. This is a part of what Ezekiel Retreat Center is here for as well. Allow the realignment process to have its way and submit to the process. You’ll be the better for it in the end.
Thank you for considering your part in this ministry. We know it will, as prophesied, create a vast and mighty Army as these men and women of God go back to their homes, churches, and communities refreshed, revived, renewed, restored and realigned. You will have a part of this ministry, and the eternal reward that goes with it.