Archive | February, 2013

Change of Heart

28 Feb

openheart

I am writing this blog in order to encourage you to do something that is impossible for you to do… Let me explain.

One of the most incredible works of the Holy Spirit in our lives is that He changes our hearts. God changes our affections to become more like Christ. Our hearts begin to break for the things that break His, and our desires become His desires.

So, I have a hard and honest question; What do you do when you notice that your heart is not breaking for the things that break the Father’s heart? What do you do when you find yourself unaffected by the hurting, the needy, and the lost?

I believe that we do one of three things:

1) We ignore it. If we can keep ourselves busy enough, no one will notice. We attempt to stay busy so that we will not have to address our heart problem. Our busyness becomes our shelter. Our affections are selfish, but we ignore it.

2) We become cold. There are so many problems, so many causes, and so many hurting people around us. We don’t know where to start or what to do. So, we do nothing. We begin to function in survival mode simply making sure that we and our families are provided for. The continual exposure to unmet needs begins to make us cold toward needs. Our hearts were once moved, but we have become cold.

3) We get involved. We are met with the unpleasant and inconvenient truth that there are more needs, hurts, and causes than we could ever meet, but we get involved anyway. Although we are unaffected and unmoved as we begin, our hearts change as we get involved. We grieve for the needs that are unmet, but we rejoice in every need that we are able to see met, every life that is healed, and every hurt that is cared for. We can’t do everything, but we get involved.

I am convinced that it is impossible to change my own affections. I cannot make myself care more. There is not movie I can watch or a book I can read that will change my heart. We cannot change our affections without God’s intervention and without changing our actions.

So, I want to encourage you to do something that is impossible for you to do… change your affections.

How? Through prayer and through action.

Pray. Pray that God would begin to break your heart for the world. Pray that He would open your eyes to the hurt around you. Pray that He would make it impossible for you to carry on in your life without change.

Action. Get out and do something. As God opens your eyes to the needs around you, get involved. This is the purpose for which you were created. Serving is the most natural and life-giving thing that we can do as followers of Christ.

Let’s pray, let’s get involved, and let’s see our affections change.

-Justin Evans

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Worn

7 Feb

i-stand-alone-hartley_use1

“Let me see redemption win

Let me know the struggle ends

That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn

I wanna know a song can rise

From the ashes of a broken life

And all that’s dead inside can be reborn 
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin

And I’m worn 
Even before the day begins

I’m worn 
I’ve lost my will to fight

I’m worn 
Heaven come and flood my eyes”

 

These are some of the lyrics to a song a friend of mine recently wrote called Worn.  The line about being worn even before the day begins really resonates with me.  Do you ever feel worn?  Maybe its because you’re a new parent getting no sleep.  Or maybe because your job is stressful and demanding a lot of you right now.  Or maybe you’re in the midst of great struggle and it takes all you have to get out of bed in the morning.  Or maybe you’re a Pastor, minister, preacher, worship leader, or serve in a ministry in some way and have been giving and giving only to realize you have nothing left to give.  This last one is the one I want to observe.

 

One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen, wrote a significant book called “the way of the heart” that touches on the matter.  It was one of his attempts to shed light on what it means to be a follower of Jesus and minister of the gospel in this present age.  There are only 3 chapters in the book; Solitude, Silence, and Prayer.  Henri says this in the first chapter;

“We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord.  Without such a desert we will lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others.  But with such a spiritual abode, we will become increasingly conformed to Him in whose name we minister.”

He goes on to say

“Ministry can be fruitful only, if it grows out of a direct and intimate encounter with our Lord.”

We must enter into the desert daily.  The place of solitude and silence.  The place of transformation and renewing.  The place of healing and disciplining.  The place where we are alone with our Maker.  It will look different for everyone.  A mom with kids will not have the same desert as a 21 year old in college.  But we must find our own desert nonetheless so that we do not lose our own souls in the process of ministering to others.

 

Would You draw us closer to You Lord.

We need you.

Help us to fashion this desert place in our daily lives so that we may know You more and so that our very beings may become a fruitful ministry overflowing with Something more than ourselves for Your glory.

Amen

-Josh Varnadore