God Hears The Heart

January 25, 2008 at 2:11 am (Books, Passion) (, )

 This is an excerpt i just read from Dallas Willard’s “Renovation of the Heart.  I really liked it and it gave me a new perspective:

“The Heart (will, spirit) is precisely what God observes and addresses in human beings.  He cares little or nothing about outward show.  He responds to the heart because it is, above all, who we are: who we choose and have chosen to be.  What God wants of us can only come from there.  He respects the centrality of our will and will not override it.  He seeks godly character in us and for us, to fulfill the eternal destiny he has in mind for us.

While awesome, it’s also a little scary to me.  It really made me think about how it’s up to me to make the initial step towards that kind of character and that destiny.  Not that i make that step alone, but that i need to be the initiator.  I hope and pray that I make that initial step in the right direction.

*side note:  I still stand by the fact that this book is a must-read for anyone trying to discern or follow their calling.  If you can’t get this book, talk to me and i’ll get it for you one way or another.  Thats a promise.

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Desire – Phil Wickham

January 21, 2008 at 3:53 pm (Music)

Speaking of Phil Wickham and my car trip, I really liked this song and how it relates to my posts thus far. I also have to thank Spence for introducing me to him.

I’m running through the gates of love, as fast as I can
I can’t wait to see You cuz I’m a desperate man
You made the light and sent it down
to show us who You are
Now It’s bursting out my heart

My desire is burning like a million stars
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You

I’d be nothing without You, yeah I would die
If I didn’t have Your hand if I couldn’t look into Your eyes
Jesus if Your love’s the fuel then I’m the desperate flame
That’s screaming out Your name

My desire is burning like a million stars
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You
My desire, is burning with the fire You sparked
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You

This is glory rising, over a new horizon
I See Your love, I feel Your smile
You’re in my heart and I will run with all I have to You

My desire is burning like a million stars
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You
My desire, is burning with the fire You sparked
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You

I’m reaching out for You
I’m reaching out for You, You, You

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With ALL Your Heart

January 21, 2008 at 3:42 pm (Passion) (, )

I have to say that i just came back from one of the most incredible weekends I’ve had in a long time.  It included Gerry’s surprise 60th birthday sock-hop (which Wayne, Beth, and Spence did an AMAZING job at even though they were all feeling fairly ill), seeing and catching up with A LOT of people that are very special too me, watching some football with my Dad, and visiting a sweet church down in DC.   There was a lot of traveling involved, which doesn’t typically make for a relaxing weekend, but for some reason, I had one of the sweetest solo car trips I’ve had as well.  I left early Saturday morning and the BEAUTIFUL morning sky, accompanied by Phil Wickham’s newest Album Cannons, was one of those moments i’ll never forget.

Anyway, Sunday morning i had the opportunity to visit the church in VA the DC crowd attends and heard an awesome sermon that i had to blog about.  He was continuing a series about the life of Moses and his focus was “Seeking Hard After God” and in a nutshell it spoke on how Moses was so passionate about seeing God’s glory and because of that God answered his request to see him ten-fold.  It was a great message, but what really hit me was how he related it to other major figures like Paul and David who were set-apart because they had a deeper passion for their Lord.  Like it says in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart“.  The preacher also spoke on how that sort of passion is always accompanied by suffering and that if we are serious about seeking HARD after God, we should not only expect to suffer, but welcome it as an opportunity for God to bring us into a more intimate relationship with him.  He used a quote from A.W. Tozer (i think) i really liked which said “suffering burns out shallowness” .  While it may be easy to type that, it is a tough thing to grasp; but i can honestly say that that is what i want in my life.  I want to follow him WHOLE HEARTEDLY, I want to know him intimately, and if that means going through a lot of suck to get there, it will be worth it.  (something i’ve learned a little bit about already being a first year teacher…)  I don’t know what else to say to that but “it’s time to start expecting and welcoming it, with a WILLING heart.” Dang!

On a side note, i really appreciated this post by Mike and i felt challenged by it.  If you haven’t read it…check it out!

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Party Shuffle

January 14, 2008 at 3:01 am (Music) (, )

OK so this is taking it back a little, but i remeber seeing everyone else do this months ago and wanted to do it as well so here are the first 15 songs. Keep in mind that this is the itunes on my school laptop that has a lof of wierd stuff i use to teach…just sayin 🙂

  1. All we know – Paramore
  2. Shanghai – Andy Mckee
  3. Big Balls – ACDC
  4. Since You’ve Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
  5. Handel’s Messiah – Relient K
  6. And God Created Great Whales – Alan Hovhaness
  7. Symphony No. 5 in C minor – Beethoven
  8. You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor
  9. Life on Standby – Hawthorne Heights
  10. Hair – The Cowsills
  11. Snake Devil – Scary Kids Scaring Kids
  12. Flight of the Bumble-Bee – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  13. With or Without You – U2
  14. When September Ends – Green Day
  15. Think – Aretha franklin

