Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Do you want to be a positive influence in the world? First, get your own life in order. Ground yourself in the single principle so that your behavior is wholesome and effective. If you do that, you will earn respect and be a powerful influence. Your behavior influences others through a ripple effect. A ripple effect works because everyone influences everyone else. Powerful people are powerful influences. If your life works, you influence your family. If your family works, your family influences the community. If your community works, your community influences the nation. If your nation works, your nation influences the world. Remember that your influence begins with you and ripples outward. So be sure that your influence is both potent and wholesome. How do I know that this works? All growth spreads outward from a fertile and potent nucleus. You are a nucleus. 

-- John Heider


Monday, July 30, 2012


Baseball is temporary. All this stuff, putting up numbers and such is temporary. If you invest your life into worldly things, you’re going to be left unhappy. As good as yesterday’s game was -- two home runs and you’re on top of the world -- three days later you might strike out three times and the game’s over. It’s a roller coaster. But God’s love is everlasting. That’s what... I try to tell kids. That can never be taken away from you.

You better invest your life into those kind of things if you truly want happiness, because you’re not going to find happiness in baseball or your job or anything else. God is the only One who will never let you down.

-- Jeff Francoeur, MLB player, in Sports Spectrum


Friday, July 27, 2012


"Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle." (Psalm 144:1)

Olympic archer, Jennifer Nichols, 28, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, is a devout Christian from Texas who is intent on winning a Gold medal in the upcoming games in London.

"I take comfort in knowing that I'm here because the Lord brought me here and…I'm glad to be able to do offer whatever I can to be able to glorify the Lord in what I do," said Nichols.

"I memorize a lot of Scripture to recite while I'm shooting," she adds. "I carry a little book in my quiver that has Bible verses in it that I memorize as I'm walking back and forth to the target. And sometimes I'll recite them while I'm on the line shooting. It plays a large part."

-- Teresa Neumann


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Which athlete would you say is more likely to win a medal at the Olympics: One who practices once a week, doesn't think he needs a coach, and has all the training equipment that is needed, but in unused, pristine shape, or one who has a daily discipline, relies on her coach, and has well-worn equipment? The answer is obvious. But when we apply the example to the spiritual life I'm afraid that too many of us think that once-a-week spiritual exercise is enough and that the Bible must be kept in pristine shape and left on the bookshelf where it won't get worn out. What if we sought Christ the way the Olympians seek gold. We would have a daily spiritual discipline of prayer and Bible study, a spiritual coach that we trust and rely on to help us over the hurdles of life, and a regular place where we can practice our faith in witness and mission to others.

-- Rev. David T. Wilkinson


Wednesday, July 25, 2012


In saying God is there, we are saying God exists, and not just talking about the word God, or the idea God. We are speaking of the proper relationship to the living God who exists.  In order to understand the problems of our generation, we should be very alive to this distinction.  Semantics (linguistic analysis) makes up the heart of modern philosophical study in the Anglo-Saxon world.  Though the Christian cannot accept this study as a total philosophy, there is no reason why he should not be glad for the concept that words need to be defined before they can be used in communication.  As Christians, we must understand that there is no word so meaningless as the word "god" until it is defined. No word has been used to reach absolutely opposite concepts as much as the word "god".  Consequently, let us not be confused. There is much "spirituality" about us today that would relate itself to the word god or to the idea god; but this is not what we are talking about.  Biblical truth and spirituality is not a relationship to the word god, or to the idea god.  It is a relationship to the One who is there, which is an entirely different concept.

-- Francis A. Schaeffer in The God Who is There


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


The 1981 movie Chariots of Fire portrays the true story of Eric Liddell, a man who competed for Great Britain in the 1924 Olympics before becoming a missionary. One memorable scene that appeared to be Hollywood fiction, actually happened. A year before the Olympic showdown, Liddell ran in a meet between England, Ireland, and Scotland. In the 440-yard event, moments after the gun sounded, Liddell tangled feet with J.J. Gillies of England and tumbled to the track. Dazed, Liddell sat there, not knowing whether he could get up, when the official screamed, "Get up and run!" He jumped to his feet and pursued the pack, now a full twenty yards ahead of him. With forty yards to go, he pulled into third place, then second. Right at the tape he passed Gillies, stuck his chest out, won the race, collapsing in total exhaustion.

The next day The Scotsman newspaper reported, "The circumstances in which Liddell won the race made it a performance bordering on the miraculous." Some described it as "the greatest track performance they had ever seen."

Some of you have been knocked down by foolish decisions, by a person, or even Satan himself. When we're down on the track, we're ashamed and depressed. The only real shame is to stay down. God's word compels you, "Get up and run!" Forget what lies behind and run for the prize God has waiting for you. 

-- Craig Brian Larson in "Leadership Weekly"


Friday, July 20, 2012


"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2-4 MSG)

Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit. 

-- M. Scott Peck, M.D.


