Sun, Apr 17, 2016

The Power of a Soft Heart

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Big Idea: Sometimes our head gets disconnected from our heart. When we cannot feel things we know, it is more important than ever to lean into Christ’s promises as we drag our emotions under the supremacy of Christ. Likewise, a hard heart is one of our greatest spiritual enemies. Acknowledging this fact, we must diligently search our hearts, listening to others to cultivate a culture of biblical confession that catalyzes authentic spiritual growth.

I. A case for integrated Spirituality: living in God’s optimal design

A. Knowing, being and doing

B. All three are necessary. (Romans 12:1-2, Philippians 4:7, Matthew 12:34)

C. Disconnects cause problems in our soul.

II. When my heart doesn’t connect to my head

A. When I don’t feel what I believe to be true

B. When I do feel that which I believe to be false

III. A hard heart

A. The stakes

B. What is a hard heart?

1. A hard heart is the biblical fool in Proverbs.

2. A hard heart refuses to humble oneself.

3. A hard heart refuses to be aware. (Proverbs 17:10; 9:8)

4. A hard heart refuses to learn.

5. A hard heart refuses to listen. (Proverbs 13:1)

6. A hard heart refuses to care about how one’s actions impact others.

7. A hard heart refuses to repent/change. (Luke 18:9-14)

C. How does God respond?

1. He disciplines us through natural consequences – the law of sowing and reaping.

2. This process of discipline culminates in releasing someone over to themselves.
(Romans 1:18-31, I Corinthians 5:5)

3. God weeps. (Jesus and the prophets)

4. God leaves the door open for restoration.

D. How should we respond?

1. Examine ourselves for a hard heart.

2. Ask others around us, “How am I doing?”

3. Repent. (Ezekiel 11:19)

Discussion Questions:

1) Can you remember a time in your life where your heart seemed to be far from your head? Can you share to the group about that? What was that like for you? How did that impact you and those you love? Did that disconnect affect your spiritual growth? If so, how?

2) Is renewing our minds the same thing as having a soft and transformed heart? Has someone ever convinced your head about something but not your heart? What was the difference?

3) How do you take feedback? Have you ever doubted someone when they were giving you feedback? Have you ever given feedback to someone and it didn’t go well? If so, why did it go poorly? Is it possible to give feedback to someone who refuses to receive it?

4) Which is more important, emotional intelligence or raw cognitive ability (EQ vs. IQ)? How did you form that opinion? Which would you guess is a greater predictor of success?

5) Why do you suppose people get angry when they get feedback? What is underneath the anger? Should you persist in addressing foolish behavior if that process isn’t going well?
Does a Christian have a duty to try to help other Christians see their blind spots? Should we do that only if invited?

6) Why do you suppose that God disciplines his children through the natural consequences of their own choices? Is there a better way of doing it? Is this too passive? What would be the down side of taking a more aggressive approach?

7) What can fix a hard heart? Does prayer work? Why didn’t Jesus’ prayers for Judas work?

8) Do you know and talk to people you trust enough to invite into your blind spots? How do you build that kind of trust? How do you foster authentic and safe accountability?

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