• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Are you growing tired of being excited?

The other day, I talked about how “whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s, one of the first ways to ‘fan the flame’ again of the movement is to sit and listen to a new worker making one of their first presentations to supporters.  It warms one’s heart to hear how God called them to work among these people with this team to fulfill this common vision.”  Then I realized that might not be the case for everyone.

TiredWhen that kind of talk doesn’t stirs one’s heart, one’s excitement or passion reservoir may be in the red.  What I mean by that is that life and ministry, in the short term or long term, can gradually ‘snuff out’ the passion that God placed in our hearts at the start to multiply disciples and communities of believers, to bring the Gospel to lost people everywhere we go.

In reality, it’s the same with the impact of the Gospel in our lives. We can so easily forget the ‘music’ that wooed our hearts to Jesus. We need to ‘awaken’ our hearts afresh each day to that amazing story of Christ’s love for us.

So it is with the mission God to which God called us.  Hearing the stories of others (in print, in person, by video) can serve to remind us of God’s call on each of lives that brought us to Himself.  Hearing the stories of others can also serve to remind us of that call of God that brought us to where we serve and minister now.

We can all grow tired. We can all lose our passion from time to time.  Yet, we’re part of a movement and other members can ‘call us back’ to that passion which drove us to serve where we are; to ‘call us back’ to God.

Raise the sails!

This past Monday, I met with two young leaders from a small mission that is “re-building” itself.  I say ‘young’ because the two guys could have been my sons.  They asked me questions, almost nonstop, for 90 minutes.  Good questions; the kind that make you sit back and hesitate before you try to answer.  They were eager to learn from another.  They were passionate.  They were focused.

When I say that their mission is ‘small’, it does not do them justice.  Their numbers may be small, but their dream is huge and draws you in to want to know more abpelicanpnewall4out how they believe God will accomplish it.  Their vision caused me to want to help them, not criticize their efforts and strategies.

As I thought about all this later, I realized the dream was compelling, but it was their passion, their hunger to engage in the accomplishment of this vision that spoke to me.  It was as if, we were all on a sailboat together and these guys were screaming: “Raise the sails!  Get ready to ‘rock and roll’ because the wind is up!”  What would you do?  You would run to grab hold of one of those rope cords and start heaving to raise those sails.

God has laid on our hearts a dream, a vision of multiplying disciples and communities of believers among the unreached.  However, we ‘lack’ the passion at times to give our all for this missional endeavor.  When the call is heard to ‘raise the sails’, some of us prefer criticism and push back, rather than heart-y engagement.

As we begin to see the world as God does, as we recognize more and more the depth of His grace towards us, our hearts will ‘overflow’ with joy, with passion, with the unstoppable desire to grab that rope cord and join together in a movement.

Did you say ‘passion’?

In a recent post, I asked the question as to where had our passion gone.  I started out with an example of my waning passion for training runs.

Well, the other day, while getting myself back out on a run, I jogged through a neighboring town, only to see the following sign on the front wall of an evangelical church pastored by a friend.

20160821_095113Loosely translated, it says: “A passion to share”.

Did your say ‘passion’?

There it was again, that notion of a passionate message to share that comes out of a heart that is more and more deeply rooted in our passion for Christ and His passion and love for us.

Then I came across this YouTube video by a Christian young peoples’ musical group in our area.  That was sort of the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’.  You may not understand all the words, but one of the lines in the song talks about ‘voices overflowing with passion’; a passion that flows from who He is and what He has done for us.

Passion is not something I work up.  It grows, it deepens, it bubbles up from a heart that chooses to focus its interest, affections and time on Him.

What happened to our passion?

I do my best to run three times a week.  It is part of my effort to be a good steward of my health in order to better minister to others and to ‘run the [ministry] race’ well.  When I head out early in the morning for a run, it’s a time I can also set aside to pray for others and our ministries around the world.  Unhindered by phone calls or emails, I can spend the time to pray.

However, in recent weeks I have noticed a slippage creeping in.  Rather than three times a week, it’s been more like two or just one time a week.  The night before one of my runs, I was trying to ‘work up’ the desire when I realized that the problem was just that: my 155600-159730desire or passion was waning and none of my great efforts were helping to make that desire come back.

Ministry or missionary passion can go through the same life cycle.  There are times when the motivation and passion are seemingly there.  There are other times when the question keeps ringing in one’s head: what happened to my passion?

Like slippage occurring with my running, the answer is not found in ‘working up’ that passion again.  Rather, the remedy is found by turning away from self-fascination to consideration of the God who is our Father and who called us into this work.  “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you!  I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.” (Psalm 40:5)

Our loss of passion for ministry can often be an indicator that something else has taken the place of Jesus and holds our charm.

May we be passionate about God so that we might be passionate then about the ministry!