Quotes

#GodintheWasteland: David Wells

The fundamental problem in the evangelical world today is that God rests too inconsequentially upon the church. His truth is too distant, his grace is too ordinary, his judgment is too benign, his gospel is too easy, and his Christ is too common.

The fragile self adrift in the relentless tumult of modernity inevitably begins to experience the weariness and emptiness to which post-modern writers, composers, and artists have so uniformly pointed. This agonizing sense of weightlessness that we once thought only God would suffer in modern culture now turns out to be ours as well.

David F. Wells. God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams (Kindle Locations 402-402;1157-1158). Kindle Edition.

#Intentionality for Christ at Midlife

Midlife, for most of us, is a season of routine and endurance when retirement and ease seem more and more attractive. We will experience a noticeable decline in health and at least a slight increase in weight. By forty-five, the body’s metabolism slows down, causing weight gain. It is a great time to take aim and to get serious about diet and exercise. Our middle years are our best decades to make our greatest contributions in our callings, but it is a season marked by loss. There is a common loss of health, hope, parents on earth, children at home, friendships nearby, and more. Although this will vary according to the individual, these losses are a common part of life. Only an intentional approach to overcome these challenges will make this season transformational for the subsequent spiritual formation season of legacy.

Robert Davis Smart. Intentionality for Christ: What’s My Aim? (Kindle Locations 223-228). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.

Continually Beat the Gospel into your Head! #Counseling

“Justification: Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must listen to the gospel, which teaches me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law,) but what Jesus Christ the Son of God has done for me : that is, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel wills me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consists.

Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.”

–Martin Luther, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (Philadelphia: Smith, English & Co., 1860), 206.

How Christianity Spreads?

An Ancient Letter explaining why Christianity spread so quickly

“Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.” 

From a letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

http://www.vatican.va/spirit/documents/spirit_20010522_diogneto_en.html

Encountering Christ in Preaching Answers the Question of Identity

#JohnStott Image result for john stott between two worlds

“To encounter Christ is to touch reality and experience transcendence. He gives us a sense of self-worth or personal significance, because He assures us of God’s love for us. He sets us free from guilt because He died for us and from paralyzing fear because He reigns. He gives meaning to marriage and home, work and leisure, personhood and citizenship.”

-John Stott, Between Two Worlds

#TheGospel

“Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God. But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free. It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe.”

John Calvin in preface to 1534 French translation of the New Testament

Some Onez Got ta Lead

“Leading is very likely the most costly thing you will ever do. And the chances are very good that it will never bring you riches or fame or praise in exchange for your great sacrifices. But if you want to love God and others, and if you long to live your life now for the sake of eternity, then there is nothing better than being a leader.”

Allender, Dan B.. Leading with a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness (p. 2). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

When Gender Identity is Regarded as Meaningless

In April 2015 Dennis Prager wrote in National Review: “The End of Male and Female: Whatever one’s position on same-sex marriage, one must acknowledge that at the core of the argument for this redefinition of marriage is that gender doesn’t matter.

Marriage is marriage and gender means nothing, the argument goes. So, too, whether children are raised by mother and father or two mothers or two fathers doesn’t matter. A father has nothing unique to offer a child that a mother can’t provide and vice versa. Why? Because — for the first time in recorded history — gender is regarded as meaningless.

Indeed, increasingly gender doesn’t even exist; it’s merely a social construct imposed on children by parents and society based on the biological happenstance of their genitalia. When signing up for Facebook, one is offered nearly 60 options under “gender.” In various high schools across the country, boys are elected homecoming queen. A woman was recently kicked out of Planet Fitness for objecting to a man in the women’s locker room. She was accused of intolerance because the man said he felt that he was a woman.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/416543/americas-decay-speeding

 

Seek the Lord While He is Near

“Lord of creation, you are everywhere, but there are certain places where the dividing wall between heaven and earth feels wafer thin. That notion tempts me to pack up for a faraway pilgrimage to find you, but you meet me where I am. Wake me up to your kingdom of grace and goodness through your presence in your Word and sacraments. Amen.”

Reinders, Philip F. Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible Through the Year (p. 579). Faith Alive Christian Resources. Kindle Edition. (Heidelberg Catechism 66)