Christianity 201

April 18, 2017

The Crucifixion in Street Language

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.

Isaiah 53:5, NKJV and NLT


From The Street Bible by the late Rob Lacey*

The macabre scene moves slowly up Skull Hill. They get there and the Roman Death Squad shove a cocktail made of wine with myrrh into Jesus’ face. He takes a sip but spits it out, flat refusing to drink the stuff.

They pin Jesus to the rough crossbar leaving him to die. Him and the two hardened criminals — one on either side. Jesus says, “Dad! Don’t hold this against these people — wipe their slates clean. They’ve got no idea what’s going on here!”

The Death Squad rip his clothes off and start playing gambling games to see who “inherits” the clothing mementos.

Time check: Friday 9 AM. One of the soldiers grabs the multi-use Offence Placard, writes up Jesus’ “crime” and then pins it just above his head. It reads, “Jesus: King of the Jews”.

The other two victims with him — the terrorists — one on either side of the central focus point, Jesus… bite back their excruciating pain and add their jibes to the mix… “Aren’t you supposed to be The Liberator? Get liberating, won’t you? You need it and we need it!”

But the other guy calls across, “Don’t you have no respect for God? You’re getting what you had coming to you, but this guy’s done nothing wrong. So shut it!”

The second career criminal turns to Jesus and says, “Jesus, don’t forget me when you sit on your throne, okay?”

Jesus answers him, “I’ll tell you today — no lie — you and me, we’ll be in paradise together.”

Time check: 12 midday. It goes dark, totally dark, for three full hours right across Judah. Nothing except the chilling sound track of three men inching toward Death. Later, about three in the afternoon, Jesus freaks those still left there by shouting, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” Translation: “My God, my God, why’ve you abandoned me?”

Some of those within earshot hear the “Eli, Eli” bit and get the wrong end of the stick, saying, “Listen, he’s trying to connect with Elijah!”

Knee-jerk reaction for one guy was to offer some soured wine to the sufferer, hoisting a soaked sponge of the stuff up to Jesus on a stick. Others are going, “Whoa! Hang on. Wait to see if Elijah’s going to turn up like a one-man SWAT team and rescue him.”

Jesus shouts on out one more time and finally allows his spirit to be torn out of his broken body.

He cries out, “Dad, I trust you with my spirit!”

His last words.

He dies.


Quotations about The Cross:

God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.” ~ Billy Graham


All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them. –E. M Bounds


The Blood deals with what we have done, whereas the Cross deals with what we are. The Blood disposes of our sins, while the Cross strikes at the root of our capacity for sin. ~ Watchman Nee


Today Jesus Christ is being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere example. He is that, but he is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God. –Oswald Chambers


The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales. ~ John Stott


*Note to overseas friends: In the USA and Canada, The Street Bible was published as The Word on the Street.

April 10, 2017

Christianity 201: Quotations

For those who come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Christianity 201 started on April 1st, 2010. So we had a birthday a few days ago that we didn’t mention. The early days were rather rough and haphazard. To give you an idea, one post the first month contained the above verse, but not the reference. (For the record, it’s a shortened version of Hebrews 11:6.)  It took a year or so for us to find our rhythm.

Over the years we’ve done a quotations series from various authors, but today, in a sense, we’re quoting ourselves. Here, in no particular order, are some very random things that were posted in those early day from our very first month:

Watchman Nee:

Nothing is so hurtful to the life of a Christian as acting; nothing so blessed as when our outward efforts cease and our attitudes become natural — when our words, our prayers, our very life become a spontaneous and unforced expression of the life within.

Bruxy Cavey:

The thing about grace is that it makes religion totally redundant

E. Stanley Jones:

When we say we begin with God, we begin with our idea of God, and our idea of God is not God.   Instead, we ought to begin with God’s idea of God, and God’s idea of God is Christ.

Oswald J. Smith:

Why should anyone hear the gospel twice before everyone has heard it once?

Chuck Swindoll:

At Catalyst ’09  Chuck Swindoll shared some wisdom that he’d compiled over the course of his fifty years in ministry. One of his many points was that “God’s way is better than my way.”

