Monday, September 26, 2011

Reflections on a Great Weekender

This weekend marked Neighborhood Church's third Weekender. Weekenders are times when our entire church comes together for fun, learning, service and prayer.

We kicked things off on Friday night with our first ever Variety Show, aptly named The Rock-afire Explosion of Talent. And boy was it an explosion! We had a cover of Journey's Don't Stop Believing", with only vocals and Apple products. Oh yeah, and cow bell. Our new friend Pouya sang his heart out on The Eagle's "Hotel California." We had skits, stand up comedy, readings, and we finished the night off with some Bieber Fever. I'm sure videos will be floating around the world wide web very soon.

Saturday morning nine of us who went to the GCM Conference debriefed with the rest of our team on what we learned. We had good panel and table discussions. That afternoon we went to Hope Works for a couple of hours. We planted flowers, built shelves, cleaned, and even hung a tv. Serving together is such fun!

Finally, yesterday morning we met at John and Ashleigh's house to give thanks to God for this community and our great weekend together. It was a powerful time of encouragement and speaking into one another's lives. I am very grateful to be a part of what God is doing, and I'm grateful to be doing it with this community!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Centrality of the Heart

I'm in the middle of reading a really great book by Paul Tripp called How People Change. Here's a great quote on the centrality of the heart.

The average Christian defines sin by talking about behavior. For example, what is the goal of most Christian parents? Is it not to get their children to do the right things? We set up all kinds of relational, motivational, and corrective structures to constrain and direct our children’s behavior. These structures are not without value, but if this is your only response to your child’s rebellion and sin, you will leave him defenseless against sin once he leaves home and the structures are no longer there.
Beneath the battle for behavior is another, more fundamental battle— the battle for the thoughts and motives of the heart.

The heart is the real or essential you. All of the ways in which the Bible refers to the inner person (mind, emotions, spirit, soul, will, etc.) are summed up with this one term: heart. The heart is the steering wheel of every human being. Everything we do is shaped and controlled by what our hearts desire.

That is why the Bible is very clear that God wants our hearts. Only when God has your heart does he have you. As much as we are affected by our broken world and the sins of others against us, our greatest problem is the sin that resides in our hearts. That is why the message of the gospel is that God transforms our lives by transforming our hearts.

Lasting change always comes through the heart. This is one of Scripture’s most thoroughly developed themes, but many of us have missed its profound implications. We need a deeper understanding of Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."