Thursday, September 30, 2010

The great danger facing all of us

The great danger facing all of us… is not that we shall make an absolute failure of life, nor that we shall fall into outright viciousness, nor that we shall be terribly unhappy, nor that we shall feel [that] life has no meaning at all—not these things. The danger is that we may fail to perceive life’s greatest meaning, fall short of its highest good, miss its deepest and most abiding happiness, be unable to tender the most needed service, be unconscious of life ablaze with the light of the Presence of God—and be content to have it so—that is the danger: that some day we may wake up and find that always we have been busy with husks and trappings of life and have really missed life itself. For life without God, to one who has known the richness and joy of life with Him, is unthinkable, impossible. That is what one prays one’s friends may be spared—satisfaction with a life that falls short of the best, that has in it no tingle or thrill that comes from a friendship with the Father.

--Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Sermons [1878]

Friday, September 24, 2010

He will not rule people with laws

“There are laws enough in the world, more than people can keep. The state, fathers and mothers, schoolmasters, and law enforcement persons all exist to rule according to laws. But the Lord Christ says, 'I have not come to judge, to bite, to grumble, and to condemn people. The world is too much condemned. Therefore I will not rule people with laws. I have come that through my ministry and my death I may give help to all who are lost and may release and set free those who are overburdened with laws, with judgments, and with condemnation.'"

-Martin Luther
(Taken from his sermon on John 3, WA 47:27)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Leaving virtue, embracing grace

"Christianity is not the move from vice to virtue, but rather the move from virtue to grace."

-Gerhard Forde

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Emmanuel ... "God With Us"

I realized that rather than focusing my ministry on trying to get more people to change more of their circumstances to do more for God, what I really want to do, and what I think my core calling should be in ministry, is helping people get a vision of life with God.
- Skye Jethani

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Including Christ vs According to Christ

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary spirits of the world, and not according to Christ". (Colossians 2:8)

What is Christian? What makes anything Christian? Not that it has to do with theology, not that it has to do with ministry, not that it has to do with church business, and so forth. What makes anything Christian is that it reflects Christ. It is “according to Christ.”

“We reach the sacred watchword here, and pause to listen to it. ‘Not according to Christ,’ not on His line, not measured by Him, not referred to Him, not so that He is Origin and Way and End and All. The ‘philosophy’ in question would assuredly include Him somehow in its terms. But it would not be ‘according to Him.’ It would take its first principles and draw its inferences, a priori and from other regions, and then bring Him in as something to be harmonized and assimilated, as far as might be. But this would mean a Christ according to the system of thought, not a system of thought according to the blessed Christ. . . . It must have Him for Alpha and for Omega, and for all the alphabet between. It must be dominated all over by Him.”

H. C. G. Moule, Colossians and Philemon Studies, pages 142-143.

--Ray Ortlund, also quoting H.C.G. Moule
Source: here

Saturday, September 4, 2010

You can't fix this, so I have to fix it for you

More than just duty or doctrine:

The simplest thing ... to look at a passage and not simply say, "What duty or doctrine is here." If you didn't approach [the gospel] with just those glasses on, but put on another set of lenses. And you said, "What is the human dilemma here." What is the aspect of our falleness that the Holy Spirit is addressing in this place. And how is God showing us that He fixes the problem. He's not just saying to people, "You be better and I'll love you." Or, "You can fix this because you're able." He's actually over and over again saying in His word, "you can't fix this, so I have to fix it for you." So if we look at the text and we just begin by saying, "What's the human dilemma, what's the burden, what's the fallen condition that requires a divine solution?" And just those two questions, "What's the fallen condition? What's the divine solution?", will begin to have us see a biblical text for more than just behaviors or knowledge. We'll actually begin seeing redemptive truth that's there, that's teaching us what our situation is, but more, how God is redemptively providing our way out of that situation.

-- Bryan Chapell