What Stirs Your Passion?

That’s a question that seems to keep coming up wherever I go in the last couple of weeks — a Sunday school class, a gathering of pastors in my district, an online community for pastors, and even in one of my sermons. That’s probably not a coincidence, but something I need to process.

As my response has developed over the course of these conversations, here are the things that stir my passion and “fill my tank” (see previous post on Tank-Filling Activities) …

Prayer. Prayer has always been a core discipline for me, one that stirs my passion. During my early days of following Jesus and responding to God’s call (in college), I read as much as I could about great preachers in history. The thing that impressed me most about them was often their prayer lives. They prayed!

Reading. Most of my reading is about leadership, communication, and topics related to fulfilling God’s mission in the world. Reading good stuff stirs my passion.

Listening to music. Worship music by artists like Chris Tomlin, Sara Groves, Third Day, and many others, always stirs my passion as well.

Listening to other preachers. Listening to other preachers is important to me for a couple reasons: 1) it gives me an opportunity to hear sermons (since I’m the one preaching on Sundays, I have to be intentional about listening to sermons), and 2) it helps me learn about preaching. In fact, when I’m listening to other preachers, I’m listening primarily to learn about the craft of preaching. It’s part curse (makes it hard to focus solely on the message), but it’s also the way I’m wired. God called me to be a preacher, so I when I listen to others, I’m also learning about the craft of preaching, because I want to grow! It’s easier than ever to listen to sermons (e.g., through podcasts).

Rest and Exercise. We’re good at vacations and usually okay on our weekly day off, but during the rest of the week, I’m not very good at getting rest. But I need to be. In fact, I think this will become more important as life goes on. (See my last post on Rest.) And we used to be good at exercising. Then came 2008. Actually, that could be said about a lot of the things on this list! 😉 (See my last post on Exercise.) When we take care of ourselves, we’re better able to serve and respond to God’s call.

All of these things stir my passion. As we begin a new year, they’re some basic things I re-focus on.

What stirs your passion?

5 thoughts on “What Stirs Your Passion?

  1. Two events really stir my passion and help me recharge my battery. Creation Festival and church camp are both wonderful opportunities for me to focus on God without the distractions of the world. The worship, the interactions, the teachings all work together to enable me to fix my eyes on things above for an extended period of time. As a result I am filled with awe, wonder, praise and thanksgiving.

  2. Ah yes, events can be great passion-stirrers as well. We have a category called Events where we try to reflect on some of those events that stir our passion.

    Two specifically that have stirred my passion are the Leadership Institute we attended last October and the Chris Tomlin concert we attended nearly two years ago.

    Sometimes it helps to get away and focus on God. We’re hoping that the Bishop’s Retreat that we’ll attend next week will be a restful-but-passion-stirring-event for us as well!

  3. This is really an important topic because we are told to fan the flames! It is all to easy to keep putting fuel on the fire. Another way that I find my passions stirred is through spiritual conversations with other believers. After a time at Creation an adult that attended with us called and asked me how she could get closer to God. How I welcomed this opportunity. So many of our conversations, even among believers, have little or no spiritual consequence. I would like to be more skilled at initiating such discussions.

  4. In my last comment I meant to say that it is too easy to let the flame go out and that we have to be intentional about putting fuel on the fire! Barb P. and I are reading a good book called “Content to Be Good, Called to Be Godly.” It is certainly igniting some passion and we have decided that we have to discuss some of the chapters together.

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