Archives For passion

I’ve been attending church almost my entire life. Being a preacher’s kid will do that to you. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the local church has played, and will continue to play, a critical role in the advancement of the gospel. Still, I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the direction the modern Western Church seems to be heading. Maybe it’s me. Perhaps I’m just on a rant. But it seems the church (and I realize I’m painting with an incredibly broad stroke here) has fallen into a formulaic approach devoid of passion and urgency.

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Our mission is to take the message of Jesus into all the world (Matthew 28:18-20), but we seem determined instead to preach a gospel of self-improvement and feel-good adherence to a script Jesus never embraced.

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As I was getting ready for bed, a question crossed my mind: “What if I woke up tomorrow and hit it hard to live as a man after God’s own heart?” What would that look like? What if, once and for all, everything in my life reflected the love of Christ, and everything I did was for His glory? Perhaps it’s an impossible task. We’re human and not capable of perfection. I know I’ll fail. My life will never be the image of God I want it to be. But what if I never try?

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What if I reach the end of my life and realize I never took my commitment to Christ as seriously as I should have? I don’t want to die knowing I could have done more. I don’t want to face Jesus having lived a life half done. I want to pour it all out at his feet right here and right now.

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For followers of Jesus, daydreaming can be both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, what we daydream about offers significant insight into what God created you to do for His Kingdom. If you aren’t certain where your passions lie, pay attention to the things about which you daydream. We tend to dream about those things which captivate and fascinate us. One of the great joys in life is figuring out the intersection between your passions and God’s mission.

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On the flip side, daydreaming can be an insidious thief of your time and energy. We can waste hours daydreaming and not accomplishing anything for God’s glory. As disciples, we know it is our duty to be good stewards of our time, so we must be careful our daydreaming does not inhibit our Kingdom building.

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One of the saddest verses in the Bible is Matthew 9:37, where Jesus told His disciples the world is desperate for hope and healing, but few are willing to go and help. Two thousand years later, the problem persists. The effects of sin are all around us. Evil manifests in unthinkable ways while the Church sits idly on the sidelines.

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We make token efforts, shake our heads, and wag our fingers, but still very few go out and spread the truth and love of Christ to our world. There is much anger and violence swirling around us. If we don’t go and tell them good news of Jesus, who will?

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We live in a world obsessed with numbers. We count friends, likes, and shares of our posts and pictures on social media. We count the amount of money we have down to the last penny.  Perhaps the place we most fixate about numbers is at church; we boast about attendance, number of people baptized, and even the number of programs available to the attendees.

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It seems even more incredible to me when you read the Bible and realize the only number Jesus cares about is one. It’s because one represents you, the apple of His eye and the passion of His heart.

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A few years ago, Gary Keller wrote a book called, “The One Thing”. While it was not a “Christian” book by definition, I found it applicable to life as a disciple of Jesus. The book talks about finding the one thing that drives you. It encourages the reader to discover the one thing about which they are most passionate. Once discovered, the author compels us to pursue it with intense focus and determination.

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For years I have known what my “one thing” is. It is to instruct and encourage others to live lives wholly devoted to Christ. While it’s been some time since I read Mr. Keller’s excellent book, it left quite an impact on me. Then I recently read “Absolute Surrender , a book written by Andrew Murray over a century ago. In it, I came across the following statement: “Absolute surrender to God is the one thing.”
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We love Jesus and want to dedicate our lives to Him, but our stubborn old self keeps getting in the way. How do we conform our will to that of God? Francois Fenelon once wrote, “The way to have a good will that conforms to God is to give up our desires and fears and to leave ourselves completely in His hands. Those who do so… can never be moved, because their only desire is for God.”

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Living God’s will for your life necessitates a complete letting go. Too often we make the mistake of trying to figure out how to use our dreams and passions in conjunction with God’s will. That’s a totally backwards approach.

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I believe the reason so many Christians feel frustrated or ineffective is because they are too firmly planted on earth. It’s so easy to be wooed by all the beautiful things this world has to offer. Rarely do we realize everything we see here is a cheap knock-off of the real thing. No matter how beautiful something is, it is tainted and forever obscured by sin. What we perceive as amazing is far less than ordinary when compared to the original God had in mind when He created the necessary parts of which it consists.

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This isn’t an esoteric discussion; the more value we ascribe to things of the here and now, the less desire we will feel for things of eternity. Until we recognize the world we are striving for far outshines the one in which we live, we will remain too firmly anchored to the realm of death and confusion.
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It is my strong belief each of us have been created with a unique blend of passions, talents, and skills to accomplish the work God intended for us (Ephesians 2:10). I am also convinced God’s will for your life is to obey the things He told you to do, to put the needs of other’s first, and to reflect the matchless character of God in everything you do.

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A life devoted to Christ will, at its core, be a life that looks like His. Grasping these principles will be amazingly freeing for you. Even for those who get this, some stumble on how to practically live it out in their day to day lives. I’d like to try and answer that question.

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I quote A.W. Tozer a lot here, and never cease to be amazed how relevant his teachings are more than half a century after his death. Here is a selection from a recent reading of his writings: “There is no limit to what God could do in our world if we would dare to surrender before Him with a commitment like this:  ‘Oh God, I hereby give myself to You. I give my family. I give my business. I give all I possess.

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Take all of it, Lord-and take me! I give myself in such measure that if it is necessary that I lose everything for your sake, let me lose it. I will not ask what the price is. I will ask only that I may be all that I ought to be as a follower and disciple of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.’
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