A Strong Heart Prescription

Sailing Ship.

Years ago, I was tucked in a cubby aboard the Pacific Grace sailing ship with thirty young Christian leaders from across Canada. It was part of the Outdoor Christian Education Leadership Program we were enrolled in called Kaleo. The sailing ship was meant to teach us about leadership.

Leadership.

Instead of leading, I laid curled with a crooked heart rate and low temperature in the bottom of the moving vessel. I could hear lapping waves and lively footsteps on the deck but I was too cold and sick to move. I remember feeling so useless as I compared myself to the other leaders aboard … I could hardly sit up…. Some leader.

Discipleship.

The eight-month leadership program was designed to be a metaphorical green house where young leaders could take great strides of growth to reach their full potential. Growing as Disciples and following the strides of Jesus was our greatest aim. That week, the only strides I was concerned with were those between my cubby and the ship’s edge … should I need to throw up.

Ownership.

The symptoms plaguing my body that week would eventually be diagnosed and I would be prescribed different treatments to support my heart. A prescription consists of instructions given by a professional to bring restoration to a person. It is extremely important to me to take care of my physical heart. Doctors support me, but ultimate I take ownership of my heart, and heed their wisdom. Similarly, I am the only person capable to create and maintain a heart-prescription for wholeness in my life– and the same is true for you.

Relationship.

The most important heart prescription includes instructions to maintain a vital relationship with the living God. I’ve been given very specific instructions to take care of my physical heart and when I ignore these instructions I feel the ramifications right away. When I neglect heart-wholeness however, I don’t always feel the consequences quickly, and so I must be intentional to remember that I cannot have a strong heart if it is not whole.

My Strong Heart Prescription

1. Soak your heart in grace every morning and every night.

2. Diet: Follow a prayer plan. Your heart will starve without this.

3. Diet: Feed your heart imagination, awe and wonder.

4. Remove the Ego from the heart as needed, and apply the words: Fully Loved. Do not strive to earn love anywhere, love others freely from his vast overflow.

5. Watch your wait. Trust that God is always up to good on your behalf.

6. Weigh in before you work out. Let God weigh in on your plans before you carry them out.

7. Courage repetitions. Get out of your comfort zone often.

8. Lather with Hope Soap. Practice writing gratitude and scripting the things you are looking forward to each day.

9. Meditation Medication. Practice meditating on God’s love.

10. Daily Dose of Diversity. Build relationships with a wide variety of people and experience the creativity and vastness of God’s heart through each one.

Workmanship.

Lying in that bed on the Pacific Grace, I was convinced that the most valuable leaders were on the deck doing amazing things for God. However, God doesn’t place his created ones on a “value scale” dependant on their performance. We are all of equal value because we are all His workmanship. Since then, I’ve discovered I cannot add value to me, but can always add value to others by worshipping who He is with my whole strong heart. Thus … the most important part of the whole-heart prescription…

Worship.

Integrate all of your dear life under one bold banner: Worship. Don’t allow compartments to fragment your heart. Keep programs, commitments, responsibilities and relationships in one worship-centered container. Bring all of yourself, heart-mind-body-spirit, into every space you enter as a living sacrifice to God himself. This, after all, is to live with your whole strong heart.

Perhaps the most important leadership training I have every received happened in that tiny cubby on the Pacific Grace. God so often works unlikely miracles in the most obscure places. I think God’s greatest Grace unfolds when He reminds us that strong-hearted leadership is always rooted in simple and consistent companionship with Him.

Priority One

Last night rehearsals were rolling for Inspire YXE – a youth conference that aims to INSPIRE youth to OVERCOME struggle and INFLUENCE the world in positive and dynamic ways! A brave young woman took the rehearsal stage telling about her story overcoming cancer and her continuing inspiring journey – and everyone in the auditorium paused and was moved by love.

On the morning of a big event I’m reminded that we are most successful when we love well. If we show up with love, knowing we are loved, priority number one is taken care of. This is Undeserved Gospel freedom.

Plant Hope

“Justice is what love looks like in public.”

Maggie John is the Senior Executive Producer and host of 100 Huntley Street. She is a respected public figure, a deep God-lover, and a bold groundbreaker! Maggie was recently in Saskatchewan hosting interviews for Huntley’s segments called, Canada’s First People. We talked about God’s heart for all people to have equal opportunity.

Maggie told me when she began working at Huntley, an influx of applications came in of Black Canadian women.

Courage is contagious and many were inspired by Maggie’s presence and position.

God’s heart is the most expansive place of belonging. There is room for all and all are valued. Thank you Maggie, for treading unknown roads, coming to plant hope in Saskatchewan hearts, and leading a nation to truth through your work at Crossroads.

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Restored

“Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” – Isaiah 61:3

At the Sea of Galilee, there were lapping waves and flittering people, excited to see this sacred place of God. There were stories in the rocks, the waves and the geography that brought the Gospels to life. The lowest freshwater lake on earth is one of high and lofty significance for the Christ-follower. There is nothing outwardly glamorous about this small body of water, by simply taking a peek, you would never know of the supernatural power displayed here many times by God-Man Christ. The lake is only about thirteen by seven miles wide and long. Simple. Unimpressive. This sailboat was reconstructed when pieces were discovered in 1986 and have been replicated to make the “Jesus Boat” – a replica of the sailboat from the scriptures. It took time to restore it, but someone believed it could be done, someone had faith. Sometimes, it’s difficult to have faith. However, God is the faith giver and you and I, like the small sea, have a story marked by the Most High God.

Father, No situation is beyond your hand of ultimate restoration and there is no stronghold stronger than you. Give me faith to believer your rebuilding power, please continue to re-create my God-given story each day.