Passionate About What? [v60]

FEBRUARY 2004

WHAT ARE YOU ‘PASSIONATE’ ABOUT?—Pas-sion   (pash’-en), n. 1. A very strong feeling for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.

I did a “Google” search using the phrase “a passion for”, and I got over 1 million distinct items that completed that phrase. To name a few (in the order they were presented to me): jazz; dressage; excellence; pleasure; poetry; apples; fashion; radio; books; justice; change; democracy; music; life; angling; shoes; desserts; teaching; chocolate; flowers; performance; football; and even paperweights!

Just a few days ago, I heard a news story that related to this. Sales of “home theater” components ‘spike’ just a few weeks before the Super Bowl. But, especially this year, this trend may be getting out of hand. As an example, it was mentioned that a guy in Ohio installed “theater seating and an old-fashioned fountain” (in addition to the THX sound processor and rear projection TV) in his 3,500 square-foot home—and spent over $100,000 to ‘outfit’ his house “properly” for the big game! I would have to say he’s pretty ‘passionate’ about his football!

I truly believe that it is much ‘better’ to be passionate than not—but should there be ‘limits’ to what we ‘focus’ our hard-earned money and precious time on?

Self-help books tell us how to ‘identify’ a passion and decide on where to ‘take’ it. They teach how to direct our actions, improve our performance, share our excitement, and how to persist even in the face of sizable obstacles (I’ve got to believe the guy in Ohio read some of these books before he began his ‘project’).

These are all good things, in and of themselves, for all of us to be able to do. But what these ‘aids’ don’t tell us, is how to decide the ‘worth’ of a passion—what that certain ‘something’ is—that is so ‘foundational’—that it guides our every decision. For me, it is that which will ‘outlive’ me—‘things’ that will last forever—it’s all about a focused “life purpose.”

Nothing ‘impassions’ us like a clear purpose. George Bernard Shaw said it well when he wrote, “This is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

It has been said that the greatest tragedy is not death, but a life without purpose. When everything is ‘stripped’ away, what is the ‘essence’ of life’s meaning for you? If you were at “death’s door,” what would you ask the hospital staff to bring you? The trophy for winning a ‘competition’ you were so passionate about? The ‘watch’ the company gave you for 30 years of ‘impassioned’ service? No! You would ask for your close family—the ‘people’ that you had a deep ‘connection’ with. Because life is not about accomplishments—it’s about relationships.

As you may have gathered, in the past few months I have been very ‘passionate’ about the book “The Purpose-Driven Life”—because, I believe that this is much more than a book—it is a guide that will give you a much better idea of what your purpose for your life is; a better understanding the ‘big picture’; and what should be the ‘focus’ of your life (Click this link to see an ‘overview’ I created of the book: http://www.4vis.com/pdl ).

[Note: I am planning to lead another ‘discussion group’, in my home, to ‘delve’ into this book starting in late February. Contact me if you, or someone you know, are interested in joining us.

February has recently been ‘focused’ on the concept of “love.” We send cards, candy, and do other things to show that ‘significant other’ that we care for them (“When you care enough to send the very best”).

For those who have children, just imagine what you would ‘do’ for your children out of the love you have for them—and without sounding ‘self-righteous’, I would give my very life for them!

That’s just what God did for us. He sent His Son to this earth to give His very life for us (just with much greater ‘impact’ than just my human life).

Near the end of Jesus’ personal ministry, He knew it was time to complete the ‘purpose’ for which He was sent to this world. According to the Apostle John, “Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love.” Jesus gave His perfect, sinless life for the ‘payment’ required for each and every one of OUR sins—past, present, and future. He came to “redeem” what is most important to Him—people—His “children.”

Later this month, there will be a movie, “The Passion of the Christ,” that will present a very ‘faithful’ rendition of the Scriptural account of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life. Many things have been said about this movie already that, in some instances, are very unfair—particularly, “who” was “responsible” for Christ’s death.

Actually, the Bible tells us that ALL OF US are responsible for Jesus’ death on the cross, and He willingly went there for the sins of all mankind. EVERY ONE of us had a part in His suffering and agony. He died so that we can all live eternally if we repent of our sins and accept what He did for us and surrender our lives to Him. All may be saved, no matter what nationality, religion, race, or background we may come from. Once any of us come to know Him, we immediately want to tell others that He is the true Messiah and Savior of the world.

Now, many of you many be ‘skeptical’ about all of this. A noted French scientist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, postulated a couple centuries ago, that if you choose to believe that there is a God and it turns out, in the end, that you are wrong, you have probably gained something because you had a sense of purpose, direction, and meaning in your life—and have lost nothing. Be if it turns out that you are right, you have not only gained in this life, but have gained in a major way ending up with God in heaven for eternity—nothing to lose and an enormous amount to gain. To sum it up, if you believe in God, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. If you reject God, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose!

Should you then just ‘hedge’ your bets by just saying that you ‘believe’? Absolutely not—because, if there is a God as I believe there is, He would know that kind of insincerity. On the other hand, one shouldn’t be indifferent about this question and this subject. The ‘stakes’ are very high. One should be ‘passionate’ in their pursuit of the reality of God. There is a tremendous amount at stake!

So, let me encourage you to decide for yourself—use the ‘opportunity’ of this movie to stimulate your thoughts about all this. Granted, the movie is very graphic—but, I believe, it is as ‘accurate’ as we can be with the documentation we have. Scourging and crucifixion , as most historians will tell you, was the most horrid, gruesome and macabre type of death man has ever inflicted on people.

I started this month’s “Thoughts” with the first entry of the definition of “passion”—and would like to leave you with the rest of the major entries: The sufferings and death of Christ; Extreme compelling emotion; Any one of the emotions such as agony, suffering, hate, grief, fear, pain, joy, ardent love, eager desire…all such emotions collectively;

This really describes how, I believe, this movie will touch all who see it with an ‘open heart’. Mel Gibson recently said, “My hope is that this movie will affect people on a very profound level and reach them with a message of faith, hope, love and forgiveness.”

Blessings…Mark

NOTE: I have done a bit of research in the movie, and would be willing to share it with those who are interested. The following are a few links I found:

http://www.thepassionofthechrist.com/

http://www.rbc.org/bible-study/discovery-series/bookletDetail.aspx?id=48224

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v60) for FEBRUARY 2004
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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TRUE OR FALSE? DOUBTERS WELCOMED
The movie “The Passion of the Christ” is touching and transforming people worldwide. Some viewers have had an emotional experience. The movie has opened the window to their hearts, and they are moved to respond to God.

Some have had another experience—an intellectual one. They can’t get the movie out of their heads. The movie has blown the door to their minds wide open, and they are motivated to investigate the evidence and the claims of Christ. Is Jesus the Son of God? Is He the way to God? Did He die for me? Is He alive?

If you find yourself asking intellectual or even skeptical questions, you are in good company. It is okay to have doubts. God isn’t afraid of your questions.   He welcomes your search for truth. When John the Baptist asked if Jesus was the Messiah and when “Doubting” Thomas was skeptical about Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus gave them evidence and proof, not just a response that required blind faith.

Evidence—a lot of evidence—exists for Christ. You don’t have to leave your mind behind to have faith in Jesus. Many scientists, lawyers, professors, engineers, philosophers, and intellectuals believe in Jesus. This booklet provides just a start in your exploration of separating what is true from what is false. ( http://www.thelife.com/truefalse/one.html )
[Truth Media]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about Him being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
[C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, page 56]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!  Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
[John 3:16].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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