My Heart & My Relationships

2015 RightNow Conference

If you work in ministry, eventually you will get hurt. Stress settles in and busyness saps away focus and energy. How do we maintain a healthy perspective of our ministry and remain connected to the God we serve? In this 30-minute session from 2015 RightNow Conference, Bryan Carter, the Senior Pastor of Concord Church in Dallas, Texas, looks at the importance of our hearts.

Bryan introduced his message with a description of his life a few years ago. He was busy. He was stressed. And he was losing his focus on the One who called him into ministry. In the middle of it all, he realized that he had a heart issue.

Reflect on your ministry experience. Describe a time in your ministry (either past or present) where you could relate to Bryan's struggles. What circumstances led to that stress and frustration?
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A good friend pointed out to Bryan that his frustration festered in a disconnected heart. In the middle of frustrating or difficult circumstances, how connected is your heart to God?
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Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

23Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for from it flow the springs of life.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bryan pointed out the immense importance of our hearts. He identified four reasons why the heart is important based on Solomon's words in Proverbs 4:23:
  • The heart serves as the foundation for all relationships.
  • The heart is the center of our life.
  • The heart is the place where we connect with God.
  • The heart sets the direction for our lives.
In light of these four points, consider the following:

How could a misguided or disconnected heart affect your relationships with those around you?
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God is concerned with the heart of individuals. How connected to God is your heart? What do you do to connect with Him on a regular basis?
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The heart governs the direction of our lives. Whatever fills our hearts directs our actions and words. What do your actions and words say about what fills your heart?
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The heart is important. In order to protect our ministries and endure through hardship, stress, and frustration, Bryan challenges ministry leaders to guard their hearts against three things:
  • Guard against insecurity.
  • Guard against bitterness.
  • Guard against  pride.
Insecurity, bitterness, and pride will all confront us in our ministries whether we like it or not. So we must be careful to guard our hearts against them.

Insecurity creeps into our hearts through wounds and scars both old and new. Describe a wound that you experienced that either produced or could produce insecurity in your heart. What can you or did you do to deal with that insecurity?
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Bryan challenges us to combat insecurity by dwelling on the truth of our standing before God in Jesus. How does your new identity in Christ affect your view of yourself?
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The second thing to guard against is bitterness. Bryan pointed out that, if you work in ministry, you will get hurt. Describe an injury you have suffered in ministry. How did you respond? In light of Bryan's message, would you respond differently? Why or why not?
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The final thing Bryan encouraged us to guard against is pride—taking credit for God's work in us, for us, and through us. Describe a situation where you were tempted to take credit for God's work. How did you respond? Would you respond differently in light of Bryan's challenge?
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Bryan encouraged us to guard our hearts against insecurity, bitterness, and pride. What will you do differently this week in light of Bryan's message? Who can you ask to help you in guarding your heart?
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The heart is the most important part of our being because it governs everything else in our lives. If we do not care for and watch our hearts closely, our relationships will suffer and our ministry will stagnate. God cares about the hearts of His people, and we can take precautions to guard against the assault of insecurity, bitterness, and pride. This week, connect to God and guard your heart.

For more information on the RightNow Conference or to find out how to attend next year's event, visit