The message, “REFUEL,” was originally preached at Adrian United on 7.31.11. Below is an edited and abbreviated blog transcript of that message.

I will never forget the month of March in 2020. My schedule was packed, I had already traveled to several States, and suddenly, Covid stopped everything. Then after a year of being cooped up, I couldn’t wait to get back out and go again. I was so tired of being quarantined, and then on June 1st, 2021, the mask mandate lifted, and we all just took off again.  

Now it’s the middle of August, and we’re all tired again. It’s incredible how quickly we can go from complete to empty in just a few months. So, it’s kind of amazing to me, but tonight I’m going to talk about burnout. We are going to talk about the importance of stopping to REFUEL.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 

When I was in Bible college, I had the opportunity to preach for Bishop Ellis in Canton, Ohio. That morning when I was preaching, I used an illustration about marriage and parenting. Afterward, at the house, Sister Ellis said she needed some bread. So, Bishop said, “Morehead ride with me.” So, we got in the car, and he said, “You know, I’ve known you for about two years, right?” I said, “yes, sir.” He continues, “Have you been married before?” I said, “No, sir.” He then retorted, “Do you have any children that I don’t know about?” Once again, I said, “No, sir.” He said, “Well David, I’m going to give you a little tip- this morning you talked about marriage and parenting- from here on out, never preach about something you know nothing about.”

I have tried to follow Bishop’s advice, but tonight I will break that rule and talk about REST; A topic that I am not very efficient in, but I am working to grow in this area.

QUESTION: Have you ever run out of gas? Unfortunately, I have run out too many times to count. Below is an interesting list of why this happens:

REASONS PEOPLE RUN OUT OF GAS

  1. Assuming you have what it takes
  2. Not watching the gauges
  3. Going to fast
  4. Rapid acceleration
  5. Trying to drive too far
  6. Unknown leaks
  7. To busy to refuel
  8. Not starting with a full tank
  9. Lying to yourself (wishful thinking), I can get there.
  10. Putting the wrong substance in the tank
  11. Distractions
  12. Can’t find a station
  13. Plugged fuel lines  
  14. Carrying too much weight

Like the above list on running out of gas, we as humans also have reasons for running out of energy, trust, and love. Below is a short story from one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado, that shares how we can “run out of gas.”

GET RID OF THE REGRET THAT DRAINS YOUR TANK

Stronger in the Broken Places, UpWords, Inc. https://maxlucado.com/stronger-in-the-broken-places/

YOU HAVE ONE. A sack. A burlap sack. Probably aren’t aware of it, may not have been told about it. Could be you don’t remember it. But it was given to you. A sack. An itchy, scratchy burlap sack.

You needed the sack so you could carry the stones. Rocks, boulders, pebbles. All sizes. All shapes. All unwanted.

 You didn’t request them. You didn’t seek them. But you were given them.

Don’t remember?

Some were rocks of rejection. You were given one the time you didn’t pass the tryout. It wasn’t for lack of effort. Heaven only knows how much you practiced. You thought you were good enough for the team. But the coach didn’t. The instructor didn’t. You thought you were good enough, but they said you weren’t.

They and how many others?

 You don’t have to live long before you get a collection of stones. Make a poor grade. Make a bad choice. Make a mess. Get called a few names. Get mocked. Get abused.

 And the stones don’t stop with adolescence. I sent a letter this week to an unemployed man who’s been rejected in more than fifty interviews.

 And so the sack gets heavy. Heavy with stones. Stones of rejection. Stones we don’t deserve.

Look into the burlap sack and you see that not all the stones are from rejections. There is a second type of stone. The stone of regret.

Regret for the time you lost your temper.

 Regret for the day you lost control.

 Regret for the moment you lost your pride.

 Regret for the years you lost your priorities.

 And even regret for the hour you lost your innocence.

 One stone after another, one guilty stone after another.

 With time the sack gets heavy. We get tired. How can you have dreams for the future when all your energy is required to shoulder the past?

