They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob. (Ps. 24:5-6) Continue reading “The determination of one holy passion”
Taking time to reflect on what is vital in life is important. We need to set aside time regularly to reflect on what drives us internally.
What brings passion to my life? What makes me want to get up and get at things in life every day?
Recently reflecting on what drives me right now, and rejoicing so deeply over what is going on in our church and ministry, I jotted down a couple of things that get me up every day.
- My family. Our boys are grown and gone. Two are married. We have one grandson. (Have I told you about him?) 🙂 And when I reflect on my family, on where my wife and I are in life, I am filled with joy. I watch young men do life and see what God is doing in them. I have wonderful conversations with my wife and enjoy much more time with her… and I am driven every day to pray for them. I am filled with joy every day seeing what is happening in their lives.
- My church. Our church has turned a major corner. We are in a new day that is magnificent. What is ahead is exciting and fun. It’s hard work. WOW! Is it hard work! But joy-filled work that will yield harvest for the Kingdom. We will see more churches planted. We will see the Spirit touch our city. I want my story to be “written” showing my deep love for the church where I get to pastor.
- My city. I love the Twin Cities. Winters drive me nuts (except for this last one), but it’s not all about the weather. It’s about the people. Where our church is… well, I really love that part of the city. I watch people do incredible things in that city. They work hard. They love people. They make the schools better. They make the city better.
I can wake up every day with a driving passion to help my family, my church, and my city thrive. The Lord has gifted me with these precious passions. Where I feel his presence and empowerment most is when I am doing something in those three areas. This is where I want my “story” to be known. This is where my passions lie.
Two key questions that come up for me when I am trying to walk in a discipline:
1. What keeps me FROM this?
2. What drives me TO this?
The first question is ready because it brings guilt. “I know I’m supposed to study the Word, but…” We can come up with reasons: “I can’t get my alarm to work. I can’t wake up with my alarm. I get too busy.” We all know the drill.
The second question is harder to ask, but I have found it more helpful because it goes to motivation. It is about passion.
When I sit and think about a discipline, say the study of the Word, and think about what really has drawn me in before… I remember the passion. I remember the excitement. The love is stirred up once again.
We do need to identify what keeps us FROM a discipline. We simply need the obstacles out of the way.
But we do need to stir up original passions as well. We need to have those underlying passions drive us TO spiritual formation so that “first love” mentality keeps us in the practices we so desperately need.
I just came back from an incredibly refreshing prayer retreat. It is so nice to be challenged in the Word and in prayer.
One of the great challenges came from the messages and the Lord speaking to me right off the bat. It was basically this: NO MORE NICE PRAYERS.
The thought for me is here: “Nice prayers don’t reflect passion.”
It’s not a matter of yelling more, walking the floor more, and anything like that necessarily. However, I DID walk the floor more, cry more, pound the air more…
It’s just learning to ask God, walk with God, and hear God for what he really has for me. There is no need to hold back. If it’s worship, why should it be “nice” worship? Why keep my words bland?
If it is intercession, my emotions may be invested.
The example is Elijah. James says he was a man just like us. But when he prayed… he got results I haven’t seen.
No more nice prayers. Prayer is a language of love, and love isn’t always polite. It is passionate.
I pray the Lord stirs my heart with HUGE prayers. Prayers that just don’t ask. I want prayers that dream. Prayers that worship. Prayers that hear his voice and fall in love with him over and over again.
I am meditating on passion. Dreaming dreams. Asking God for the impossible.
The questions I am asking are these:
— Where is the place where I find the heart of God?
— What motivates me in life? What truly stirs my heart and I find myself sensing the true pleasure of God in it?
— Where to my gifts meet the heartbeat of God?
We need to find where God’s heart and our passions and gifts meet. We need to ask again for the great dreams. We need to seek God for things beyond ourselves. Things that are truly God, and there is no possible way we could take credit for it.
In my church and in my city, where do I find the heartbeat of God and my passions intersecting? That is the place I need to meet up and then allow the Spirit to take me on a journey.
I love sports, and I LOVE the Kansas Jayhawks in basketball. On my bucket list is going to a game at Allen Fieldhouse once before I die. Just once. I was in there one time years ago. Roy Williams was in his first season. They had won the national championship the year before. A friend and I walked into the fieldhouse for a practice. We were promptly chased out. Didn’t matter. We looked at each other and said, “Was that cool or what?”
But a game… I would LOVE to get to a game.
Duke is another school passionate about the game. I’ve always equated Duke with crazy fans. This article seems to indicate it is just not the same anymore. Students aren’t filling up the student section any more. Top ten program. Fans aren’t coming. The author of the article speculates it’s because things get old. Chants are the same. Songs are the same. (Even winning is the same.) So… are fans bored?
The article sparked another thought in me: Do we get bored of the Kingdom of God?
Do we reach a point where we think: “Same songs. Same Bible. Same church (or series of churches).”
So… we… yaaaaawwwwwnnnn.
Does the Kingdom get old? If it does… why? And if it does… do we change up the routine? Or… hold on now, this may shock you… is it US?
Nawww… couldn’t be us. It MUST be the worship team… or the pastor… or the Bible… or…
You know what? For some reason, if we’re “bored”, or things so to have slipped into a rut, and we keep on looking… and searching… and not finding any solutions with outward stimulus… the answer just may be us.
WE may need to get right back into that Word… right back into that worship service… right back on our knees… and stay at it until we understand what may be wrong inside… not outside.
Just. A. Thought.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap faithful love;
break up your unplanted ground,
for it is time to seek the LORD,
that he may come
and rain righteousness upon you. (Hos. 10:12, CEB)