Finding Rest for Your Soul : Curtis Zackery
As ministry leaders, how can we move beyond the idea of soul rest to actually incorporating soul rest regularly in the rhythms of our life with Christ? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Curtis “CZ” Zackery. CZ has served as a church planter and pastor. He’s written a number of books, devotionals, and other resources on the topic of soul rest. CZ is the founder of a gospel-centered ministry called Find Rest. Together, CZ and Jason look at digging beneath the surface level of Sabbath that many of us hold. And really discovering the design and desires that God has for each of us to experience true soul rest and refreshment in our lives.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
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Additional Resource Links
www.findrest.org – Visit Curtis’s website now to discover detailed information about his book, podcast, devotional, and additional resources—all crafted to assist and enrich your spiritual journey.
Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath. – In his book, Curtis “CZ” Zackery reveals how our misaligned view of rest has its roots in an identity that is out of rhythm with God. Taking steps toward understanding Sabbath in the way that God intends can dynamically affect every aspect of our lives. This thoughtful reflection on rest calls us to the hard work of self-examination, helping us move towards a purposeful and sustainable life with Jesus.
Connect with Curtis – LinkedIn
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard says, “It is absolutely unethical when one becomes so busy communicating that he forgets to be what he teaches.”
- There is a risk of elevating the ministry work for God one is doing above and beyond who God truly is, creating an obstacle to growing in relationship with God.
- Henry Nouwen said, “If we don’t have a hidden life with God, our public life for God cannot bear fruit.” Every ministry leader needs to have a sincere, growing relationship with God in order to truly make an impact for the Kingdom.
- It is possible to go through the motions of ministry without a “hidden life” with God, such as preaching compelling sermons, building ministry projects, and leading staff, yet never contributing in a way that is leading to deep transformation.
- The search for rest and fulfillment extends beyond mere circumstances and the felt need of being tired and wanting to slow down and recharge. There is a deeper rest that people crave which is often elusive, the rest for one’s soul.
- The human longing for spiritual contentment sought through various avenues such as religion, righteousness, or earthly pursuits, falls short and can only be authentically satisfied by embracing the soul-rest that Jesus offers.
- God’s rest on the seventh day after creating the world was not merely a symbolic act but a moment of genuine satisfaction, where He looked back at His completed work and found it good.
- In Genesis 2:2-3, the Bible says God rested from the work that he had done three times, signifying the importance of doing so. God commands his followers to rest to refresh and be reminded of what God has accomplished through them.
- The principle of Sabbath is applied in the New Testament, where Jesus declares, “It is finished” on the cross, signifying a work only achievable by the hand of God.
- A ministry leader’s accomplishments are not merely the results of their efforts but are what God has “finished” in and through their lives.
- An individual’s work is never to be self-reliant, rather it is sustained and empowered by the celebrated finished work of Christ’s death and resurrection.
- Given the human nature of resisting introspection, it takes an element of desperation and courage to look inward, recognize one’s tendencies and deficiencies, and make the space for God to provide true soul rest.
- According to Proverbs 28, those who identify sin and renounce it are considered blessed. Therefore, it is vital to take account of one’s inner world.
- One undeniable truth is that people invest their lives in accordance with their values, with their actions serving as a clear reflection of their beliefs. It is important for individuals to assess their beliefs and ensure that their actions align with what truly matters to them.
Questions for Reflection
- As I reflect on my ministry, am I too absorbed in what I’m teaching and doing that I’m not experiencing a deep life with Christ?
- How have I elevated my work for God over intimacy with God? How has this become an obstacle in my ministry?
- What does my “hidden life” with God look like? Are there changes I need to make in this area? If so, what are they?
- As I reflect on my ministry, am I able to honestly differentiate between doing ministry that looks “good” and ministry that leads to life transformation? Am I seeing true transformation in the lives of others? How so?
- In what ways do I search for rest and fulfillment outside of Jesus?
- Knowing what the Bible says about the Sabbath, how can I honor this concept of rest, refreshment, and celebration?
