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“At times we feel threatened in Bible study when it gets off-topic because we think it must be absolutely spiritual. But really some of my favorite times have been when we venture into mindless inside jokes, what we did yesterday, the one-time-that-crazy-thing-happened, that slightly inappropriate thing that has us laughing (usually bathroom behavior), or the latest tearjerker episode of X Factor.All of that is life-on-life. It’s sculpting a friendship out of really getting to know each other, quirks and all. If we can’t just breathe easy in a Bible study after a tough week, then it’s nothing that Jesus had in mind for us.”—J.S., from this post
What does it mean to have a right heart?
A right heart is a NEW heart.
It is not the heart with which a person is born—but another heart put in them by the Holy Spirit. It is a heart, which has new joys, new sorrows, new hopes, and so on. It has new views about the soul, sin, prayer, and God. It is like a farm with a new and good tenant.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” –Ezekiel 36:26
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17
A right heart is a BROKEN and CONTRITE heart.
It is broken off from pride and selfishness. This heart thinks that it’s unworthy. Its former stubbornness has passed away. It is now tender, sensitive, humble, and sees no good itself.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” –Psalm 51:17
A right heart is a PURIFIED heart.
It loves holiness and hates sin. It strives daily to cleanse itself from all dirtiness of flesh and spirit. It delights in the law of God and has it engraved on it, that it may not forget it.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” –Psalm 119:11
“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” -2 Corinthians 7:1
“…For he purified their hearts by faith.” –Acts 15:9
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” –Matthew 5:8
A right heart is a PRAYING heart.
You might as well try to persuade a person to live without breathing, as to persuade the possessor of a right heart to live without praying.
“Pray without ceasing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:17
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” –Isaiah 55:6
“But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.” –Psalm 88:13
A right heart is a heart that feels CONFLICT within itself.
The flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.
“But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” –Romans 7:23
“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe.” –Luke 11:21
But when the rightful King takes possession of the heart, a struggle begins which never ends until death. The right heart may be known by its warfare, just as its peace.
A right heart is HONEST, UNDIVIDED, and TRUE.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed pure with pure water.” –Hebrews 10:22
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce crop.” –Luke 8:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” -2 Timothy 2:15
“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” –Psalm 86:11
What Is Love?
In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul says that there is only one stat that ultimately matters in your walk with God - one thing that that truly tells the world who you are, and that is your love (or lack thereof). The real question is, how do I grow in love? What does love look like? What does love do, and what does it not do? What is love?
12. Love Is A Day-Dreamer
Have you ever seriously thought about what you’d do with all the money if you won the lottery? Come on… you’ve done it. We all have. I remember a few years ago, Pepsi had a contest where they would supposedly give away a billion dollars. A billion dollars, people. Dang. Shamefully, I admit that I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I would do with that billion bucks. I mean, I had some amazing plans! Spoiler alert: I didn’t win.
Or how about this: Have you ever been watching your favorite team losing a game where a win is completely hopeless, and yet you keep wishing and dreaming and mentally inventing scenarios where they scrape out the victory? You’re envisioning a big interception for a touchdown, an on-sides kick and a hail Mary that goes down in history, right?
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says love “always hopes.” I love this word because it might be the most fun of all the things Paul describes. It’s certainly the most light-hearted and maybe even the most stubborn. In fact, when I think about love always hoping, it helps me to understand it if I just personify hope. Let’s go ahead and do that. Let’s make hope into a person…
What kind of a person is Hope? Well, Hope is fun. She’s an optimist. Hope doesn’t get down easily and she sings all the time. Hope is part inventor, part engineer, part story-teller and part magician. She solves problems. She finds a way to work things out. She sees a path forward when no one else does. She sees the bigger picture. Hope knows how to brain-storm. She’s the ultimate day-dreamer. When everyone else is bored because they are maddeningly stuck in traffic, Hope just made up the funnest game you could ever play in a car that isn’t moving.
When you look up the Greek word that Paul uses for hope, it’s used all over the New Testament and it always has to do with not only wanting something, but really desiring that something and actually expecting it to happen. You see, Hope doesn’t just conjure up a fictional best-case-scenario, but Hope thinks of the most awesome possibility and then anticipates that it’s really going to happen; and there’s a very good reason for that: Hope is a Christian.
