Archive for category Quotables
“The task of pastoral ministry is, above all else, to arrange the contingencies for an encounter with the Divine.”
“To candid, reasonable men I am not afraid to lay open what have been the inmost thoughts of my heart. I have thought: I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God and returning to God; just hovering over the great gulf till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen, I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing: the way to heaven, how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri [a man of only one book]. Here then I am, far away from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone — only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his book from this end, to find the way to heaven.”
-John Wesley, “Preface” to Sermons on Several Occasions, vol. 1 (1746)
This excerpt from Tozer made my heart burn as I read it today. Lord, may MainStreet become a church that makes disciples such as these! -JB
“Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” —Acts 21:13
The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men, bold men….We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control weaker men. They will not be forced to do things by the squeeze of circumstances; their only compulsion will come from within—or from above.
This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary. They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.
A.W. Tozer, Of God and Men, 11-13.
“What must our Lord think of us if His work and His witness depend upon the convenience of His people? The truth is that every advance that we make for God and for His cause must be made at our inconvenience. If it does not inconvenience us at all, there is no cross in it! If we have been able to reduce spirituality to a smooth pattern and it costs us nothing—no disturbance, no bother and no element of sacrifice in it—we are not getting anywhere with God. We have stopped and pitched our unworthy tent halfway between the swamp and the peak. We are mediocre Christians!”
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” -G.K. Chesterton
I’m preparing a sermon this Sunday playing off some of the biblical themes in The Hobbit. Below is my favorite conversation from The Lord of The Rings. Friends, these stories of Middle-Earth are only a pale shadow of the real adventure that God calls us into. It’s an epic story and we have a major part to play if we’ll only wake up and discover God’s intended plot for our life — and give up the pathetic story of the American Dream that lulls so many into a dull life of mere self-preservation and comfort-seeking. We were created for so much more!
My life was forever changed the day I stopped to ask the hobbit’s question: What sort of a tale had I fallen into. Answer: God’s unfolding masterpiece — and it’s been an epic journey ever since. Enjoy this conversation! -JB
“The brave things in the old tales and songs, Mr. Frodo: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that’s not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because they’d have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on – and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end. You know, coming home, and finding things all right, though not quite the same – like old Mr. Bilbo. But those aren’t always the best tales to hear, though they may be the best tales to get landed in! I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”
“I wonder,” said Frodo. “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale. Take any one that you’re fond of. You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know. And you don’t want them to.” …
“I wonder if we shall ever be put into songs or tales. We’re in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say: ‘Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!’ And they’ll say: ‘Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was very brave, wasn’t he, dad?’ ‘Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.’” …
“Why, Sam,” Frodo said, “to hear you somehow makes me as merry as if the story was already written. But you’ve left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the stouthearted. ‘I want to hear more about Sam, dad. Why didn’t they put in more of his talk, dad? That’s what I like, it makes me laugh. And Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam, would he, dad?’”
“Now, Mr. Frodo,” said Sam, “you shouldn’t make fun. I was serious.”
“So was I,” said Frodo, “and so I am.”
“If you want to build a ship, don’t summon people to buy wood, prepare tools, distribute jobs, and organize the work, rather teach people the yearning for the wide, boundless ocean.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“Church planting is like trying to build a ship while you’re already at sea.” -Unknown
“To read the Bible properly is to find it an altar where one meets the living God . . .” -Evangelical Covenant Church Paper
“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.”
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Swiss-American psychiatrist and author
All sin is spiritual garbage, and necessarily meets its end in destruction. God can’t let garbage into heaven. Only if the “sinner” won’t let go of his garbage does he get burned with it. God offers to take the garbage off his back, to separate the “sinner” from the sin so that the sinner is not separated from God. Jesus is the garbage man.” -Peter Kreeft