He says that “our problem is that we are too capable.” We are too talented, too skilled, too knowledgeable, and too busy doing it all. No room for God. No need.

Swindoll says that “God can’t pour His riches into hands that are already full… Empty your hands… [We must] empty our hands” of our own clippings, ideas, dreams, philosophies.

Tim Keller:

Jesus came on a rescue mission for creation. He had to pay for our sins so that someday he can end evil and suffering without ending us.

J.D. Greear:

Both Blaise Pascal and Jonathan Edwards were known to arrive home with a couple dozen hand written notes pinned to their jackets. Yes, they looked like dorks, but we remember them hundreds of years after their deaths and don’t even know the names of the cool people anymore.

Unknown:

Collapse in the Christian life is rarely caused by a blowout.  It is usually the result of a slow leak.

A. W. Tozer:

There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always possess. It covets “things” with a deep and fierce passion. The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant…

They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one root lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature  is upset by the monstrous substitution.

Ghandi:

“You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down, and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of good literature.“

Steven & Brooksyne Weber (on the scribe in Matthew 8: 19-20)

Our Lord tests the sincerity of the scribe’s loyalty by warning him that He was so poor that beasts of the fields and birds of the air have nicer accommodations than He Himself had. “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” If the popular leader fared so badly, what was the follower to expect? 

Ottawa area pastor Paul Kern provided us with our first ever graphic element, borrowed from his church website:

Finally, here, in its entirety is the first of what would turn out to be many posts from Kevin Rogers. If you click the link and then look around, you’ll find that Kevin is faithfully writing and that the title of this devotional is still the tag line for his website.

Loners Learning About Community

God’s eyes are watching loners. He is the shepherd who leaves a flock of ninety-nine in the care of another and travels to find the one-hundredth sheep that wandered away and was lost.

He is the Father who watches and waits for broken rebels to humble themselves and return home to His endearing love and unmerited acceptance.

God is a father to orphans and a new husband to widows. The societal separation, abandonment and sudden loss create a lack of belonging. The loneliness of orphans becomes their new identity. Where will the widow and orphan belong? Who will provide for them? Who will be their protector?

God not only finds loners but calls them to belong to His family. He adopts and marries the ones misunderstood, rejected and divorced from their own family of origin.

His presence in a life can sometimes cause difficulty and separation from your roots. The sins of the fathers affect the family down to the great-grandchildren. But God’s blessing goes further in unlimited potential.

October 23, 2014

Michael Card Quotations

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

Genesis 17:1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[a]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.

  1. Hebrew El-Shaddai

It’s been awhile since we ran something in our quotations series. Today we choose author of more than two dozen books, and songwriter with more than 30 albums, Michael Card.  We begin with one of his songs that you can leave playing as you read.  Lyrics are at the end of today’s post.


“There comes a moment in our lives when some of the pieces of the puzzle come together – where all our past experiences, both good and bad, are brought to bear in causing us to become who God intends us to be.”
―  A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter


Michael Card“You need to be confronted
By the Stranger on the shore
You need to have Him search your soul
You need to hear the call
You need to learn exactly
What it means for you to follow
You need to realize that He`s asking for your all.”
A Fragile Stone: The Emotional Life of Simon Peter


So, within the preexisting turmoil that was Galilee, another crisis was brewing. Amid the growing conflict between the Romans and the Jews that would result in the destruction of the temple and the rebirth of Judaism as we know it, a small group of Jews was coming together. They had found the Messiah, Jesus of Galilee. To the best of their ability, they carried on with their daily work, Sabbath observance and synagogue attendance (see the disciples observing the hours of prayer in the temple, Acts 3:1; 10:30). The crisis that loomed on the horizon would destroy what fragile identity they had left. They were Christians who did not yet know they were Christians. Matthew’s Gospel is written in the face of this growing crisis. His portrayal of Jesus and his word will provide for this conflicted congregation the one thing they most badly need: identity.