Here’s what I mean by that - If you’re a Christian, (if you believe in Jesus) you believe that He is the King of this Universe and completely and totally in control of everything in this world. If you believe in Jesus, you believe that God is always working everything together for the absolute best of those who love Him. That means that when other folks look at the people in your life and see someone annoying, impossible or even totally ridiculous, you see that same person with eyes of hope. You look at that person as if they were your favorite team losing the big game: Sure, it doesn’t look good right now, but the game ain’t over! Any minute now, we’re gonna be giving high-fives after a huge interception and TD! When you look at hard-to-love people with hope, it’s like you’re looking at a winning lottery ticket. You start day-dreaming about what Jesus is going to do with His winnings - in other words, all the awesome stuff that this person is gonna do for the Kingdom. Sure, other folks don’t see much in them, but you don’t care about that because you love them, which means that you are infected with an irresistible desire for their best, and since you know Jesus, you fully expect the best is exactly what’s going to happen.
The secret sauce on starting a small group
more-than-a-piece asked: Hey Unka! Just wanted to ask you if you have any advice about how to start up ministering to high school girls, like maybe how to go about it? What exactly to talk about and how far to go with it? Would be immensely appreciated!! Again thank you! I truly love and learn from everything you post :D
Unka Glen answered: When you’re starting a new ministry, you should do as little talking as possible, and as much listening as possible. All too often people think of ministry as one person saying smart things, and everyone else around being blown away. That’s not really how it works.
So we start with the premise that the Holy Spirit is drawing everyone to Himself, and we all feel that pull, on one level or another, but we spend a lot of our lives stuck on one obstacle or another. So ministry is all about helping people to overcome those obstacles, so that the relationship can move forward. That’s simple.
The complicated part is the obstacles themselves. If they were easy to figure out and overcome, we’d be over them already. We’ve already figured out the Bible part of all these problems, (and so have they) because that part is utterly simple. For example, if a young lady says she’s struggling with anger towards a friend who has betrayed her trust, we all know that the biblical answer is forgiveness.
So, you think, I’ll just tell her to forgive the friend, because this is, after all, the correct answer. Her response will be to tell you, “I just can’t”. She’s stuck, you see. So you think, I need a gimmick that will kind of trick her into forgiving her friend. So you invent some brilliant “exercise” that will do the job. And then that will fail, and then you’ll realize, hey, we never really spent any time talking about the actual obstacle itself.
We need to investigate what makes it hard to forgive someone. That means you don’t need to think of the most amazing lesson on forgiveness (she already knows she needs to forgive her friend, I mean, c’mon), what you need to think of are good questions that are designed to get her to work through this obstacle, and find her own way to the forgiveness.
I might ask questions like these:
- What does it feel like when someone lets you down?
- Why do we rehearse the anger the way we do?
- How does betrayal make us feel about ourselves?
Then, once they do the work to figure out the nature of the problem, you can come in with some verses about how, let’s say, Jesus was betrayed. And how did that make Him feel? And do we betray Jesus too? And now what do we think about forgiving this other person, knowing that Jesus forgave us when we didn’t deserve it?
You see, we’re starting with honesty, authenticity, and getting some understanding going, without judgement. We then investigate and pull apart how this problem actually works. And only then can we know what simple biblical principle needs to be applied.
When it comes to ministry, the less dependent they are on you the better. You want to teach them to break things down for themselves, ask questions of themselves, and learn how apply the Word for themselves as much as possible. You’re always doing your best ministry when you’re putting yourself out of a job.
Let's do it...together.
It’s time. Its time for me to begin. It’s time for me to begin to get involved. It’s time for me to get involved helping get people connected.
It’s time to stop all the thinking, planning, and talking. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is. It’s time to get the rich and the poor to know each other.
I hope to be working with some people from a conglomeration of churches known as Hope South Florida. I hope that we can put together a Bible study in which a few homeless people and a few of the working class can grow in their faith. I hope it can be a place in which the working and the jobless can grow in their faith together. It’s not going to be a place in which the wealthy have everything to offer the poor, but it should be a time of mutually learning from and about the Lord as well as from each other.
There is a shirt that I have seen people wear that says, “I need Africa more than Africa needs me.” I think that is true. We need to learn from Africa as much if not more than they need to learn from us. The Africans are not the poor lonely people that need us white people to come and save the day. We need to go and sit at their feet and listen to them as we offer what help that we can. The same is true of the homeless. The rich need to learn the lessons that only the poor and homeless can offer them. The working class needs to learn the part of the Gospel that the poor have to offer. And yes the poor need to learn much from the rich as well.
I hope the Bible study can be a place of mutual growth and joy from both sides. Pray that can be the case