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Home-made Brew

The startling alarm, set for 6:30 a.m., forced me from my much needed sleep. A longer shower and a stiff cup of coffee were needed to rouse me for the day - and a long day it was going to be. In just 45 minutes the pressure was on. I pushed my little four-cylinder to nearly its maximum speed (which was needed just to "go-with-the-flow" of traffic) for 15 miles. Upon arrival I immediately began reviewing and adding to my presentation. At 8:15, I sat through a meeting to review the job at hand, and at 8:30 we all hit it hard - live. For the next hour and a half we dealt with an audience of 100 helping them consider matters of the soul and eternity and maybe encouraging someone to have a better day. I was on my feet most of the time and I became quite a fan of Dr. Scholl. At 10:00 we took a 15 minute break, met again for 15 minutes, and then repeated the first session with a different group - probably 150 in attendance. Near noon the session completed, but there were always folks that needed a little more attention, there were public relations to take care of, and planning sessions for the afternoon and evening presentations. Around 1:00 we headed out for lunch, and this usually involved people from the second morning session. Again, planning and public relations were included in this break. After lunch, which would usually last 90 minutes, I would drop by my house for a brief, but much needed break. The evening presentations were at an entirely different location than the morning, and much set-up was required for it to be a success. At 3:00 the set-up began and at 4:00 meetings were held with a handful of key team members for the night sessions. At 5:00, a team of 50 or so people came for training and I taught them and worked with them for an hour. At 6:00 meetings were held to plan the session. At 6:30, we all hit it hard again and for the next two-and-a-half hours we conducted the session. Again, I was on my feet for most of it. Around 9:00 we concluded, but again there were people who needed special attention, there was also more training and preparation for the next time, and also public relations. I did not eat dinner in the afternoon, as there simply was not time, so I would always go get supper after the evening sessions. By the time I finished dealing with people and locking up, it was near 10:00. I ate at a sit-down restaurant, and usually in large groups which included people from the session, team members, and leaders. 90 minutes would pass easily, and I would get home near midnight. I remember falling asleep with a dizzy sensation, and I would be unconscious as soon as my head hit the pillow. Welcome to the typical 18-hour day of someone who was committed to the ministry of music.

I remember thinking, now there's a beatiful woman...I think I'll ask her out sometime. She happened to be my wife. We had kids and they would cry when I held them as if a stranger were doing so. A larger alarm than the one at 6:30 went off in my head and this one really said WAKE UP! After six years of full-time music ministry, I resigned.

We relocated to an area where my little car can keep up with traffic. I work eight hours a day, and I go in early so I can get home early and be with that beautiful woman and those two kids, who are growing so fast I don't want to miss it.

Society is caught up in this absolute rat-race. And what do the winners get anyway? I know you have heard this, but no one lies on their death bed and says, "I just wish I could have been able to work more." A strong majority of people wish they could have been with family more. Fortunately for me I figured it out before my dying day. No job will ever get in the way of my family, and if the call to the ministry requires that sacrifice, then I should have remained single.

I'm having a blast watching my kids grow. They're hilarious. And my wife is much happier now...and so am I. I'm certain that is how God intended it to be.

I have seen firsthand the results of the lives of children who's parents gave their ministry, or job, a higher priority than the children. It is no wonder that only one in two marriages survive. In this age of money and wealth and the absolute need to make ends meet, both parents are working at break-neck speeds to provide. In the meantime they are losing those things most important.

I have decided not to take that risk. Although we live check to check and we are by no means rich, my wife stays at home to raise our kids. I have taken a 40-hour-a-week job (no more, no less), and our lives are simplified, focused, and meaningful.

And I haven't lost a ministry in the process. Actually, it's more effective now because it's done at a decent pace, my heart is more involved, and I'm able to really slow down and help people. I'm able to help the music program in our church, and I have been able to write like this - something I never had time to do.

Any one of you reading this probably works in some capacity. Working is is required if you intend to eat. But that's all it is...a means to an end. It shouldn't be your main focus, or your only form of ego or self-esteem, nor should it in any way get in the way of your family. The Bible teaches that no one is qualified to lead any other people if he can't lead and be involved in his own home.

As hard as it may seem to be, slow down, watch what your kids are doing, take out your spouse, and remember...making money and building up treasure on this planet are so temporal. Affecting the lives of your family and those around you is eternal. And this goes for those of you in the ministry too. You can't change the world by yourself. Slow down, change one person at time and get them to help you. Start by showing your children the way.