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

Not about a moral code

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Christianity is not a religion
about a moral code to keep.
It’s about a God who
saves people that don’t
keep the moral code.

–Tullian Tchividjian

Romance and truth

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Christianity met
the mythological search
for romance by being a story,
and the philosophical
search for truth by being
a true story.

–G. K. Chesterton

Artwork: Nolan N. Nasser

The anti-Christian

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There is nothing more cheering than transformed Christian people and there is nothing more disintegrating than people who have been merely “brushed” by Christianity, people who have been sown with a thousand seeds but in whose lives there is no depth and no rootage . . .

This is the wood from which
anti-Christians . . . are cut.
They are almost always
former half-Christians.

A person who lets Jesus only half way into his heart is far poorer than one hundred per cent worldling. He does not get the peace that passes all under-standing and he also loses the world’s peace, because his naïveté has been taken from him. Therefore a constant bickering goes on in his heart and it is quite apparent than one day in a fit of rage he will slam the door on that quiet Figure, who even then has continued to knock and seek entrance. The anti-Christian is always a half-Christian gone mad. This you can depend upon.

–Helmut Thielicke
The Waiting Father

Retaining the wonder

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Let us remember one thing: the worst thing that can happen to our Christianity is to let it become a thing taken for granted . . . The marvel of God’s gracious act upon our life never really dawns upon us unless we render thanks to him every day. Only the man who gives thanks retains the wonder of God’s fatherly love in his thoughts. But the one who has this wonder in his thoughts keeps the very spring and freshness of his Christianity. He holds on daily and nightly, to a living joy in his Lord and Saviour.

–Helmut Thielicke
The Waiting Father

Unscripted grace

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If Christianity is grace,
we don’t have
a push-button God.
Get ready for
an adventure.

–Tim Keller

Published in: on 05/29/2014 at 8:48  Leave a Comment  
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The astounding offer

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The whole offer which
Christianity makes is this:
that we can,
if we let God have His way,
come to share in
the life of Christ.

–C. S. Lewis

Where Hell begins

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Christianity asserts that we are going to go on forever . . . Now there are a great many things that wouldn’t be worth bothering about if I was only going to live eighty years or so, but I had better bother about if I am going to go on living forever. Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are getting worse so gradually that the increase in my lifetime will not be very noticeable but it might be absolute hell in a million years. In fact, if Christianity is true, hell is precisely the correct technical term for it. Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others, but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or to even enjoy it, but just the grumble itself going on and on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God ‘sending us’ to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will “be” Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Published in: on 02/10/2014 at 17:40  Leave a Comment  
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Connected to the Vine

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It is only by being grafted into Christ that we produce good fruit. Other religions say, “Do good and you will become good.” Christianity says, “Be in Christ, and you will do good.” The meaning of the Atonement and the Blood that washes away our sins is that we are grafted into Christ, I in Him, and He in me. It is a bitter sprig which is grafted into the tree, but, once it is grafted in, the sweet juice of the tree flows through the bitter sprig and makes it sweet.

–Sadhu Sundar Singh
(1889-1929)

Beauty was God’s idea

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One of my greatest difficulties in considering to think of religion… was that I thought I should have to give up my beautiful thoughts and my love for the things God had made. But I find that the happiness springing from all things not in themselves sinful is much increased by religion. God is the God of the beautiful, Religion the love of the Beautiful, and Heaven the House of the Beautiful—nature is tenfold brighter in the sun of righteousness, and my love of nature is more intense since I became a Christian.

–George MacDonald
(1824 – 1905)

Image: Stephen Darbishire

A different lot

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A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for one whom he has never seen; talks familiarly every day to someone he cannot see; expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another; empties himself in order to be full; admits he is wrong so he can be declared right; goes down in order to get up; is strongest when he is weakest; richest when he is poorest; and happiest when he feels the worst. He dies so he can live; forsakes in order to have; gives away so he can keep; sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge.

The man who has met God
is not looking for anything;
he has found it.