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Grounding the Roots; Not Just the Beans

January 13, 2008 at 7:28 pm (Passion) (, , )

This post comes to you via a napkin and a sign i came across this morning at Starbucks. I got to play at all three services so i decided to take a personal break between the 1st and second with a Tall Chai Latte and a book i’ve been reading. (a post on my newly formed habits and opinions of coffee is coming soon…)

The book i’ve been reading is entitled “Renovation of the Heart” by Dallas Willard. It was recommended to me by my pastor out west and i strongly recommend it to anyone who is in serious pursuit of God’s calling in their life. I’ve been trying to get into it for almost 2 years and it hasn’t been until this past month that God has allowed me to begin digesting what it has to offer and it has been both INCREDIBLE, and REALLY, REALLY tough at the same time. One of the many things that the author spends a lot of time on is the abandon of being self-sufficient and self-directing in order to let God take complete control. This is so that not only his perfect plan will resound from our lives, but that we will experience the utmost level of peace, joy, hope, and love that he intended us to. For me, this is something that i’ve heard preached A LOT and really want for my life, but at the same time, don’t know if i’m capable of doing so (which therein lies the problem). While the book is teaching me how to allow God to transform my heart and mind, i struggle with the thought of being able to purse it completely. However, in my morning escape, i came across a sign at Starbucks that oddly enough provided me with some encouragement in the matter (picture below…go look at it now so you can follow what i’m about to say).

At the bottom, the picture reads, “The deeper the roots, the higher the reach” and the roots of the tree are surrounded with the words “passion, community, people, care, coffee, and place.” With the exception of the last two words (i guess that depends on who you ask) I thought it was an incredible example what Willard has been writting about. I also felt that God was shouting at me in the store “of course it’s hard when you do it yourself, thats why you have ME, MY love, and MY children to help you…so stop worrying about whether or not you can do it, and Ground Your Roots!” I had to smile because I knew it was the truth. So often I forget that and I continually need a reminder that I’m not supposed to do it myself, yet i lack the confidence in Christ to allow HIM to let me reach higher and higher. How could i ever want or accept anything less than that?

Next time i’m at Starbucks, i might ask to buy that picture, which is funny because it’s supposed to be about coffee (which is definitely a passion for some…). I also wouldn’t be sursrised if i use that as a sermon example some day…just sayin 🙂 Anyway, take that for what it’s worth. Hopefully this post will serve as a reminder to myself as to where my roots need to be grounded ALL THE TIME!

Blessings!

-Nate

Deeper Roots

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It Makes Me What I Am

January 6, 2008 at 10:02 pm (Passion)

While i plan on blogging on other things besides passion, i felt the need to be upfront about what i’m passionate about from the start.  This list is not all-inclusive as there are many things, but i want to cover the staples.  However, i came across a definition of passion today that i want to post first.  It covers a lot of different things and the ones i bolded are the ones that match my thinking best:

(from dictionary.com)

1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
2. strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
3. strong sexual desire; lust.
4. an instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.
5. a person toward whom one feels strong love or sexual desire.
6. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything: a passion for music.
7. the object of such a fondness or desire: Accuracy became a passion with him.
8. an outburst of strong emotion or feeling: He suddenly broke into a passion of bitter words.
9. violent anger.
10. the state of being acted upon or affected by something external, esp. something alien to one’s nature or one’s customary behavior (contrasted with action).
11. (often initial capital letter) Theology.

a. the sufferings of Christ on the cross or His sufferings subsequent to the Last Supper.
b. the narrative of Christ’s sufferings as recorded in the Gospels.
12. Archaic. the sufferings of a martyr.

While i found those definitions interesting, my big brother Spence used to share at shows what is probably my favorite definition of passion: “it’s what makes you come a live.”  He’ll have to remind me who said it, but he would also share a quote that went something like this: “what the world needs is more people who have “come alive”.  So find what is that makes you come alive, and do that”.  Thus said, here’s what makes me come alive”:

  1. Christ and his Calling: what i want most in life is to find it, pursue it without question or worry, and do so with all my heart, for the sake of his Great Commission.
  2. Organizing creative ways to expose and teach others about the Love of Christ so that they too want to follow hard after him.
  3. Music – i listen to it, play it, live it, breathe it, teach it, dream it, and create it.
  4. Enjoying Life – i think life should be full of laughter and fun whenever possible.  My saying has always been “Success does not lead to happiness, happiness leads to success.” While it’s corny (i know…) i believe it and try to practice it.  Settling is just plain LAME!

Now it’s your turn.  What are you passionate about?  Reply to this blog and share what makes you “come alive”.  I want to use it for something 🙂

-Nate

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