By: Didi Bacon

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

What is the heart?  Yes, it is that physical pump in the center of our chests that distributes life-giving blood to all parts of our body.  The heart is also a symbol.  It is a word picture that refers to the center of our being, the inside place where our life dwells.  It is our personality.  It is our character.  It is our values and worldview.  It is the source of love and devotion.  It is what we hold most important.  It is our motivation to worship.  The heart is the essence of who you are.

The book of Proverbs tells us that we have to guard our hearts.  We have to pay attention to it.  We have to protect it and care for it. What I am talking about can also be called ‘soul care.’  Much of what I have learned about this comes from my friend and mentor, Alan Ahlgrim.

In 2017 I joined a Covenant Group.  I really had serious reservations about being with a group of guys I did not know, meeting twice a year in person and 10 times via zoom for three years!  The purpose of the group was to hold each other close.  I dreaded the thought of getting into that touchy-feely stuff with strangers.  How wrong I was.  The experience was one of the most fulfilling in my ministry.  Heart work is hard work, but is it life-giving work!  The man that pulled this disciple group together was Alan Ahlgrim.  Alan, a retired pastor of a large church in Colorado, has a calling to minister to ministers.  He saw the dire need for pastors to enjoy the life-giving fellowship that comes from the connection with brothers in Christ. I am thrilled that he has agreed to come to Mount Carmel on November 6, 2022, to share his godly wisdom with us.

In the month of November, we will be tapping into some of the content of Alan Ahlgrim’s book, Soul Strength – Rhythms for Thriving in Life and Leadership.  The focus of the book is how to develop the disciplines that lead to the wholeness and health that comes from being right with God and living right for God.  This is a series about nurturing the heart, so we are calling it “Heart Strong.”

Here is our Sunday message schedule for November:

November 6 –  Watch your heart.  Scripture is clear that the heart of a person is the source of life. Guest speaker – Dr Alan Ahlgrim.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)

November 13 – Friendship feeds the heart. Friendship with God and with our trusted few resources help us to live life to the fullest.

 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)

November 20 –  Forgiveness heals the heart.  Bitterness of the heart destroys our lives.  Only forgiveness from God and forgiving others cures bitterness.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

November 27 – Fences to protect the heart.  Holy disciplines guard our hearts.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)

Looking forward to this journey with you.  Heart Strong!