He is not searching for light, for upon him the light has already shined. His certainty may seem bigoted, but his assurance is that of one who knows by experience his religion is not hearsay. He is not a copy, not a facsimile. He is an original from the hand of the Holy Spirit.

–A. W. Tozer

Noticing Jesus

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Spiritual growth is not running faster, as in more meetings, more Bible studies, and more prayer meetings. Spiritual growth happens when we slow our activity down. If we want to meet Jesus, we can’t do it on the run. If we want to stay on the road of faith, we have to hit the brakes, pull over to a rest area, and stop.

Christianity is not about
inviting Jesus to speed through life with us;
it’s about noticing Jesus
sitting at the rest stop.

While the church earnestly warns Christians to watch for the devil, the devil is sitting in the congregation encouraging everyone to keep busy doing “good things.

–Mike Yaconelli

Major makeover

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Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

–C. S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

Embracing the wild wonder

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What I believe is so magnificent, so glorious, that it is beyond finite comprehension. To believe that the universe was created by a purposeful, benign Creator is one thing. To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians who try to dogmatize their fear by lashing out at other Christians, because tidy Christianity with all answers given is easier than one which reaches out to the wild wonder of God’s love, a love we don’t even have to earn.

–Madeleine L’Engle

A cure for insomnia

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To be perfectly candid, there are few things that are as dull and boring in life as Christianity without the living, breathing, radiant, triumphant Christ. It’s a first-degree snoozer. If you could bottle it, you would have the cure for insomnia.

–Leonard Sweet
–Frank Viola
Jesus Manifesto

Joy and danger

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Forgiveness of sins,
ought to make you rejoice;
this is the very heart of Christianity,
and yet it is a mighty dangerous
thing to preach.

–Martin Luther
Table Talk

A new beginning

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Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamor for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment. But new creation has already begun. The sun has begun to rise. Christians are called to leave behind, in the tomb of Jesus Christ, all that belongs to the brokenness and incompleteness of the present world . . .  That, quite simply, is what it means to be Christian: to follow Jesus Christ into the new world, God’s new world, which he has thrown open before us.

–N.T. Wright

No whiff of negotiation

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Grace is created by God and given to man . . . On the basis of this point alone, Christianity is set apart from any other religion in the world . . .

Every other approach to God
is a bartering system;
if I do this God will do that.

I’m either saved by works (what I do), emotions (what I experience), or knowledge (what I know). By contrast Christianity has no whiff of negotiation at all. Man is not the negotiator; indeed man has no grounds from which to negociate.

–Max Lucado
In the Grip of Grace

Called into a Story

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Christianity, in its true form, tells us that there is an Author and that he is good, the essence of all that is good and beautiful and true, for he is the source of all these things.

It tells us that he has set
our hearts’ longings within us,
for he has made us to live
in an Epic.

It warns that the truth is always in danger of being twisted and corrupted and stolen from us because there is a Villain in the Story who hates our hearts and wants to destroy us. It calls us up into a Story that is truer and deeper than any other, and assures us that there we will find the meaning of our lives.

–John Eldredge
Epic
(emphasis added)

Nobody else has news

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Nobody else except [Christians]
has any Gospel; nobody else
has any good news;
for the simple reason that
nobody else has any news.

–G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

Published in: on 04/24/2013 at 5:40  Leave a Comment  
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The way out of the grave

Empty tomb

Christianity has had
a series of revolutions
and in each one of them
Christianity has died.
Christianity has died
many times and risen again;
for it had a God who knew
the way out of the grave.

–G. K. Chesterton
The Everlasting Man

Back where we belong

Christ Hugging People

The gospel is
the restoration of humanity
to it’s rightful ownership.

–Norman Grubb
(1895 – 1993)

Published in: on 03/07/2013 at 1:47  Leave a Comment  
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A matter of faith

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If belief rests on a longing, it could be argued that faith in God reflects nothing more than our longing that there should be a God. Yet it could be argued that a belief that there is no God rests on exactly the same basis — a hope and desire that it is, in fact, the case.

