Archive for August, 2010

Aug 20 2010

My Heart Is All I Have

Published by under Heart

Gardeners hate weeds. Criminals hate police. Simply, the universe hates order. So the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says. It’s true in nature and it’s true in human beings.

This past weekend, I had a friend from LA send me an email. He said this:

Dude, this is going to sound totally out of the blue – it seems like everyone I know (believers) are either getting cheated on by their spouse, getting divorced or having sex while unmarried…Are you experiencing this in your friends in Nashville? Is it just L.A.? Is it just being 27-35? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

Listen to me when I say this post IS NOT about condemning people. Tell me: who LOVES what it feels like when sin has run its course? Nobody. Because it most often leads to heartache. I’m not here to pile on.

I HAVE seen these things – pre-marital sex, adultery, and divorce in Nashville. I see too many people I know – Jesus-followers – getting drunk on a regular basis – and, as drunk people do, making bad decisions after getting drunk.

It’s happening because people like you and I INTENTIONALLY avoid God. Imagine a gardener who looks out on his garden. “Hmm…looks like some weeds are coming in over there. Ah, it’ll be fine. The vegetables can grow around it.” Imagine a cop who sees a criminal rob a store. “Wow! That guy is getting away with theft. Well, I’m hungry. I need to get a pizza.”

We are a generation of Jesus followers who have slowly slipped into negligence. And it’s crept up on us in the guise of sophistication. Honestly, many days, I feel the same way. I think in the vein of the negligent gardener or cop – “I know I have these rules I’m supposed to follow, but they seem awfully restrictive and Jesus has given me freedom from rules. I seem to be somewhat irrelevant in this culture if I don’t drink. I want to enjoy life and these things over here seem enjoyable. Much more fun than rule following.” So we loosen the belt. But the pants have fallen down.

If there aren’t rules, sin IS the rule. If you don’t weed, you get weeds. If you don’t patrol, you get crime. Everything tends toward disorder. Most especially, the human heart. If you don’t talk to God about your heart, you will sin.

Do you know one of the greatest faults Jesus found with people He came across? Calling the Pharisees hypocrites, He said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their HEARTS are far from me…You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions” (Mark 7:6,9).

Your heart is THE MOST important thing you have. The gardener stands guard over weeds. The cop stands guard over criminals. My dear friend. Listen. GUARD. YOUR. HEART. Jesus continues, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” (Mark 7:21).

Ask your heart a question. Seriously. Ask it this…heart, where are you sinning? Heart, what rules do you love to break and ignore? Look at your actions and behavior. Where do you feel out of control? What wrong thing(s) do you do without even thinking about it?

Vegetables get damaged and neighborhoods become run down. Our lives may suffer greatly for sinful choices we make. All of this can be reversed with care and attention. Pull out the little secrets in your heart. Patrol for lies that try to seduce you into compromise. God’s traditions may seem old-fashioned. Perhaps they are. But the human heart hasn’t changed for a long time. His ways still apply.

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Aug 19 2010

Church Talk #1

Published by under Church

Somewhere in America right now there are NFL and NCAA teams practicing for football season. There are coaches screaming in the players’ ears and pushing them to the breaking point.

In my hometown of Nashville is a church – my church. I really like my church. We’re currently doing a series explaining the DNA of how we want to live. They’ve chosen three phrases to describe things:

  1. Radically Devoted (to Christ)
  2. Irrevocably Committed (to one another)
  3. Relentlessly Dedicated (to reaching the lost)

I love those things. I really do. It’s clever. It’s biblical – it’s the two greatest commandments and the Great Commission. Except for three problems. I find myself more:

  1. Partially Devoted (to Christ)
  2. Conditionally Committed (to one another)
  3. Pretty Much (Not) Dedicated (to reaching the lost)

I know the top 3 things are GOALS of the church. But the bottom 3 are REALITIES for me (and a lot of people I know).

You know what I feel like? I feel like I live life in one of those money booths where money is blowing all over the place. That’s what my heart and mind feel like pretty much every day. It’s loud and windy and totally chaotic and hard to keep a hold on things. While I wish my life was built on rock-solid adjectives like radical, irrevocable, and relentless, the truth is that far less-weighty adjectives define my interior life.

And while we should all desire the firm adjectives, the weak ones usually define us.

They did for most people in the early church, too – the ones we read about in the New Testament. They were screwed up. Big time. Like me. Like us.

And do you know what Paul said to them? He said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)

Coaches exist to motivate their players to greatness and to goals – a Super Bowl. A Tostitos National Championship. That’s why pastors exist, too – to teach and encourage and shepherd and model good behavior. They’re not perfect, but they’re very special people – people who daily try to get us to follow them into goals like being radically devoted, irrevocably committed, and relentlessly dedicated. Frankly, I don’t like that language. It seems forced and impossible. And so far away from where I am right now. But we all need goals. And those seem like pretty good ones to me.

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