Heads and Hearts on Fire

12 06 2008


From time to time members of our church ask me about my thoughts and opinions on various topics…Bible stuff and theology.  Due to the fact that I was “born to talk,” as my mother once said, I find myself increasingly piping off to someone my “inkling” and viewpoint in a hallway or our lobby.  As Mountain Springs Church has grown larger, I am hearing the same query more often than I care to keep answering.  Thus it has come to my attention that I might consider writing some of these thoughts down into something of a regular “column” or, to use more modern language, a “blog.” (Whatever in the world that means.)

So, this is the first installment of my “inkling” on various topics that God is laying on my heart for our Mountain Springs Church family.  I have chosen the word “inkling” because I think the word befits the purpose.  “Inkling” in the Merriam Webster Dictionary means, “a slight knowledge or vague notion,” as in “he had not the faintest inkling what he was talking about.” And since that is often the case with me, I thought I might use this as the title for my column, blog, musings or whatever we call it. 

Now I must clarify that using this name has nothing to do with The Inklings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien fame who were an informal literary group from the University of Oxford in England that met at the The Eagle and Child Pub weekly to discuss the literary works of several of the members.  No, I’m not an author and I’m not a literary critic, but I just like the meaning of the word and its apt description of my purpose.  So, enough on the disclaimer and introduction to my column.  Now to the subject for this first installment. 

Heads and Hearts on Fire

God wants all of us to have heads and hearts on fire for Him!  God doesn’t just want passion-filled hearts with a theological vacuum upstairs.  And God is even less interested in Bible-packed heads with no heartfelt intimacy for Him.  God wants both a theologically, biblically-grounded head and a passionate, loving heart for Him.  This is part and parcel with truly growing to know and  love  God.  You can’t love someone you don’t know and you can’t know someone deeply without loving them.  So, God desires passion from our heads and our hearts.

 The synergy of the head and heart is not easy to find in the body of Christ.  Among Charismatics, passionate exuberance is often emphasized to the detriment of good theology and deep biblical thinking.  On the flip side, among conservative evangelicals, rigorous Bible study has devalued heart-filled passion and zeal.  At times both sides are looking too askance at the other.  And both are missing the point.

At MSC I want us to keep striving to value what Jesus valued.  In being probed by a lawyer as to “which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus responded, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)  I suspect that this may be the most important, all-embracing passage in the Bible.  Jesus is saying very plainly that if you want to get it right with your whole life—meaning everything—then you must start with love, love for the Lord that includes your heart and your head.  Not either or, but both.

So what does this kind of radical love look like?  Jesus clearly indicates that loving Him fully with our heart and head means that we love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  I have an inkling that this just might be the greatest outward sign of a true head and heart on fire for God—loving others as much as we love ourselves. 

Now this is pretty revolutionary stuff if you ask me.  The meaning is clear.  Jesus is saying, “If you are loving God with all of your head and your heart, then you will love your neighbor as much as you love yourself!” I don’t do that very often!  But Jesus says that this is the “greatest commandment.”  And Jesus even goes further in another place where He says, “whoever desires to be great in God’s kingdom, become a servant.” (Matt 20:26)  I have a sneaking suspicion that He means be a servant to PEOPLE.  Sounds a lot like the above passage?  I’m getting uncomfortable.

So, it seems that Jesus is saying that if we are delving into the Law and the Prophets with a head on fire for the Scriptures, and if we are worshipping and loving Him with our hearts aflame, then we will naturally be loving and caring for our fellow man.  Now this only works if you really want to follow the “first and great commandment.”  I think this was why Jesus was always so ticked off with the Pharisees and Scribes—they knew the scriptures but totally missed the love of God, and thus missed the real purpose of following Him—loving others as a result.  But, I suspect that Jesus could also get pretty frustrated with His twelve disciples too—for they loved Him but they were still fighting all the time about who was the greatest.  A little ego problem there?

So, bottom line is that God wants your head and your heart, and nothing less will suffice.  And if you are asking the right question, “Does He really have my head and heart?” then the answer lies in…yes, you guessed it, what are you doing with your “neighbor?”  Are you loving people?  Maybe the better question is “Are you really loving God?”  For it is in loving God with our full head and our full heart that we will begin to love people fully!  And I want a church like that!  How about you?  

Carpe Diem Gloriae Dei,

Pastor Steve



7 responses

13 06 2008
Deborah Holt

Hey Daddy! This is Deborah!!! I love you so much and I so admire your relationship and love for the Lord! Thank you for always being here for me and for taking care of our family!!! You’re AMAZING!!!

~Your biggest fan~


16 06 2008

Encore, Encore….this is a great foundation for anyone. Thank you for your simple, easy to follow, yet brilliant inkling of becoming more Christ like.

17 06 2008
Fritz Shoemaker

Hey Pastor Steve,
Good stuff here, was just talking with wife about the commandments, and how they should be written on our hearts. I continue to ask our 4 yr. grand daughter if she knew of the commandments, which lead to an interesting conversation with the wife she saying she had never heard of the commandments being taught to children and that was just the law and that I was out of line.
Is not God’s law his grace provided to us so we & our children have some guideline to live by?

18 06 2008

Pastor Steve:

So glad you decided to start a blog. I look forward to more. I was just talking to Vance about how neat it is when something one is studying personally is brought up on the weekend at church or on the radio and now, online. I started a blog last week, as well and put this site under my favorites. The online community never ceases to amaze me.

Looking forward to your next post.

20 06 2008
Russ Smith

Steve, Russ here. Couple of things. First, great idea doing a blog. You have so much to pass to us that Sat/Sun just aren’t enough. This is a great forum to get that out. Keep up the great work & I’m looking forward to you continuing teaching. Next: I appreciate and applaud you for the leadership you provide within MSC. Not only do you “walk the walk,” but you’ve picked an incredible team around you to implement the common vision. I’ve studied leadership for a long time & firmly believe that leading a church in America is the single most difficult leadership position ever. You are doing a great job & I am glad to be part of it. Keep leading, keep teaching, and keep close to Him. Cheers

14 07 2008
Karrie Kuklish

Thank you so much for posting blogs! What a great idea to actually give more testimony on items such as these. I am so pumped to be part of the MSC family….new since January and you have mentally, emotionally, phyically and spiritually challenged me every week since I have been there! What an amazing environment you have created!

It gives me joy to be surrounded by the love that I get every week in fellowship with my “other family”.


15 12 2008
Kathleen Dalzell

Pastor Steve, Your love for God was always contagious. I have moved to Idaho and have returned to my home church that I love but I miss Mountain Springs Church and Pastor Steve:) I miss your teaching. It is great to see you have a blog. Very insightful. I ask a blessing on you and your family this Christmas season!

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