Christianity 201

June 8, 2020

John Mark Comer: Quotations

“Too much time spent in the past leads to depression; too much time spent in the future leads to anxiety. Live in the moment.”

John Mark Comer is the teaching pastor of Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon. He’s too young to have many pages devoted to his quotations, but in his four major published works, he focuses much on the concept of establishing spiritual rhythms or practices to lead a balanced Christian life. Most of the quotes which follow are from GoodReads.com and were posted by readers and voted to be their favorite quotations from each book listed below.

GC = Garden City
L = Loveology
GHAN = God Has a Name
REH = Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
CA2018 = Catalyst Atlanta 2018

Previously here at C201:

“That’s why Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and he’s good. We are his creation. This is his world. We live under his roof, drink his water, eat his food, breathe his oxygen. So on the Sabbath, we don’t just take a day off from work; we take a day off from toil. We give him all our fear and anxiety and stress and worry. We let go. We stop ruling and subduing, and we just be. We “remember” our place in the universe. So that we never forget . . . There is a God, and I’m not him.”  GC


“It’s [menuha or Sabbath] not just a nap on the couch. It’s a restfulness that’s also a celebration. It’s often translated “happiness.” And to the Jews, menuha is something you create. It’s not just that you stop working and sit on the couch for a day every week. It’s about cultivating an environment, an atmosphere to enjoy your life, your world, and your God. It’s more a mode of being than a twenty-four-hour time slot.” GC


“But the Bible claims something radically out of step with its time. It claims there is one true Creator God who made everything. And the world was born, not out of conflict or war or jealous infighting, but out of the overflow of his creativity and love.”  GHAN


“Often what we believe about God says more about us than it does about God. Our theology is like a mirror to the soul. It shows us what’s deep inside.”  GHAN


“Ultimately, nothing in this life, apart from God, can satisfy our desires. Tragically, we continue to chase after our desires ad infinitum. The result? A chronic state of restlessness or, worse, angst, anger, anxiety, disillusionment, depression—all of which lead to a life of hurry, a life of busyness, overload, shopping, materialism, careerism, a life of more…which in turn makes us even more restless. And the cycle spirals out of control.”  REH


“It’s not failure if you fail at doing something you’re not supposed to do. It’s success. Because with each success, and with each so-called failure, you’re getting a clearer sense of your calling.” GC


“Sacrifice your ambition, your drive, your work-a-holism, influence, status, pat on the back. Let all of that die or your soul will die instead and the souls of those around you.” CA2018


“Our job is to make the invisible God visible — to mirror and mimic what he is like to the world. We can glorify God by doing our work in such a way that we make the invisible God visible by what we do and how we do it.”  GC


“If your strategy in life is to live out Jesus vision of the sermon on the Mount, but you don’t change your routine to match that of Jesus, you don’t stand a chance.” CA2018


“When God describes himself, he doesn’t start with how powerful he is or how he knows everything there is to know or how he’s been around since before time and space and there’s no one else like him in the universe. That’s all true, but apparently, to God, it’s not the most important thing. When God describes himself, he starts with his name. Then he talks about what we call character. He’s compassionate and gracious; he’s slow to anger; he’s abounding in love and faithfulness, and on down the list.”  GHAN


“To restate: love, joy, and peace are at the heart of all Jesus is trying to grow in the soil of your life. And all three are incompatible with hurry.” REH


“Will we buy the lie? Go our own way, thinking we know better than God? Flip a coin and hope for the best? Or will we listen, not to the voice of the serpent, but to the Creator. Will we believe that God’s way is the best way? He is the Creator, and he’s good.” L


“Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character. In the end, your life is no more than the sum of what you gave your attention to. That bodes well for those apprentices of Jesus who give the bulk of their attention to him and to all that is good, beautiful, and true in his world. But not for those who give their attention to the 24-7 news cycle of outrage and anxiety and emotion-charged drama or the nonstop feed of celebrity gossip, titillation, and cultural drivel. (As if we “give” it in the first place; much of it is stolen by a clever algorithm out to monetize our precious attention.) But again: we become what we give our attention to, for better or worse.”  REH


“We’re image bearers, created to rule, to partner with God in pushing and pulling the creation project forward, to work it, to draw out the earth’s potential and unleash it for human flourishing — to cooperate with God in building a civilization where his people can thrive in his presence. And in this cosmic agenda, each of us has a vocation, a calling from God, a way that God wired us, somebody to be and something to do — because the two merge in perfect symmetry.” GC


Penguin Random House did not grant us status to review the latest book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, at Thinking Out Loud or do an excerpt feature on it here. The other books are available from Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

July 13, 2013

Longing for Restoration

Today’s post is from author and Cross Point pastor Pete Wilson who posted this at his blog under the title Inconsolable Emptiness.

Pete Wilson on Cross Point LiveThis morning I read the following passage in the Voice translation:

Romans 8:19-22 “For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed. You see, all of creation has collapsed into emptiness, not by its own choosing, but by God’s. Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope that creation would one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now.”

There is a temptation we all face and it’s to being to think that this current life is it. When we fall into that temptation we begin trying to have all our desires for purpose and satisfaction and significance met in a sin stained world we were never really created for. And ultimately this leaves us flat empty.

I think we’ve done a lot of disservice in our churches by telling people there are seven easy steps to a completely satisfying life and not warned them of what I call the “inconsolable emptiness”.

CS Lewis said it this way, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

So true! I was made for another world. Even my relationship with God here on this earth is not what it’s intended to be. No matter how hard I try there is no relationship with God in this present world that will ever be as rich, fulfilling, or freeing as it will be in heaven.

We all know something is wrong. Even creation itself longs to be restored.

I think we often miss this. We think what we want is a bigger title, better looks, more popularity, larger sums of money, or the perfect spouse. However, what we really want is the person we were made for: Jesus, and the place we were made for: heaven.

Today I’m so incredibly thankful for the future inheritance I have in Christ. Life is great…but I was made for eternity with Him.

~Pete Wilson

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March 9, 2011

Looking for Satisfaction

Today we join Trenton, Missouri pastor Doug Franklin at a blog whose title says it all: I Refuse to Play Church.  This item appeared on his blog under the title Satisfaction.

Do you ever feel like the old Rolling Stones song “Satisfaction“? The song says, “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

We all have a desire to be satisfied. We search out satisfaction through money, food, relationships, entertainment, jobs, hobbies, exercise, and all kinds of things that are both good for us and bad for us. We have a need to be satisfied and we try different things to satisfy the feeling of being unsatisfied.

No matter what we try we are left singing with Mick Jagger, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” This is because there is really only one thing that can truly satisfy us. The things of this world may give us temporary relief, temporary happiness, temporary highs but, they will never totally satisfy us. The emptiness that each of us have can only be filled by God. There is nothing in all of creation that can satisfy us completely, the stuff will always leave us unsatisfied. Satisfaction comes from the Creator of everything.

Psalm 17:15
“As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

There is truly only one thing that can satisfy us forever and always. All other things leave us wanting more. They leave us empty. WE will continue to sing over and over, “I can’t get no satisfaction. But, I try. But, I try. I can’t get no satisfaction.”

The emptiness that you feel can only be filled by God. You and I will be satisfied, fully and completely by Christ. Seek him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.