Friday, September 4, 2015


On February 19, 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes set sail for Mexico with an entourage of 11 ships, 13 horses, 110 sailors, and 553 soldiers. The indigenous population upon his arrival was approximately five million. From a purely mathematical standpoint, the odds were stacked against him by a ratio of 7,541 to 1. Two previous expeditions had failed to even establish a settlement in the New World, yet Cortes conquered much of the South American continent.

What Cortes is reported to have done after landing is an epic tale of mythic proportions. He issued an order that turned the mission into an all-or-nothing proposition: "Burn the ships!" As his crew watched their fleet of ships burn and sink, they came to terms with the fact that retreat was not an option. And if you can compartmentalize the moral conundrum of colonization, there is a lesson to be learned. Nine times out of ten, failure is resorting to Plan B when Plan A gets too risky, too costly, too difficult. That's why most people are living their Plan B. They didn't burn the ships. Plan A people don't have a Plan B. It's Plan A or bust. They would rather crash and burn going after their God-ordained dreams than succeed at something else.

There are moments in life when we need to burn the ships to our past. We do so by making a defining decision that will eliminate the possibility of sailing back to the old world we left behind. You burn the ships name "Past Failure" and "Past Success." You burn the ship named "Bad Habit." You burn the ship named "Regret." You burn the ship named "Guilt." You burn the ship named "My Old Way of Life."

-- Mark Batterson in All In


Thursday, September 3, 2015


"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. "  (I Corinthians 1:21)

There is a great difference between understanding something about someone and truly knowing that person. Understanding comes through gathering information about the individual. Knowing comes from developing a relationship with the person. Through Jesus Christ we can do more than understand some things about God, we can know God through an ongoing, personal relationship with Him.

Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said,… "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:1a,3)

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Wednesday, September 2, 2015


"All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." (Julian of Norwich)

At a time when I thought my world had all but ended, when the realization was hammering at my heart that my daughter's death was not some nightmare from which I would recover but was for all time, a friend came into the room, put her arms around my neck, and said, "Everything's going to be all right."

I thought she was crazy.  And yet.... and yet.... was it possible that she was right?

I had occasion, some years later, to be the consoler of a young woman whose son had lapsed into a coma from which he would not recover, and my words to her were the same.  "Everything's going to be all right." And I felt my friend from that earlier time standing beside me, nodding - See, that's what I told you.

Improbably though it seems when grief first assaults us, we do come to learn, though the surface of our life will often be in turmoil, that on a deep and unshakable level there is indeed a confidence that all is well.

Until that happens, we cling to the testimony of others and take hope:  if for them, why not for us, too?

-- Martha Whitmore Hickman in Healing After Loss


Tuesday, September 1, 2015


"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!"  (2 Corinthians 5:17 NRSV)

The moment we make up our minds that we are going on with this determination to exalt God overall, we step out of the world's parade...  We acquire a new viewpoint; a new and different psychology will be formed within us; a new power will begin to surprise us by its upsurgings and its outgoings.

-- A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) in The Pursuit of God


Monday, August 31, 2015


"Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity." (Romans 12:2 Phillips)

Jesus told us to live IN the world but not to be OF the world (see John 17:13-18). To be "in" the world means living in today's culture -- we all live in a culture -- and to be physically present to and with others. To be "of" the world means to buy into the values, morals and ethics of culture. Clearly, much of our culture is good; but also, just as clearly, some is not. We need to be alert to ways that the world tries to squeeze us into its mold -- to have us conform to its values. Having a biblical worldview will help us resist the temptations and seductions of society and help us to live in God-honoring ways.


-- Martin Marty and David Clark in Between Two Altars video series discussion guide