a directed heart

a glimpse inside


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Christian hope in sexuality, singleness, and marriage

I listened to this sermon by Tim Keller this morning and was so encouraged by the truths unveiled in it. It pertains to anyone–single, dating, engaged, or married–and is something worth spending some quality time listening to and talking about.

“The gospel says that human sexuality is a dim reflection of what it is going to be like to fall into the arms of the Lord on the final day–that’s the Lover we need. That’s the closure we need! Even the foretaste of it now, if you have it, and you have some sense of His love on your heart, that radically frees you and puts sex and love in the right proportion in your life.” -Keller

“Unless you make me your One True Love, Jesus says, you’re either going to be too desperate for romance and you’re going to put all the deepest hopes of your heart in finding that one true love, which means you’re going to be desperately looking all the time and you’re going to stay with the wrong kind of people too long. And if you do get married, you’re practically going to smother the person under your expectations and no human being can do that. OR, you’re going to be so scared of it. You’re going to avoid it. You’re going to by cynical about love and marriage. Make Me your one true love or you’ll never know it.” -Keller

Those are just some tidbits that got me thinking.

Please, listen. Look into your heart and analyze what’s going on. Be encouraged by the hope and the freedom we have  in Christ.


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flannelgraphs revived

Jacob and I taught lower elementary (grades 1-3) at Redeemer yesterday… and I must say, it was a serious blessing to serve the parents at our church in that way today. We taught 1 Kings 18:1-39, the passage where the prophet Elijah holds a contest with King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. The Lord sends fire to the altar Elijah built, even after water was poured over it, to convince the prophets of the false god Baal that the Lord is the one true God. The point of the lesson was that our God is the one true God, and we are to follow him alone. We made this awesome flannelgraph yesterday for the lesson:

Turns out, just like when I was in 3rd grade, the flannelgraph was just what we needed to keep the kids in tune with us. They responded so well and were very engaged in the lesson. (I know it wasn’t just the flannelgraph… it must have helped that the Lord has seriously gifted Jacob in teaching and connecting to kids.) We took some time at the end to talk with the kids about the “false gods” of today, and they brought up great examples, such as videogames, money, fame, famous people, toys, and one boy even said we can be our own false gods. Wow. I left church yesterday very thankful for the gospel and very thankful to spend time investing in 1-3 grade kids… kids who are learning the gospel today and who are seeing what idolatry can look like even in their own 7-10 year old lives. That is just crazy to me… and a huge huge blessing. Lord, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for being the one true God, and thank you for teaching me through the kids yesterday morning. I want to love you, know you, and believe in you with the same strong assurance some of those kids have.

How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him…


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train me up

I’ve moved in to my room at school, bonded with my fellow Res Life staff, and now I’m waiting for the rest of the students to arrive. Pray for the next few days… that they are restful and they prepare me to love on the students moving in Saturday and Sunday. More on all of this later, including my heart. I felt the blog needed some attention, but my bed calls since it’s 1:17am… and my goal is to be in bed around 11pm.

Oops.


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L is for the way you….

I’m learning about love.

Maybe that seems a little cliche, but in a world where love is a quick-fix word used to describe shallow nights and selfish intent, I think it’s a good word to study.

1 John 4:8 says God is love. Verse 19 says that we love because he first loved us. And God’s love was made manifest to us in Jesus–he sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (vv.9-10).

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (v. 11). What does loving one another look like? Since God is love, and we love because he first loved us, we should study God’s love and God as love, as well as what the Bible clearly outlines for us as love.

Here are some truths God has been teaching and humbling me with so far:

1. Love others as I love myself. And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matt 22:37-39). Whoa… love my neighbor as I love myself? I orient pretty much everything I do around myself: I sleep when I feel tired, I eat when I feel hungry, I buy clothes when I feel I need or deserve them, I do nice things for people so they will think better of me, I work hard to make a name for myself, etc. The root of pretty much everything I do is to please myself or meet my own needs. That’s loving myself. But I’m called to love other people as I love myself! That means renouncing my selfishness and caring for their needs when they feel a need, not just when I feel like serving them. That means renouncing my sinful desires for recognition and popularity and sharing the Gospel even when I might not feel perfectly prepared or at ease, etc. I’m called to look out for others the way I look out for myself, and to care about others’ salvation the way I care about mine. I think truly loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind is the key, though. Loving with all my heart, my soul, and my mind is not a love that is shallow or fleeting, but a devoted love. You can’t love like that without it being a deep and penetrating love… and that kind of love for the Lord can result only in serving others and ministering to them. Loving Jesus like that puts all of the world’s delights in the shadows–there’s nothing more I could wish for others than to know and love Jesus themselves. And sharing him with them is the best way I could love them.

2. God’s love is sacrificial. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1 John 3:16). In love God sacrificed his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” We are to imitate God and love one another sacrificially. Philippians 2:3-4 says I must count others more significant than myself and look not only to my own interests, but to the interests of others. I must sacrifice my own wants to meet others’ needs and even sacrifice things that are in my interest in order to look out for the interests of others… I need to renounce my selfish heart and cling to God’s sacrificial, generous, and merciful heart.

3. Love is patient and kind; it does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:4-7… this is humbling just as it is. Read those verses again. Lord, grow this love (your love) in me!

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2:1-8)

Father, I want to have this same mind of Christ. May I not count equality with you a thing to be grasped… I so often worship myself as if I were you. I’m sorry, Lord… my tendency to worship myself just proves how much I need you. I can’t save myself, but praise be to YOUR name because you have already saved me with the blood of Christ! Thank you, Father. Thank you for your patient, unending, all-bearing love. Thank you for your Word, which teaches me more about you and stirs my heart to worship you more richly. Spirit, move in me and capture my heart; make it like the Father’s. All this in Jesus’ name and for your glory, Amen.


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for his sake, not mine?

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
(2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

How different would my life look if I lived for HIM rather than for myself? 


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our local mission

I’ve been taught to live well in the city in which you dwell–get invested in the local church, get a job, form relationships, and minister to those people in your workplace, your neighborhood, your supermarket, etc. Basically, live intentionally. But today was the first time I saw Scripture that screamed those ideas.

Pastor John preached on Jeremiah 28-29 this morning. This part hit me the most:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”-Jeremiah 29:4-7

The broader picture is that we are in exile right now– we are here in the world awaiting the day we are physically reunited with the Father in all his glory (we are citizens of heaven- Phil 3:20, so here we are sojourners and exiles-1 Peter 2:11). But we are called to dwell in our cities: build houses, dine there (or grow your own food if you’re into that?:)), have kids, put them in the local schools, pray for the city, and seek the welfare of the city through ministering to the people and actively serving. While we are here in this city that isn’t lasting, we are to seek the city that is to come (Heb 13:14) by being ministers of the gospel. May we not be so consumed by our own lives that we forget our desperate calling: to make disciples of all nations.

Specific to my life, I want to invest in this city in which I dwell. I’m about to spend my summer here in Johnson City… the place I usually only see August through May. But this summer I’ll be here, investing in this city with this idea of local mission in my mind. God, may this summer be fruitful to your kingdom. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.