He is supreme

He is supreme in the beginning, and
— leading the resurrection parade —
He is supreme in the end.
From beginning to end he’s there,
towering far above everything, everyone.
So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God
finds its proper place in him without crowding.

–Colossians 1:17 (The Message)

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Published in: on 01/31/2011 at 19:46  Leave a Comment  
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Jesus

If I am to know God, I will know Him through Jesus.
If I am to gain knowledge, it is deposited in Jesus.
If I am to have wisdom, I will find it in Jesus.
If God dwells in me, it is because Jesus dwells in me.
If I wish to study God, I must study Jesus.
If the Holy Spirit is active in my life,
I will hear Him speak of Jesus.

–Gayle D. Erwin

He is the story

Christ is not a character in the Bible. He is not chapter 23-25 in a 30 chapter novel. He is the story. He is the novel. He is the only character we need to know. The entire book is about introducing him to us in pictures and language we can understand.

–Michael Spencer

My name is I AM

I was regretting the past
And fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:

“My Name is I Am.” He paused.
I waited. He continued,
“When you live in the past,
With its mistakes and regrets,
It is hard. I am not there.
My Name is not I Was.”

“When you live in the future,
With its problems and fears,
It is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I Will Be.

When you live in this moment,
It is not hard. I am here.
My name is I Am.”

–Helen Mallicoat

Hijacking morality

The hijacking of the concept of morality began, of course, when we reduced Scripture to formula and a love story to theology, and finally morality to rules. It is a very different thing to break a rule than it is to cheat on a Lover.

–Donald Miller

Published in: on 01/28/2011 at 20:47  Leave a Comment  

His livingness

The Word of God is not my possession. The words printed on the pages of my Bible give witness to the living active revelation of the God of creation and salvation, the God of love who became the Word made flesh in Jesus, and I had better not forget it. If in my Bible reading I lose touch with His livingness, if I fail to listen to this living Jesus, submit to this sovereignty and respond to this love, I become arrogant in my knowing and impersonal in my behaviour.

–Eugene Peterson

Back to Jesus alone

When you can’t remember, the twenty-two characteristics of a good husband or wife, the nine ways of love, the seven steps of appeal to authority, the eight things to do when you are worried, the four spiritual laws or the eight spiritual flaws, it is time to get back to Jesus alone…

When you don’t know if you should sit at His feet, walk in a manner worthy of His call, stand in the time of battle, or run the race with diligence, it is time to get back to Jesus alone…

When you’re told you should hear the Word, read the Word, mark the Word, memorize the Word, study the Word, and meditate on the Word, and you are lost somewhere in the middle of Leviticus, it is time to get back to Jesus alone…

When you hear Bible teachers say, it is pre, mid, post, a, or pan, don’t take the “mark”, or the key is “times, time and half a time” and you’re having trouble getting through the week, it is time to get back to Jesus alone…

When you are confused by hymns like, “Cause Me to Come to Thy River, O Lord” because the next one is, “I’ve Got a River of Life Flowing Out of Me”, it is time to get back to Jesus alone…

When you have gone to your fifth conference this year that claimed, “This is It” and you tried “It” and “It” didn’t work, it is time to get back to Jesus alone…

When you just heard someone say, “Thus saith the Lord” and that contradicted the last, “A word from the Lord” which was contrary to the previous, “The Lord told me” and you finally get the picture that maybe the Lord isn’t saying all those things, it is time to get back to Jesus alone….

It is past time to separate His commands from Christian demands. It is time to simplify, to consider some lilies and birds. It is time to just be with Jesus alone and hear Him say, “I love you.” And when you ask Him what He wants you to do, it sure simplifies things to hear Him say again, “Just love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself!”

–Adapted by: Glenn Murray

Published in: on 01/24/2011 at 20:19  Leave a Comment  

Faith or belief

The Reformation paradigm, which tempts us to replace relationship with reason, is captured in the word belief. It is concerned with right thinking and adherence to a particular way of articulating biblical teaching. It involves systematizing and assenting—and excluding those who don’t fully subscribe to the current fashion in creedal statements. Belief is inert. It is intellectual, defensible, and typically irrelevant… Belief is Plato; faith is Jesus.

–Leonard Sweet

Published in: on 01/22/2011 at 12:54  Leave a Comment  

Yearning for Perfect Love

When we act out of loneliness our actions easily become violent. The tragedy is that much violence comes from a demand for love. When loneliness drives our search for love, kissing easily leads to biting, caressing to hitting, looking tenderly to looking suspiciously, listening to overhearing, and surrender to rape. The human heart yearns for love: love without conditions, limitations, or restrictions. But no human being is capable of offering such love, and each time we demand it we set ourselves on the road to violence.

How then can we live nonviolent lives? We must start by realizing that our restless hearts, yearning for perfect love, can only find that love through communion with the One who created them.

