Spiritual Bipolar


I often experience what I hesitantly call “spiritual bipolar.” This happens when I go from being totally in love with the ministry to totally doubting my calling to the ministry. Certainly, there are highs and lows in all of life, but the ministry seems to bring out the extreme highs and the extreme lows. As a local church pastor, I can literally go (sometimes in the course of a single day) from laughing with a church member at a party to weeping with a church member at a funeral. One moment I can go from celebrating God’s goodness and grace in people being saved, baptized, and added to the church to being totally bewildered by people rebelling, sinning, or walking away from the safety and accountability of the local church. The highs are exhilarating and the lows are downright debilitating. Going from extreme highs to valley lows is simply exhausting. “Spiritual bipolar” is truly a force to be reckoned with.

What about you? Do you ever face the constant bombardment with the highs and lows of the life and ministry that God has given you? Perhaps you’re feeling “spiritual bipolar” in the realm of your marriage, or parenting, or the business that God has given you? Do you ever experience days of pure joy and surety over your calling and then the very next day literally wanting to throw in the towel and be done with it all? I have a funny feeling that all of us, to one degree or another, experience this thing called “spiritual bipolar.”

So, what do we do to overcome this condition? Is there any hope for sinners like us who wrestle with the highs and lows of this life? The answer is “yes”…A resounding, thousand times over, no strings attached, Gospel-cladded “yes!” Here’s what we need to do in both the highs and lows of life and ministry:

  1. Remember you are human – The Psalmist David phrased it like this in the 103rd Psalm (verse 14), “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” How do you like that?! The Psalmist David is essentially saying that you and I, at best, are nothing more than fashionable dirtballs. But in that is good news! How? Well, to recognize that we are but weak, frail humans is humbling, but it frees us from the incessant demands to be always put together, well rested, and self-sufficient. The bottom line is this: we NEED rest, research, relationships, and a constant stream of reassurance. We NEED these things because we are dust; and in order to manage our “spiritual bipolar” we must own who we really are, namely, human.
  2. Remember God is God – The Psalmist David continues in verses 17 and 19 of Psalm 103 by saying, “BUT [in comparison to us humans] the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children…The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.” This is good news! Yes, we are finite creatures, but God is infinite in His being and in His attributes of love, righteousness, and sovereignty. Indeed, God is a King who rules over the entirety of this universe. In other words, there isn’t one speck of dust, or problem in your life and ministry, that is not under the loving sovereignty of King Jesus! If that doesn’t infuse you with spiritual equilibrium to combat “spiritual bipolar”, I don’t know what will.
  3. Remember the Gospel message – Indeed, you must preach the Gospel to yourself every day. In good moments of life and ministry, preach the Gospel to yourself. In bad moments of life and ministry, preach the Gospel to yourself. Remind yourself of Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection. Remind yourself of His forgiveness and constant grace. Feel like all your friends have abandoned you? The Gospel has something to say about that. Feel like you just can’t make it another step? The Gospel has something to say about that. Feel like people misunderstand you and take your words out of context? The Gospel has something to say about that. Feel like you are just doing the right thing and everything wrong is happening? The Gospel has something to say about that. Ultimately, “spiritual bipolar” is conquered when we remember and preach the Gospel message to ourselves.

What about you? Is there something specific you do when life and ministry take you on its’ wild rollercoaster? Share with me. I would love to interact with you.


Prairie Flower’s Pastoral Internship Program 2018


Last Sunday (10-8-17), Prairie Flower Baptist Church (PFBC) unanimously voted to continue on with our Pastoral Internship Program for the Summer of 2018. This internship program is something that we did this past summer and we were incredibly blessed by the privilege of pouring into and discipling a future pastor, namely, Lance Lewis of Faith Baptist Bible College (FBBC). Indeed, Lance’s internship was good for him, good for us as a pastoral staff, and good for our church as a whole.

Our mission and vision at PFBC is to be a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God. To that end, we firmly believe that our Pastoral Internship Program is one of the most strategic things that we can do in terms of disciple-making. That is to say, if one of these future pastors goes out and pastors a church of 100, we have effectively poured into and discipled not just one person, but 101 people! As a church body, we are beyond excited for the opportunity to pour into and disciple yet another intern for 2018.