 No wonder some people look miserable. The sack slows the step. The sack chafes. Helps explain the irritation on so many faces, the sag in so many steps, the drag in so many shoulders, and most of all, the desperation in so many acts. YOU’RE CONSUMED WITH DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET SOME REST.

WAYS TO STAY RENEWED

Let’s examine steps to keep up renewed and to prevent us from burnout: 

1) RETREAT: TIME ALONE 

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

JESUS HAD A PLACE: Sometimes, you have to get up. See, the above scripture says, “Rising up.” Jesus got up before it was daylight. It was in the morning. He moved away from everything that he was doing and departed into a solitary place.

WHERE IS YOUR PLACE? Now, I’m going to put everybody on the spot here. Where’s your place? Does anybody have a place that you enjoy praying? Does anybody feel real brave that you’d like to shout out? 

SIS. SHERRY: I pray in the morning in the corner of my living room. I sit in my chair with my prayer blanket and a roll of toilet paper.

EXAMPLE #1: Have a “prayer plan” 

Do you hear the details?  

  • A specific time: In the morning
  • A specific place: In the corner of my living room in my chair
  • Specific tools: Her prayer blanket and a roll of toilet paper because she’s going to cry when she’s talking to the Lord. 

You see, Sis. Sherry has a “prayer plan” in place so she can daily meet with the Lord. Unless we have a plan, there’s a good chance it’s not going to happen.

If I called Bobbi Fae when we were dating and said, Hey, let’s go out. Okay, Where do you want to go? Oh, I don’t know. When do you want to go? I’m not sure. What day? Uh, we’ll see. Well, it’s probably not going to happen with Bobbi Fae.  

The other day, I accidentally picked up my wife’s phone, a notification popped up to pray 5 minutes at 5 o’clock for Michigan District Kidz. That was so neat; she was intentional with her prayer.

EXAMPLE #2: Take a Prayer Walk

I recently received a neat opportunity, I was able to go up to the UP, and I was preaching in Marquette on Sunday morning, and I already had my sermon. I knew what I was going to preach. I was already ready, and I was like, I could probably sleep a little longer, but I got up early.

I went and walked on the lakefront in Marquette and looked at the sailboats and the beautiful scenery, and I just prayed and listened to the Word of God. I enjoy getting out to walk and listen to the Word of the Lord, pray, and listen to a book. It’s a set pattern of what I like to do to get into my morning rhythm. 

EXAMPLE #3: Get creative and intentional

So, we were out at the wrap-stand one year, and sister Barb came sneaking in, and she needed something wrapped. I thought we were all going to have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to not tell about her Christmas present for Bro. Stan.

Sis. Barb had a three-ring binder of one whole year of date nights. She had twelve sections created for one date night a month. She had thought everything out. She had each date planned out with the place, the time, the money for the activities, and the tickets for shows. Everything was all nailed down.

You see, Sis. Barb had a plan; there was no worming out of the dates; well, we don’t have the money. Oh, it’s right here. Well, I don’t know if we can get in. I got the ticket right here. 

So, what would happen if we would get that intentional with the Lord and say, you know what? I’ve got a plan. I’ve got my prayer blanket ready to go. I got the tissue set to go. I’ve got my favorite Bible prepared to go. I’ve got my devotional and my journal. I’m all ready to go. How much lighter do you think we would get if that were to happen? 

Doing disciplines is kind of like eating a Reese’s. There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. You can do your disciplines however you want to, but the important thing is you have to make a daily connection with God. Below is a poem that illustrates the simplicity of a daily check-in with God:

JUST CHECKING IN

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, 
decided to pause by the altar and see who would come to pray.

Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, 
the minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while.

His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed, 
the man kneeled, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away. 

In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap, 
each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunchpail in his lap.

Well, the ministers suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear, 
he decided to stop the man and ask him, ‘What are you doing here?’

The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour. 
Lunchtime with his prayer time, for finding strength and power.

I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away; 
as a kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kind of what I say:

I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, 
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.

I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERY DAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS MIKE CHECKING IN TODAY.

