Monthly Archives: January 2012

“Enemies of the Heart”

Enemies-of-the-Heart[7]I just got through ready Andy Stanley’s ENEMIES OF THE HEART: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You and all I can say is, “WOW.”  I never knew how ignorant about the four destructive emotions (Guilt, Anger, Greed, and Jealousy) and how they wreak havoc on our relationships.

The book is built around the Scripture, “Guard Your Heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Andy is very concise and organized in dealing with these four destructive emotions.  The book is divided up into four parts:

Part 1: Where did that Come From?
This is where he illustrates how difficult it is to deal with heart issues. I agree with Stanley when he writes that we’ve all grown very good at deceiving ourselves to the point that most of us have no idea just how corrupt we really are.  This book is an attempt to shed light on the subject.  The Bible says, “The truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32)

Part 2: Deeper Debts
This is where he exposes the four destructive emotions in detail.  (1) A Guilt: I Owe You (2) Anger: You Owe Me (3) Greed: I Owe Me and (4) Jealousy: God Owes Me.

Part 3: For True Change
This is where Andy discusses the antidote (habit) for each of one of these destructive emotions.  Guilt says I OWE YOU so the solution is confession.  Anger is fueled by the notion that YOU OWE ME, so that debt is remedied with forgiveness.  Greed is kept alive by the assumption that I OWE ME –a twisted way of thinking that’s remedied through generous giving.  Jealousy says, “GOD OWES ME and the answer is to CELEBRATE people’s successes.

This part was the best part of the book for me.  The truths are so simple and yet so powerful which makes them easy to apply in your life and those around you.  My favorite part of the section was one that dealt with anger and forgiveness… WOW!  The book is worth ready just for that section!

Part 4: Moving Forward
This is where Andy touches on how we can teach our children how to guard their hearts?

The book is loaded at the end with great discussion questions for each of the chapters.  Overall, I would give this book 5 stars because it has something that everyone can relate to and use.  The four habits he lays out in response to the four destructive emotions are very practical and enable a person to love the way God would have us love.  Well done, Andy!

This book was received free of charge in exchange of a bias free review of it’s contents.

Hypocrite?

hypocriteAs a pastor, I  have probably heard every kind of excuse of why people don’t go to church.  Probably one of the more common excuses is that the church is full of hypocrites, to which I immediately say, “Join us, there’s always room for one more.  Almost three-quarters of Americans who haven’t darkened the door of a church in the last six months think it is “full of hypocrites.”

One clergyman using that same logic gave a list of reasons why he does not go anymore to athletic events.

  1. Every time I went they asked me for money.
  2. People that I have to sit next to didn’t seem too friendly.
  3. The seats were too hard and uncomfortable.
  4. The coach never called on me personally.
  5. The referee made a decision that I did not agree.
  6. Some games went into overtime and I was late getting home.
  7. The band played some numbers I had never heard of before.
  8. Some of those games are scheduled when I want to do other things.
  9. My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.
  10. Since I read a book on sports I feel that I know more than the coaches anyway.
  11. I don’t to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.

Excuses are for wimps!  I’m not saying that we (as Christians) don’t need to be intentionally about avoiding all pretenses of hypocrisy,  (1 Thessalonians 5:22) but too often hypocrisy is just an excuse people throw out for not being involved in church and  If you don’t want to do something, one excuse is as good as another.  (Yiddish Proverb)

I heard of one church coming up with NO EXCUSE SUNDAY:

  • Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, “Sunday is my only day to sleep.”
  • We will have steel helmets for those who say, “the roof will cave in if I ever come to church.”
  • Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold and fans for those who think the church is too hot.
  • We will have hearing aids for those who think the preacher speaks too softly and cotton for those who think he preaches too loudly.
  • Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.
  • Some relatives will be in attendance for those who like to go visiting on Sunday.
  • There will be T.V. dinners for those who can’t go to church and cook dinner also.
  • One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to see God in nature.
  • Finally, the sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them.

In Luke 14:16-24 Jesus tells the parable of the Great Supper.
“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ””

When you boil it all down excuses are nothing more than a wimpy way of trying to escape responsibility.  Yet Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:36-37 that we will be held accountable for every idle word on the day of judgement.

Survey: ‘Unchurched’ Americans say church is ‘full of hypocrites’

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses, What’s Yours?