Friday, September 28, 2012

TRAVELING COMPANIONS

As we follow Christ in the company of other Christians, we implicitly make a public commitment among people we respect and care for and who respect and care for us.  Those who share our journey comfort us, provoke us, remind us, sympathize with us, confront us, and pray for us.  The Holy Spirit uses them to draw us further along toward Christ. 

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


#3076

Thursday, September 27, 2012

GODLY LEADERS

A Godly Leader…
finds strength by realizing his/her weakness,
finds authority by being under authority,
finds direction by laying down his/her plans,
finds vision by seeing the needs of others,
finds credibility by being an example,
finds loyalty by expressing compassion,
finds honor by being faithful,
finds greatness by being a servant. 

-- Roy Lessin


#3075

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CLARITY IN CHRIST

It’s important to say right here that when I speak of worship… Jesus is my focus. I don’t know a generic God who has no son, or a God or gods of any other religion or spirituality. Christianity is my purpose. It’s what I want others to know about and experience.

In this postmodern age, we all need more clarity about who Christ is in our lives, not less… Clarity is not tantamount to judgment. Clarity is simply being comfortable with who you are as a Christ follower. My own journey has brought me to that place of clarity in Christ, and that’s what I have to give away to others. 

-- Cathy Townley in Missional Worship


#3074

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

THE ONE AND ONLY CHURCH

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV)

I can't help but wonder how God feels when two bodies of the one and only Church stand side by side a stone's throw from one another. They have separate programs and if the truth is known many "members" probably feel they are right and their neighbor is wrong. The bickering between denominations must bring a tear to the eyes of the one that died for us all. We fight and bicker and the lost sinner drowns in a river of disbelief because we have allowed the worldly attitude of "I am right and you are wrong" to penetrate to the one and only Church. Sadly we see this happening in communities all over our world. I don't believe that is God's plan for His one and only Church…

What would happen if an entire community dropped the denominational differences and really came together to pray for the lost? We would all need to build bigger buildings. I don't think we can expect the community to have only one local body but I do believe we can learn to work together for Christ. 

-- Pastor Gary Stone


#3073

Monday, September 24, 2012

SOMEBODY'S GONNA FALL

A friend of mine has a unique perspective on temptation. He says there have only been two temptation stories since the beginning of time. The temptation of the first Adam in the Garden led to the fall of man. And the temptation of the second Adam, Jesus Christ, led to Satan's fall. All temptation, he says, will conclude with one or the other. Either we will fall, as Adam fell, or we will stand, as Jesus stood, and see Satan fall.

Temptation is always a shortcut. It's Satan's way of offering you now what God wants to give you later on. What he doesn't tell you is the cost -- and the consequences. 

-- Ron Mehl in Just in Case I Can't Be There


#3072

Friday, September 21, 2012

SUBSTITUTE SACREDS

A society that denies the supernatural usually ends up elevating the natural to supernatural status.  Annie Dillard tells of experiments in which entomologists entice male butterflies with a painted cardboard replica larger and more enticing than the females of their species.  Excited, the male butterfly mounts the piece of cardboard; again and again he mounts it. "Nearby, the real, living female butterfly opens and closes her wings in vain."

C. S. Lewis uses the phrase "sweet poison of the false infinite" to describe this same tendency in the human species.  We allow substitute sacreds, or false infinites, to fill the vacuum of our disenchanted world.

-- Philip Yancey in Rumors of Another World


#3071

Thursday, September 20, 2012

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

Sometimes the existence of God would turn out to be -- borrowing a phrase from former U.S. Vice President Al Gore  -- "an inconvenient truth." I liked Denny, but I couldn't figure out why he kept wanting to meet. He was a large man, a construction guy, and I was a little intimidated. He wanted to talk about God, so we did, and he asked one difficult question after another about faith -- one tough intellectual issue after another. We would talk each one through to as much resolution as we could get, and he would always bring up another one. Finally, I asked him, "If all of these issues were settled, if every intellectual barrier you raised were dismantled, is there anything else besides all this intellectual stuff that would hold you back from following Jesus?"

There was a long silence. Denny did not like the question. It turned out that he was involved in sexual behavior that he knew was not honoring to God and that, if he were to become a follower of Jesus, would have to change. He didn't want to change. His mind caused him to find all kinds of objections, but the reality was that he did not want it to be true. He was afraid of what he would have to do if it were.

-- John Ortberg in Faith & Doubt


#3070

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

LIBERATING CONFESSION

The dialogue with God which begins with the confession of one's own failures is not depressing; it is liberating.  At last, perhaps even for the first time, we have been honest with ourselves about what we are; and we have been honest with the one Person before whom there is no deception.

