Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Valentines Day is this weekend so I want to talk about passion. No, not that kind of passion.
When events conspire to rob you of passion and the wind feels like it’s left your sails… what should you do?
A good place to turn to are the Scriptures. Satan is a serial killer. He seeks to extinguish our passion every day. Max Lucado spoke of the “agent of familiarity” that causes us to take things for granted. Lucado writes:
“The devil won’t steal your salvation, but he will make you forget what it is like to be lost.”
A decade ago a Gallup Poll identified the #1 factor for credibility in any church is the passion of the pastor. The zeal of church leaders, whether pastor, elder, deacon or Sunday school teacher is critical for the welfare of the church. Passion is contagious!
· What is passion? Can we define it? One definition suggests passion is:
“An intense emotion compelling action. A strong DEVOTION to some object, activity or concept”
· What does passion do?
o Passion changes me… my priorities.
o Passion changes lives… it rubs off.
o Passion increases my willpower.
o Passion makes the impossible possible.
o Passion protects me from wrong… a passion for God is the greatest antidote against temptation.
· How do we gain passion?
o Pray for it.
o Return to your first love… apathy is not a state of mind but a state of heart.
Apathy derives from “without pathos” (passion) or having no love.
o Pursue your spiritual gifts.
o Build morale by pursuing achievable goals.
o Associate with people of passion.
· How do we lose passion?
o Allow the precious to become ordinary.
o Canadian culture encourages passivity.
o We want acceptance/approval and passion both draws and repels others at the same time.
o Apathy and seeking comfort increases with age.
o We have no purpose beyond ourselves.
We read in Romans 12:11-12 (NIV):
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
The Apostle Paul shares a plan to remain spiritually passionate. Notice he starts with “never”… this is a command. Declaring we keep our “spiritual fervor”. This “fervor” is to be characterized by passion or “zeal” (defined as boiling). How do we do this? Paul goes on to share this saying:
· Be “joyful”… How?... by being “hopeful” because God is the God of the impossible.
· Be “patient”… How?... remember God’s agenda doesn’t change despite our circumstances.
· Be “faithful”… How?... Constantly commit yourself to “prayer”.
These actions will help create and fuel our passion for ministry to be accomplished. The Apostle Paul planted churches throughout Asia and Greece because of his passion for the cause of Christ. I find it interesting no church was planted in Athens. Why? Paul found a people and culture characterized by consensus thinking, tolerance and apathy. Everyone spoke their own mind, pluralism made every idea equal, and so, a statue to the unknown god was erected just in case they might offend one of their citizens.
Hmmmm… kind of sounds familiar, eh?!
Have a blessed week,