- Have I been relying on my own achievements? How might God be accomplishing work on my behalf?
- What are some shifts I can make to ensure my work is not focused on my own skills and efforts, but fully dependent on God’s work in and through my life?
- What can motivate me to overcome my human nature of resistance to honest introspection, even when it feels uncomfortable or challenging, and make the time to examine my soul before God?
- How can I apply the wisdom found in Proverbs 28, which teaches that identifying and renouncing sin are blessed? How can I effectively account for my inner world in a way that will lead to a more blessed life?
- How can I address any potential barriers, past or present, that have led to unrest or discontent?
- How are my actions as I serve in ministry reflecting my values? What am I doing that does not accurately reflect what I believe? What are some steps that need to be taken to ensure that my actions and beliefs align?
As ministry leaders, how can we move beyond the idea of soul rest to actually incorporating soul rest regularly in the rhythms of our life with Christ?
In this episode, I’m joined by Curtis “CZ” Zackery. CZ has served as a church planter and pastor. He’s written a number of books, devotionals, and other resources on the topic of soul rest. CZ is the founder of a gospel-centered ministry called Find Rest. Together, CZ and I look at digging beneath the surface level of Sabbath that many of us hold. And really discovering the design and desires that God has for each of us to experience true soul rest and refreshment in our lives. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hey, friends, and welcome to another episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye. Every single week, I have the privilege of sitting down with a trusted ministry leader and diving into a conversation on an effort to help you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace a healthy, sustainable rhythm for both your life and ministry. We are proud to be a part of the PastorServe network, and each week, not only do we dive into a conversation like this, but we also create an entire toolkit for you and for the team at your local church to use to dig more deeply into the conversation. And there, you’ll find lots of different resources, including a ministry leaders growth guide, and we encourage you to use that for your own personal growth and also for the development of your ministry leaders in your church and you can find that at PastorServe.org/network. Now at PastorServe, we love walking alongside of pastors and ministry leaders, and our team of trusted coaches are offering a complimentary coaching session for pastors and ministry leaders and you can find more details about that at PastorServe.org/freesession so be sure to check that out as well. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube, please give us a thumbs up and take a moment to drop your name, the name of your church in the comments below. We love getting to know our audience better, and we’ll be praying for you and your ministry. And whether you’re joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe, to follow so that you do not miss out on any of these great conversations. Super excited about today. At this time, I would like to welcome Curtis Zackery CZ. Welcome to the show!
What’s up excited to be with you?
Yeah, man, I’m thrilled that we have the opportunity to sit down and just kind of share talk. And really we’re gonna be focusing in on this idea of soul rest, which obviously CZ is always a gift we have the opportunity to learn from others stories right?. And you have written extensively on the topic of soul rest. You lead a ministry called Find Rest right? findrest.org. CZ can you share with us what was going on really in your life in your ministry, when you recognized your need as a ministry leader to find rest for your own soul?
Yeah, I think the nerve center would probably best begin when I had moved with my wife to the Bay area of California. We were serving at a small church plant in a city called Richmond which was just on the other side of the bay bridge from San Francisco. And the type of work that we were doing and the life that we got to live was really beautiful and meaningful and purposeful. We were walking alongside homeless friends who were looking for a place to live, we were helping folks who were transitioning from prison into civilian life, we have friends who are in recovery from addiction. It was just a really vibrant and alive time for our family. And even though the type of work that we were doing was good and beautiful and meaningful. I started to recognize within myself this level of fatigue that was rising on a day to day basis that I couldn’t really figure out how to get to the bottom of. I didn’t have a real sense of what the causal issues were other than there was a lot going on but it just felt like everything was so fulfilling. It didn’t really have any place for me to be able to discover okay, this is the thing that feels like an anomaly, but Ultimately, what it came down to, was recognizing that in the midst of doing all the type of work that I was doing, whether it was preparing sermons or leading a Bible study, or like I said in any of those other conversations, there was no real sense of resolve. It felt like there was just this continual ongoing conversation that never really had a landing place that allowed for any sort of respite, even if there were days off, or if there were times where I could step away, my mind and my heart, were always running in the background. And so I started to recognize that even though I was doing good work for God, I don’t think I was doing that work with God, I think I had just discovered the ability to with good intentions, and with an umbrella of being under the call and the cause of the kingdom of God, how to just do ministry, and it caused me to stop asking the question, where do you want me to go?, it caused me to stop desperately seeking for sustenance. And just to be matter of fact, I had good intentions, but yet was pouring out of an empty vessel. And the best way to really capsulize that season was a quote from Soren Kierkegaard and he said, it is absolutely unethical when one becomes so busy communicating that he forgets to be what he teaches. And I think that happens both, intentionally for some, but in my case, I think inadvertently. I just had learned to do ministry, such that it allowed for me to be able to live and function and perceptibly be okay, but really not have anything that produced flourishing.
