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 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?