Peace is in high demand and low supply these days. Given the monumental cultural, natural and political upheaval we have experienced these past few years, it is no wonder that there is a pervasive longing for peace.
Pastors and people in ministry are not immune from this peace deficiency. A November 2021 Barna Report stated that US Pastors and ministry leaders are “in crisis and at risk of burnout.” A high percentage of pastors are considering leaving the ministry, the numbers being highest among younger, ethnic and women leaders in ministry.
We’ve all heard of IQ (Intellectual Intelligence) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) as important measures, however I would like to offer that PQ (Peace Quotient) is just as important and valuable. Allow me to explain and then conclude with where I see Mount Hermon playing a valuable role at this time.
How is your Peace Quotient these days? Many of us are robbed of peace because of one of three culprits:
Uncontrollable circumstances (a diagnosis, illness, death, relationship breakdown)
Unmanageable people (who refuse to cooperate with our plans to fix them)
Unexplainable problems (when life seems unfair)
Nothing can throw me into a pit of anxiety quite like circumstances or people I can’t
control. It’s in these places where anxiety threatens to swallow me whole as my mind races through all of the fear-inducing what-ifs and unknowns and peace evaporates.
As author Steve Cuss writes in Managing Leadership Anxiety: Yours and Theirs, (One of my best reads of 2021), “Anxiety shrinks the power of the Gospel because it presents a false gospel— one of
self-reliance rather than reliance on an omnipotent, loving, and sovereign God.”
In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah makes a most audacious claim that I have turned to again and again in anxious times…
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3
The Hebrew word for the phrase “fixed on” that’s used in this verse means “to brace, uphold, support.” In other words, those with minds fully braced, upheld and supported by Truth and trust in God will be kept in perfect peace. The phrase “perfect peace” means an “all-embracing peace.” This is what Steve Cuss is referring to when he mentions the power of the Gospel. Christ followers have a God, who through the power of His indwelling Spirit, gives us the strength internally to face whatever comes our way externally.
This doesn’t mean our circumstances will feel peaceful. It doesn’t mean all our relationships and hardships suddenly get better. Nor does it mean the prayers we pray suddenly all get answered. Jesus did promise after all that we would have trouble in this world! But what it does mean is that, like a ballast steadying a boat in a storm, our minds can be steadied with Truth instead of overrun with thoughts of fear, anxiety and worst-case scenarios.
God’s peace is not something we work for or beg for. It’s a gift we access by faith. The peace of Christ is the palpable presence of Christ in our lives… and it’s ours for the asking!
This is where Mount Hermon is being used by God to advance the Kingdom of God. It is my conviction that God has sovereignly set apart and protected the property and mission of Mount Hermon for more than a century to be a place for individuals, couples, friends and families to get away, be refreshed, gain an eternal perspective and be restored in their relationship with God and each other so as to walk with supernatural, other worldly peace.
This past summer, my family and I were thanking God that Mount Hermon was open! While I have spoken for years at Family Camps at Mount Hermon, we have never attended Family Camp apart from my speaking at them. In July of 2021, having completed a 24 year Pastorate in Redwood City, my family desperately needed a place to reflect and be restored after our last Sunday. Mount Hermon was the place. Walking through the redwoods, canoeing in the creek, sitting by the fire pits, soaking in God’s word being taught, laughing during the game show and singing together… God used it all to fill our tanks and reveal Himself. We never appreciated the Mount Hermon staff and ministry more. God used that week tremendously and its ripple effect continues to this day.
Who knows what 2022 holds for us, but may the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus as we walk through it and may we continually pray for and support the ministry of Mount Hermon so that this other worldly peace is accessed by more and more people.