10 Quotes From “Shaken”

shakenTim Tebow explores what happens when your nice, neat world is shaken by the unexpected. It’s a phenomenally encouraging book! Check out my book review by clicking here. Then enjoy these quotes from Shaken.

“Sure, God loves the world, but He also loves each one of us individually. With billions of people on the planet, I know it can be hard to comprehend His love for us personally. God is infinite and focuses all of His love on you and me. He can’t spread Himself too thin. He cannot exhaust Himself. He cannot overextend Himself. And so every single person on the planet is the object of His love.”

“God can do a lot with what we think is a little. He can take something that can be described as ‘insignificant’ or ‘not enough’ or ‘small’ or ‘meaningless’ and use it to perform a miracle.”

“There will always be people in your life who will underestimate your potential, saying that you’ll never reach your dream or make that goal, or try to hold you back in some way. … Here’s the good news. What God knows about us is more important than what others think.”

“Being normal is safe. And easy. It doesn’t require much work or effort or change on our part. But it always leads to mediocrity. When we strive to be just like everyone else, we never have a chance to be special. When you start to embrace and even celebrate how special and different God made you, you can begin to do extraordinary things. You can begin to see yourself through His eyes. You can begin to live in the uniqueness with which you were created. You can be motivated and inspired to go against the grain. What does that mean? When everyone around you is picking on someone, stand up for that person. When everyone around you is using foul language, say kind things. When you see injustice and everyone else turns a blind eye, try to make it right.”

“Don’t get beat down by the stares, whispers, or obnoxious opinions of others who points out how different you are, look, or act. They don’t know God’s plan for your life. They don’t know how God can use what they may view as a weakness. If you focus on how much you hate those scars or those burns, you might missed the opportunity to encourage or inspire someone else who is going through a similar journey. … When you begin to accept how God purposely created you, you can begin to appreciate your uniqueness and allow Him to use those gifts.”

“While self-confidence is important and we should believe we can achieve great things, there must be a balance. We must be proud of our accomplishments without letting them define us.”

“When is the last time you did something different? Something beyond your comfort zone? Something that wasn’t familiar but could do a world of good in the life of another? When you stay put in your comfort zone, you don’t grow. You don’t stretch. You’re not challenged. You stay the same.”

“The stand you take may not be the biggest deal to the entire world, but it can be a big deal for one person. … A stand doesn’t always mean doing something radical. Sometimes God will use something you’ve always done in a way that’s bigger than you can imagine. Sometimes He’ll use something He puts on your heart, or maybe He’ll use your convictions, your search for the truth, your desire to do the right thing for a greater purpose.”

“We don’t have to feel led into full-time ministry before we can help the homeless or share a message of hope to someone who may need it. The only qualification necessary is willingness. I know not everyone has the opportunity to visit hospitals or prisons or make wishes come true. But there is always something you can do, even when you’re in a busy season in life. Give someone a hug. Send a text with an inspiring quote. Mail someone a heartfelt card. Donate blood. Tell someone how much you appreciate him or her. If we open our eyes, each day presents us with opportunities to do something kind or nice for someone else.”

“Don’t limit what God can do based on how you limit yourself. Be you, and let God be God.”

Thursdays With Oswald—God’s Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

God’s Plan For Building Spiritual Muscles

     If a man has used his arm only for writing, and then becomes a blacksmith, he will groan for days with the tremendous pain in the deltoid muscle until by practice the time comes when there is no more pain because the muscle has become rightly adjusted to its new work. 

     The same thing happens spiritually, God begins to teach us how to walk and over and over again we begin to howl and complain. May God save us from the continual whine of spiritual babes—“Teach us the same things over and over again, don’t give us the revelations of God which are painful, give us the ‘simple gospel,’ what we have always believed, don’t tell us of things we have never thought about before, because that causes pain” (Hebrews 5:12). Of course it does. 

     Thank God there is a pain attached to being saved, the pain of growing until we come to maturity where we can do the work of a son or daughter of God. … 

     Look back over your life in grace, whether long or short, and ask yourself which are the days that have furthered you most in the knowledge of God—the days of sunshine and peace and prosperity? Never! The days of adversity, the days of strain, the days of sudden surprises, the days when the earthly house of this tabernacle was strained to its last limit, those are the days when you learned the meaning of this passion of “Go.” 

From The Philosophy Of Sin

The only way to build physical muscles is to push them beyond their comfort level.

The only way to build physical stamina is to run farther than you have run before.

The only way God can build our spiritual muscles—and our spiritual stamina—is to push us beyond our comfort zone, to challenge us to go deeper and farther than we’ve gone before. Don’t push Him away. God loves you too much to leave you where you are!