Thursday, July 19, 2012


We love orthodoxy.  It is good.  It is the best.  It is the clean, clear cut teaching of God's Word, the trophies won by truth in its conflict with error, the levees which faith has raised against the desolating floods of honest or reckless misbelief or unbelief; but orthodoxy, clear and hard as crystal, suspicious and militant, may be but the letter well shaped, well named, and well learned, the letter which kills. Nothing is so dead as a dead orthodoxy -- too dead to speculate, too dead to think, to study, or to pray. 

-- E. M. Bounds in Power Through Prayer


Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Many of us have a warehouse full of reasons why we are less than what Christ calls us to be. We often say that Jesus is first in our lives, but in reality he comes after careers, relationships, clubs, golf outings, band practice, football, baseball, soccer, and even yard work. That is why I am convinced that most people in the church today are following a Jesus of their imagination and not the risen Lord of the universe.

-- Michael Slaughter in Beyond Playing Church


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority."  (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV)

That you cannot have Christian principles without Christ is becoming increasingly clear [in the world today], because their validity as principles depends on Christ's authority.

-- Dorothy L. Sayers (1893-1957)


Monday, July 16, 2012


To encounter Christ is to touch reality and experience transcendence. He gives us a sense of self-worth or personal significance, because He assures us of God’s love for us. He sets us free from guilt because He died for us, from the prison of our own self-centeredness by the power of His resurrection, and from paralyzing fear because He reigns... He gives meaning to marriage and home, work and leisure, personhood and citizenship.

-- John Stott in Between Two Worlds


Friday, July 13, 2012


A wedding is an event. A marriage is a lifetime achievement. The secret of a successful marriage after the wedding day is to have the same selfless spirit that Jesus Christ had, one that honors the mate, that lifts the mate up and desires what's best for him/her.

-- Unknown


Thursday, July 12, 2012


Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.

-- Mother Teresa


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


A sculptor was asked how he could carve a lion's head out of a large block of marble. "I just chip away everything that doesn't look like a lion's head," was his reply. God works away in our being and chips away everything that doesn't look like Christ -- the impatience, the short temper, the pride, the emotional drives that lead us away from our Father. He's shaping us into His image. That's His predetermined plan. And He's committed to it. Nothing we can do will dissuade Him from that plan. He stays at it. He is relentless. And He never runs out of creative ideas.

-- Charles R. Swindoll in The Mystery of God's Will


Tuesday, July 10, 2012


"For God in all His fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through Him God reconciled
everything to Himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross."  (Colossians 1:19-20 NLT)

Peace comes when there is no cloud between us and God.  Peace is the consequence of forgiveness, God's removal of that which obscures His face and so breaks union with Him.  The happy sequence culminating in fellowship with God is penitence, pardon, and peace -- the first we offer, the second we accept, the third we inherit.

-- Charles H. Brent


Monday, July 9, 2012


"…for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b)

Author Paul Thigpen defines joy as "the sense of delight that arises within us in the presence of someone or something we love." He goes on to say, "Joy depends not on our acquisition of something, but rather on our encounter with something." I'd say Someone -- a Someone who renews us every day.

To be more joyful, I need to drink in God's presence. When I spend more time in his Word, He reveals more of what I need for joy. 

-- Carole Mayhall in Today's Christian Woman, March/April 1998


Friday, July 6, 2012


We need the freedom to discover how God wants us to grow, for His design will not look quite the same for everyone. Perhaps God speaks to us in special ways through nature. Perhaps He made us to be formed by music. We may have an above-average capacity for silence and prayer. Or we might respond most strongly to images, symbols, and the fine arts. C.S. Lewis once surmised that each person is created to see a different facet of God's beauty -- something no one else can see in quite the same way -- and then to bless all worshipers through all eternity with an aspect of God they could not otherwise see. 

-- John Ortberg in The Life You've Always Wanted


Thursday, July 5, 2012


Sometimes in leaning over to speak to the modern world, I fear that we may have fallen in! When, in our sermons, we sought to use our sermons to build a bridge from the old world of the Bible to the new modern world, the traffic was only moving in one direction on that interpretive bridge. It was always the modern world rummaging about in Scripture, saying things like "This relates to me," or, "I'm sorry, this is really impractical," or, "I really can't make sense out of that." It was always the modern world telling the Bible what's what.

I don't believe that the Bible wants to "speak to the modern world." Rather, I think the Bible wants to change, convert the modern world…

Too often Christians have treated the modern world as if it is an unalterable fact, a reality to which we were obligated to adjust and adapt, rather than a point of view with which we might argue…

The point is not to speak to the culture. The point is to change it. 

-- Excerpted from U. M. Bishop William H. Willimon's weekly e-mail message, 11/5/07


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on His law day and night." (Psalm 1:1-2)

Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, thinking over, dwelling on, and applying to oneself the various things one knows about the works and ways and purpose and promises of God.

It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communication with God.

Its purpose is to clear one's mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one's mind and heart. 

-- J. I. Packer in Knowing God