Just like your physical heart has four chambers Andy Stanley wants you to see that your immaterial heart has four enemies. Your immaterial heart is the core of your identity. It directs your behavior, your thoughts, your emotions, your consciousness and your will. Your heart is the essence of you that can work for evil or for good.
Relationship problems. Financial problems. Health problems: they all come from your heart. And if your heart is unhealthy, it threatens everything else – your family, friends, finances, career – everything. How do you keep your heart on track?
When the wisest man in the history of the world, King Solomon, summing up all he had learned for his son to know; he said…
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Have you hung up on one of THOSE phone calls lately? You know the kind I mean, the ones that ring at exactly the moment you are sitting down for dinner. Regardless of the organization, these calls are all in the same category; SALES. But did you know you are not that far off being one of THOSE callers.
Your platform may be the boardroom, a pulpit or even sitting around the kitchen table. Communicating with clarity and making a difference are your goals. We all know lives can be transformed by our ability to communicate. But where do you learn this skill? If you don’t learn at home or in school, where do you learn to overcome the fear of public speaking? How do you gain confidence to communicate ideas and faith?
The Bible contains an important principle on this topic:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
We all experience conflict in our relationships. We all behave in self serving ways that are intended for others but the motivations can often be “self”. Managers and employees, husbands and wives, children and parents all of us experience reactions between each other that result in conflict and disappointment. Desiring to respond as a caring and thoughtful husband, father, and friend I often disappoint me and others. How can this change?
I imagine you’ve found yourself in situations where you weren’t sure how to respond either. This is a tension we all face. We all experience situations where our reactions are incongruent with our intentions. There simply aren’t enough rules and guidelines to avoid every conflict.
But, could any author of the more than 66 different books in the Bible, boil it all down to one overarching principle that would make it easier to respond? Breaking something down to the bare essentials makes it easier for us to remember a core idea. Could the Bible have anything to say that would be inspiring, motivating, or helpful in responding to situations in life?
Are there inefficiencies in life that frustrate you? How do you feel when you are waiting in the drive through for your morning coffee? Some people and situations make us think about productivity, primarily when it causes any inconvenience to us and when we think there must be a better way! Productive doesn’t always translate to effective and when we think about our lives, it makes the tension between these two measures even more compelling. How do I spend my time for the greatest effectiveness? I often struggle with using my time productively and effectively.
We all want our life to count but in this day of information overload it’s easy to get distracted. Emails and texts constantly fill my phone. Blogs need to be read. One web search leads to another, leading to lots of wasted time. We all suffer from CPA: continuous partial attention. So how do we get more of the right things done without confusing our activity for productivity and effectiveness?
God, through the apostle Paul, gives us the fundamental passage on time management.
Movies, novels, and folklore have all influenced what you think about heaven. If you believe in heaven or not, you have some ideas about what it will be like. Every major religion has a view of heaven, but what about Christians? What do they think heaven will be like?
John Eldridge describes in The Journey of Desire, an image I can relate to.
“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an un-ending church service… We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing –along in the sky,….. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.”
Is that true? What will Heaven be like? Where do we go when we die? We all want to know what the destination after this life will be like.
I believe God has placed within all humans an understanding of the eternal. We all have a sense that we will live forever somewhere. But what specifically happens after death? Where do we go?
Jesus provides illumination in his words of comfort to his disciples before his death.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
We talk a lot about growth in our culture. Personal growth, economic growth, population growth and more! In the church these days we use language that is sometime confusing – after all, what does it mean to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I just returned from a Build-Up Conference and it seems to me, we need to shed some light on this phrase.
God provides illumination in the words of Jesus in the story of the Roman centurion who demonstrated such great faith it was preserved as a model in the Bible.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
What is it in your life that has your attention? What is something that you crave and enjoy? Money? Fast cars? Sports? You can turn an inward focus, outward when you understand how God can use these for your spiritual growth. Do you crave achievement? What if you could learn to use these desires to serve others?
Desires are universal but we are individuals. Desires and God are linked in a unique way for each of us. What if we could learn to see them as having a God-designed foundation in our life?
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I sat stagnant for a long time without growing spiritually. I was just soaking in and not giving back so I really wasn’t experiencing spiritual growth. Changing my thinking in this area changed my relationships and my life.
Many people face similar situations in different areas of life. We have good intentions that never transform into actions. We have gym memberships, but don’t exercise. We have nutrition information, but don’t eat properly. We have savings accounts, but don’t use them.
Growth takes action. What does it look like when you’re growing? Just think about kids, we can often miss how they are changing. But others who don’t see them often say, “Wow, you’ve grown since I last saw you!” Growth is usually gradual when you’re up close and involved, but when you take a step back you can see differences – but the results are because of action!
We live in a culture where new is better. A rising tide of discontent for what is newer, shinier, thinner and faster drives most purchases. I would like to challenge your thinking….again!
In literature, newer does not necessarily mean better. Why shouldn’t we spend an equal amount of time, if not more, on “the classics”? Globally, there are an extraordinary number of books published each year. (2.2 million in 2012 alone) However, there are so many older “classics” I almost don’t know where to begin.
The question is which ones are worth reading? Many good books entertain us. To reach our full potential, we need to find the truly great ones that provide guidance for our spiritual journey through life.
At 6 years old, I asked my dad, “What happens when I die?” Later in life, I began wrestling with the questions that linger, like “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” and “What is my purpose in life?” But, it’s hard to make sense of this life if you don’t have an answer to that six year old’s question. I’ve since realized that my purpose is based on the belief that my life has everlasting implications.
What’s your purpose in life? The Purpose Driven Life has sold over 30 million copies because so many of us want to know why we’re here and what we’re supposed to do with this life. Where are we headed? It’s a question mankind has been grappling with since the beginning of time.