Thursday, January 3, 2013

Passion for less

For a while now I’ve the thought of passionless people that has burdened me.  This is how I lived the biggest part of my Christian life.  You know, just going through the motions and playing church.  
Sunday morning – check.  
Sunday night – check.  
Wednesday night –check.  
Done for the week!

Me and a couple of the “knuckleheads” (a.k.a my friends) were sitting at the café talking about the things going on in Christian America today.  We were chewing on a recent survey that showed how we continue to move to a more and more secular society that cares less and less about anything of spiritual substance. We’ve become more okay with being just okay.  Passionless if you will. [As a side note passion filled Christianity is thriving in third world countries where physical persecution and even death is eminent if you are caught.]

Then somewhere in the conversation someone “squirreled”, as this group typically does, and posed the question, “What does the word “holy” really mean?”  I know right now you’re thinking, “I know this guy and his friends and there is no way they are talking about stuff like this!” Way to grown-up and deep, I know. Usually our discussions consist of camping gear, the firmness of eggs and how we can jack with whatever friend couldn’t make it that day.

All this talk of defining holy started to stir my thoughts even more.  My feeble mind started trying to process two deep thoughts at the same time, passionless people and defining “holy”.

So I did what everyone does to clear their thoughts? I went to my Crowder place. Right?  I put on some David Crowder Band, Christmas edition, and started to journal a bit.  That’s when O’ Holy Night came on and for the first time it wasn’t just another Christmas song.  This time it spoke to me and not because they had some new hip Crowder recipe of lyrics but because I had never been listening.  On this night here is what I heard.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
Fall on your knees!
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King!
Chains shall He break
…in His name all oppression shall cease.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

It was like Holy Defined and Passion met, got married of course, and birthed O’ Holy Night.

In the words of this song “holy” I believe means unmatched.  Then when unmatched holiness meets the passionless people of the world they can’t help but obey the COMMAND of the song to fall on your knees to the King.  Worship the man who knows your needs and weaknesses without you ever speaking a word.  And maybe my favorite part is the image of the chains of the enslaved breaking.  Not just the physically enslaved but also the spiritually, mentally and religiously enslaved.  I see chains falling to the ground and people reaching to the sky for the first time screaming a William Wallace, Braveheart style, “FREEDOM!!”  Note: You have to roll the “r” to get the full on Scottish accent affect.  

Webster’s says holy means exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in good and righteousness.  I agree.  It’s shorter to say unmatched.

So what about the passionless?  What do we do about this?  It’s what started this whole line of thinking after all.

Fact:  As a whole we don’t do a good job in this country of introducing people to the the Holy One. I’ll have to be the first to admit I’m guilty of this too.  We just don’t.  We have become too comfortable and its part of our passionless problem.

But if we were to introduce more people to this chain breaking Jesus then this could change.  We could see an awaking!  Why?  Because once you meet him, I mean truly meet him; there can be no existence of a passionless spirit.   

Understanding holy breeds passion!
Passion breeds action!
And action breeds change!! 

I love to run and I love runners.  Everyone has a different story about why they run, but the thing they all have in common is commitment and passion.  If you didn’t have it you wouldn’t do it.

I heard this story about John Steven Akhwari a while back that symbolizes the passion I’d love to see in Christian America. While competing in the marathon in Mexico City, Akhwari a farmer and marathon runner from the African country of Tanzania, cramped up due to the high altitude of the city. At the 19 km mark of a 42 km race he was jockeying for position between some runners and he was hit, falling badly wounding and dislocating his knee.  Check out this video of how the race ended…

THAT’S PASSION!!  And if we have it for a sporting event that will mean nothing in the end then why can’t we have it for the eternal race Jesus left us to run.

Remember that little thing called the Great Commission at the very end of Matthew 28. …go and make disciples of all nations…  It’s the greatest call to action the world has ever known yet we have lost the enthusiasm for it!!

I heard Francis Chan say last night, “If you want to experience God then go make disciples!!”

Listen to some of the last words the Apostle Paul ever wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

John Steven Akhwari, the Apostle Paul and us all have something in common.  We weren’t sent here to start a race.  We were sent here to finish one and we cannot do it without passion!