11 Quotes From “Holy Fire”

Holy FireHoly Fire by R.T. Kendall is an excellent book for dyed-in-the-wool Pentecostals, and for those who believed the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit have ceased. You can read my book review by clicking here. Below are a few quotes I highlighted in this book.

“So if you feel threatened by the Holy Spirit, is it because you are happily in your comfort zone? Are you afraid of what the Holy Spirit might do to you? What He would require of you? What He might ask you to do? Do you think you will lose something if you make yourself vulnerable and totally open to Him? Are you afraid He will embarrass you? Do you think you will lose your identity? Do you think you might have to change?”

“The canon of Holy Scripture is closed. It is final. Absolute. Incontrovertible. It is God’s complete and final revelation. No word that will come in the future will be equal to the Bible in level of inspiration. This means that any leading, prophetic word, word of knowledge, or vision one may have today must cohere with Holy Scripture. If it doesn’t, it must be rejected.”

“The Holy Spirit is our best and only reliable Teacher. In fact, He is the only Teacher who matters. Whatever teaching you hear or read (including this book)—whoever the preacher or teacher, if the Spirit does not apply it and witness it to your heart (which He is most capable of doing), you should learn to hold that teaching in abeyance—if not dismiss it.” 

“The Spirit ‘guides’ us into truth—showing what is there but what cannot be seen without Him opening our eyes. It is humbling for prideful people to admit to the need of the Holy Spirit. The cost? Our pride being shattered. But once we are broken and enabled to see our stubbornness, the Spirit will show us amazing things—in Scripture.”

“The Holy Spirit leads us to praise the Lord Jesus as He deserves.” 

“Don’t come short of discovering how real God is because some well-meaning person says this kind of relationship with God is not possible today.”

“Unbelief is doubt that degenerates to a conscious act of the will. … But when we consciously decide that God did not say what He did—and we can do it better; or that He is not going to keep His word—or manifest Himself, and then put ourselves above His Word, we cross over a line. This is dangerous stuff.” 

“Do you know the context of Hebrews 13:8? Verses 7 and 9 point to one thing: sound teaching. … Whereas we have a perfect right to apply Hebrews 13:8 against cessationist teaching, the immediate context refers to doctrine. Sound theology. The writer wanted the teaching of Jesus to remain the same yesterday and today and forever. Knowing His Word and His ways.”

“What if God in some cases keeps some skeptics from seeing the miraculous even though it actually takes place? What if miracles are largely for those believers in God’s family who have accepted the stigma of being ‘outside the camp’ (Hebrews 13:13)? After all, why didn’t the resurrected Christ appear to everybody on Easter Sunday? One might choose to argue that this would have been a reasonable thing to do if God truly wanted everybody to believe on His Son. Why did Jesus reveal Himself only to a few? Why didn’t Jesus knock on Pontius Pilate’s door on Easter morning and say, ‘Surprise!’? Why didn’t Jesus go straight from the empty tomb to Herod’s palace and say, ‘Bet you weren’t expecting Me!’ He appeared only to a few—those who were His faithful followers. I also suspect that God sometimes allows just a little bit of doubt when it comes to the objective proof of the miraculous. This keeps us humbled. And sobered.” 

“The Holy Spirit can therefore be quenched by a doctrine that does not allow for Him to show up. … It also seems to me that one of the more serious fallouts of being a cessationist is that it can eliminate any expectancy for God to work powerfully in our hearts and lives. One may become too content with his or her sheer intellectual grasp of the gospel. The consequence is that we don’t even consider—much less expect—that God will manifest His power in our lives.”

“This to me is serious—and a very precarious position to take, namely, ruling out categorically the possibility of God manifesting His glory in signs and wonders today and deleting a great portion of the Bible for today. Consider how much the Bible has to say about God’s power. Healing. Signs and wonders. Revelation of truth by the Holy Spirit. Consider what is left in Holy Scripture when you rule out the miraculous or the gifts of the Holy Spirit.”

21 Quotes From “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn”

Sometimes You WinAs I mentioned in my book review (which you can read by clicking here), John Maxwell always expands my horizons with his writings. I appreciate his ability to use his own life experiences as well as historical and contemporary examples and writings. So some of my favorite quotes from Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn are from Dr. Maxwell, and some are from others that he quotes. Enjoy!

