"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard

Passion Defined

Posted in Day-To-Day, Good Quotes by matt on Sunday, July 13, 2008

Saturday night I heard some wacky guy named Peter give a message and he defined passion this way:

Passion is a God-given capacity to fervently attach ourselves to an object, a people, a cause, or an idea over an extended period of time to meet a need.

The crazy thing is that Cayla and I had just been talking about passion and what it means to be passionate. We had both decided that it’s more than just being ‘super emotional’ or a ‘social butterfly’; it can’t be limited to personality. Bubbly people aren’t always passionate, and some of the most passionate people I know are wall-flowers, so it has to be something else.

Then, just a few hours later, we read the above definition on one of Peter’s slides. I’m not always a fan of definitions; defining something complex usually means something important was left out, but this definition blessed me a lot. I even cornered him after the service with a borrowed pen and an old business card just to make sure I didn’t forget it.

I particularly liked how he ended his definition with meeting a need. If it’s as simple as fervently attaching ourselves…to meet a need then anyone can be passionate, and Jesus was the most passionate person who ever lived.

For myself, I hope to find that object, people, cause, or idea that I’m supposed to fervently attach myself to. Right now it’s my second graders, but what about later? I can’t just drift around aimlessly, but I don’t really know what direction to head. I need to trust and to pray (uh lot, haha). I’d really appreciate prayer over this, particularly as I approach the end of my time here in BKK.

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A Question of Need

Posted in Questions For You, Theological by matt on Thursday, February 28, 2008

 I am convinced that the whole (note the naive, sweeping statements here) Christian faith can be understood in progressive terms. By this I mean we don’t pray a prayer and then *POOF* we’re fully glorified and aren’t lacking anything, but rather, we are constantly in process. Sanctification is the fun word.

 But for this little process to work there is a concept that is absolutely crucial: need. If we don’t really believe we need God’s grace then the Gospel won’t take root in our hearts and our lives won’t be changed. You see this pretty often in the many impotent churches associated with the Evangelical community. We see and hear about what God’s dramatically done for everyone else and feel as though there’s something wrong with us. So we try as hard as we can to really believe that we’re nothing apart from His grace. Some days our motives are pure, but much of the time we’re just going through the motions hoping to conjure a need so grace will seem a little more real in our lives.

 But it doesn’t work, and we end up burnt out and convinced that Jesus doesn’t work.

  So the million dollar question is, “How do we grow the understanding our own need?” I’ve asked this of my small-group, and I’m asking it of anyone who happens to stumble upon this little rant-of-a-post.

 If the entire universe really is created to show us how small we are and how badly we need God then why do so few people I know believe it? If the Law of God was put in place to show us that we aren’t able to keep the rules then why do so few people admit it? And, what’s worse, why do so many people who say they believe it live as though they don’t? Aren’t we depraved? Are we not hopeless without Christ’s faithful obedience? I believe so.

 I suppose this train-of-thought will eventually arrive at irresistible grace and the idea that God must call us before we can really die to self and live to Him, and I’d rather not go there. The question my friend Emily asked last night was, “Well what is it that we need from God? What does He provide us that He doesn’t provide non-Christians?” At first we may think this question is silly, but it was so beautifully honest that I couldn’t help but give it consideration. Unfortunately I found trouble finding an answer. It’s when we take simple thoughts like this one for granted that we become unable to share our faith with others in non-Biblical terms. So we’re unable to explain our own personal need and God’s provision, yet we can talk a lot about T.U.L.I.P. and the different soteriological systems put forth by dead theologians. I stand guilty.

 So how would you answer Emily? What do you need from God? What does He provide His people with that He doesn’t provide for others?