Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

I found this to be a helpful reminder, especially since I am tempted often to feel the pressure to “flash up” certain biblical passages, always looking for the new hook or clever misunderstood Greek translation. That’s not to say we shouldn’t try and paint the most vivid picture possible of Scripture, but just a reminder that the Bible does a pretty good job of doing so without my help:

From Max McLean’s Unleashing the Word:

The Bible is its own evangelist. I came to faith because I was deeply affected by the words of the Bible. The famous British preacher Charles Spurgeon was once asked how he responded to criticisms of the Bible. “Very easy,” he responded. “I defend the Bible the same way I defend a lion. I simply let it out of its cage.” That quote captures our vision for this book and for the growth of ministries that are committed to the passionate, articulate, and powerful reading of Scripture. Isn’t it time to let the Bible out of the cage, or (to borrow from the title of this book) to unleash God’s Word?

When I tell a Bible story, I have a quiet confidence that God is going to do a mighty work by the very act of reading his Word. Therefore, my objective is to engage hearers and draw them into the Word of God. My role is to use my skills and abilities, as best I can, to draw them into an experience with the Word.

(HT: Challies)


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Oswald Chambers on Pain

“Before God can use a man greatly he must wound him deeply.” Oswald Chambers

That’s an uncomfortable thought, especially given the amount of time I (and perhaps you too) have prayed that God would use us in a mighty way. But come to think of it, those prayers that I have prayed have been mixed in with pride and self-congratulations. I want to be used by God not only for His great reputation, but also for my great pride. I want to leave my mark on the world not only for His glory but for mine.

Perhaps this is one reason why Chambers hits the nail on the head. Few are the human beings who can give themselves fully to the purposes of God. Even when we think we are, many times our pride is lurking right behind our best intentions. But when you get wounded? Deeply? The Lord brings you to a point of desperation and dependence. You realize your utter frailty and are refocused on what matters.

Pain is often the avenue to greatness in the eyes of God.

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Bonhoeffer’s Beginning

Today is the anniversary of the day in 1945 when Deitrich Bonhoeffer was hanged by the Nazi’s. Bonhoeffer is remembered for a ton of things, including numerous theological works and taking a stand against the Nazi regime in Germany.

The night before he died, he said this: “This is the end – for me, the beginning.”

I found it helpful to remember his words this holy week, since we celebrate the end of the reign of sin and evil and the beginning of true life with God.

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“God is good to all in some ways but good to some in all ways” (JI Packer, Knowing God).

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The Abuse of Doctrine

It seems like the study of doctrine in Christian circles is pretty polarizing. There are those churches who major on doctrinal issues, using classic Christian terminology and stressing the importance of knowing these key issues to faith; issues like justification, sanctification, predestination, foreknowledge – you know the drill.

Then there are those churches who would argue that kind of study does little to further real life change in the people. The people need something practical, something that’s going to help them hang onto their marriage, get through the recession, and parent their children. So they lean toward this “application oriented” strategy of teaching and preaching.

I think there’s a balance in the middle to be found, where one feeds the other and vice versa, but I also see how a group of people might find the study of doctrine antiquated, boring, and useless.

And it’s because of the classic abuse of doctrine.

We have the tendency to use doctrine as nothing more than an arguing tool. We use it to be “right” in conversations, as a mark of spiritual superiority, or as a means of furthering our own arrogance which is already considerable enough.

In short, the fact that doctrine is falling out of favor in alot of circles is because in alot of circles doctrine has been abused.

It’s not supposed to be like that. Paul reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5 that “the goal of our instruction is love…”

Love. That’s the end of doctrine. Anything else is abusive.

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Bigger Than Jesus

Today, 4 decades ago in 1966,┬áLondon’s “Evening Standard” newspaper published an interview with Beatle John Lennon in which he remarked:

Christianity will… vanish and shrink… We’re more popular than Christ right now.


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Wisdom and the Signal Box

J.I. Packer in Knowing God has a great illustration about what wisdom is, and what wisdom is not. He begins by writing how confusing it is when you stand on the platform of a train station. You don’t know why this train has been rerouted, why that one is arriving late, and so on. But if you have the chance to into the signal box, you get to see a diagram of the whole system. From that high view you can see the whole situation through the eyes of those who control it. You can see the “why” behind all the rerouting, diversions, and delays.

Packer continues:

Now, the mistake that is commonly made is to suppose that this is an illustration of what God does when he bestows wisdom: to suppose, in other words, that the gift of wisdom consists in a deepened insight into the providential meaning and purpose of events going on around us, an ability to see why god has done what he has done in a particular case, and what he is going to do next. People feel that if they were really walking close to God, so that he could impart wisdom to them freely, then they would, so to speak find themselves in the signal box.

But Packer argues that’s not true wisdom. It’s not some mystical insight. Wisdom is reactionary. Packer goes onto say that real wisdom is more like driving a car. In a car, you have to react wisely by using your blinker or wipers or merging or unmerging. You have to be able to access the situation and react accordingly. That’s wisdom.

It’s the recognition that bad things are going to happen. And it’s the ability to make the right, practical, God-honoring decision when they do.

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