–Henri Nouwen

Published in: on 01/21/2011 at 13:03  Leave a Comment  

It will be morning

What we have been told is how we men can be drawn into Christ — can become part of that wonderful present which the young Prince of the universe wants to offer to His Father — that present which is Himself and therefore us in Him. It is the only thing we were made for. And there are strange, exciting hints in the Bible that when we are drawn in, a great many other things in Nature will begin to come right. The bad dream will be over: it will be morning.

-C. S. Lewis

Published in: on 01/20/2011 at 13:18  Leave a Comment  

Discovering what you already have

If you are a Christian, I have no blessing to offer you, because you have them all in Jesus Christ.  All you can do is begin to discover the blessings in Him that you already have but have not yet possessed in experience.

The moment you are redeemed and the moment the Lord Jesus is come to indwell your redeemed humanity, God has given you the plenitude of heaven.  You will never be wealthier than the day you were redeemed, but you can live in self-imposed poverty for the rest of your life if want do. What we want to do is to discover how to explore and enjoy all that God has already given you if you are saved.  It will be the Devil’s business to prevent it.

–Major Ian Thomas

Published in: on 01/17/2011 at 14:44  Leave a Comment  

Laughter

Published in: on 01/16/2011 at 12:22  Leave a Comment  

It was His mirth

Joy, which was the small publicity of the Pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume [Orthodoxy], I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation.

This tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall.

His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud, proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something . . .

Solemn Supermen and Imperial Diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down from the steps of the Temple and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something . . .

I say it with reverence — there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness.

There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray.

There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation.

There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth, and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.

–C. K. Chesterton

Published in: on 01/15/2011 at 21:36  Leave a Comment  
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Humour

Jokes humanise, jokes civilise, jokes deflect wrath. Jokes give perspective, insight, clarity. Jokes give complexity. Jokes add life-giving layers of possibility. Jokes do not compromise the seriousness: jokes add to a serious intention and make deeper the meaning. Ask Shakespeare if you don’t believe me, or Donne, or Joyce. But so much of daily life is organised by the conspiracies of the jokeless: the dehumanisers, those who dread perspective, balance, thought. Lord deliver us from the humourless.

–Simon Barnes

Published in: on 01/15/2011 at 21:17  Leave a Comment  

Laughter and grace

Laughter is
the closest thing
to the grace of God.

–Karl Barth

Published in: on 01/15/2011 at 11:59  Leave a Comment  

Our terrible freedom

By applying external pressure, I can make a person do what I want him to do. This is man’s power. But as for making him be what I want him to be, without at the same time destroying his freedom, only love can make this happen. And love makes it happen not coercively, but by creating a situation in which, of our own free will, we want to be what love wants us to be. And because God’s love is uncoercive and treasures our freedom—if above all he wants us to love him, then we must be left free not to love him—we are free to resist it, deny it, crucify it finally, which we do again and again and again. This is our terrible freedom, which love refuses to overpower . . .

–Frederick Buechner

Published in: on 01/14/2011 at 14:48  Leave a Comment  
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Never be the same

Published in: on 01/14/2011 at 12:47  Leave a Comment  

The enjoyment of God

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When once we have enjoyed God
and the sweetness of His love,
we shall find it impossible to relish
anything but Himself.

–Madame Jeanne Marie Guyon

Published in: on 01/14/2011 at 12:44  Leave a Comment  
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A peculiar people

This seems a cheerful world, Donatus, when I view it from  this fair garden, under the shadow of these vines.  But if I climbed some great mountain and looked out over the wide lands, you know very well what I would see–brigands on the high roads, pirates on the seas; in the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds; under all roofs misery and selfishness.  It is really a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world.  Yet in the midst of it I have found a quiet and holy people.  They have discovered a joy which is a thousand times better than any pleasures of this sinful life.  They are despised and persecuted, but they care not.  They have overcome the world.  These people, Donatus, are the Christians — and I am one of them.

-St. Cyprian (3rd Century)

Published in: on 01/13/2011 at 12:33  Leave a Comment  

The key to God’s heart

Anytime we embrace anything other than Jesus as the key to God’s heart, we open ourselves to the malignant deformation of a religious spirit. A religious spirit always accents the syllable on what we do, what we know, instead of Whose we are, and Who we know. A religious spirit always holds up the mirror before your face, not the face of Jesus. Its focus is inward, into ourselves, our performance of religious routine, our spiritual resume. In contrast the Holy Spirit (who doesn’t possess a shred of religion), always points us to Jesus. When we believe the lie that we through effort can please God, we negate the entire purpose of the cross. We become an enemy of all that God intends for us through His Son . . .

Religion that bars the door, and only lets the initiated into the deeper things of God, is the first sniff of heresy. There are no keys, no passwords, no hidden knowledge that gets you entrance to Jesus. He is the door. He, Himself is the key. He said “…the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”

–Fawn Parish

Any recipe but grace

The world is by no means averse to religion. In fact, it is devoted to it with a passion. It will buy any recipe for salvation as long as that formula leaves the responsibility for cooking up salvation firmly in human hands. The world is drowning in religion. But it is scared out of its wits by any mention of the grace that takes the world home gratis.