Matthew: The Gospel of Imagination


“Then Luke commits his most grievous error, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to forgive him for it, at least this side of heaven. Luke reports in verse 27 that Jesus explained everything concerning himself in the Old Testament. What was Luke possibly thinking? The greatest Bible lesson of all time, and yet we have not a single word!”
― Michael Card, Luke: The Gospel of Amazement


“When Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, He was already bloody before anyone laid a hand on him. He had been fighting a battle that would make certain the final outcome on Calvary. The blood and water that flowed from his wounds on the cross were preceded by bloody sweat that poured from His pores as He suffered the agony of a death more painful than the physical death of the cross, the death of the will... The painful crushing began appropriately enough, in the garden…”
~ Michael Card, quoted in Our Journey devotional


Song lyrics:

Come to the table and savor the sight
The wine and the bread that was broken
And all have been welcomed to come if they might
Accept as their own these two tokens
The bread is His body, the wine is the blood
And the One who provides them is true
He freely offers, we freely receive
To accept and believe Him is all we must do
–Come to the Table


When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong

And so we follow God’s own fool
For only the foolish can tell-
Believe the unbelievable
And come be a fool as well
–God’s Own Fool


Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord
Why did he use a kiss to show them
That’s not what a kiss is for

Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain
–Why


Love crucified, arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again
–Love Crucified Arose


El Shaddai, El Shaddai, Elyon no Adonai
(God almighty, God almighty, God in the highest, oh lord)
Age to Age you’re still the same
By the power of the Name
El Shaddai, El Shaddai, Erkamka na adonai
(God Almighty, God Almighty, I will love you, oh lord)
We will Praise and Lift you high
El Shaddai

Through Your Love and through the ram
You saved the son of Abraham
And by the power of your hand
Turned the sea into dry land
To the outcast on her knees
You were the God who really sees
And by your might you set your children free

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,…

Through the years you made it clear
That the time of Christ was near
Though the people failed to see
What messiah ought to be
Though your word contained the plan
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of your son

El Shaddai, El Shaddai,…


Sources: GoodReads, LyricsMode, CoramDeo

Go Deeper: Read a short Bible study on the meaning of El Shaddai.

May 19, 2014

Frederick Buechner Quotations

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:31 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Frederick BuechnerIt’s been awhile since we’ve done another entry in our quotations series. I was reading Frederick Buechner over the weekend and he seems to share a high regard for scripture with a mixture of humor that sometimes appears to be irreverence. Still, I would not hesitate to recommend him to you.  There is an excellent account of his faith journey at The Words website:

Buechner had a taste of yet another world in 1985 when he was asked to teach for a semester at Wheaton College in Illinois…

“I’d been sort of a closet religious person for years and years, moving among people to whom faith was either a dead letter or something not to be talked about. All of a sudden I was surrounded by people who found it very easy and natural to talk about faith. It was wonderful.”

One day he was having lunch with two students, and the conversation suddenly shifted from small talk-about weather, the movies-and one of them asked the other what God was doing in his life, “as naturally,” Buechner recalls, “as he would have asked the time of day. I thought, if anybody said anything like that in my part of the world, the ceiling would fall in, the house would catch fire, and people’s eyes would roll up in their heads.”

After the quotations which follow there is a larger devotional piece.


“It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.” Listening to Your Life


“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” ―  Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC


“Believing in him is not the same as believing things about him such as that he was born of a virgin and raised Lazarus from the dead. Instead, it is a matter of giving our hearts to him, of come hell or high water putting our money on him, the way a child believes in a mother or a father, the way a mother or a father believes in a child.”


“Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you. I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.” Wishful Thinking


“To journey for the sake of saving our own lives is little by little to cease to live in any sense that really matters, even to ourselves, because it is only by journeying for the world’s sake – even when the world bores and sickens and scares you half to death – that little by little we start to come alive.” ―  The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days


“It is as impossible for man to demonstrate the existence of God as it would be for even Sherlock Holmes to demonstrate the existence of Arthur Conan Doyle.”