Yeah, no, that’s simple. CZ. And, and when when you say that, I’m sure that lots of people watching listening can resonate with that, that type of tension really, of working for God versus working with God. Because in ministry, that is one of the you know, the easiest things to slip into. And, and you can kind of suddenly slip into that, you know, you’re doing good things, right. But there becomes that disconnect, between really doing things for God, as opposed to with God. See, can you talk a little bit more? I’d like to press in on this a little bit. Sure. Yeah. Like, how, you know, what, what was that recognition for you? Because, again, it can be a subtle thing, an inadvertent thing, as you said, what was that that recognition for you that made you go, whoa, wait a second, I need to you know, move back to walking alongside of God, instead of just doing things for the Kingdom? Yeah,
Yeah, I think another quote that I can really relate with, is from Henry Nouwen, and who talked a lot about ministry and how ministry, quite frankly, can become an obstacle to relationship with God, our elevation of our work for God becomes more important than the god we’re working for. And one of the things that he said is, if we don’t have a hidden life with God, our public life for God cannot bear fruit. And I think what’s interesting about that quote to me, is he didn’t say, if we don’t have a hidden life with God, we can’t do ministry. As a matter of fact, we can do ministry. And quite frankly, we can do ministry perceptively very successfully, we can be preaching compelling sermons, we might be building beautiful ministry projects, we might be leading the charge of a staff that feels and seems to be vibrant, but at the same time, creating work that ultimately isn’t leading to transformation. I think that’s the thing that began to feel very evident to me is, I knew that there was work happening for God that was meaningful and purposeful and good. But I don’t know that my life could be described as flourishing, that there would have been this picture of being fully alive as a result of my connection with Christ. And so therefore, I could see the distinction, and when I was honest with myself, and starting to see how, you know, some of the indicators, maybe even in what you’re asking are, you know, I found myself laughing less than I normally would, you know, I found myself to be more serious than normal. I would pull away from people where normally I’d be more social and, you know, these little indicators that might be different for different people started to be signal flares to say well Maybe in the midst of all this God stuff that you’re doing, there’s something that’s missing around the sustainability and health and strength, really, that would lead to not only continuing and being able to do it, but also in doing it, leading to transformation to see people around me beginning to have an encounter with the power of God, you know, and I think that distinction is really what it’s all about.
Yeah, yeah. I love that point, about the fruitfulness of ministry. And in here on the show, it’s called FrontStage, BackStage. And we call it that, because as you said, on the front stage, you can really look like things things are happening. So ministry can happen, but it’s not necessarily fruitfulness from that Minister transformation from that ministry, things can look good on the front stage, and on the back stage of your life, if you don’t have that hidden life as Henry Nouwen say, you know, with God, if you’re not digging in on the backstage, then the front stage, you know, can eventually all come tumbling down at some point. So I love that it’s easy for you as you came to this recognition, right?. As you shared, one of the key things that you that you write about and that you share, is that you had this realization that you need to experience a rest for your soul. I mean, that’s what that’s what came out of out of this, like, you began to recognize these things. And you realize, Wait, they’re there. I need some something to happen within me. Talk to us a bit about how that that idea of rest for your soul was triggered? And why was that what you realize was what you were hungry for and what you actually needed in that time.
