Friday, August 31, 2012

Are you Judas or John?

“You will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.” -- C. S. Lewis, "The Problem of Pain"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The person who has God....

“The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.  Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness.  Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things, he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight.  Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately, forever.”

A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (London, 1967), page 20.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Word of God and Authentic Spiritual Experience

“Spiritual experience that does not arise from God’s word is not Christian experience. . . . Not all that passes for Christian experience is genuine. An authentic experience of the Spirit is an experience in response to the gospel. Through the Spirit the truth touches our hearts, and that truth moves our emotions and effects our wills.”

- Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church (Wheaton, Ill.; Crossway Books, 2008), 31.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Atheism is an arid creed"

"As a matter of is materialist atheism that is not merely an arid creed but totally irrational. Materialist atheism says we are just a collection of chemicals, and it has no answer whatsoever to the question of how we should be capable of love, or heroism, or poetry if we are simply animated pieces of meat." -- British critic and former atheist, A.N. Wilson

Sunday, August 26, 2012

They Unlocked Their Doors

“It is noteworthy [in Acts chapter 2] that the disciples, who appear to have been hiding away from their enemies in the spirit of John 20:19, immediately became different people.  They unlocked their door, and went down to the most public place they could find and there preached Jesus boldly.  This change from cringing cowards to fearless preachers was permanent.  We read of Christians making all sorts of mistakes afterwards, and they are far from being perfect.  But we do not again read of them hiding away for fear of men.  The Spirit altered all that.  From now on they became fearless vehicles of the Spirit in proclaiming to men the message of the gospel.”

-- Leon Morris, "Spirit of the Living God" (Chicago, 1960), page 53.
HT: Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Foolish things people say about Him

‎"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God." -- C.S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Christian convictions are about seeing what the world is

“In the face of the resurrection it becomes finally impossible to think of our Christian narrative as only ‘our point of view,’ our perspective on a world that really exists in a different, ‘secular’ way. There is no independently available ‘real world’ against which we must test our Christian convictions, because these convictions are the most final, and at the same time the most basic, seeing of what the world is.” -- John Milbank, The Word Made Strange (Oxford, 1997)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Characteristic Wisdom from J.I. Packer

Here's Justin Taylor's intro to his post featuring five videos from J.I. Packer.

"Almost everything about J. I. Packer is counter-cultural. When asked a question, his answers tend to be 7-8 minutes long, and come out in full paragraphs. One of my favorite quotes from Packer is where he warns against the spirit of this age, which holds that “the newer is the truer, only what is recent is decent, every shift of ground is a step forward, and every latest word must be hailed as the last word on its subject.” Packer represents the opposite. He is “old school.” Listening to him talk is sometimes akin to hearing someone speak in your second language. You might understand what is being said, but you have to lean in and listen because the cadence and vocabulary are not your mother tongue. But I am convinced that we ignore the biblical, historical, theological, practical wisdom of this octogenarian to our peril.

"I’m thankful Desiring God recently posted some clips of a conversation with Dr. Packer. I thought it might be helpful to collect them here."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

C.S. Lewis on the Purpose of the Church (and the State)

"It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects — education, building, missions, holding services. Just as it is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects — military, political, economic, and what not. But in a way things are much simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden — that is what the State is for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time. In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose." -- C.S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity" p. 171

Monday, August 20, 2012

The weight of potential glory

C.S. Lewis: "It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Because He knows me...

"I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, One who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted for me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters." -- J.I. Packer

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wanted: Quiet Fanatics

“It is a growing conviction of mine that no parish can fulfill its true function unless there is at the very center of its leadership life a small community of quietly fanatic, changed and truly converted Christians.  The trouble with most parishes is that nobody, including the pastor, is really greatly changed. . . .

"We do not want ordinary men.  Ordinary men cannot win the brutally pagan life of a city like New York for Christ.  We want quiet fanatics.”

-- John Heuss, Our Christian Vocation (Greenwich, 1955), pages 15-16.

HT: Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"God created you to broadcast Him"

"You can’t turn off worship. It’s your basic human wiring. To not worship is to not live. It’s like a garden hose stuck on full blast. You can aim it at the grass, the car, or the shrubs, but you cannot stop its flow. Or you might imagine yourself as a sort of human billboard, always advertising what you find to be important, valuable, worthy. What you pay attention to, how you spend your time, the way you work, how you relate to others in your life—all these things broadcast your heart’s worship, making visible and advertising what is most important to you. God created you to broadcast him."

