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Hearts of Swiss Cheese

I love cheese. I mean, who doesn’t? (Sorry vegans! We still love you.) There is nothing better than cheese on a burger. And then we have the concoction known as Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese has the big and small holes in the cheese. Whether you like Swiss cheese or not, you could probably agree that sometimes, our heart is like Swiss Cheese.

Our hearts take a lot of hits. Heartbreak, traumas, loss, grief, pain–all of these things hit us hard. The problem is we usually know this about ourselves; however, we bury the problem. We ignore the pain but post on social media about our “best life”. And we indulge in something—anything that will serve as a distraction. We follow lesser gods and bigger egos and we are left with more emptiness.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” -Proverbs 4:23

We must guard our hearts. It sounds like something out of Robin Hood or a modern love story. If there is something we have not IGNORED in today’s culture it is mentioning the heart. We talk about the heart all of the time in music, social media, and art. We get tattoos of hearts and names on our bodies. We spend money on cute signs with love quotes and hearts for our homes and offices. And the heart emoji is used endlessly in texts and on social media.

There are two extremes that usually exist in dealing with our hearts (unless we are guarding them):

Extreme #1: Throwing your heart all over the place. This is not vulnerability. This is someone who puts everything out there on social media and to the world all of the time to “just be real”. You didn’t guard anything. You gave your heart and all of you to everyone and everything. There is a time and place to share personal things to give others a piece of wisdom. Don’t overshare. You are worth getting to know!

Extreme #2: Lock your heart up. This is common if you have experienced some significant trauma or loss in your life. It is easier to never let anyone in again, correct? Looking at it for face-value, sure, you will never get hurt again. However, with that mindset, you will never experience deep relationships (friendly or love). We were created as relational beings.

So what does guarding your heart look like? It means praying for wisdom. Who can you trust with your heart? These are people that will walk through the heavenly highs and hellish lows with you. They will breathe life into you in a culture that is bent on tearing others down. And they will be few in numbers. Jesus did some of his most profound ministry in small numbers—12 disciples, 1-on-1 conversations, etc. Your greatest heart-work as a believer will be in smaller settings.

Guard your heart. From it springs LIFE. And be sure to pour into others and those who walked that road with you.

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Unity: An Intro and Why It Scares YOU!

Now, I am not naive and I have worked in the Church on various levels as a student, intern, ministry leader, and pastor. I have encountered many different attitudes in regards to “unity”. Some people associate unity as getting together with other churches of the same denomination/affiliation on an annual basis. Others take the approach that unity is not possible because our churches and communities are too different.

Christian unity scares people. It scares God’s Church but it should not. Unity should not scare Christians. Unity scares people because it brings our INSECURITIES to the surface. Our prejudice or assumptions about other churches or denominations is exposed when we aim for unity as One.

Unity scares the Enemy. And no….the Enemy is not the church down the street from you whose building is prettier or bigger than yours. The Enemy is not the church who hosts bake sales, fish fries, or youth activities in the parking lot. The Enemy is not the church who sings only hymns or only contemporary worship music.

The Enemy is the enemy……Satan. Satan hates to see Christians getting along. When Christians work together, much good can happen for the Kingdom. Satan hates that; it probably gives him heartburn.

Unity starts at home. It must be modeled and lived out at home. What we teach our children, friends, and siblings about Christian unity will trickle down. This is crucial because we must confess that we are not perfect. You and I are not perfect. Our churches are not perfect. We must agree to disagree.

A big assumption in Christianity is to assume we know what another church or denomination believes in. Do some research. Ask questions. Talk to people associated with those churches or denominations. You might learn more than that Bible course you took in college.

My next couple of blogs will tackle the topic of unity and I encourage us all to stay open to God’s Spirit. May we be One……….One united Body……..fighting for the hearts of men and women and bringing them restoration and healing in God.