If all goes according to plan, my Associate Pastor and I will select the 2018 PFBC Intern this fall (preferably before Christmas) and then reveal the intern to the congregation at our Annual Meeting in January of 2018. During the Annual Meeting, we will also vote on the intern’s compensation package. At this point, we are only looking at students at FBBC in Ankeny, IA, but we are open to other schools and options. That’s where you (the reader) come into play. Please take note of the information below. If you know of a young man who would be a good fit for our high pressure, but rewarding Pastoral Internship Program, please contact me at pastordave@prairieflowerbaptistchurch.org or my Associate Pastor at jroc3497@gmail.com.

We are offering a fully compensated and robust 12-Week Pastoral Internship Program. I often say that pastoral ministry may be many things, but it’s certainly not boring. In other words, there will be plenty of experiences for the pastoral intern at PFBC. The intern will preach, teach, officiate ordinances, chair meetings, visit the sick, deal with complex issues and problems, etc. Basically, he will be immersed into the full orbed life of being a pastor. We will demand a lot…evaluate frequently…and constantly push for prayer-filled excellence in all that the intern does.

Here’s a quick, general snapshot of the pastoral intern’s week…Sundays are incredibly busy with preaching, teaching, and counseling. Mondays are filled with staff meetings and administrative duties. Tuesdays are sermon prep/teaching prep days. Wednesdays usually pack a punch with both visitations and administrative duties. And Thursdays are filled with more sermon prep, blogging, and other duties as assigned. The intern will generally have Fridays and Saturdays off. What was just described is a “normal” week. Such a week does not include crisis counseling, emergency hospital visitations, and deaths in the church family. The pastoral intern’s week can go from “normal” to “crazy busy” very quickly.

This program is not for the faint of heart. This program is not for someone who just wants to fetch coffee and get dry cleaning. This program is an intense program that focuses the intern’s attention on the proper care of souls in a local church context. Do you know of someone who would benefit from such a program? We only have one slot to fill and we’re looking only for the best. If you know of anyone, please float us their name and contact information so that we might look into their situation.

Being A Pastor Is Scary

scary full moon (2)

It’s October 5, 2017. That means two things. First, it means that tonight is a full moon, the “Harvest Moon” as some call it, and like nurses and law enforcement officers, I swear by the full moon. That is to say, there is something about the full moon that seems to draw out the worst in people. Strange and scary things happen in the “church world” around the full moon…some humorous, others not so much. Secondly, this day also means that Halloween is fast approaching. Now, I don’t officially endorse or promote this holiday, but tis’ the season for scary costumes and weird parties, right? So, both of these items (the full moon and Halloween approaching) has got me thinking about scary things. Thus, my blog post title, “Being A Pastor Is Scary”…let me give you three reasons why…

  1. Comforting – As a pastor, I am called upon to comfort those going through trials and different types of heartache. Some of these trials come in the form of physical suffering, or emotional turmoil, or perhaps marital strife. Some of these heartaches are small, while others are big and complex. The pressure is on in these moments. What do I say? How do I say it? Should I say it now or later? These are scary moments for a pastor. Providing comfort, while avoiding potentially hurtful statements, is like playing an episode of Minesweeper…one wrong move and you’re done!
  2. Confronting – Nothing is scarier for a pastor than having to confront an individual on their sin. Indeed, I would almost rather do anything else than confront someone about an issue in their life. It scares me to think how angry they might get…how offended they could become…what they might tell others as they potentially leave the church or (even worse) stay and stir the pot. Biblical confrontation isn’t fun at all. Following God’s way…the biblical way…the Matthew 18 way is hard and downright scary at times.
  3. Commanding – Now, I use this term loosely. Obviously, pastors do not “command” authority in the same way a military leader or business professional might, but we are called to lead the church. Yes, being a pastor means being a leader, and don’t get it twisted, leadership is downright scary! Should I make this decision or that decision? When should I make this decision? How should I make this decision? Indeed, making decisions is hard, scary stuff. It’s scary because often you cannot guarantee an outcome. You pray, plan, and move forward with an initiative, and it might work out, and, then again, it might not. The possibility of failure is scary for the pastor-leader.

So, what do I do, as a pastor, when I find myself scared? Answer: I turn to the Word. Specifically, Psalm 56:3-4, which states, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Yes, I turn to the Word and I choose, in my scaredness, to trust in God. So, whether you are a pastor or not, here’s my encouragement: Use what scares you most as motivation to trust the One who loves you and is always with you, even in the scary moments of life.