“What’s prayer? It’s shooting shafts into the dark. What mark they strike, if any, who’s to say? It’s reaching for a hand you cannot touch. The silence is so fathomless that prayers like plummets vanish into the sea. You beg. You whimper. You load God down with empty praise. You tell him sins that he already knows full well. You seek to change his changeless will. — Godric


“Jesus said ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6). He didn’t say that any particular ethic, doctrine, or religion was the way, the truth, and the life. He said that he was. He didn’t say that it was by believing or doing anything in particular that you could “come to the Father.” He said that it was only by him – by living, participating in, being caught up by, the way of life that he embodied, that was his way.”


“In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints.”


Romantic love is blind to everything except what is lovable and lovely, but Christ’s love sees us with terrible clarity and sees us whole. Christ’s love so wishes our joy that it is ruthless against everything in us that diminishes our joy. The worst sentence Love can pass is that we behold the suffering which Love has endured for our sake, and that is also our acquittal. The justice and mercy of the judge are ultimately one.”


sources: GoodReads, author’s website, ThinkExist, Wikipedia, oChristian


This was posted at the blog Finding Truth Along the Way with this verse:

Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrated his own love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Excerpt from Frederick Buechner’s The Magnificent Defeat

  “The love for equals is a human thing–of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles.

The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing–the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.

The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing–to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints.

And then there is the love for the enemy–love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love.

IT CONQUERS THE WORLD.”

May 14, 2013

Dallas Willard Quotations

We frequently take a break here to run quotation sets, this time around Internet Monk did the work for us.  The featured author is Christian philosopher Dallas Willard, who passed away last week at age 77.


“We must understand that God does not “love” us without liking us – through gritted teeth – as “Christian” love is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshness of his perpetually self-renewed being, the heavenly Father cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. The fondness, the endearment, the unstintingly affectionate regard of God toward all his creatures is the natural outflow of what he is to the core – which we vainly try to capture with our tired but indispensable old word “love”.”

“Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.”
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

“The test of character posed by the gentleness of God’s approach to us is especially dangerous for those formed by the ideas that dominate our modern world. We live in a culture that has, for centuries now, cultivated the idea that the skeptical person is always smarter than one who believes. You can be almost as stupid as a cabbage, as long as you doubt. The fashion of the age has identified mental sharpness with a pose, not with genuine intellectual method and character. Only a very hardy individualist or social rebel — or one desperate for another life — therefore stands any chance of discovering the substantiality of the spiritual life today. Today it is the skeptics who are the social conformists, though because of powerful intellectual propaganda they continue to enjoy thinking of themselves as wildly individualistic and unbearably bright.” Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

Dallas Willard“The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.” The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

“What is truly profound is thought to be stupid and trivial, or worse, boring, while what is actually stupid and trivial is thought to be profound. That is what it means to fly upside down.” The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

“Kingdom praying and its efficacy is entirely a matter of the innermost heart’s being totally open and honest before God. It is a matter of what we are saying with our whole being, moving with resolute intent and clarity of mind into the flow of God’s action.” The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

“[Jesus] matters because of what he brought and what he still brings to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weaknesses he gives us strength and and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of eternity.”
The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

“God is the treasure, and where the treasure is, there is the heart. By this we may test our love to God. What are our thoughts most upon? Can we say we are ravished with delight when we think on God? Have our thoughts got wings? Are they fled aloft? Do we contemplate Christ and glory?… A sinner crowds God out of his thoughts. He never thinks of God, unless with horror, as the prisoner thinks of the judge.”
The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship

“Few people arise in the morning as hungry for God as they are for cornflakes or toast and eggs.”
Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

“In many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in His work.”
Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

“The union Christ had with the Father was the greatest that we can conceive of in this life—if indeed we can conceive of it. Yet we have no indication that even Jesus was constantly awash with revelations as to what he should do. His union with the Father was so great that he was at all times obedient. This obedience was something that rested in his mature will and understanding of his life before God, not on always being told “Now do this” and “Now do that” with regard to every details of his life or work.”
Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God

“The cautious faith that never saws off a limb on which it is sitting, never learns that unattached limbs may find strange unaccountable ways of not falling.”