Yeah. So during that season that I started out talking about when that became an acute part of my conversation, we also had experienced loss through miscarriage a couple of times, and the second time, was further along into the pregnancy. So we had to go to the emergency room at two in the morning and a city that was still relatively new to us. And I think the other component was, as we were walking through all those things, we felt definitely alone. So, the idea of what it looked like for us to experience what we were experiencing, and then to share about that and process, it really wasn’t present for us, we didn’t really have a communal connection that kind of fostered that. And that’s partly because of my lack of intentionality in it that’s now being exposed and revealed. But then also even one of the things that I remember and maybe people can relate to is, whenever I would find a small window of opportunity to feel like I could share what I was experiencing, I would have people say back to me: well, you’re the guy that we normally would talk to when we’re in trouble. So we’re just gonna give you some space, and we’re going to let you kind of on your own. And that was really hard, you know, and so I remember going to a coffee shop, and I ordered my coffee. And I sat down and I just put my head in my hands. And I just started to cry, because I just felt so overwhelmed. I didn’t really know what to turn to or how to even adjust my thinking, because I felt like well, I’m doing everything that’s right, I’m good, I’m in church regular, I’m studying the Bible, I’m you know, there isn’t any sense of disconnection between what I aspire to be true, and what I feel like I desire in my heart, you know, it’s all these things. And so, as I was sitting there, I felt like there was a lightning bolt direct message from God to my heart saying, the thing that you alluded to that you need rest for your soul. And sadly, I think two things were true in that moment, number one, I knew it was directly from God. And I realized in that moment that I had no idea what that practically meant. Like, I knew it was right. But I didn’t know how to find it or what even consisted of. Then the second thing I realized, and this is kind of the indicator that led me down the path was, I knew God was speaking. But I also recognized in that moment, it was the first time that I could clearly identify having heard from God in a really long time. And what was really sobering and sad about that is, I was doing a whole lot of talking on behalf of God during that time, and so, it just revealed to me in that moment of this is what I think he’s getting at that there’s this reservoir that is completely depleted. And it’s not dealing with surface rest or a vacation or days away, but there is something that is deficient in my soul that I’ve allowed to become depleted. And so that was the recognition and I think As far as you know how to find it, you know, I can talk for hours about all of this. And that’s where, you know, the idea of even writing about it came from but just very quickly, the simplest way to describe it is in Matthew chapter 11. You know, there’s a famous verse that’s usually quoted when we’re going through stressful times, or we’re feeling anxious and kind of treated again, as a very surface level kind of discomfort. But when Jesus was talking, and he says: come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, I’ll give you rest, take my yoke, learn from me, gentle and lowly in heart, he goes on to say, you’ll find rest for your soul, he directly addresses where the deficiency is found, it’s a soul ish, rest that is necessary. And what he was talking about, was not circumstantial. It wasn’t dealing with issues that they were encountering on a day to day basis, what he was saying is, you are trying to satisfy an eternal longing that has been placed in you from creation, by things that are not meant to satisfy. And whether that’s your pursuance of religion, or righteousness before God, or ministry work or fulfilling those things with sinful habits, or whatever it is, He’s saying, I will provide the rest your soul is craving, and you’re trying to fill with other things. So that’s really what the whole idea is centered around.
Yeah, no, I love that. And I love that, as you share that experience in the coffee shop, you know, I mean, which I mean, we can all probably look back at those, you know, deep God encounters in over the course of our journey with God, right? And, and one of the things that you said about that is that you knew God was speaking, but practically you didn’t know, like, where to go or how to experience the soul rest, like you knew this is what God was saying, this is what you needed, this is what your soul was hungry for, but, but kind of now what? So share with us a little bit CZ, that was kind of a catalyst for you, obviously, right? Where did that journey take you then? How did you begin to discover? You know, how to enter into soul rest? What did that look like for you? And then what did that propel you into? As you as you move forward and administrate in your life in Christ.
