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April 2024 Newsletter


Created for work . . . and rest

by Pastor Mike Novotny

Recently, I was listening to the pastor of one of America’s largest churches share how burnout almost blew up his body and ministry. This driven, high-achieving, Jesus-loving man pushed and pushed and pushed, until one day his body pushed back. Like many other talented souls before him, he learned that God did not create any of us solely to work. He also wired us to sit and rest.

But maybe for you that doesn’t feel possible. After all, there’s work to do and people to please (and who came up with that eight hours of sleep rule anyway?). If you tend to push your body harder than you should, I wonder if it’s because deep down you believe something that isn’t entirely true. The lies that lurk beneath the surface of your schedule can lead you to a very, very unhealthy and unspiritual style of life, which is why we need God’s Word to shine a bright light on the sinister corners of our hearts.

For example, consider the commonly held belief: “I have to make everyone happy.” So many people (your parents, your friends, your pastor, your spouse/children, etc., etc.) want you to do so many things (show up, help, volunteer, chip in, etc., etc.), and you “have to” make them happy.

False. While serving others is indeed a Christian virtue (Matthew 20:28), even Christ himself disappointed people. He worked hard and then walked away despite the crowds that desperately wanted “just one more” moment of his time. That didn’t make Jesus lazy or selfish or sinful. It made him wise.

If you are exhausted today, I encourage you to figure out why. Peel back the layers and get to the bottom of things. You will never live a balanced life of faithful work and refreshing rest until you dig down to the truth. I pray that God’s Spirit helps you do just that today so you can both sweat and sit, knowing that whether you are at work or at rest, he is your God.

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).


Leading people down the right road to Jesus!

Have you ever been at a time in your life when you didn’t know where to turn or how to move forward? As a loved child of God, you know you can turn to him in your time of need. And we’re so happy that through your prayers and support you help us point others in the right direction too through the ministry of Time of Grace. You help people like “Vicky.” 

Vicky says: 

“Thank you. I was lost and on the wrong road. Through your ministry I’ve been blessed with the hope, the love, the peace, and the forgiveness that can only be found in Christ’s humble birth, death on the cross for my sins, and his resurrection so I can live eternally with him.”

Thank you for working together with us to help people see that they have a Savior in Jesus and that when they are with him, they’re in the right place!


Find true rest in Jesus!

Today’s culture is perfectly designed to burn you out. But where is the rest Jesus promised?  

The answer is in the ancient rhythms of life with God as Jesus lived—rhythms you can follow too. Find out how in Beyond Burnout: How to Find Rest in a Restless World by Mike Novotny and Bruce Becker.

Complete with in-depth study questions and biblical guidance, this book invites you to evaluate your life to identify the habits, commitments, and attitudes that have you headed for burnout.

You’ll discover how to 

  • Enjoy physical rest in changing seasons.
  • Experience spiritual rest in the grace of the gospel.
  • Preserve emotional rest in a demanding world.

Beyond Burnout comes as thanks for your gift of support. So request your copy when you give today, and get ready to follow in the footsteps of Jesus to experience the abundant life as he lived it!

Click here to get Beyond Burnout


Get your Bible questions answered!

Are you ready for God’s Word to come alive in powerful new ways? Do you want to dive deeper into biblical questions you’ve always wondered about? Try the Bible Threads With Dr. Bruce Becker podcast to dig deeper into God’s Word. Explore intriguing topics like the true crimes committed in the Bible. Discover the significance of the particular numbers God used in Scripture. Find out how God intervened in history to bring about his will for his people. You’ll enjoy all that and more on Bible Threads. Listen today on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts!

Click here to listen to Bible Threads


Coming up on Time of Grace

Tune in to Time of Grace in May for Pastor Mike’s popular series Seriously, God? This two-word question has been asked by all people since the dawn of time. It’s a question that comes when life gets hard and you find yourself wondering where God’s at in it all. Even committed Christians wrestle with God’s plan for their lives when pain, confusion, and grief interrupt their personal plans for the future. This series studies the book of Job, searching for God’s biggest plans for our lives.

The first episode of Seriously, God? is available to watch on May 5 with new episodes released each Sunday in May.

Click here to watch Time of Grace


Work-life balance God’s way

by Pastor Mike Novotny

One of the truly defining moments of my life happened just as I was beginning my ministry. A gentleman from our congregation was furious that I wasn’t putting in more hours to lead a ministry that he was passionate about (I was working about 55 to 60 hours/week at that time). His frustration led him to ask an older pastor to confront me and convince me to work harder.

During the conversation, however, this older pastor paused and without warning started to weep. Out of the blue, he confessed his regret over neglecting his family in order to be the best pastor he could be.

I sat there, silent and stunned. And I learned a lot about the importance of balancing all of our callings in life, that serving God at church and serving God at home were both pleasing to Jesus.

Today I pass that story on to you, hoping you learn the valuable lessons that God taught me all those years ago.


Hello from Pastor Mike

Recently, my family and I discovered the recharging power of walking. Yes, you read that right. Walking. Ever heard of it? 😊

In our device-filled, calendar-cluttered, chore-list world, it’s hard for our bodies and brains to slow down. There is always email to check, things to do, and projects to start. 

But when we step out the door, leaving phones and unfolded clothes and to-do lists behind, something wonderful happens. We breathe and catch our breath in more than one way. Our thoughts slow down just enough to give each other our full attention, which leads to rich conversation and life-giving connection.

It seems to me that Jesus had the regular habit of doing the same thing. He would step away from the crowds and their constant demands by escaping into nature to converse with his heavenly Father.

Looking for an anti-burnout hack? Try stepping outside into God’s great big world and giving your mind a simple reset. If possible, invite someone who is carrying too much stress to join you. I wouldn’t be shocked if you gained much more than a few extra steps in your day.

May God save you from burnout, restore your strength, and “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” with the peace that goes beyond understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Amen!

Pastor Mike