One of the books I’m reading over the holidays is, Primal, by Mark Batterson. This will be the fourth book by Mark that I’ve read and I love every one. I’m using one of his stories in the Christmas Eve message tonight at 5 and 9 p.m. at Indian Creek, Olathe. It is the story of a heart surgeon, Dr. Frist.
A man who knows firsthand about heart transplants is Dr. Frist. He is a Senator but he is also a doctor. He performed more than 150 heart transplants as a thoracic surgeon. He talks in reverent tones about the moment when a heart has been grafted into a new body. All the surgical team can do is wait in hopes that it will begin to beat. When he talks about this, he stops speaking in medical terms and starts speaking in spiritual terms. He almost seems at a loss for words when he describes that miraculous moment when a heart beats in a new body for the first time. He called it a mystery.
Heart transplants are a marvel of modern medicine, but it goes way beyond what medicine can explain or understand. The heart is more than a physical pump. It doesn’t just circulate five thousand quarts of blood through sixty thousand miles of blood vessels day in and day out. The heart has a mind of its own. Studies suggest that the heart secretes its own brain-like hormones and has cellular memory. So a heart transplant isn’t just physical; it’s metaphysical. Heart transplant recipients don’t just receive a new organ; they receive cellular memories. Along with that new heart, they receive whole new sensory responses, cravings, and habits.
If you or I had a chance to talk with them we would hear them speak in reverent tones about the second chance at life they had been given. They humbly acknowledge their responsibility to honor the donor. And they would talk about their new desires that accompany their new hearts.
In a very similar way, when you give your heart to Christ, Christ gives His heart to you. And you become a part of the tribe of the transplanted. That new heart gives you a new appreciation for life. You humbly acknowledge your responsibility to honor the donor. And the cellular memories that come with that transplanted heart give you whole sensory responses, cravings, and habits. You literally feel different. Why? Because you feel what Christ feels.
And chief among those sanctified emotions is compassion. Your heart begins to break for the things that break the heart of God. You become motivated by the things that motive Jesus.
Jesus implants His DNA within us. It is still our choice. But, as we embrace this new DNA, we become more and more like Jesus. As you do that, His power begins to flow through you to give you the strength, peace, or the power to do what you did not have the ability to do before.
It’s amazing. At unexpected times, as we follow Christ, His thoughts will drop into your mind at just the right time. You’ll have new strength and new resolve. If you haven’t experienced this before, you don’t know what you are missing. This is the gift available to you tonight.
I hope you will come tonight and bring a friend. I also encourage you to trust God to give you a new heart if you ask. I’m believing God with you.