This weekend I had the pleasure of reading Filled Up, Poured Out: How God’s Spirit Can Revive Your Passion and Purpose by Mark O. Wilson (Wesleyan Publishing House, March 2012), pastor of Hayward Wesleyan Church in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Although the endorsement on the book’s cover by Mark Batterson indicates this as a book for pastors and church leaders, it is so much more than that.
Wilson has put everything in this book except the kitchen sink. It’s an encouragement collection of stories, quips, analogies, adages, and many scripture references. I hesitate to introduce comparisons, but I would think of this as a large glass of water for someone engaged in Christian service who finds themselves running dry; or an energy bar for the person whose strength feels depleted.
He arranges the 190 pages into three sections: Vacuus, Repleo and Fluo. The first section sets the stage indicating the nature of the problem: 45.5% of pastors surveyed said they have experienced depression and burnout (p. 19) a stat which resonates with Mark’s own experience;
“I realized I had been depending on yesterday’s grace; failing to keep my spiritual life fresh and up to date. My soul was empty and needed to be replenished.” (p. 16, italics added)
The second section talks about the process of filling up, but he contends we need to be emptied before we can be refilled; which begins with confession and repentance. I quoted a section of this on the weekend at C201. I also loved this quotation:
Our job is to seek His way instead of demanding our own. Instead of me writing the check and asking God to sign it, I need to sign a blank check and ask God to write it. (p. 50; US-check = cheque-UK)
And several other insights for which I didn’t note page numbers; like this one, the response of a young boy who is given a fully grown St. Bernard for his birthday:
“Wow. That’s great. But is he mine or am I his?”
And this prayer:
“God. Your will. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else.”
The last section deals with the resulting overflow that results from being filled, and how that reflects in the life of the individual and the life of the church as a whole, in compassion ministries, holiness, and influencing both the local community and the world.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this; and I want to share the entire first chapter with you. This link will take you to a .pdf file sample of the introduction and chapter one.
We all face desert times in ministry and in our personal Christian pilgrimage. But times of refreshing are available even when the road is rough and the well runs dry.