Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CHANGING THE WORLD

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and who knows, I may have even changed the world.

-- Written on the Tomb of an Anglican Bishop (1100 CE) in the Crypts of Westminster Abbey


#3516

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MARITAL COMMUNICATION

A marriage can be likened to a large house with many rooms to which a couple fall heir on their wedding day.  Their hope is to use and enjoy these rooms, as we do the rooms in a comfortable home, so that they will serve the many activities that make up their shared life.  But in many marriages, doors are found to be locked -- they represent areas in the relationship which the couple are unable to explore together.  Attempts to open these doors lead to failure and frustration.  The right key cannot be found.  So the couple resign themselves to living together in only a few rooms that can be opened easily, leaving the rest of the house, with all its promising possibilities, unexplored and unused.

There is, however, a master key that will open every door.  It is not easy to find.  Or, more correctly, it has to be forged by the couple together, and this can be very difficult.  It is the great art of effective marital communication.

-- David and Vera Mace in We Can Have Better Marriages If We Really Want Them


#3515

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PASSION IN OUR HEARTS

What puts the passion in our hearts for a particular cause or concern? Many people of faith believe that God is the One who places the desire within us, and that He then proceeds to enable us to fulfill the desire as He works with us in the situation. One person is stirred up by a need; another is deeply troubled by a crime or an injustice. In all our various calls to action, God is available -- helping us right the wrong, meet the need, fight the crime, overcome evil with good.

-- Stephen Arterburn in The Power Book


#3514

Monday, September 22, 2014

GOING TO ALL THE WORLD

“Then Jesus told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.’”  (Mark 16:15 NLT)

The church can no longer fling open the doors and expect the crowds to rush in. We are no longer a “come here” organization as is evidenced by the large number of people who will not or no longer “come here.” But what is the alternative? The answer to fulfilling our call to reach the world is to go to the world. Jesus didn’t instruct the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the world to come to them; he instructed them to go to the world. Though our going will look different from that of those first disciples, the command still stands.

-- Bryan Collier in The Go-To Church: Post MegaChurch Growth (Abingdon Press, 2013)


#3513

Friday, September 19, 2014

OFFERING CHRIST

The most mysterious element of the decline of mainline churches is our unwillingness to invite others in a gentle, authentic, and natural way. It's as if we believe that what we have experienced in our faith journey is of no value. Somewhere the movement characterized by "go to" instincts settled into a "come to" church, and the deliberate, searching, seeking, sharing, outward-focused quality of discipleship quieted into a restrained passivity that waits for people to find us. We have developed an attitude that says, "Let those who know nothing of God's love come to their senses and show up at our place on Sunday morning." We can do better.

The initiating and invitational posture is essential to discipleship. Invitation complete us --  there are depths of the inner life that remain beyond our experience without offering Christ. The receptivity that opens us to God leads us to encourage, welcome, and support others. Invitation continues God's love. In us, the Word becomes flesh once more.

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


#3512