Links & Quotes

link quote

“Here’s an Advent illustration for kids—and those of us who used to be kids and remember what it was like. Suppose you and your mom get separated in the grocery store, and you start to get scared and panic and don’t know which way to go, and you run to the end of an aisle, and just before you start to cry, you see a shadow on the floor at the end of the aisle that looks just like your mom. It makes you really happy and you feel hope. But which is better? The happiness of seeing the shadow, or having your mom step around the corner and it’s really her? That’s the way it is when Jesus comes to be our High Priest. That’s what Christmas is. Christmas is the replacement of shadows with the real thing.” —John Piper (check out Hebrews 10:1-10)

“God desires to be remembered by man. He has taken unspeakable pains to keep Himself before His creatures, so as to make forgetfulness on their part the greatest of all impossibilities. In everything that God has set before our eyes or ears, He says, Remember Me. In every star, every flower, every mountain, every stream—in every joy, every comfort, every blessing of daily life—God says, Remember Me.” —Horatius Bonar

“God gives us a new revelation of His kindness in the valley of the shadow.” —Oswald Chambers

“Allow yourself one excess: be excessively obedient.” —Francois Fenelon

“satan’s ultimate weapon against us is our own sin. If the death of Jesus takes it away, the chief weapon of the devil is taken out of his hand. He cannot make a case for our death penalty, because the Judge has acquitted us by the death of His Son!” —John Piper

“Without Jesus, we’re trapped in the expectations of others. We’re trapped in living for the approval of our peers. We’re trapped in addictions. We’ve tried to change over and over again, but we don’t have the power needed to escape. Jesus came to give us that power.” —Rick Warren

“Holidays are about history, and if we fail to remember that history or to remind our contemporaries of it, then we will only be confirming their narrow and narcissistic view of ‘history’ as ‘my-story’ and my supposed right to make of my life whatever I will.” —T.M. Moore

John Stonestreet points out the power of hype in our modern culture—Ronda Rousey, Reality TV and Jesus.

Calvary Assembly of God helping the Cedar Springs community see the true meaning of Advent.

Is it really that big of a deal for a Christian to date a non-Christian?

Detroit Tigers fans and New York Yankees fans will enjoy this comparison of Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“The thing required is not to add to the good actions we have already done, but only to do that out of love to God which men of reputation and virtuous lives due from a principle of honor and regard of themselves. …  Let us do all the same honest and virtuous actions, but let us do them for the sake of Him Who made us and to Whom we owe our all.” —Françoise Fenelon

“If, when no one is watching us, we are building ourselves up in the Word of God, then, when a crisis comes, we shall stand; but if we are not building on the Word of God, when a crisis comes we shall go down, no matter what our wills are like.” —Oswald Chambers

“So the issue for us is: Do we eagerly long for the coming of Christ? Or do we want Him to wait while our love affair with the world runs its course?” —John Piper

For all of my pastor friends who have kids, this post from Pastor Dave Barringer is an important read.

Dr. Tim Elmore uses John Wooden as a great example to ask the question: Are You A Coach Or A Teacher?

Have you heard that there are fewer Christians in America? Check out John Stonestreet’s analysis of the latest reports.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell talks about the consistency and perseverance of the professional—

A Sharper Sermon

It’s a lot of work preparing a sermon (and even that is a major understatement!). So if we pastors are going to put all of this effort in, isn’t it right to believe for a great return on that investment?

I’ve got good news and bad news for you—and they’re both the same. Pastor, after all of your hard work preparing your message, there is only one thing you can do: pray.

Sounds simple, right? But if it’s so simple, why are so many church attendees unmoved by the sermons they hear each Sunday (check out this Barna report)?

Here is some good counsel of how we should pray—

“Of what efficacy would be the exterior word of pastors, or even the Scriptures themselves, if we had not within the word of the Holy Spirit giving to the others all their vitality? The outward word, even of the Gospel, without the fecundating, vivifying, interior word would be but an empty sound. ‘It is the letter alone that kills (2 Corinthians 3:6), and the Spirit alone can give us life.’” —Francois Fenelon

“Does anyone of us desire to help the Church of Christ? Then let him pray for a great outpouring of the Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can give edge to sermons, and point to advice, and power to rebukes, and can cast down the high walls of sinful hearts. It is not better preaching, and finer writing that is needed in this day—but more of the presence of the Holy Spirit.” —J.C. Ryle

If I can add my two cents’ worth to these eminent theologians:

  • Pray before you write your sermon
  • Pray while you’re writing your sermon
  • Pray before you deliver your sermon
  • Pray after you deliver your sermon

And then watch what the Holy Spirit does with your sermon!

Can You Hear Him Now?

Wow, my life is busy! Sometimes I feel like a starter’s pistol goes off first thing in the morning, and I’m on a dead sprint all day long.

<BANG!> Get everyone up … get dressed … make breakfast … feed the pets … pack lunches … get everyone out the door on time … work at the church … meetings … errands … En-Gedi Youth Center … after-school activities … grocery store … make dinner … clean up … more meetings … homework … <WHEW!>

That’s why I have made it a long-standing habit to spend some quality quiet time in the morning. It’s time well-spent reading my Bible, sipping some tea, and just listening for God’s unmistakable Voice.

The apostle Paul advised us to study to be quiet (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Make it a habit to tune out the noise and business.

Francois Fenelon said it this way—

“God does not cease to speak, but the noise of the creatures without, and of our passions within, confines us and prevents our hearing. We must silence every creature, including self, that in the deep stillness of the soul we may perceive the ineffable voice of the Bridegroom. We must lend an attentive ear, for His voice is soft and still, and is only heard of those who hear nothing else.”

I hope you will choose to make some time to hear His Voice today, and everyday.

The Pastor And The Holy Spirit

I’m sure I’m not the only pastor that feels occasionally (all right: frequently) overwhelmed by the heavy responsibility of sharing God’s Word with others. After all, the Apostle James said it pretty clearly: Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1).

“Judged more strictly”? Yikes!

But I take great consolation in knowing that if God called me, He will equip me. Just as He did with Jeremiah—The Lord reached out His hand, then He touched my mouth and said, “I am giving you the words to say” (Jeremiah 1:8)—I know He will do for me.

I also draw great confidence in knowing the Holy Spirit is helping me. Check out these words from Francois Fénelon:

“Of what efficacy would be the exterior word of pastors, or even the Scriptures themselves, if we had not within the word of the Holy Spirit giving to others all their vitality? The outward word, even of the Gospel, without the fecundating, vivifying, interior word would be but an empty sound. It is the letter that alone kills (2 Corinthians 3:6), and the Spirit alone can give us life.”

Then A.B. Simpson shares this encouraging story of the Holy Spirit’s help:

“They that possess this power will not always be popular preachers, but they will always be effectual workers. Sometimes the hearer will almost think that they are personal, and that someone has disclosed to them his secret sins. Speaking of such a sermon, one of our most honored evangelists said that he felt so indignant with the preacher under whom he was converted that he waited for some time near the door for the purpose of giving him a trashing for daring to expose him in the way he had done, thinking that someone had informed on him. Let us covet this power. It is the very stamp and seal of the Holy Spirit on a faithful minister.”

YES! I do covet this power of the Holy Spirit in my life. Without His help, I would be fearful to ever open my mouth to speak to others about the things of God.

%d bloggers like this: