Responding to Grace

blank squareRoad Home-744913 C copyThe only legitimate
and genuine answer
to the unconditional
Yes in which
God forgives us
is an equally
unconditional
human Yes.

–Karl Barth

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Ridiculous Idea

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Grace has to be one of the most ridiculously straightforward bargains a market idolizing culture could ever be offered, you’d think. Instead of buy one get one free, the invitation to come buy bread without money would be a game losing own goal for Supermarkets, but the ridiculously obvious life disposition of those who follow Jesus.

–Jim Gordon

Published in: on 01/06/2016 at 7:57  Leave a Comment  
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When Christ is accepted

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To “Accept Christ” is to know the meaning of the words “as He is, so are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4:17). We accept His friends as our friends, His enemies as our enemies, His ways as our ways, His rejection as our rejection, His cross as our cross. His life as our life and His future as our future.

–A. W. Tozer

Published in: on 08/05/2015 at 16:07  Leave a Comment  
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In contact with Life

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Christ’s communion with His Father was the life-center, the point of contact with Eternity, whence radiated the joy and the power of the primitive Christian flock… When the young man with great possessions asked Jesus, “What shall I do to be saved?” Jesus replied in effect, “Put aside all lesser interests, strip off unrealities, and come, give yourself the chance of catching the infection of holiness from Me!”

–Evelyn Underhill

The “folly” of following Jesus

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If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully — the life you save may be your own — and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

—Frederick Buechner
Listening to Your Life

Heaven already inside

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If you have really handed yourself over to Him it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.

–C. S. Lewis
Christian Behavior

A New Epicenter

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At the Sea of Galilee, Christ called to the disciples to follow him. And they did so, leaving behind their boats and businesses. They were so taken with Christ that they never felt the cost of their renunciation. They walked in the epicenter of a new adoration that had silently slain their old affections. Renunciation that is self-aware is mere asceticism, subtly boasting its own magnificent sacrifice.

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The apostles came to Christ, having surrendered the possessions that stood between them and the will of God. Even so, we do not remember them because they chose poverty, but because they adored Christ. If we too are spellbound by His excellence, relinquishment will be more a byproduct of devotion than a prerequisite of it.

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True lovers of Christ can stand in the pain of self denial . . . The glory of the Spirit blinds them to the showy temporal treasures of earth. They see only the Host. His hands are bruised and scarred; his once broken fingers now break the loaf.

–Calvin Miller
Table of Inwardness

The yoke is on you

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And to try to be happy by being admired by men, or loved by women, or warm with liquor, full of lust, or getting possessions and treasures, that turns you away, soon, from the love of God; then men, women, and drink and lust and greed take precedence over God; and they darken His light. . . . And then we are unhappy and afraid and angry and fierce, and impatient, and cannot pray, and cannot sit still. That is the bitter yoke of sin; and for this we leave the mild and easy yoke of Christ.

–Thomas Merton
(1915 – 1968)

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

The Gospel is a Person

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If the gospel were primarily
a set of good ideas, then the end
would be intellectual assent and acceptance.
But if the gospel is primarily a Person,
then the end is a surrender to,
and a following of, that Person.

–E. Stanley Jones

Spirituality, intimacy and illusions

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Many people assume that spirituality is about becoming emotionally intimate with God. That’s a naïve view of spirituality. What we’re talking about is the Christian life. It’s following Jesus. Spirituality is no different from what we’ve been doing for two thousand years just by going to church and receiving the sacraments, being baptized, learning to pray, and reading Scriptures rightly. It’s just ordinary stuff.

This promise of intimacy is both right and wrong. There is an intimacy with God, but it’s like any other intimacy; it’s part of the fabric of your life. In marriage you don’t feel intimate most of the time. Nor with a friend. Intimacy isn’t primarily a mystical emotion. It’s a way of life, a life of openness, honesty, a certain transparency . . .

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It involves following Jesus. It involves the Cross. It involves death, an acceptable sacrifice. We give up our lives. The Gospel of Mark is so graphic this way. The first half of the Gospel is Jesus showing people how to live. He’s healing everybody. Then right in the middle, he shifts. He starts showing people how to die: “Now that you’ve got a life, I’m going to show you how to give it up.” That’s the whole spiritual life. It’s learning how to die. And as you learn how to die, you start losing all your illusions, and you start being capable now of true intimacy and love.

–Eugene Peterson
Spirituality for All the Wrong Reasons
Interview by Mark Galli, Christianity Today

Costly grace

Costly grace is the hidden treasure in the field, the costly pearl for which I am willing to sell everything. It is the call of Christ that makes me leave the nets and follow him. Costly because it calls to discipleship, grace because it calls to discipleship with Jesus; costly because it will cost my life; grace because it by the same token gives me my life. Costly because it cost God his only Son, and what has been costly for God cannot be cheap for us. Grace because the price has been paid and I can go free.

–Knud Jørgensen 

King of joy

Don’t be put off by these gloomy caricatures of Christianity. For God’s sake don’t judge Jesus, the King of joy, by them! Try the real thing, not that miserable parody of the reality. Make friends with Jesus, stand where Peter and John and Andrew did and look into His eyes, listen to the music of His voice, answer His challenge, rise and follow.

–James S. Stewart (1896–1990)


Published in: on 04/07/2011 at 12:55  Leave a Comment  
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