“And God has set up prayer in such a way that, if you want to explain it away, you can. That’s the human mind. God set it up like that for a reason, which is this: God ordained that people should be governed in the end by what they want.”

**More great quotes from Dallas’ book The Spirit of the Disciplines at this post at the blog Learning My Lines.

March 24, 2013

The Power of the Cross

God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, “I love you.” ~ Billy Graham


All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them. –E. M Bounds


The Blood deals with what we have done, whereas the Cross deals with what we are. The Blood disposes of our sins, while the Cross strikes at the root of our capacity for sin. ~ Watchman Nee


Today Jesus Christ is being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion, a mere example. He is that, but he is infinitely more; He is salvation itself, He is the Gospel of God. –Oswald Chambers


The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving. The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales. ~ John Stott

As we approach Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, I wanted to include this worship song by Stuart Townend which can be part of your Holy Week service or used as a communion song throughout the year. If you can’t play the video in your region, take some time to read the lyrics.

Col 1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the power of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath-
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Every bitter thought,
Every evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
“Finished!” the victory cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the power of the cross:
Son of God-slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Two other songs also posted here fit well with this theme and have been posted here previously:

Quotes: Tentmaker, Christian Quotes

December 27, 2012

G. K. Chesterton Quotations

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 4:48 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“Christianity is at one with common sense; but all religious history shows that this common sense perishes except where there is Christianity to preserve it.”

From Wikipedia:

G. K. ChestertonGilbert Keith Chesterton,  was an English writer.   He wrote on philosophy, ontology, poetry, plays, journalism, public lectures and debates, literary and art criticism, biography, Christian apologetics, and fiction, including fantasy and detective fiction.   Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics, and even some of those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton wrote around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays.  The Everlasting Man contributed to C. S. Lewis’s conversion to Christianity.

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Unless a man starts on the strange assumption that he has never existed before, it is quite certain that he will never exist afterwards. Unless a man be born again, he shall by no means enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”

A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, Do it again; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough… It is possible that God says every morning, Do it again, to the sun; and every evening, Do it again, to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

“According to most philosophers, God in making the world enslaved it. According to Christianity, in making it, He set it free. God had written, not so much a poem, but rather a play; a play he had planned as perfect, but which had necessarily been left to human actors and stage-managers, who had since made a great mess of it.”

“The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted: precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.”

“…The obstinate reminder continues to recur: only the supernaturalist has taken a sane view of Nature. The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a stepmother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.”

QuotationsPage, Think Exist, Chesterton Society, Wisdom Quotes, Daily Christian QuoteFootnote Generator, Qwerky Quotes

Today’s text:

(NLT) Ps. 24: 1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
    The world and all its people belong to him.
For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas
    and built it on the ocean depths.

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord?
    Who may stand in his holy place?

 

 

May 21, 2012

William Booth Quotations

This seemed to be a good fit with today’s post at Thinking Out Loud on the Missional mandate of The Salvation Army, of which William Booth is the founder.


“We are a salvation people – this is our speciality – getting saved and keeping saved, and then getting somebody else saved, and then getting saved ourselves more and more until full salvation on earth makes the heaven within, which is finally perfected by the full salvation without, on the other side of the river.”


“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end!”


“Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances — men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea!”


“But what is the use of preaching the Gospel to men whose whole attention is concentrated upon a mad, desperate struggle to keep themselves alive?”


‘Not called!’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters, and servants and masters not to come there. And then look Christ in the face, whose mercy you have professed to obey, and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.”


“I must assert in the most unqualified way that it is primarily and mainly for the sake of saving the soul that I seek the salvation of the body.”


“A man’s labor is not only his capital but his life. When it passes it returns never more. To utilize it, to prevent its wasteful squandering, to enable the poor man to bank it up for use hereafter, this surely is one of the most urgent tasks before civilization.”


“Secular music, do you say, belongs to the devil? Does it? Well, if it did I would plunder him for it, for he has no right to a single note of the whole seven. Every note, and every strain, and every harmony is divine, and belongs to us.”