“I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful, I will not fall from heaven. But a mistake is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder that I am not dealing with facts. When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown.” —Hugh Prather

“Those who profit from adversity possess a spirit of humility and are therefore inclined to make the necessary changes needed to learn from their mistakes, failures, and losses. … When we are focused too much on ourselves, we lose perspective. Humility allows us to regain perspective and see the big picture. … Humility allows us to let go of perfection and keep trying.” —John Maxwell

“Most people spend their entire lives in a fantasy Island called ‘Someday I’ll.’” —Denis Waitley 

“An idealist believes the short-run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short-run determines the long run.” —Sydney J. Harris

“Those things that hurt, instruct.” —Benjamin Franklin

“You can’t grow and learn if your focus is on finding someone else to blame instead of looking at your own shortcomings.” —John Maxwell

“The highest reward for our toil is not what we get for it but what we become by it. … Mistakes are not failures. They are proof that we are making an effort. When we understand that, we can more easily move out of our comfort zone, try something new, and improve. … Improvement demands a commitment to grow long after the mood in which it was made has passed.” —John Maxwell 

“Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” —Andrew Wood

“The main trouble with despair is that it is self-fulfilling. People who fear the worst tend to invite it. Heads that are down can’t scan the horizon for new openings. Bursts of energy do not spring from a spirit of defeat. Ultimately, helplessness leads to hopelessness.” —Norman Cousins

“Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing.” —John Maxwell

“When you are influential and highly respected, people tend to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. They are seeking your approval, or they flatter you. Unfortunately, this creates a gap between what you hear and reality. If you find yourself in that situation, you will need to work extra hard to get the people close to you to speak honestly into your life. And you will have to become highly intentional in observing and listening.” —John Maxwell 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would have preferred to talk.” —Doug Larson

“Circumstances are the rulers of the weak; but they are the instruments of the wise.” —Samuel Lover 

“Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience.” —Denis Waitley

“Ninety percent of those who fail are not actually defeated; they simply quit. … As you face bad experiences, it’s important for you to remember that you can rarely see the benefits while you’re in the midst of them. You usually gain perspective on the other side of it.” —John Maxwell 

“Most people would rather change their circumstances to improve their lives when instead they need to change themselves to improve their circumstances. They put in just enough effort to distance themselves from their problems without ever trying to go after the root, which can often be found in themselves. Because they don’t try to change the source of their problems, their problems keep coming back at them.” —John Maxwell

“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.” —Alan Cohen

“If I had my life to live over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” —Tallulah Bankhead

“Maturity is doing what you are supposed to be doing, when you’re supposed to be doing it, no matter how you feel.” —Dom Capers 

“Have you not succeeded? Continue! Have you succeeded? Continue!” —Fridtjof Nansen, Nobel Peace Prize winner

“How we think when we lose determines how long it will be until we win.” —G.K. Chesterton

The Big Ask

Tonight in our Impact! Youth service we are wrapping up a great series called “Bigger Than Me.” We’ve been challenging our youth to look out from themselves and see the big world around them. This has been an amazing series and I’ve been so excited to see so many students step out in a big way. You can read more here and here.

But tonight is the big ask. Tonight I’m going to challenge our students to make a commitment that’s going to hit them in a really sensitive area — their wallets. We’re going to present the opportunity to confront a real need in a very practical way: by giving money. Not just once, but every month.

Here’s the way the Apostle James laid it on the line —

Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup — where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

Here’s how you can be involved:

  1. Pray for me that I can present the big ask in a compelling way.
  2. Pray for our students that they’ll be moved to respond.
  3. Check out my blog tomorrow for an update on tonight’s response, and to see how you can help too.

I can hardly wait!

UnZone

UnZone

We kicked off our Bigger Than Me series last night talking about one of my favorite Bible stories where Jonathan and his armor-bearer pick a fight with the Philistines.

What I love about this story is the contrast between Jonathan and his father Saul. King Saul was enjoying life as the king, hanging out with his friends, sitting under a pomegranate tree, far away from his enemies. Life was good for Saul, life was familiar and risk-free. Saul was living in his comfort zone.

But the comfort zone is a lousy place to stay. In the comfort zone you only tell stories, but never live an adventure. In the comfort zone you only hear about what God has done for others. But Jonathan wasn’t willing to stay in this comfort zone.

Jonathan stepped out into The UnZone. He went into unfamiliar territory, with an unusual battle strategy, and uncertain results. Jonathan said, “Perhaps God will help us.” But he didn’t stop there. Jonathan quickly added, “I don’t know how, but I know God can come through.”

After Jonathan stepped out of his comfort zone into The UnZone, God not only gave him a victory, but encouraged the entire Israelite army. This never would have happened if Jonathan had stayed in his comfort zone.

In The UnZone you don’t just tell stories, you live adventures.

In The UnZone you don’t just hear about God’s power, you experience it firsthand.

I challenged our youth group last night to step out of their comfort zones and into The UnZone. How cool it was to see all of the uncomfortable, unfamiliar, uncertain, unusual things they wrote down on their UnZone cards and tacked up on our bulletin board. I’m looking forward to seeing our bulletin board covered with these cards over the next few weeks.

What about you? What comfort zone is God calling you out of? What UnZone do you need to step into? The Apostle Paul said, “When I am weak then I am strong.” In other words, “When I step into my UnZone, I step into God’s Strength Zone.”

The UnZone is a great place to live, so step out today.

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