Yeah, it’s, it’s so funny, you know, having these conversations, like my mind goes, all these different places, there’s so many things I would love to say. I think the first thing that comes to mind is I knew after that time in the coffee shop, that I needed to go chat with my bride and just let her know something’s wrong. I don’t know how to get to the bottom of what I’m experiencing and feeling, but I do feel like God has given me a bead on where I need to walk toward. And so I went to the guys that I was serving with, at that small church plant and basically said, I’m not sure what the next thing is, but I can’t do this right now. I need to, I need to remember, my first love, I need to figure out what does it look like for me to be operating from a place of connectedness to Christ. And I didn’t even know if that consisted of me continuing in ministry ever again. I didn’t know. So we packed up our stuff. And we ended up moving to Sacramento with my wife’s family. And they were so gracious and kind because they allowed me and us the space to stay with them. But then also the process. And I remember on the very first day of that new journey, waking up early is a beautiful California morning, the birds were chirping, and I went outside and I just felt like fresh air. And and all of a sudden, there was just this question that felt like it was plaguing me, it was a heavy question that said, now that I’ve taken away all the things that you get to do for me, will you love and worship Me with the same passion? And sadly, and very quickly? My answer was no. I knew I knew it immediately. What’s interesting about that was he didn’t say to me, Do you love me? I would have said yes, I love you. God, I love you. I want to know how to love. But what he basically was saying is, is it the same for you with me when you’re not doing things for me? Like, am I enough for you? is really the question,
And what I realized when I was honest, and in that moment by myself on this porch, man, it’s just not enough. I’ve forgotten. Whatever it was, that was the impetus to get me to even want to do any of these things. So to answer your question, it basically took me back to the beginning of the Bible. You know, as somebody who loves the word and studying scripture, it’s like, very humbling to say, well, I need to figure out what rest looks like biblically. So I just went back to Genesis and just said, All right, start noting every time I See rests pop up and see what that looks like. And thankfully, we all know as we study the Bible doesn’t take long to bump into rest in the story of Scripture, you know, what was so game changing for me is Genesis chapter two, verses two through three, on the seventh day of the Creation account says that God rested from the work that he had done. And it says it three times in those two verses, God rested from the work that he had done. And it really just started racking my brain, I just started to think so many things that I had never thought about having read this thing, so many times reached about it at some point. But the first question that really just began to press on me was, why did God rest? You know, I’m not I’m not present omnipotent, you know, right. Why would a God who has everything all power is everywhere all the time? Like, Why would he need to rest? And maybe that was a very kitty question to ask, but it just was resting on my heart. Oh, my God. Yeah. can shake, you know. And it was crazy. The Lord brought me to this verse in Exodus 31:17. And he talks about this idea of rest. And he says, that the Sabbath is resting, it says, it’s a sign forever between me and the people of Israel, that there would be this rest that for six days, you know, you work and then, but then he says, On the seventh day, God rested and was refreshed. And I’ll tell you, like, I read that. And I was like, what I’ve read through the Bible,
Seen it, I just skated past it. But I was like, Wait, God asked this question, why did God rest? then it says, there was something that was so refreshing that it could be refreshing to a God who has all power, like what could be so refreshing?, that it would bring him refresh, like he didn’t just rest as a symbol. That’s what I always thought he was showing the people what to do. And then in Exodus 20, verse eight, when he gives the command, you will do what I showed you to do six days, you will work seven day you will remember my finished work. But what was refreshing that came from the rest? Well, I go back to that creation account, on the seventh day, he stopped, he looked back at everything he made, by his own hand, only he could do it. And everything he made by his hand, he said, Man, I love it, I’m satisfied with it. It’s good. It’s finished. And he celebrates on that seventh day his finished work. So he is refreshed. Looking back at the finished work that can only be done by his hand alone. So then when you fast forward to Exodus 28, what he was telling them was to do the exact same thing. Remember, a work that can only be done by my hand alone, six days you do work that provides with your hand, seven day you remember a work that I do. So that’s beautiful. Well, then we can look at that and go, Well, that’s great, Old Testament, how does that apply to us today? Fast forward, Jesus bloodied and beaten on a cross for sins that he didn’t commit, to fulfill what is broken about humanity on our behalf. Right before he dies, he utters some familiar words, “It is finished.” Well, what is finished, it’s a work that can only be done by the hand of God alone. And God looks back at this work that is done, He is satisfied, it’s enough. And