“In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”


“We are not sent to minister to a congregation and be content if we keep things going. We are sent to make war…and to stop short of nothing but the subjugation of the world to the sway of the Lord Jesus.”


“I want to see a new translation of the Bible into the hearts and conduct of living men and women.”


“No sort of defense is needed for preaching outdoors, but it would take a very strong argument to prove that a man who has never preached beyond the walls of his meetinghouse has done his duty. A defense is required for services within buildings rather than for worship outside of them.”


“Faith and works should travel side-by-side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again — until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.”


“You must pray with all your might. That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God…This kind of prayer be sure the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame.”


General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once told his students, “If I had my choice, I wouldn’t send you to school, I’d send you to Hell for five minutes, and you’d come back real soul winners.”


Sources: SA UK SiteThink Exist, Christian Quotes, Great Quotes, Quoteland, Our Church, Sermon Central


O Boundless Salvation!

O boundless salvation! deep ocean of love,
O fulness of mercy, Christ brought from above.
The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free,
Now flowing for all men, come, roll over me!

My sins they are many, their stains are so deep.
And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep;
But useless is weeping; thou great crimson sea,
Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!

My tempers are fitful, my passions are strong,
They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong;
Beneath thy blest billows deliverance I see,
O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!

Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,
My life has been joyless and useless for years;
I feel something better most surely would be
If once thy pure waters would roll over me.

O ocean of mercy, oft longing I’ve stood
On the brink of thy wonderful, life-giving flood!
Once more I have reached this soul-cleansing sea,
I will not go back till it rolls over me.

The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,
I hear the loud call of the mighty to save;
My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;
I plunge ‘neath the waters, they roll over me.

And now, hallelujah! the rest of my days
Shall gladly be spent in promoting his praise
Who opened his bosom to pour out this sea
Of boundless salvation for you and for me.
    
William Booth (1829-1912)

May 2, 2012

David Jeremiah Quotations

David Jeremiah is a popular TV and radio Bible teacher. His program and the name of his ministry is Turning Point.  He is currently the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.


“My study of prophecy convinces me that God intends knowledge of future events to help us ‘occupy’ with a sense of urgency until the Lord returns.”


“If ever there was a small book to be studied on how to walk by faith, it is the record in Hebrews 11 of those in the Old Testament who lived and died by faith. There was Abel, who made a presentation to God by faith, and Enoch who demonstrated the possibilities of walking by faith. Noah’s walk was the performance of faith, and Abraham’s long walk with God revealed the progress of faith. Sarah waited on a child and demonstrated the patience of faith, and Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph clung to the promise of faith in the future. Moses is our model of the persuasion of faith, and Joshua and Rahab the perils of faith. Many others too numerous to name are said to have paid the ultimate price for faith.


“The only Jesus that unbelievers ever see on this earth is the one reflected in those who already know Him. By mirroring Christ, we should be ready to turn any conversation or meeting with an unbeliever into a divine encounter.”


“No verse in the Bible better expresses the passion we should have for life than Colossians 3:23-24: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” In these two verses we find four handles by which passion may be seized on a daily basis: the scope, strength, secret, and source of passion. This passage can become a Passion Principle for you as you go “from Accomplishment to Zeal” every day.”


“Do we approach God from a beggar’s perspective or as His cherished child? If we have any difficulty seeing Him as our loving Father, we need to ask Him to help us develop a healthy Father/child relationship.”


“How often have we prayed something like, “O Lord, be with cousin Billy now in a special way”? Have we stopped to consider what it is we’re requesting? Imagine that you are a parent who is preparing to leave your children with a babysitter. Would you dream of saying, “O Betsy, I ask you now that you would be with my children in a special way?” No way. You would say, “Betsy, the kids need to be in bed by 9 pm. They can have one snack before their baths, and please make sure they finish their homework. You can reach us at this number if there’s any problem. Any questions before we go?” We are very specific with our requests and instructions for our babysitters. We want them to know specifics. It should be no different with prayer.”