–Robert F. Capon

Published in: on 01/11/2011 at 13:18  Leave a Comment  
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The archrival of spirituality

Religion is the archrival of intimate spirituality. Follow our Lord across the pages of the Gospels and notice who opposes him. His clashes are not with kings and queens or thieves and bandits, but with the prevailing religious people of the day. Religion, a tiresome system of manmade dos and don’ts, woulds and shoulds—impotent to change human lives but tragically capable of devastating them—is what’s left after a true love for God has drained away. Religion is the shell that is left after the real thing has disappeared.

–Doug Banister

Published in: on 01/10/2011 at 14:12  Leave a Comment  

Believing IN Jesus Christ

Any belief in Jesus Christ—however small—is far better

than any amount of belief about him.

–George MacDonald

Published in: on 01/08/2011 at 14:02  Leave a Comment  

A true picture of God

If we accept Jesus as our God, we would have to conclude that our God does not want to be served by us, he wants to serve us; he doesn’t want to be given the highest possible status in our society; he wants to take the lowest place, without any status; he does not want to be feared; he wants to be recognized in the sufferings of the poor; he is not supremely indifferent and detached, he is irrevocable committed to the liberation of humanity, for he has chosen to identify himself with all the people in a spirit of solidarity and compassion. If this is not a true picture of God, then Jesus is not divine. If this is a true picture of God, then God is more truly human, more thoroughly humane, than any human being. He is a supremely ‘human God.’

–Albert Nolan

Do not preach us grace

Restore to us, Preacher, the comfort of merit and demerit. Prove for us that there is at least something we can do, that we are still, at whatever dim recess of our nature, the master of our relationships. Tell us, Prophet, that in spite of all our nights of losing, there will be yet one redeeming card of our very own to fill the inside straight we have so long and so earnestly tried to draw to. But do not preach us grace… We insist on being reckoned with. Give us something, anything; but spare us the indignity of this indiscriminate acceptance.

Lord, let your servants depart in peace of their proper responsability. If it is not too much to ask, send us to bed with some few shreds of self-respect to congratulate ourselves upon. But if that is too hard, leave us at least the consolation of our self-loathing. Only do not force us free. What have we ever done but try as best we could? How have we so hurt you, even by failing, that you should now turn on us and say that none of it makes any difference, not even our sacred guilt? We have played this game of yours, and it has cost us.

–Robert Capon

Published in: on 01/06/2011 at 23:50  Leave a Comment  

It’s not about bookkeeping

You’re worried about permissiveness—about the way the preaching of grace seems to say it’s okay to do all kinds of terrible things as long as you just walk in afterward and take the free gift of God’s forgiveness… While you and I may be worried about seeming to give permission, Jesus apparently wasn’t. He wasn’t afraid of giving the prodigal son a kiss instead of a lecture, a party instead of probation; and he proved that by bringing in the elder brother at the end of the story and having him raise pretty much the same objections you do. He’s angry about the party. He complains that his father is lowering standards and ignoring virtue—that music, dancing, and a fattened calf are, in effect, just so many permissions to break the law. And to that, Jesus has the father say only one thing: “Cut that out! We’re not playing good boys and bad boys anymore. Your brother was dead and he’s alive again. The name of the game from now on is resurrection, not bookkeeping.

–Robert F. Capon

Published in: on 01/06/2011 at 13:39  Leave a Comment  
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Immersed in God

To be baptized in the Trinitarian Name is to be immersed not just in water but in the very reality of the Name! We are given the unspeakable privilege of entering into and participating in the Trinitarian community of love! Do you realize that? When we say “yes” to Jesus as Saviour and Lord, we are immersed into the love and life of God the Father; and are immersed into the grace and truth of God the Son; and we are immersed into the power and purity of God the Spirit. Most of us are not yet experiencing and appropiating all that was given to us at conversion. We know something of the love and power of the Father. We know something of the forgiveness and freedom of the Son. We know something of the pervading and transforming glory of the Spirit. But we have yet to know the fullness available in the Triune God. The good news is God will not rest until we do!

–Darrell W. Johnson

God fixed it Himself

The church is not in the religion business; it is in the Gospel-proclaiming business. And the gospel is the good news that all man’s fuss and feathers over his relationship with God is unnecessary because God, in the mystery of the Word who is Jesus, has gone and fixed it up Himself. So let that pass.

–Robert Capon

Published in: on 01/04/2011 at 21:58  Leave a Comment  

A blessing

May all your expectations be frustrated,

May all your plans be thwarted,

May all your desires be withered into nothingness,

That you may experience the paralysis and poverty of a child,

And sing and dance in the compassion of God

Who is Father, Son and Spirit,

Amen and Amen.

–Brennan Manning

 

Published in: on 01/01/2011 at 11:29  Leave a Comment  
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