The Gladdest News of All

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Christianity tells us we are part of a story that has an Author. It tells us He is good—indisputably, overwhelmingly, irresistibly good— and He is the source of everything that is beautiful and worthwhile and true. He created us to play a role in His story and placed within our hearts a deep longing to know Him. Christianity warns us there is a villain and dangers and distortions and perversions of the truth. It declares that tragedy, evil, and chaos have been defeated in Jesus Christ. It calls us to believe that the gospel is not only the greatest truth—but the most wonderful one of all. It invites us to become the beloved sons and daughters of the Writer of the story.

Could there be anything more astounding than that?

–J. O. Schulz
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

Preposterous Grace

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Grace is the word that sums up the heart-grabbing essence of the gospel. And the illustration that stands head and shoulders above the rest is found in Jesus’ prodigal parable.

The rascal who did everything possible to break the heart of his father deserves flogging—but the red carpet is rolled out for him. Extravagant privileges are heaped upon him in what looks like a lottery win. The father can’t find enough gifts to shower on the boy.

Admittedly, it’s unwarranted. It’s ludicrous.

The kid is clobbered by kindness. It’s the scandalous peripety of grace.

Grace is divine prodigality gone wild. It is ridiculous generosity, reckless open-handedness, audacious extravagance. It is goodness on steroids.

Grace shows flagrant disregard for moderation, fairness, or bookkeeping. It dishes out in outrageous excess to those who don’t have it together and have nothing to give in return.

Michael Spencer put it like this: “Real grace is simply inexplicable, inappropriate, out of the box, out of bounds, offensive, excessive, too much, given to the wrong people and all those things.”

Grace completely abolishes any idea of merit. It floods the undeserving with blessing. Grace is love shown to the unlovely, favor bestowed upon the unworthy. It is indiscriminating, uncoerced, and delightfully gratuitous.

It doesn’t keep score.

–Jurgen Schulz
What Jesus Wished People Knew About God

 

Trustworthy

Why we trust

Outrageous Grace

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When people realize that they have received a gift they can never repay, they notify their faces and their actions, and the tenor of their lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. They simply rejoice in the gift. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love is everlasting” (Ps. 107:1).

–Brennan Manning,
Ruthless Trust

Published in: on 05/30/2017 at 16:59  Leave a Comment  
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The Critical Thing

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Published in: on 05/28/2017 at 14:44  Leave a Comment  
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We Need a Bucket

c943651e1b6ed8028509f66de7af2bd1There is no lack in us of the impulse to pray. And there is no scarcity of requests to pray. Desire and demand keep the matter of prayer before us constantly. So why are so many lives prayerless? Simply because “the well is deep and you have nothing to draw with.” We need a bucket. We need a container suited to lowering desires and demands into the deep Jacob’s Well of God’s presence and word and bringing them to the surface again. The Psalms are such a bucket.

–Eugene Peterson

Published in: on 05/25/2017 at 9:05  Leave a Comment  
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A fresh look at Jesus’ most famous story

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It finally happened! The book, “What Jesus Wished People Knew About God” has been launched and is now available on Amazon, Kobo, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, Apple ibooks, etc.

This book takes a close look at the stunning portrait Jesus painted of His Father in His famous Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus’ parable is loaded with spiritual dynamite that could seriously alter your concept of God. It may rearrange your theology. It may make your heart skip a beat. It may lead you to experience the extravagant embrace of the Father and bring you to a freedom and joy you have never known.

Find a comfortable spot, put your religious preconceptions on hold, and prepare for a heart-stopping journey into the heart of God.

The Most Creative Act

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The King’s Grace

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Published in: on 04/20/2017 at 8:35  Leave a Comment  
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The Gospel Storyline

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Out of the cross comes the resurrection.
Out of weakness comes real strength.
Out of repentance and admitting
you are weak comes real power.
Out of giving away and serving others
comes real strength.
Out of generosity and giving . . .
comes real wealth.
That’s the gospel storyline.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 04/19/2017 at 9:59  Leave a Comment  
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C. S. Lewis on the Resurrection

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A Bold Statement

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The resurrection
is God’s triumphant
proclamation that
death is not the end,
that injustices of the past
are not forgotten,
that evil will not
for ever triumph.
     –David Gooding,
     & John Lennox,
     

What God is really like

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When God Got Nailed

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The Outrageous Story

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Nothing short of the extreme and strong and startling doctrine of the divinity of Christ will give that particular effect that can truly stir the popular sense like a trumpet; the idea of the king himself serving in the ranks like a common soldier. By making that figure merely human we make that story much less human. We take away the point of the story which actually pierces humanity; the point of the story which was quite literally the point of a spear…

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Any knowledge of human nature will tell us that no sufferings of the sons of men, or even of the servants of God, strike the same note as the notion of the master suffering instead of his servants… No mysterious monarch, hidden in his starry pavilion at the base of the cosmic campaign, is in the least like that celestial chivalry of the Captain who carries his five wounds in the front of battle.