what comes after that significant work, whose rest in the beginning, there was a rest that came acknowledging the work of God in his hand. Now, in this New Testament, understanding, the rest is exactly what Jesus was saying in Matthew 11. The rest is for souls. Your soul is in turmoil and upheaval, when you are striving and straining and doing it sustained on your own power. But when I finished the work, your soul finds rest. So how does that apply? Well, now all of a sudden, my identity, my worth, my value as a pastor, as a man, as a husband, is not contingent upon what I do, but is contingent upon who has done it on my behalf. And so now the rest comes from my soul. And then what’s so amazing and most important to acknowledge is we don’t just simply rest in that fact and then languish for the rest of our lives. No, we held into the world. And that work that we do in the world is sustained by the finished work that we celebrate on the cross.
Yeah, that’s so good CZ. As we look at that rest, and being able to really, to really find that rest, because that rest, as you said, is in the one who has completed the work through Christ Jesus, right. Oftentimes, our tendency in ministry is to kind of recognize that and say, oh, yeah, and then we get kind of back into it, right, we get back into the work, we get back into the stuff we get back into, you know, all the different hats that we’re wearing all different things, and we, we lose sight of, you know, that refreshment, you know, I mean, like, we kind of tuck it away, and then we we get on with stuff. So CZ, how have you found over over the years, that you’ve best been able to not slip into that temptation that probably all of us in ministry have? And that is to, you know, get into it again, you know, I mean, and then we have to come every so often and be reminded, oh, yeah, that’s right. You know, we have this rest for our soul. How have you been able to, you know, continuously build that rhythm into your life? What has been most helpful for you?
Yeah, I think, again, there’s so many things and ways to answer that question. I think, most specifically, I’ll just say there are three words that have been just so helpful to me, in this journey. It’s intentional, substantial, and sustainable. And those three words have become a helpful guide for me in a lot of different areas. But I’ll just focus, you know, directly on, you know, maybe in a practical way to say, alright, well, clearly, it’s important for me to be practicing the spiritual rhythms or disciplines however you say it. And so I need to be studying the Scriptures more I need to be meditating or I need to be. So that would be an easy answer for me to say, of course, these are the ways that you can invite these experiences into your life as a ministry leader or pastor. But the thing that I started to realize is, we’re really good at what we’re not very good at why. And as ministry leaders, the first part of those three words is probably like breathing. It’s so easy to be intentional. i Yeah, I’m gonna read the Bible every day. I mean, weirdly, and sadly, it’s just part of our job to read. So like, if you say, read the Bible every day, it’s like, it’s not even that exceptional for the sake of you know what it represents. But the real question isn’t, do you read the Bible every day? The question is, why do you read the Bible every day? If I’m just gonna say, I’m gonna read the Bible every day to do it. The only thing I’ll get on the other side of it is whatever information I was trying to grab, or the ability to say, Well, yeah, I did it. But the real question is, Have I met God there? Like, did I have an encounter with him? As I was entering into these spaces, the substantial piece is really where it kind of kicks up for me. So it’s not just saying, I’m gonna stop and make space, I’m gonna make commitments to change some things. Because I think a lot of us can kind of do that, like you said, but we get swung back into the regular rhythm. The second part of it is intentionality seeking a substantial return. Like, do I actually believe that the God of the universe will speak to me when I am meditating on him? Like, do I believe that the God of the universe will provide refreshment for me? When I go on a nature walk, or when I fast? Do I believe that the God of the universe will give me insight and wisdom by His Spirit?, like do I believe, like, that’s the thing that I think, calls us to think about in Hebrews 11, this idea of faith or facing, you know, the Hall of Faith, as a lot of people call, it wasn’t just what they believed in their mind, but it was what they believed moving them to action forward. And so I think that that’s the piece for some of us that can kind of, you know, knock off some of the edges. And then that third piece is really simple. It’s just sustainability. It’s like, what can I do right now for the foreseeable future on a regular basis, that allows me those intentional rhythms that can have a substantial connection with God?. And so, you know, really practically like one of the things for me, that’s changed my life is my phone, like, this is my phone, and you’re like, What the heck is that? Right? Is it right there? It is not a smartphone. That, for me, has been a dramatic shift that has changed so many things about my ability to remain in a sustainable posture. And some people would say, well, that’s extreme. That’s radical. Cool. I think what you need to do is determine, number one, what are the intentional steps necessary, but then to what are the barriers that are keeping that intentional step from being a substantial connection with God?
