“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples.” (John 8:31)
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
What do you think of these words? Would you give them a thumbs up or a thumbs down? At first glance, these words seem to be the marching orders for many of the people of today and they seem to be full of strong and empowering words and phrases. But as we dig deeper we begin to see something that is very destructive to our faith. Do you know who wrote these words? They were written by the now deceased leader of Apple, Steve Jobs.
Think about all the romantic movies you’ve seen, all the pop songs you’ve heard, all the TV shows you’ve watched. Would it be safe to say that the phrase “Follow your heart” – along with all its variations – is a phrase that we have probably heard over and over – just like we saw in that quote from Steve Jobs?
On one level, “Follow your heart” sounds like pretty good advice. After all, at the end of the day, don’t we have to be true to ourselves? And if we are not following our hearts, are we not just being dishonest with ourselves and everyone around us? But does “following your heart” apply to our spiritual lives? Will “following our heart” be a benefit to our faith?
The problem with that line of thinking is that when we follow our hearts, we are assuming that our hearts know where they are going, and nothing could be further from the truth. Like everything else in this broken-down world, our hearts by themselves are a blind and confused mess -- blind and confused by the disease of sin. Our hearts are far from perfect. They still have doubts and fears. They still stumble and fall. And in the dead of night our hearts still bring up many sins from our past to haunt us. If we were to follow our heart in these moments, we would only be led into despair and guilt.
That is why God doesn’t tell us to look inside our hearts to find direction. He tells us, “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples.” Jesus tells us to “remain in his word” where we will find the only answer that really counts. In God’s Word we will find out why Jesus who came to rescue us is greater than our hearts. Long before our hearts even existed, God sent his Son. At the cross Jesus bled and died to cleanse our hearts of every sin and three days later he brought himself back to life. And centuries after that, he created the miracle of faith in our hearts through the power of that same Word.
And here is what we need to remember: God’s truth found in his Word is always better than following our sinful hearts. The confused fears of our hearts are no match for what God has already done through the cross and the empty tomb. And if our hearts still try to haunt and condemn us – well, don’t worry. Our hearts don’t have the final say. God does!
Pastor Mark Gartner
Summer Sunday Bible Study
We have started our new Summer family type Bible Study which is being held on all non-Communion Sundays this Summer. The study is entitled, “The ABC’s of Worship — Lutheran Customs and Practices.” Our next classes will be July 21 starting around 9:00am. The classes have been well attended and many good questions have been asked and answered. Even if you have missed the first lessons, you can still join us. If you would like one of the study booklets, please talk to one of the Pastors.
The quarterly voters’ meeting will be held on July 23 at 7:00 pm. At this meeting we will be voting on recommendations from the council concerning many changes to our by-laws. For the most part these are the same changes we discussed in April, although they have been amended slightly. There are copies of the proposed changes (as well as what our by-laws currently say) in the narthex at Church. We encourage everyone to look these over carefully. Although every congregational meeting is important, with the proposed changes to our by-laws and thus altering some structure of our congregation, this meeting is especially important. We strongly encourage all men ages 18 and over to attend.
New Ushers and an Usher's Meeting
We are looking for more ushers—especially for the late service on Sundays and on Monday evenings. We pray that our men will use their time to help God’s people worship him. For more information, speak to any usher; to volunteer contact Kris Wilson or sign up on the sheet in the narthex. We will have an usher training meeting on Tuesday July 23 at 6:00pm for ALL Ushers. Please plan to join us and then attend the Voter's meeting at 7:00pm