#2) WATCH YOUR GAUGES

Now, that’s something I forget about; the gauges. I was driving a rental truck, and suddenly, I realized we hadn’t got gas in a while. We were in the UP, and the gas stations weren’t close together, so I was a little nervous, and then all of a sudden, bing bing bing bing, the truck notified me that I was low on gas. I was like, oh, thank you, Jesus. I have a truck that talks to me and tells me I’m in trouble, and I’m telling you, the very first gas station we filled up.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had an alarm that would notify us when our human gauges are low? Our gauges are:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

We must be intentional to check our gauges and ensure that our life runs on “full.” We also have to make sure that we are not allowing parasites or “triggers” to drain our tanks. I struggle with the following parasites:

  1. EXCESS MEDIA – This gets me distracted and focused on the negative and unimportant.
  2. CAFFEINE/ SUGAR – These drag my body down and make me agitated and anxious.
  3. LACK OF EXERCISE – It is hard to move my mind and spirit when my body is not moving.
  4. STINKIN THINKIN – Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” When my thinking is off, I battle with depression and anxiety.

We must be intentional to watch our gauges, so we don’t add a few extra rocks in our burlap sack.  

#3) LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD

Andy Stanley stated, “For every hat you put on, you need to take one off.” If you’re in ministry and leadership in the church, at some point, you’ll end up being a hat rack. We collect dozens of hats.  

When I was a young man, I would see pastors pull out their keys, just a massive thing of keys. I was like, that’s what I need. I need a ring full of keys. Now in my life, I’m doing everything I can to give keys away. 

I was having issues with my car starting and took it in to the dealership; the mechanic said my starter was out, and the reason my starter was out is that you have too many keys on your key ring, and it’s pulling on the starter, and it’s messing everything up.

You see, when we have too many keys, it pulls things out of balance. So, this is one of those things I’m not good at; I’m still learning. I recently saw a text message on a text thread where my wife decided without asking me and eliminated me from the process. I asked her why she didn’t ask me? She said, because it’s time for you to give that up, and you weren’t going to do it by yourself. So, I just did it for you. 

Sometimes you must have people in your life that can step in and help you when you are unable to take action yourself. We do that because we’re hat racks. We don’t want to get rid of that particular “hat.” I like that hat.  

#4) KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Knowing my limits is one of my most significant challenges. I’m still learning this. I’m not there yet.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Apostle Paul is writing of the Olympics. He had just finished writing of the hall of faith and is using this metaphor of saints running into the amphitheater and “the cloud of witnesses” he references are the heroes of the faith, and they’re watching you as you are finishing your race. Paul pauses this analogy to warn us, as you are running, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin.”

So, there is a difference between our weights and our sins, but they both slow us down. Well, I didn’t sin. No, but you got as close as you could on that one. So let us lay aside every weight and what that means is – and it’s hard to do sometimes – you have to reach in that burlap sack and start pulling some things out.

Lord, I need to refuel, but I’ve got too much weight on me. I’ve got too many burdens on me. I’ve got too much junk, and I need some help sorting it all out. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily beset us and let us run with patience That is before us. How are we going to do that? How can we have the energy to do that? Paul shares the secret in verse two, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Lord, I cannot do this on my own, and my sack is heavy, but you picked up the heaviest sack of them all, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Jesus took on our burlap sacks. He picked up all of our rocks, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Sometimes we have to say NO! That word is not in the Morehead vocabulary. It is tough for me to say NO, but sometimes you just have to say, I cannot do that because my family is more important. The church is more important. My walk with God is more important. We must know our limits so we can be our best for the cause of Christ and those around us.

5) STOP TO REFUEL

I don’t know if it’s a story or a parable. Still, it has been said that former General UPCI Secretary Rev. Jerry Jones was traveling through Indiana and was running out of gas when he stopped to get gas in Gas City, Indiana. There happened to be a power outage, and there was no gas in Gas City. Could you imagine going to Gas City and not having any gas? 

We must stop to refuel at the right places and create margin in our life. Margin is something I’m working on right now and is probably going to be a lifetime battle for me, but I’m driven by the words of Brother Paul Mooney when he said, “A wood chopper never wastes his time when he stops to sharpen his axe.”

