All You Really Need Is "Heart"? Part 1

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on March 2, 2007.

Fundamentalism features a lot of talk about the heart these days. It probably always has. Speakers emphasize the importance of “hearts on fire for God,” a children’s CD warns against the dangers of developing a cold heart, and a college hosts an annual Heart Conference.
heart.jpgThese are not bad things, and we’d be worse off without them, but where are the children’s CDs dramatizing the dangers of an empty head? Where is the preaching emphasizing the need for “heads full of facts for God”? And why isn’t there a Brain Conference somewhere in Fundamentalism?

The absence of these things, or the reluctance to call them what they are if they do exist, suggests that many feel that the rational and cognitive in us is, at best, second rate. It’s not very “spiritual.” Some feel that matters of the intellect are inherently hostile to the things of God in a way that “matters of the heart” are not.

As always, the question for us is, “What does the Bible teach?”
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A Philosophy of Worship Music

Few words are as apt to elicit a passionate response as the words worship music. Churches, institutions, and homes have been rocked (pun intended) by debates over what is—and more Pianooften, what is not!—acceptable music. While I understand the debate and tend to land on the conservative side of it, the fact that the term worship is heard by many as a call to arms instead of a call to prayer grieves me. I fear that one casualty of the “worship wars” of the last generation has been worship itself. We have focused more on style than on substance. We have spoken loudly and often regarding what we are against, but we have said and thought too little about what we are for. We have given more thought to the manner of worship than to the Object of it. I’d like to see that changed, and therefore I ask, What are we for? What should we be aiming at as we produce or select worship music? I believe that the following six principles can provide some help as we work toward an answer.
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Brazil Missions Trip ’09

Some preliminary thoughts

Wheat CropIn a couple of days I’ll board a plane and fly to Fortaleza, Brazil. The trip is not about SharperIron, but it is about iron sharpening iron. Some months ago, a missionary our church supports financially contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to preach at the regional conference for Baptist Mid-Missions (BMM) in northeast Brazil. I felt honored by the invitation and was eager to go if the Lord provided the funding. Through some generous givers (my church covered about half the cost), He did provide, so off I go.

The conference has several purposes. The BMM missionaries of the region meet to fellowship, conduct business, and do some spiritual refueling. My mission is to do some of that refueling through preaching.

I don’t mind admitting I have mixed feelings about that. In many ways, it would be more appropriate for me to do the listening while they do the preaching. Who am I to preach to the likes of these? Fortunately, I have the best possible source material. I’ll bring word that is not my own, and that doesn’t depend on me in the least for its power. Though diligence is required of me and effectiveness may be limited or enhanced by my efforts (as God chooses), the real work is not my own.
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An Unsafe God

by Pastor Dan Miller

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Dan Miller’s book Spiritual Reflections.

“Who said anything about safe?”
AslanHave you ever been reading and had a line jump off the page, grab you by the nose hairs, and refuse to let go until your body fairly tingles and your eyes nearly water with its meaning? That was my experience when I first read Mr. Beaver’s classic retort to Susan in C. S. Lewis’s fictional series The Chronicles of Narnia (Book 2: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, p. 86).

In this classic tale—verbally shallow enough for children to wade in, philosophically deep enough for adults to drown in—Lewis creates the make-believe world of Narnia. In this mythical land, people and animals converse with one another, and Lewis chooses to cast a great lion named Aslan as the Christ-figure.

A group of English children find themselves in Narnia, seated at a kitchen table, talking with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Word has it that Aslan has recently arrived on a rare visit to Narnia and that arrangements have been made for the children to meet the “Lord of all the wood” (Mr. Beaver’s description). Young Susan, in particular, is hesitant about meeting a lion. She queries:
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Top 10 Religion Stories Impacting Evangelicals and Fundamentalists in 2008

Top 10What started as a fluke born partially out of boredom some five years ago has now turned into an annual tradition. Folks have been asking me right and left if I plan on continuing my annual list of the top-ten religion stories from an evangelical and fundamentalist perspective this year. The answer is yes. However, before I give my thoughts, a couple of caveats and words of explanation.

First, I sometimes do two lists—one for evangelicals and one for fundamentalist Christians (for the record, many fundamentalists do not like being called “evangelicals” and vice versa, though from a secular perspective, they are pretty much the same basic demographic group). This year, I’ll be back to one list combining stories of interest for both branches. Frankly, there just weren’t that many “big” stories from either camp this year.

Also, I offer my personal perspective on why I think these stories are significant. You might disagree. If you do so, feel free to comment on why you see things differently.

So, with further introduction, I give you the Whirled ViewsTop Ten Religion Stories Impacting Evangelicals and Fundamentalists in 2008.
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Merry Christmas from Tom Mount

Tom MountHello again! I don’t get to do this much, so now that I have the stage for a little while here, let me take the time to wish the SI family a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I trust God has blessed you as you have trusted in Him throughout the last 12 months and that He will continue to do so in the next 12.These letters are always the hardest to write because when it comes down to it, I can’t really imagine anyone saying, “Man, I wish I could walk a mile in his shoes!” I mean, my life is pretty quiet, really. I work a day job fixing computers, sing with my local civic choir, and travel many weekends with the Calvary Quartet. Oh, and I do some editing and geek‐for‐hire work for SI.

But I do thank God for the many opportunities He has dropped in my lap over this past year, opportunities both at work and in what passes as my free time. God is good, and I have seen this evidence in all that God has done for me and brought me through this past year. From crazy drivers to extensive car work (thankfully the one did not cause the other!), from extra responsibilities to extra deadlines, and from singing as a ministry to singing as a profession, God has opened doors, closed others, and through it all, made the point to me that He is in sovereign control.
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