What is an Open Heart?
· The Bible describes the heart is that place of conscious decision making, that place of spiritual activity. Our hearts are the comprehensive term for our personality as a whole. It's where we desire. It's our passions.
· It's our thoughts, our understanding, our will. It is the center to which God turns. It is where God meets you. It is where God meets me.
· What is the heart? It's the biblical umbrella term for the authentic you and the authentic me. The heart is what I am. It's where I desire. It's where I deliberate. It's where I decide.
· And God is searching for the condition of our hearts.
o We live in a world that is bent on credentials. Everybody is interested in who you are and what you are like: business cards, acclaim, honors we've received. I like to think when God begins to probe my life that I can stop him on the outside and talk about my credentials.
o You know what he says? He pushes all that aside and says, "I'm not impressed. I want to see your heart."
o We’ve got some really impressive people here at our church, very successful businessmen, some presidents of important corporations, and I can see them as God begins to probe their lives: "Wait a minute, Lord. Here's my business card. What do you think? Look at the tag on my corporate door."
o God says, "I'm not impressed."
· So what is God looking for when he gets by all that external stuff?"
· God doesn’t care about credentials. He looks at the heart.
A Heart that is Vulnerable (Closed)
· Matthew 9:35-36 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
· The shepherd's job is to get the sheep from where they are to where they are supposed to be without there getting maimed and eaten along the way. Animals in the animal kingdom all have different defense mechanisms.
· But what do sheep do? They have no speed, no shell, no real way to repel predators. That's why sheep need shepherds!
· Something deep within Jesus' spirit is stirred, and he views the crowds of people as sheep—helpless and harassed.
· He is vulnerable to their situation.
· Open hearts are open to more, vulnerable to more. Closed hearts have set limits on what they let in.
A Heart that is Interruptible (Busy)
· Matthew 20:29-34 29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
· Serving will always take good time from your schedule. Means you have to say no to something else to do it. Its not always easy to say “No”
· Planned Interruptions:
o LWYA Service Projects
o Sept 15 - 6pm North Elementary. Going to paint lines on sidewalk and feet on sidewalk to help with kids drop off and pick up. Replace 2 basketball nets. Walk the property picking up trash. Walk the property doing a prayer walk
o Sept 21 - 7pm Ellis Park (Pool parking lot). Going to walk through the entire park picking up trash and praying for the town
· Unplanned Interruptions: Spiritual Growth is not a neat, prescriptive process that goes exactly as planned. Instead, it requires flexibility and adaptation as life's circumstances arise. This is not about a program, but rather much more about a deep investment into the lives of those around us.
o Anytime – Anywhere. Look for opportunities to live out what we are preaching and see needs and meet needs. Help an elderly neighbor with yard work (first by starting a conversation and asking if that would be alright), bake cookies for your neighbors, invite a neighbor over for dinner especially if they live alone...
A Heart that is Sacrificial (Selfish)
· John 15:12-13 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
· Retracing the Story
· Comfort or Conviction? I’ve heard it said that you can You can have comfort or you can have convictions…but you can’t have both! So true! If you are convicted about helping people take their next steps with God you wont be able to stay comfortable cause a response is required.
· If you want to stay comfortable you will have to give up your conviction.
· Jesus: Gave up the comfort of heaven and sacrificed his life. His self sacrifice gave him a place unparalleled in all the universe.
· And now he invites you be where he is and live how he lived!
· How's your heart? And how do you want it to be? Here's a simple discipline I encourage you to practice along with me this week. Ask God to help you do a searching Heart Scan.
Invitation: Jesus Heart is Open to You!
· Luke 15:20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Love Where You Are
· Where you Live
· Where You Work
· Where you Play
Loving Where you are….Starts with Open Eyes that clearly see the world as God sees it
· Matthew 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.
· How do you see if you can’t? Try harder? Squint more?
· Eye exam Process is awkward, and many more admissions of not being able to see are coming but eventually the clear vision comes
· On the other side…a new world comes alive
· How do you get your eyes fixed. You go to the doctor!
Jesus Saw things Nobody else could see
· Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
· How do you see faith??? You can see it when you look for it.
o When a parent sends a child off for camp
o When a Timothy steps out to follow God’s call
· Luke 13:2 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”
Jesus Saw things Nobody else wanted to see
· John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
· Sometimes we are all like Horatio Nelson, with one good eye and one blind eye, and when an order comes through from God, we hold up the telescope to the blind eye. As a result, we willfully ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus allowed what he Saw to influence When and How he Loved
· Mark 9:35 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
· John 11:33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
· John 19:26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”
Removing Obstacles to Clear Vision
Open my eyes, Lord Jesus, open my eyes to see millions of souls are dying dying apart from Thee! Then let me see my Savior, nailed to a cross of woe loving through endless ages millions who do not know.
- Margaret Clarkson