-- Mike Wilkerson, "Redemption" (p. 29). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

"You and Your Pastor"

Characteristically Biblical, balanced, life-related insight from Ray Ortlund, Jr. on the relations between pastors and members in the church.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When God's Face Turns Upon Each of Us

‎"In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised. I read in a periodical the other day that the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God Himself, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Indeed, how we think of Him is of no importance except insofar as it is related to how He thinks of us. . . . To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the Divine happiness . . . to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is."

-- C.S. Lewis, ”The Weight of Glory”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Man's greatest tragedy

“A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God. This is man's greatest tragedy and God's heaviest grief.”
― A.W. Tozer

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"He will tend his flock..."

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd.”  Isaiah 40:11

“Jesus, the good shepherd, will not travel at such a rate as to overdrive the lambs.  He has tender consideration for the poor and needy.  Kings usually look to the interests of the great and the rich, but in the kingdom of our Great Shepherd he cares most for the poor. . . . The weaklings and the sickly of the flock are the special objects of the Savior’s care. . . . You think, dear heart, that you are forgotten, because of your nothingness and weakness and poverty.  This is the very reason you are remembered.”

-- C. H. Spurgeon, Treasury of the Old Testament (London, n.d.), III:575-576.

HT: Ray Ortlund, Jr.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Truth Without Love?....

“If we are Christians and do not have upon us the calling to respond to the lostness of the lost and a compassion for those of our kind, our orthodoxy is ugly and it stinks.  And it not only stinks in the presence of the hippie, it stinks in the presence of anybody who’s an honest man.  And more than that, I’ll tell you something else, orthodoxy without compassion stinks with God.”

-- Francis A. Schaeffer, "Death in the City" (Chicago, 1969), page 123
HT: Ray Ortlund, Jr..

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"...God is the Ruler yet..."

"No matter how many strong enemies plot to overthrow the church, they do not have sufficient strength to prevail over God’s immutable decree by which he appointed his Son eternal King."

— John Calvin, quoted by Eric J. Alexander in
"The Supremacy of Jesus Christ in John Calvin A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine & Doxology," ed. Burk Parsons  (Orlando, Fl.: Reformation Trust, 2008), 109

Monday, August 6, 2012

"Your emotions are a gauge, not a guide"

Here's just a brief excerpt of an insightfully helpful post:

'...God designed your emotions to be gauges, not guides. They’re meant to report to you, not dictate you. The pattern of your emotions (not every caffeine-induced or sleep-deprived one!) will give you a reading on where your hope is because they are wired into what you believe and value — and how much. That’s why emotions like delight (Psalm 37:4), affection (Romans 12:10), fear (Luke 12:5), anger (Psalm 37:8), joy (Psalm 5:11), etc., are so important in the Bible. They reveal what your heart loves, trusts, and fears. At Desiring God we like to say pleasure is the measure of your treasure, because the emotion of pleasure is a gauge that tells you what you love....'

Read the entire post here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Venerating (yes, venerating) Scripture

"Such veneration we ought indeed to entertain for the Word of God, that we ought not to pervert it in the least degree by varying expositions; for its majesty is diminished, I know not how much, especially when not expounded with great discretion and with great sobriety.

"And if it be deemed a great wickedness to contaminate any thing that is dedicated to God, he surely cannot be endured, who, with impure or even unprepared hands, will handle that very thing, which of all things is the most sacred on earth.

"It is therefore an audacity, closely allied to a sacrilege, rashly to turn Scripture in any way we please, and to indulge our fancies as in sport; which has been done by many in former times."

-- John Calvin
Epistle Dedicatory to Romans

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"The Character of the Genuine Theologian"

 'The theologian, as I use the term, is one imbued with the knowledge of God and divine things, under the teaching of God himself; who celebrates his adorable perfections, not by words alone, but by the ordering of his life, and is thus entirely devoted to the Lord.'

-- Herman Witsius

"But as for me...."

Surely it is incumbent on each of us, who profess Christ, to come to the place where we decide that, whatever others might do, and however they might do it, in terms of the practice of their profession of faith in Christ, I myself must get it right -- believe the truth and live it out, as best as I can understand, seeking to serve God with a clear conscience.  If many are lukewarm or Laodicean, nominal or worldly, they will answer for that.

"But as for me"... I will walk with and serve and worship the Lord according to the light He's given me, joining with others of like mind and faith.