“It’s not going to happen through technology or our intellectual abilities but only through prayer. When we pray, God works. We believe God blesses churches that bless missions.”


“If you have put your faith in Christ and have spent significant time in the Word of God, the tough times can be like a magnet that draws you to the Lord Jesus. Nothing is going to happen – ever – that will catch Jesus Christ by surprise. He is able to help His children work through anything, and not a single thing is going to happen in the future that can change that fact.”


Sources: Preach The GospelChristian Quotes, Think Exist, Quote Idea, Good Reads.


See also David Jeremiah’s website for daily devotionals.  Here’s a sample from today:

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. ~Psalm 42:1

      Recommended Reading Acts 5:1-11

Ananias and his wife Sapphira lacked what we all should strive for — personal integrity and a desire for God that surpasses love for material possessions. Deliberately setting out to deceive Peter and the apostles, this calculating couple pretended devotion to God by lying about their generous financial gift to the church. Their judgment? Their very lives.

Maybe you’re thinking you can’t relate to this Bible story. You don’t lie about your tithe to the church. Maybe you don’t try to impress your pastor and elders with the amount you give each month. But do you ever lie to the Holy Spirit? Do you pretend to be devoted to God to impress your family, friends, or church? Hypocrisy is insincere. It’s presenting an appearance of commitment that’s not true.

Ananias and Sapphira committed a sin unto death (1 John 5:16). The undertakers might be busy in our churches today if we were judged for the motives of our hearts. When you serve the church — teaching, singing, serving in a leadership role — are you putting God to the test? It’s risky business to fake spirituality. Make your heart’s desire for God and God alone.

It is not the being seen of men that is wrong, but doing these things for the purpose of being seen of men. The problem with the hypocrite is his motivation.  ~Augustine

January 4, 2012

Brennan Manning Quotations

Brennan Manning (christened Richard Francis Xavier Manning) is an author, monk, priest, contemplative and speaker. Born and raised in Depression-era Brooklyn, New York, Manning finished high school and enlisted in the US Marine Corps, where he fought in the Korean War. When Manning returned to the states, he enrolled at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Upon his graduation from the seminary in 1963, Manning was ordained to the Franciscan priesthood.In the late 1960s, Manning joined the Little Brothers of Jesus of Charles de Foucauld, a religious order committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor. Manning then spent time diversely, transporting water via donkey, as a mason’s assistant, a dishwasher in France, a prisoner in a Swiss jail (by choice), and spending six months in a remote cave somewhere in the Zaragoza desert.In the 1970s, Manning returned the US and began writing after falling into, and climbing out of, alcoholism. 


The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of *knowing* Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited. ~Ragamuffin Gospel


“The deepest desire of our heart is for union with God.  God created us for union with himself.  This is the original purpose of our lives.”


“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” ~ Ragamuffin Gospel


“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”


“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.” ~Abba’s Child


“I am deeply distressed by what I only can call in our Christian culture the idolatry of the Scriptures. For many Christians, the Bible is not a pointer to God but God himself… God cannot be confined within the covers of a leather-bound book. I develop a nasty rash around people who speak as if mere scrutiny of its pages will reveal precisely how God thinks and precisely what God wants.” ~ Signature of Jesus


“The defining moments of my life have not been my sins or successes.  They’ve been a depressingly small number of decisions that involved real risk.”


“There is the “you” that people see and then there is the “rest of you”. Take some time and craft a picture of the “rest of you.” This could be a drawing, in words, even a song. Just remember that the chances are good it will be full of paradox and contradictions. ” ~Furious Longing of God


“Everybody has a vocation to some form of life-work. However, behind that call (and deeper than any call), everybody has a vocation to be a person to be fully and deeply human in Christ Jesus.” ~The Wisdom of Tenderness


“Jesus said you are to love one another as I have loved you, a love that will possibly lead to the bloody, anguish gift of yourself, a love that forgives seven times seven, that keeps no record of wrong. This is the criterion, sole norm, the standard of discipleship in the New Israel of God.” ~Furious Longing of God