Atheism is as much a matter
of faith as Christianity.

As Boris Pasternak, the author of Dr. Zhivago, once remarked: “I am an athiest who has lost his faith.” Might not atheism’s basic assumptions rest on a longing for total autonomy, not having to give account to anyone, and not being limited by anything?

–Alister McGrath
The Unknown God
(emphasis added)

Faith and love

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The whole being of any Christian
is Faith and Love . . .
Faith brings the man to God,
love brings him to men.

–Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Published in: on 02/04/2013 at 1:53  Leave a Comment  
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Freedom not bondage

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Christianity should feel like
“My chains fell off” not
“I better not screw up.”

–Tullian Tchividjian

An easy yoke and a light burden

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The Christian way is the natural way to live; therefore, it is the way of the easy yoke and the light burden. The idea that sin is natural and the Christian way unnatural is a paralysis upon the Christian movement. It is false. God made us “good”. We have made ourselves bad. But the good is good for us, and the bad is bad for us. To be a Christian is not hard—not to be a Christian is hard.

When you live against Christ, you are
living against the grain of the universe.
You are frustrated and unhappy.

Carlyle says: “Sin is, has been , and every shall be the parent of misery.” Conversely goodness is, has been and ever shall be the parent of happiness. To follow Christ is not to follow a law, imposed and unnatural; but it is to follow the law of life—the law of my life, your life, our lives.

You fulfil yourself when you follow Christ.
You frustrate yourself when you follow some other way.

I John 5:3 says: “His commandments are not burdensome.” Why? Because he puts nothing on us? He puts everything on us. He dumps the world and its troubles into our hearts. Then the burden is burdensome? No, for his burden is the same burden that wings are to a bird, sails are to a ship, love is to the heart.

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When I say to an audience just before lunchtime, “Go to lunch,” is that command burdensome? No for their stomachs say the same thing.

What Jesus commands
our inmost nature commends.
It isn’t hard to be a Christian;
it is hard not to be a Christian.

A man came . . . and said, “Mr. Jones I only know one verse of Scripture, but I know that one is true: “the way of the transgressor is hard.” The Christian way is “hard”? It is supernaturally natural—you find Christ and you find yourself; you do his will and his will turns out to be your highest interest. His yoke is easy and his burden is light—for his yoke is my yearning, his burden is my blessing. His will is my freedom.

–E. Stanley Jones
A Song of Ascents
(emphasis added)

Finding the Poem

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In science we have been reading
only the notes to a poem;
in Christianity we find
the poem itself.

–C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Published in: on 12/27/2012 at 7:47  Leave a Comment  
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His love is a consuming fire

When Christianity says that God loves man, it means that God loves man: not that He has some ‘disinterested’ . . . concern for our welfare, but that, in awful and surprising truth, we are the objects of His love.

You asked for a loving God: you have one.

The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect’, is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.

How this should be, I do not know:
it passes reason to explain why any creatures,
not to say creatures such as we,
should have a value so prodigious
in their Creator’s eyes.

It is certainly a burden of glory not only beyond our deserts, but also, except in rare moments of grace, beyond our desiring…

–C.S. Lewis (emphasis added)

Merciful and severe

The real problem is – Can the lion lie down with the lamb and still retain his royal ferocity? That is the problem the church attempted; that is the miracle she achieved. This is what I have called guessing the hidden eccentricities of life…Christian doctrine detected the oddities of life. It not only discovered the law, but it foresaw the exceptions. Those underrate Christianity who say that it discovered mercy; any one might discover mercy. In fact everyone did. But to discover a plan for being merciful and also severe – that was to anticipate a strange need of human nature…

–C.K. Chesterton

Published in: on 11/06/2012 at 7:22  Leave a Comment  
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Order and wildness

The more I considered Christianity,
the more I have found that
while it had established a rule and order,
the chief aim of that order was to give room
for good things to run wild.

–G. K. Chesterton

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