Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Heart

I was fortunate enough to witness the starts of something new in the city Sunday night. The grumbling I have felt and heard since I moved here finally is starting to grow wings and fly. Response Church held its first Sunday evening worship service last week. The thing that excited me most about this movement of people in the city is not because there is another “church” downtown, there are plenty of those. This exhilaration comes from the reality that a church is not being started, a church is being called to action, the school of thought that thinks you go to church is slowly dying and I am starting to see the emergence of a movement in this city. What’s so special about this movement? Well, the special thing is that it has to do with changing the heart instead of lifestyle or habits. When asked what people typically think of as Christians the normal responses include things like going to church, reading their bibles, or trying to do the right things. Jake so cleavly stated that no one says things like, “a broken being who has a new heart that changes the way they think, feel, and interact with life.” Why is that? This question is what I’ve personally been on a journey in answering for 3 years now.

Jesus is responding to the Pharisees questions about his disciples not being ceremonially clean and doing all the right things and Jesus responds with a common saying, scripture they would all know,

“'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men (Isaiah 29:13).”

Jesus continues,

“What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean (Mark 7:20-22).' "

Seems like Jesus’ is not concerned with what we are doing. Now, does this mean we can just say we love Jesus and be nasty people who act like we love ourselves? Absolutely not! Paul addresses this very question of the law vs. our liberation and freedom from it in Romans. Jesus did not come to start what we know as modern day Christianity, a religion that has a set of beliefs, doctrines, rules, and regulations that seem heavier than anything, not Jesus’ style if you drop everything and just read the Bible and seek who He is. Too often we read the Bible and make it so systematic that it does actually seem like a set of rules. So is Jesus about you learning the rules and doing them because you have to or about you learning about Him and because of who he is responding in a way that is a totally different lifestyle. So no longer do you do things because you have to or shouldn’t but because you have the great privilege to and because not doing it is better for you. There are plenty of people running around saying and doing the right things, they look the part, but per Jesus, they can be far from Him. I’m not saying religion is all bad, but I am saying it is only a small reflection of what should be going on inside the individual, this heart change thing.

Si, I’m excited for my new found friend Jake and the opportunity God has given him and many others to start a new movement about the heart, about Jesus, downtown Indianapolis.

“As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man (Proverbs 27: 19).”

So the question is, what does your heart say or reflect, has it been changed? Jesus wants your heart not just your obedience out of fear or moralistic pressures, although obedience is a response to Him having your heart.

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