Tuesday, September 30, 2014


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


Wednesday, September 24, 2014


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


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


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


Monday, September 22, 2014


“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)


Friday, September 19, 2014


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


Thursday, September 18, 2014


The majesty, magnificence, and might of God are far beyond description. No human language has words that are adequate to articulate who He is. He exists beyond the reach of time and space and inhabits eternity. Poets, artists, composers, and authors all attempt to put words and pictures around this awesome God, but even their best efforts fall woefully short. Psalm 148:13 says, “Let them praise the name of God -- it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky.” (The Message) “His radiance exceeds ANYTHING in earth and sky.” Isn’t that a relief? We praise God because He is bigger than we can understand.

-- Kay Warren in Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thess 4:13 NRSV).

When I was a young minister, a person informed me that Christians do not grieve. He said grief showed a lack of faith. He used this verse as his proof text, which he quoted this way: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve.” It's amazing how we can make the Bible say what we want by stopping where we like. Paul acknowledged that Christians grieve the death of loved ones. However, Christian grief is hope-saturated. It is not the hopeless grief borne by those outside of Christ.

-- Craig Loscalzo


Tuesday, September 16, 2014


"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly…" (Colossians 15a, 16a NIV)

Colossians 3:15 could be translated "Let the peace of Christ act as a referee in your hearts…" When a player breaks a rule in a football game, the referee blows his whistle to stop the play and make the necessary adjustments before the game can continue. A lack of peace about either large decisions or daily choices is like a referee blowing a whistle. It means you should stop before you move ahead to find out what's wrong -- to discern why you have this lack of peace, this conflict in your heart or with other people. To do this consistently, ask God to make you aware of your feelings and how you affect others. And be willing to slow down and take note of what God is saying to you.

-- Warren and Ruth Myers in Discovering God's Will


Monday, September 15, 2014


Jesus said, "And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven." (Luke 24:49 NIV)

A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live out the situation to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us... Patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there... nurturing the moment.

-- Henri J.M. Nouwen in an article titled "A Spirituality of Waiting"


Friday, September 12, 2014


But how is [one] to be united to God? How is it possible for us to be taken into the three-Personal life?

…We are not begotten by God, we are only made by Him: in our natural state we are not [children] of God, only (so to speak) statues. We have not got Zoe or spiritual life: only Bios or biological life which is presently going to run down and die. Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always has existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be [children] of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy [Spirit] will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other [human beings] the kind of life He has -- by what I call ‘good infection’. Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.

-- C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity


Thursday, September 11, 2014


And now, what does it all matter? It matters more than anything else in the world. The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or (putting it the other way round) each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in that dance. There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made. Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection, if you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a [person] is united to God, how could [one] not live forever? Once a [person] is separated from God, what can [one] do but wither and die?

-- C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity


Wednesday, September 10, 2014


"I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, My power is made perfect in you.' So I am very happy to brag about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can live in me."  (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NCV)

God has somehow placed into the Christian's insides a special something, that extra inner reservoir of power that is more than a match for the stuff life throws at us.  When in operation, phenomenal accomplishments are achieved, some things even miraculous.

--  Charles Swindoll in Come before Winter


Tuesday, September 9, 2014


The life that conquers is the life that moves with a steady resolution and persistence toward a predetermined goal. Those who succeed are those who have thoroughly learned the immense importance of plan in life, and the tragic brevity of time.

-- W.J. Davison


Monday, September 8, 2014


Listen to the Christ rather than to the voices of men. Jesus says you can't please men and still be a servant of God. Those who listen and follow Christ will be received into heaven by the pierced hands of the one who knows the freedom of giving up what you cannot own in order to receive what no one can take from you -- eternal life.

-- Max Lucado


Friday, September 5, 2014


"All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)

We must erase the belief that we have to be perfect before we come to Christ, because we can only be perfected through Christ.

-- Charlotte Smith in Sports Spectrum


Thursday, September 4, 2014


If mankind's greatest need had been knowledge,
God would have sent us an educator.
If mankind's greatest need had been physical health,
God would have sent us a doctor.
If mankind's greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an entrepreneur.
If mankind's greatest need had been excitement,
God would have sent us an entertainer.
But mankind's greatest need was forgiveness,
so God sent us a Savior.

-- Roy Lessin, adapted


Wednesday, September 3, 2014


"Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him." (Revelation 1:7 NIV)

Every person on earth will see our Lord when once more He descends to our planet. He will return personally, suddenly, visibly, loudly, with a cry of command and a blast of God's trumpet. It will be the most amazing and wonderful sight human eyes have ever looked on -- the dazzling, brilliant, awesome splendor of our Lord Jesus Christ in His glory and His Father's glory, and the glory of the holy angels.

-- Warren and Ruth Myers in Discovering God's Will


Tuesday, September 2, 2014


At the beginning of our life with God, we are aware of a gap between God and us, separation from God because of sin.

We come to understand that we cannot bridge this gap by our efforts or good behavior.  We cannot earn God’s love and forgiveness; it comes only by God’s grace.  Salvation is given by the grace of God, achieved through the power of God, offered through the Spirit of God, and made secure by the promise of God.  And so we commit our life to God.

But there is still a gap.

Now the gap is between the me I am right now and the me I’m meant to be -- “current me” and “sanctified me.”  But here’s the problem:  People think it is our job to bridge that gap by our effort.  But we can’t.  This gap, too, can only be bridged by grace.  Self-improvement is no more God’s plan than self-salvation.  God’s plan is not just for us to be saved by grace -- it is for us to live by grace.  God’s plan is for my daily life to be given, guided, guarded, and energized by the grace of God.  To live in grace is to flow in the Spirit.

-- John Ortberg in The Me I Want To Be