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Nazarene Bible College



Pastor and Alumnus, B.J. Thelander and Family
Pastor and Alumnus, B.J. Thelander and Family

Needs Turn Into Passions

NBC has afforded my family and I many different opportunities in the realm of ministry and education. My desire, my passion, has become clearer to preach and teach; As God makes that calling clear, one such passion has arose, to be able to someday teach at NBC and give back to the school that has given me so much.

This idea has become a passion of mine — but I’ve wondered recently, what does it mean to have a passion or a strong desire to do something great? I would define passion as: A STRONG desire to do something great!

However, that is not what PASSION means. The word passion originates from the Latin word which means to “suffer.” The word was created by religious scholars in the eleventh century to describe the willing suffering of Christ. Passions have become nearly synonymous with pleasures and what excites us in modern culture. But consider that passion is originally defined as the moment of the deepest, willing, suffering of Christ for our good. It lifts the word from human desires, to a monumental, love - willing to suffer.

For us to experience this type of passion today, we must be able to point to or see a need that has caused the suffering that leads to the passion. What NEED do you see around you today?

In the world, there are many needs around us like:

  • Racism
  • Inequality all around us
  • LACK of Jesus in the lives of people
  • ON AND ON —

Maybe we need to narrow our search of needs to things closer to us like:

  • HOME life / Family needs
  • WORK life / NBC needs
  • CHURCH life / Community needs

It’s becoming fall in Illinois, the leaves are changing colors, and the new season is coming. We have a neighbor who has a huge sycamore tree in his yard. Every year those leaves die and begin to fall. Never fails, the wind blows and we are raking sycamore leaves in our yard — (We don’t have a tree in our front yard.)  This isn’t a big deal, but there are times when I have found myself disgruntled over the years of having to rake leaves. It’s hard work. It’s tedious. It’s boring.

One year our youth group did a 30-hour famine in the fall; not in the winter, as the program planned. We always look for a community service project to get involved in and do during that time, so that we can take our mind off of the “suffering” of not eating for 30 hours.

We decided to do some yard work for some shut-ins in our church. I cannot explain to you the JOY and PASSION I began to feel that day as I raked the yard of someone else and began to feel the energy that God gave me as we met a need around us!

When we see the needs around us and begin to live out the passion to meet those needs, we experience something great! “When we find ourselves willing to choose suffering for a cause, that cause may hold our life’s mission.” (Jennie Allen, Author of “Restless” Bible Study)

I’ve noticed through life that we don’t have passion for others naturally. Naturally, we are pretty selfish. But when we were bought by Christ, we exchanged our hearts full of self-seeking passions, for God’s heart. And now we share His passions. God said through his prophet Ezekiel:

I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put MY SPIRIT in you and move you to follow MY decrees and be careful to keep My laws. (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

As I read this passage from the prophet of God, for the people of God, I couldn’t help but begin to pray —

Lord, remove anything in me that is selfish… remove any passions that I have that desire me to become greater. Remove my heart of stone — give me your heart! Give me your passions!

When we surrender our passions and desires to God, our hearts are made new and now what was cold is warm and full of compassion, led and moved by HIS SPIRIT. We were built for this. What may have begun as a burden or an obligation, becomes the thing that fills our restless souls.

So, let’s turn this back on us for a moment:

     What are you passionate about?

     What stirs your heart?

     What suffering of others deeply moves you to action?

     What is God calling you towards today?

     Will you suffer?

     Will you have passion for the things of God today?

Let’s pray and seek this new heart, filled with the Spirit, and filled with the desires and PASSION of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor B. J. Thelander, Pittsfield Church of the Nazarene (Pittsfield, IL) Lead Pastor, NBC Alumnus

Filed Under: Communicator Published: 09/28/2020

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