Yeah, that’s, that’s good. I think that the the idea of identifying those barriers, because oftentimes as you said, we can we get the intentional part down, yeah, we’re in it, we’re doing it, you know, the why part we may struggle with, but what we’re being intentional, the substantial piece I think is, is really important, you know, the expectation that God is going to do something, that my life will be different as I engage with God, right. But that idea of identifying those barriers?. Sometimes we’re a little slower to do that. Right? We’re not as willing to, to say, okay, you know, what’s the flip side of the equation? What is actually hindering me? Not what do I need to do more of, but maybe what do I need to do less of right? What things do I need to move out of my life, in order for me to be able to experience this ongoing, you know, rest for my soul, that I might commune with God at a deeper level that I might be more fruitful in my relationships more fruitful in my ministry? And those questions, CZ, you know, when we wrestled through those questions, like, what are the things we need to take out of our lives? What are those distractions? Those can be more challenging, because we don’t always like subtracting things. We don’t live in a society that likes to subtract things. Yes. So CZ, share with us just a little bit for you, as you’re processing through those things. What does that practically look like for you like, whenever you recognize, hey, listen, I need to ditch the smartphone and go with a simple phone. Right? Like, what was kind of the catalyst for you to be able to say, Okay, wait a second, I recognize some things and I’m going to, you know, move those barriers out of my life.
Yeah, I think one way to look at it is how you stated that we don’t like to subtract things, that’s certainly a cultural normative. But I would also go on to say, We don’t like to be introspective. Because we know that we don’t really want to find the things that may be there when we start to look inward. And so I think it takes an element of either desperation, or courage, or some mixture of the two, that gets you to finally be able to say, All right, I’m gonna be honest with myself, and how I spend my time and be honest with myself, and what’s truly going on in my internal world, you know, you either are at the end of your rope and desperate for some sort of change, or you just are able to see whether through other people’s stories, or reading or just understanding the importance, the need to be courageous to take that look. And I would just say there’s a couple of things that come to mind as important, you know, different ways to go about it. But the first one, it’s in Proverbs 28 talks about how those are blessed that identify sin and renounce sin. You know, I just not to be Elementary, but it’s like, Man, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, it’s important to take account of your internal world, and maybe one of the most obvious and glaring barriers to intimacy is just a sin issue that might be present in your life. And I think it’s important to have regular rhythms of assessment, confession. And that proverb goes on. And Paul talks a lot about this idea of renouncing secret and shameful ways. Like, this is something that I think we can normalize things that are a part of our regular world that we can justify or kind of explain away is just a nagging habit or whatever. But I really think it’s important for us to pay attention to sin issues that might be present. You know, David talks about in Psalm 32, how his bones, he was wasting away in his bones.