–G. K. Chesterton,
The Everlasting Man

The Victorious Defeat

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Not Loved for Being Good

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Published in: on 04/03/2017 at 3:06  Leave a Comment  
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He’ll pick you up

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Each time you fall
He’ll pick you up.
He knows your own efforts
are never going to bring you
anywhere near perfection.
     –C. S. Lewis

Flowers and Weeds

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Unless we know the difference between flowers and weeds, we are not fit to take care of a garden.

It is not enough to have truth planted in our minds. We must learn and labor to keep the ground clear of thorns and briars, follies and perversities, which have a wicked propensity to choke the word of life.

–Evan S. Coslett, Leaves of Gold

Pleasure Was God’s Idea

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Pleasure is designed to
raise our sense of God’s goodness,
deepen our gratitude to him,
and strengthen our hope of
richer pleasures to come.

–J. I. Packer

The Most Profound Idea

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Karl Barth was asked once what was the most profound theological idea he’d ever thought or heard. This is a man who wrote eight thick volumes of systematic theology and many other books besides. What was the most profound thing he’d ever thought or heard?

“Jesus loves me, this I know,” he said, “for the Bible tells me so.”

Those simple words can be the crown of a lifetime of insight, because this love came down, rose up, never stopped, and runs to embrace even you, even me.

–Mark Buchanan,
The Holy Wild

Recovering Childlikeness

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Jesus took a little child and set him in the
midst of His disciples, not to tell the little child
he must become like Peter and James and John,
but to tell Peter and James and John that
they must become like that little child.

—F. W. Boreham

It Changes Everything

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“God loves you”—isn’t that the most well-worn of clichés? It’s just standard filler for the laziest, most obvious and repetitive homilies. Smile. Yawn. Everybody knows that by now, at least everybody who has ever been in a church or read a Bible.

No. Exactly the opposite. It is not familiar. It is shattering. It changes everything. And most Christians do not realize it.

–Peter Kreeft,
The God Who Loves You

God’s Utterance

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Jesus of Nazareth is God’s utterance. He is the Word of God because no more thorough, personal, and beautiful revelation of God is possible.

He who is the perfect statement and rhetoric of the Father, the revealer of divinity, shows up in the form of a servant and sufferer and overturns our notions of deity. The One who is to be worshiped, exalted, and obeyed comes to serve and to give and to lay down His life for others. He unveils the essential truth and unsurpassing glory of the divine nature—a God who pulsates with goodness and power and love and beauty. Jesus reveals a God whose blessedness lies in giving rather than receiving, whose essence is an overflowing, unstoppable tsunami of grace. “Jesus Christ is the mercy of God,” wrote Karl Barth, “he is the love of God, he is the open heart of God.”

The Lord of glory has made Himself know in His Son—and He turns out to more wonderful than we ever imagined.

-J.O. Schulz

Roadworthy Once More

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What I absolutely want is to suggest that before it’s anything else, redemption is God mending the bicycle of our souls; God bringing out the puncture repair kit, re-inflating the tires, taking off the rust, making us roadworthy once more. Not so that we can take flight into ecstasy, but so that we can do the next needful mile of our lives.

–Francis Spufford

Bring Your Weariness

looking-at-sunset-over-lake“Jesus does not say, ‘Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.’ No, Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew 11:28 NASB) The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”

–Paul E. Miller,
A Praying Life

Worship will never end

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Worship will never end; whether there be buildings, they will crumble; whether there be committees, they will fall asleep; whether there be budgets, they will add up to nothing. For we build for the present age, we discuss for the present age, and we pay for the present age; but when the age to come is here, the present age will be done away.

–N. T. Wright

Published in: on 01/19/2017 at 20:04  Leave a Comment  
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Teach us, Good Lord

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Teach us, Good Lord,
To serve Thee as Thou deservest:
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest
To labor and not to seek for reward
Save that of knowing
that we do Thy will.

–Ignatius of Loyola

Only God can Make a Tree

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I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

–Joyce Kilmer

Published in: on 01/15/2017 at 15:38  Leave a Comment  
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On the Path of Life

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Published in: on 01/13/2017 at 9:39  Leave a Comment  
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