-- Emilie Griffin


#3069

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

REMEMBERING

The goal of the grieving process is not recovery but putting the person who was lost into such an appropriate place in our memory that our hope for the future is intensified, while life on earth is more deeply felt and experienced. This means that the goal of grief is not to forget, but to remember the one lost.

-- Liam and Precious Atchison in Grief (An Institute of Biblical Counseling Discussion Guide)


#3068

Monday, September 17, 2012

REKINDLE OUR PASSION

Dear God, too many of us tend to live mediocre and passionless spiritual lives. Rekindle our passion for you today, Lord. Enter our minds and hearts with refreshing impact. Stir us in such a way that we become anxious to live with meaning and in the context of your victorious love. Amen.

-- Derek Maul in Get Real: A Spiritual Journey for Men Leader's Guide


#3067

Friday, September 14, 2012

TWO PARTS

"Of the whole Scripture there are two parts: the law and the gospel," said Philip Melanchton.  "The law indicates the sickness, the gospel the remedy." 

-- Philip Yancey in The Bible Jesus Read


#3066

Thursday, September 13, 2012

THE LAW OF THE LORD

"The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple." (Psalm 19:7)

Moral law is more than a test; it is for man's own good. Every law that God has given has been for man's benefit. If man breaks it, he is not only rebelling against God; he is hurting himself.

-- Billy Graham


#3065

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

KNOWING GOD, KNOWING SELF

"And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know You,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom You sent." (John 17:3 MSG)

It is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God's face and then descends from contemplating Him to scrutinizing himself.

-- John Calvin


#3064

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A WALKING MIRACLE

On September 11, 2001 Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell (from U.S. Army Headquarters) had just stepped into a Pentagon hallway when the fireball from the hijacked plane hit him. After recovering from the initial shock, Birdwell realized he was on fire. "Jesus, I'm coming to see you," he remembers praying.

When doctors finally attended to him at the Washington Burn Center, they found second-and third-degree burns over 40 percent of Birdwell's body. To save him, they performed several skin graft operations.

Birdwell lives now with renewed purpose. "I'm a walking miracle. Christ got me out of the fire. In Him not taking me, that means I have a mission to complete. He'll tell me what it is in due time." 

-- Steve Gertz from the U.S. News & World Report

Editor's note: This September 11 Remembrance quote was first shared in SOUND BITES four years ago. To see how God has been using Brian Birdwell in these years since the attack, visit his web site at www.facethefire.org.


#3063

Monday, September 10, 2012

FOLLOWING CHRIST WILL CHANGE YOU

To find and follow Christ and to serve Him -- that is fruitful living…

When Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), He was not speaking arrogantly, egotistically, or narrow-mindedly. He was expressing a genuine desire to turn us, to redirect us away from things that do not satisfy and toward the things that cause us to come alive. The time given to us on this earth is infinitesimally small compared to time itself, and so He desires for us to live it richly… He invites us. He wants us to flourish.

To be a follower of Jesus is to take this path, to step by step grow into the life that really is life. God through Christ reveals the way, invites us along, and walks with us. Following Christ will change you; and through you, God will change the world. 

-- Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Living


#3062

Friday, September 7, 2012

NEW CHAPTERS IN OUR LIVES

New chapters in our lives often begin with an orientation. You go through an orientation when you start at a new school or get a new job. But God begins new chapters in our lives via disorientation. Jesus didn't do orientations. Jesus did disorientations. Doesn't it seem like His disciples were in a constant state of disorientation? We think it's because of their spiritual immaturity, but maybe it models the way God makes disciples. Sometimes God needs to disorient us so He can reorient us. 

-- Mark Batterson in Chasing the Wild Goose: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God


#3061

Thursday, September 6, 2012

PROMOTING GROWTH

"So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing."  (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT)

Our words can promote growth by wrapping others in a cocoon of love and hope.

-- Gary Smalley and John Trent


#3060

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BLESSED ASSURANCE

"Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life."  (1 John 5:12-13 NIV)

What is unique about the kingdom of God is that you are assured of victory.  You have won!  You are assured that you will someday stand before the face of God and see the King of kings.  You are assured that someday you will enter a world where there will be no more pain, no more tears, no more sorrow. 

-- Max Lucado


#3059

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

TALKING ABOUT OTHERS

"There is joy for those who deal justly with others and always do what is right." (Psalm 106:3 NIV)

You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.

-- Leo Aikman
 
 
#3058