I think some of us are experiencing unrest, honestly, because we either have an identified sin stuff, trauma, like that was me, I just needed to go through. So that was one big one. I think another one is this very practical, but it’s what I call a time budget. I think you so easily can assume that you don’t have enough time, in order to get some time away to be able to find refreshment. Well, I got so much going on. And it’s like, oh, that’s cool. I’m not saying you’re incorrect. But why don’t you write down what you did the last three days. Here’s schedules, there’s a slot for every hour and it’s like it’s As soon as you pull out that sheet, most people are like, Yeah, I guess there was some more time there. Right? So you don’t even actually have to do the exercise out of it. You’re like, oh, okay, it’s gonna bring a sobriety around, either just speaking in generality versus actually looking at where we spend our time. And the last thing I’ll say is, like, you know, I think we give our lives to what we value, and it’s one of those undeniable truths. It’s not just, we could say we believe something all the time, but how we live is really going to be a reflection of what we believe and so it’s really important with taking count up.
Yeah, that’s awesome. See, this man, this has been such a rich conversation, such a great conversation. And I thank you for our vulnerability, sharing your own story, your own, you know, journey with with God on all this, I think that’s so encouraging to us. There’s so many things that in ministry, you know, other ministry leaders can resonate with from your story. And, and there’s a lot of familiarity, I think, for many of us. CZ, you have, as I said, You’ve written extensively on this topic, published a couple of different books. One, “Finding Soul Rest” is actually a devotional, you know, like a 40 day journey, you know, powerful, absolutely powerful. Talk to us a little bit CZ, if for those who are watching, listening in, are interested in connecting more with this idea of finding rest for our souls, you know, very, very important thing, where some of the resources that just talk to us a little bit about about your your ministry, talk to us a bit about how people can connect with you in what you’re doing around this soul rest.
Yeah, so kind of starting there with what you were saying, I’ve done a little bit of writing about these things. The easiest way to attach to those books. So the publisher that I work with is also connected with a Bible software called Logos. And I think a lot of people might be familiar with that. So if you go to logos.com/cz, you could probably easily grab resources there if you’re interested in having more conversations around that. The YouVersion Bible app, which is pretty standard, for a lot of people who have a smartphone, I do not but Bible app has reading plans in there, I have a soul rest reading plan. So if you just look up, so rest and my name, it’ll pop up. I always suggest that because I’m a big proponent of if there’s a way to get stuff for free, that can start the conversation, I think it’s really helpful to have that. So that’s a great seven day start to maybe starting to stir this thing, maybe do it with a couple of, you know, coworkers, or maybe like, Pastor friends and just kind of have conversations around it. So I started a ministry called Find Rest. And the hope was to be a supplement to ministry leaders, so that there would be sustainability and health. I know, sometimes, we have a hard time, you may be similar in my story where you’re experiencing some tension, and you don’t really have a place to process. And so I want to be that kind of resource for individuals, for teams, for churches, and so, findrest.org as a way to do that. And I’ll chat with anyone for free, for experience, you know, I just would love to at least have a conversation to see where you’re at, if I can be helpful, or if there’s an ongoing way that I can be a resource to a team. So that’s probably the best way is I don’t have social media, which is another conscientious choice that I’ve made more side. But yeah, so that’s probably the best way firstname.lastname@example.org. Email me I’d love to chat.
Awesome, brother. That’s excellent. And, and we will have links to the YouVersion devotional, we’ll have links to findrest.org, your ministry and all those things in the toolkit for this episode. So those who are watching or listening long, and if you’re you know, on the treadmill right now, can’t jot all this down. You can check all that out PastorServe.org/network, where you’ll get resources that you can dig more deeply into this incredible conversation I’ve had today with CZ on finding rest of our souls. So appreciate you, brother, appreciate your heart for for the kingdom, your heart for those who are serving in the kingdom. And just the reminder, in the fact that you’re you’re willing not to just remind us about it, but you’re willing to journey with us toward this this idea of of soul rest, it’s a beautiful thing. So thank you for making the time brother to hang out with us on the show.
You got it. Thanks for having me.
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
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