The view was astounding! Blackcomb Peak (in British Columbia, Canada), and extreme skiers dream. I stood at the precipice of four vertical shutes. I'd never seen anything like it. All I had to do was stand in place and circle around to take one of the shutes. Spending the better part of a day hiking to the top, turning back was not an option. Fear swept through my body. My heartbeat increased speed and pounded in my chest. Altitude was not the cause of my shortened breaths, it was knowing if I fell at any point careening down the mountain, I was dead. But fear had never stopped me before, I lifted my skis and plummeted down, not touching the ground for nearly 15 feet. And yet, many of you listening right now feel more scared of mentoring other couples than I did on Blackcomb Peak. And that's a problem.
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Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1
This command is so important to our daily life and fellowship with God, that Jesus gave it twice during His last supper with His Disciples. In addition to His command, this statement gives three revelations about the “heart.” It’s important to realize that when Jesus talks about the heart, he’s not talking about the beating organ beneath our chest. He’s talking about the very core of our nature, the very essence of who we are. Jesus taught us that all of our natural behavior flows out of the heart. Solomon taught the same, and was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:35 NIV).
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How on earth can your selfishness ever contribute to the happiness of other people?
It was an ugly fight. I allowed myself to become flooded and I reacted meanly. But then the Holy Spirit stepped in and reminded me what I needed to do next. The next thing I remember is the wind in my hair, the sun warming my body, a sense of thrilling adventure building in my soul. This activity is one of the best things I do to protect my relationships and to love others when I am feeling flooded, enormously unloved by the actions of others.
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This one time at band camp...wait, the wrong story! It was 1991 and I was on a most excellent adventure...good grief, not that story either! It was 1994 and I was minding my own business on the campus of Baylor University when in the middle of the night my phone rang. One of those classic phones with the extra-long cord attached to the handle somehow impossibly tangled, even though the guy in the commercial clearly told me it was untangle-able.
The voice on the other end of the line was a girl's. This particular girl had won my attention in bible class, and it wasn't her personality! She invited me over to a party at her place, and before she hung up the phone I was knocking on her front door. What happened next will forever haunt me.
This moment is still one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, and I am not easily embarrassed. Her apartment was empty. I gently inquired about the..whereabouts of the party people. She said, "I lied about the...
The most dangerous place to find ourselves is believing, because of our actions, we are on the inside track to an eternity with Jesus. The unfortunate, terrifying truth is we are not if our actions are actually from a sanctimonious, self-satisfying, smug, pious, moralizing, superior, priggish, hypocritical, pharisaic heart. At 18-years-old, God broke me in one night after a profound and miraculous phone call I received in the middle of the night.
As Clark would say from Christmas Vacation, "Amen, hallelujah, holy %$$^&#@!" If this upsets you, or you are thinking, "Well thank the Lord this isn't me!" Or, "How dare Michael to hint at foul language!" Watch out. Jesus cares about you so overwhelmingly, he punched you straight in the face over and over again in the New Testament trying to wake you up to the reality of your heart.
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