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The Desert of Your Frustration





          This man was in an accident (work accident, not car accident), so he filled out an insurance claim. The insurance company contacted him and asked for more information. This was his response:

          “I am writing in response to your request for additional information for block number 3 of the accident reporting form. I put 'poor planning' as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust the following detail will be sufficient. I am an amateur radio operator and on the day of the accident, I was working alone on the top section of my new 80 foot tower.

          When I had completed my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware. Rather than carry the now un-needed tools and material down by hand, I decided to lower the items down in a small barrel by using a pulley, which was fortunately attached to the gin pole at the top of the tower. Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and material into the barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it  tightly to  ensure a slow descent  of the 300 pounds of tools.

          You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh only 155 pounds. Due to my surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

          Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the tools, the barrel now weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations of my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind. I let go of the rope.


Sheepfold Ministries – Pastor Phil Roland


The Desert of Your Frustration

ACTS 8:4-8,  25-40


“In Scripture FRUSTRATION can be described as a conflict between THREE wills: the will of God, the will of man, and the will of the world.”   Pastor Phil




In The Desert of Your Frustration . . .


            A. What is Frustration?

                 1. Low grade anger in response to irresolvable conflicts

                 2. Normal life conflicts that produce an adrenal response

            B. Frustration is a Non-Associated Free Floating Irritability

                 1. Restlessness, Petulance, Crabbiness, Grumpiness

                 2. Vague Discontent with Self and Life

            C. Realities about Frustration

                 1. There will always be conflicts w/the resulting adrenal response

                 2. Avoid Over-Reacting

                        a. Takes Responsibility for your Frustration

                        b. Talk out the things that frustrate you

                        c. Resolve the Issues once you’ve defined them

                        d. Move quickly from Feeling to Thinking

                 3. Be Pro-Active - DO SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE           



    “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and    elders of Israel:” (He PREACHED the Word)

            A. Early Christians HEARD the Word and PREACHED the Word

            B. Philip the Deacon went to Samaria to preach/Signs Followed

                        1. Unclean spirits vanquished

                        2. Paralyzed and weak healed / Lame walked

            C. Peter when Frustrated, went fishing – John 21:3

                “Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We

                  are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the

                  boat, and that night they caught nothing.”

a. First Time He saw Jesus we was fishing but not catching

b. Second Time Peter was Frustrated / Fishing he saw Jesus

                        c. Peter always caught fish when Jesus showed up



     “The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together

       against the LORD and against His Christ.'

            A. Philip is commanded to go south to the desert of Gaza

            B. ALLOW (Bend/Flex) the Desert Experience to happen

                 God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

                                        the courage to change the things I can, and

                                        the wisdom to know the difference.     A – Men

            C. In the Desert Experience: The Still Small Voice - 2 Kings 19:11,12

                “Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD."

                  And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into

                  the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the

                  LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the

                  LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the

                  LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”



      "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod

        and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered


            A.  God’s Thoughts and Ways are not like Ours – Isaiah 55:8,9

                 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,"                       says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are

                   My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your


                        1. God is NOT illogical, He’s “Ah”Logical, Latin: “Above” Logic

                        2. God has a plan for you: even through the desert

            B. All the Biblical Patriarchs had to deal with frustration

                 1. NOAH frustrated.  Told to build a boat 600 miles from water

                 2. ABRAHAM frustrated 2X: Leave the wealth of Ur and go South;

                        Told to take his only son to the mountain of sacrifice

                 3. JACOB frustrated: Woke one morning with the wrong wife

                 4. JOSEPH frustrated: Promised Kingship, but given slavery first

                 5. MOSES frustrated: Expelled from Egypt’s riches to the Desert

                     of Midian; Not permitted to enter the Promised Land

                 6. DAVID frustrated: He was Israel’s King, but not allowed to Build            God’s House

                 7. PHILIP THE EVANGELIST frustrated: Not allowed to pursue his

                     own Revival

The Desert of Your Frustration, Texts:

ACTS 8:4-8

Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

5  Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

6  And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

7  For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

8  And there was great joy in that city.


ACTS 8:25-40

So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

26  Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert.

27  So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,

28  was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

29  Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot."

30  So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?"



31  And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

32  The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth.

33  In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth."

34  So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?"

35  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

36  Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"

37  Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

38  So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

39  Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

40  But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.







Twenty-Four Specific Solutions


  1. 1.      Create physical space.
  2. 2.      Establish emotional boundaries (standards of behavior).
  3. 3.      Invite critical feedback.
  4. 4.      Consider your response to rights vs. needs vs. wants.
  5. 5.      Develop respectful responses to disrespectful behavior.
  6. 6.      Do not shoulder the blame for criticisms that are not yours to own.
  7. 7.      Listen with respect and respond with care.
  8. 8.      Stick to issues and behaviors.
  9. 9.      Choose and use a level of assertion; especially try empathetic.
  10. 10. Initiate contact with, “Specifically, how can I be helpful to you?”

11. Maintain your focus on, “We can work this out.”

12. Expect respect. “We can work this out when you stop yelling.”

  1. 11. Say what you mean in specific terms (we can’t read minds).
  2. 12. Use fair humor (quips, toys, stickers, etc.).
  3. 13. Keep congruent – words, tone actions.
  4. 14. Avoid debate.
  5. 15. Use sure signals for confidence. (Head up, face forward, eye contact, shoulders back, steady stance, posture straight, no leaning)
  6. 16. Count to ten.  Use silence to increase your calm.  It’s valuable to “leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

           19. Speak from the “same side of the table.”

20. Tangible reminders to respond appropriately. (notes,

       touchstone, cues from a colleague, notebook) Document facts

       of behaviors and situation.

21. Build your credibility with your language and actions.

22. Give people a way out.  Establish choices.

23. Refuse the win-lose perspective.

24. Breathe.  Fully breathe for calm and for conveying steadiness and confidence.


Courtesy of Sheepfold Ministries, 2008