“The god who exacts the last drop of blood from his Son so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased, is not the God revealed by and in Jesus Christ. And if he is not the God of Jesus, he does not exist.” ~Above All


But the answer seems too easy, too glib. yes, God saved us because he loved us. But he is God. He has infinite imagination. Couldn’t he have dreamed up a different redemption? Couldn’t he have saved us with a pang of hunger, a word of forgiveness, a single drop of blood? And if he had to die, then for God’s sake — for Christ’s sake — couldn’t he have died in bed, died with dignity? Why was he condemned like a criminal? Why was his back flayed with whips? Why was his head crowned with thorns? Why was he nailed to wood and allowed to die in frightful, lonely agony? Why was the last breath drawn in bloody disgrace, while the world for which he lay dying egged on his executioners with savage fury like some kind of gang rape by uncivilized brutes in Central Park? Why did they have to take the very best? One thing we know — we don’t comprehend the love of Jesus Christ. Oh, we see a movie and resonate to what a young man and woman will endure for romantic love. We know that when the chips are down, if we love wildly enough we’ll fling life and caution to the winds for the one we love. But when it comes to God’s love in the broken, blood-drenched body of Jesus Christ, we get antsy and start to talk about theology, divine justice, God’s wrath, and the heresy of universalism. ~Ragamuffin Gospel


Sources: Good Reads; Quoteland; A Daughter of Grace; Apprenticeship to Jesus; Zedekiah List; After All; Quoting Quotes

September 12, 2010

Hypocrites? No, Sinners By Design

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Saw this on Brian Kiley’s blog who got it from Tim Challies’ blog.  Brian explains, “I came across this quote from R.C. Sproul who answers the charge that Christians a bunch of hypocrites who call out sins in others while continuing the sin themselves. As Sproul rightly demonstrates, nothing could be further from the truth.”

What happens is that people observe church members sinning. They reason within themselves, “That person professes to be a Christian. Christians aren’t supposed to sin. That person is sinning; therefore, he is a hypocrite.” The unspoken assumption is that a Christian is one who claims he does not sin. It reality just the opposite is the case. For a Christian to be a Christian, he must first be a sinner. Being a sinner is a prerequisite for being a church member.

The Christian church is one of the few organizations in the world that requires a public acknowledgment of sin as a condition for membership. In one sense the church has fewer hypocrites than any institution because by definition the church is a haven for sinners. If the church claimed to be an organization of perfect people then her claim would be hypocritical. But no such claim is made by the church. There is no slander in the charge that the church is full of sinners. Such a statement would only compliment the church for fulfilling her divinely appointed task.

April 16, 2010

Gold!

If you want to mine the internet for nuggets of gold, find some people who have been committed, faithful bloggers and go back through the archives and learn what they were writing about when they first started.

I really enjoy the short quotations on Jim Upchurch’s blog, Christ, His Work and His Word.  Here are some classics from Jim’s early posts:

Jesus came on a rescue mission for creation. He had to pay for our sins so that someday he can end evil and suffering without ending us.

— Tim Keller, The Reason for God

Both Blaise Pascal and Jonathan Edwards were known to arrive home with a couple dozen hand written notes pinned to their jackets. Yes, they looked like dorks, but we remember them hundreds of years after their deaths and don’t even know the names of the cool people anymore.

— JD Greear, pastor of The Summit Church on the value of writing stuff down.
The righteous have no claim on Christ; it was to save sinners that he came (Mt. 9:12-13). Seen from this angle, even the condemnatory function of the law is all of grace.
— R. Alan Cole, commenting on Galatians 3:21-22 and the purpose of the law in his commentary
  1. How often is Jesus mentioned?
  2. If Jesus is mentioned, is he the subject of the verbs? In the sermon is Jesus and his work proclaimed… or is someone else and their work proclaimed?
  3. What are those verbs? Are they that Jesus came, lived, died, rescued, saved, and the like? Are they biblical terms?

– Todd Wilkin of Issues Etc. uses a three-question test to determine whether or not a sermon is Christ-centered