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Preaching to Longing Hearts

What should we think of human desires?

Editor's note: The subject of human desires—and how our preaching should take them into account—is complicated. Surely our preaching addresses at the deepest levels the full spectrum of human longings, yet at the same time preachers wonder just how intentional to be in speaking to the yearnings of the soul. To navigate this issue, we talked to a preacher who has written often on the subject of spiritual formation and the human heart: John Ortberg, pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.

PreachingToday.com: When are human longings legitimate?

John Ortberg: If you think about human desires as they existed originally at creation, before they got messed up in the Fall, they are an important part of our humanity. We were made to have longings, and God loves to fulfill human desires. Psalm 103:5 says God "satisfies your desires with good things." Desires are actually one of the primary indicators of God's will for a creature. Fish want to swim; birds want ...

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