6) SLOWING YOUR SPEED

Seth Godin stated, “done is better than perfect.” Sometimes done, just completing the job is better than perfect. Now, I try hard to do things well, but “the good enough principle” sometimes has to kick in. Well, you know what? That is good enough for today. I’m now going to go pray. I’m now going to spend time with my family. I’m now going to do something else because you know what? It’s good enough. 

CONCLUSION

In the Michigan District, we have 105 United Pentecostal Churches. Of the 105 churches, only ten are located in the Upper Peninsula.

Many UP churches are as far as 10 hours from our campground in Marshall, Michigan, many of the people in the UP cannot attend the Michigan Campmeeting.

So, about five years ago, we started a camp meeting just for the UP, and this year, we added a Children’s Camp that ran simultaneously with the adult camp.

 I rented a U-haul pickup truck and hauled our ten-foot by five-foot trailer up to Escanaba, and we had bounce houses, our sound system, and all kinds of children’s supplies. 

We held Kidz church under a forty-foot long, twenty-foot wide tent. On Thursday night, we had thirty-two kids. Friday afternoon, we had thirty-three kids in the daytime, and then we had forty-eight kids that night. It was a great experience, but it was exhausting. 

Part of the Children’s Department’s commitment to the UP churches was that the three executive families of MDK would stay and preach services on Sunday. So Brother McCool, our director, said that Saturday, we would do a team-building activity to recharge for our day of ministry on Sunday.

The McCool’s set up for us to go for a boat to look at the Pictured Rocks of National Lakeshore at Alger County, Michigan. I asked Bro. McCool, how long is the boat tour? He looked at me and said, “Oh, it’s not long, like an hour and a half.” After we were on the boat, the announcer came on and said, “Over the next two and a half hours we hope you enjoy your tour.”

I looked at Bro. McCool and said, “You knew this from the beginning, didn’t you?” And he just kind of shrugged and smiled. So, I’m like, okay, how in the world am I going to survive on a tour boat for two and a half hours looking at rocks.

After the first 30 minutes, I had seen all the rocks I needed to see. I was ready to swim to the shore. I got up and went to the back of the boat, and with the wind blowing in my face, hanging on the railing of the boat, I began to pray.

I said, “Lord, I know I need to chill out; this is so against my nature but help me to enjoy this. I don’t know-how but will you help me enjoy this moment that we’re having right now? I know this is a blessing of all of us being together today. Please help me to relax.”

At that moment, God imprinted into my spirit, Be still, and know that I am God . . . (Psalm 46:10).”

The first 30 minutes of the boat tour, I was wound up. Thankfully, the last 2 hours- I know nobody’s going to believe me, but I chilled out as much as a Morehead can- I just chilled out, and you know, we were laughing on that boat, and we had a great time because sometimes we have to slow down. 

Slowing down is so against my nature; I’m always geared up, but if we are going to refuel and be all that God has called us to be, we must be willing to take a step back and rest in the sabbaths that He creates for us.

PRAYER

Would you pray with me? Dear heavenly Father, I pray as we get ready to go into a brand new school year, as we get ready to ramp things up for new beginnings that you will help us to, Be still, and know that [You are] God . . . (Psalm 46:10).

Teach us to have a conversation and a relationship with YOU. Please help us to refuel, In Jesus’ name. Help us to slow down long enough to enjoy your blessings, to enjoy what you’re doing WITHIN us, to enjoy all of the great things AROUND us. God, help us to refuel for this journey. We know there will be more sacks ahead of us, but Lord, please give us strength.

PREVIOUSLY PREACHED

Adrian United – Pastor: Rev. David Morehead – July 31, 2011
Apostolic Faith Tabernacle of Ferndale – Pastor: Rev. David McCool – July 22, 2014
The Potter’s House Church of Battle Creek – Pastor: Rev. Mark Hopper – August 18, 2021
Apostolic Faith Tabernacle of Ferndale – Pastor: Rev. David McCool – August 22, 2021
Life Church of Roseville – Pastor: Rev. David McCool – August 22, 2021

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