Don’t Live Beneath Your Capacity

“The most common cause of living beneath our capacity is that we have chosen to walk alone rather than to walk together. You will never sustain greatness or fulfill your God-given calling if you see people as an obstacle to your destiny rather than as essential to fulfilling God’s purpose in your life. … 

“The truth is, there are relationships that will keep you from the life God created you to live. There are people whom you need to extricate from your life because they pull you back to the person you were rather than forward to the person you must become. Yet this must never blind us to the deeper truth. We were not created to do life alone, and if we want people to be for us, then there need to be people whom we are for. …  

“People don’t slow you down; the wrong people slow you down. When you choose the right people, when you find your people, your life begins to come together in a way that it never could when you walk alone. … 

“When you surround yourself with great people, it elevates who you are. If you want to have great character, surround yourself with people of great character. If you want to take great risks, surround yourself with a tribe of risk takers. If you want to live a life of adventure, then choose a tribe that makes life an adventure. You will become who you walk with. So imagine the implications if you decide to walk with Jesus.” —Erwin McManus, in The Last Arrow

You can check out my review of The Last Arrow by clicking here. You can also check out some other quotes I’ve shared from this book here.

Bricks And Rungs (book review)

T.M. Moore is a first-rate theologian, so everything he writes is well-grounded in Scripture. However, when most people think of “theology,” they think of a lifeless treatise that is boring to read, or perhaps difficult to grasp. But T.M. totally shakes things up in Bricks And Rungs with rock-solid theology presented in beautiful poetic verse.

Bricks And Rungs is all about finding our purpose or calling in life. T.M. says—

“Most people have a sense of being here for some reason. They must become something, achieve something, or come to know something which they consider to be unique to them. Something is out there for them, beckoning them, drawing and wooing them beyond themselves to realize more of something, however that is envisioned or whatever it may be.

“Calling is experienced as a summons from without, a beckoning which resonates with something within, something deeply personal, leading us to aspire to more than what we know or are or have at present. …

“Everyone has a sense of calling. Christians know this to be a summons from God, a command which their lives are intended to fulfill by knowing God and serving Him. The Christian knows that each human being is called to know God and, knowing Him, to serve Him gladly and fruitfully. Calling thus involves our need to be blessed and to be a blessing to others.”

Some of these poems are autobiographical to T.M. Moore, some are reflections on Scripture, and some are musings about how each of us discovers our own calling. But all of these poems will open a window in your soul to hear God’s voice speaking to you about your own unique calling.

Take some time to linger over these insightful words.

Links & Quotes

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“No man can murder his brother who has not first murdered God in himself.” —Oswald Chambers

“We love our neighbors when, like Jesus, we seek them out to love them (cf. Luke 19:1-10). Jesus did not wait for lost or hurting people to find their way to Him. He went looking for them. He learned the names of many of them, and used their names freely. He took the initiative in making certain contacts, some of which He repeated many times during His earthly sojourn. Jesus started conversations with people and was doubtless a good listener. And He prayed often for others, seeking their wellbeing before the Father. We can know that we love our neighbors when, like Jesus, we go seeking them, in order to touch them with His love.” —T.M. Moore

“The Word of God is our only hope. The good news of God’s promises and the warnings of His judgment are sharp enough and living enough and active enough to penetrate to the bottom of my heart and show me that the lies of sin are indeed lies. Abortion will not create a wonderful future for me. Neither will cheating, or dressing provocatively, or throwing away my sexual purity, or keeping quiet about dishonesty at work, or divorce, or vengeance. And what rescues me from this deception is the Word of God.” —John Piper

“If you spend too much time looking for your next big break, you’ll be stealing your opportunity to do your best work. Which is the the most important break of all.” —Seth Godin

“God’s definition of promotion isn’t a move up the ladder, it is a move toward your call. Don’t let someone ‘promote’ you out of your call!” —Max Lucado

“In the parable of Matthew 18:23-27 did the king overlook his servant’s sin? Did he wink at his debt and merely excuse it? No, not at all. The fact is, by forgiving him, the king placed upon this man a weighty responsibility, a responsibility even greater than the burden of his debt. Indeed, this servant now owed his master more than ever. How? He was responsible to forgive and love others, just as the king had done for him.” —David Wilkerson

If you don’t think Planned Parenthood’s business of abortion is a huge money-maker for them, why are they spending $20 million in 2016 to elect pro-abortion candidates?

For Detroit Red Wings fan, here is a nice mini-biography of Mr. Hockey: Gordie Howe.

[VIDEO] Barbabas Piper and Bobby Conway on the difference between knowing and believing

Links & Quotes

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“O Lord, keep me strong in the sense of Thy call.” —Thomas Boston, Scottish Presbyterian pastor

“You have remained true to God under the great tests, now be alert over the least things.” —Oswald Chambers

“Mighty events turn on a straw.” —Thomas Carlyle

“God is love, but God is also just, as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Pleasures demean, disappoint, and destroy us when they are merely fleeting, fleshly, and foolish. The pleasure we ultimately seek, and for which we were created, can only be found in one place, in fellowship and communion with the Lord of heaven and earth.” —T.M. Moore

John Piper has some very insightful words in the wake of the tragedy in Paris—France: A Fabric Torn.

Jim Cymbala reminds us, “There are no trendy shortcuts, no hocus-pocus mantras that can defeat satan.” Read more in No Hocus-Pocus.

Parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will appreciate this counsel from Tim Elmore: 5 ways to cure the “cool kid” curse.

[VIDEO] What does the Quran teach about Jesus?—

[VIDEO] Pastor Dave Barringer is in Israel, and this real-time observation is quite eye-opening—

Pastor, Do You Enjoy Pastoring?

Phillips Brooks was a pastor, teacher, and song writer. These words of his should be read very carefully and thoughtfully by every pastor…

I think, again, that it is essential to the preacher’s success that he should thoroughly enjoy his work. I mean in the actual doing of it, and not only in its idea. No man to whom the details of his task are repulsive can do his task well constantly, however full he may be of its spirit. He may make one bold dash at it and carry it over all his disgusts, but he cannot work on at it year after year, day after day. Therefore, count it not merely a perfectly legitimate pleasure, count it an essential element of your power, if you can feel a simple delight in what you have to do as a minister, in the fervor of writing, in the glow of speaking, in standing before men and moving them, in contact with the young. The more thoroughly you enjoy it, the better you will do it all. 

This is all true of preaching. Its highest joy is in the great ambition that is set before it, the glorifying of the Lord and the saving of the souls of men. No other joy on earth compares with that. The ministry that does not feel that joy is dead. But in behind that highest joy, beating in humble unison with it, as the healthy body thrills in sympathy with the deep thoughts and pure desires of the mind and soul, the best ministers have always been conscious of another pleasure which belonged to the very doing of the work itself. As we read the lives of all the most effective preachers of the past, or as we meet the men who are powerful preachers of the Word today, we feel how certainly and how deeply the very exercise of their ministry delights them.

Pastor, what unspeakable joy should thrill us to know that God Himself called us to do what we do!!

I know that being in full-time ministry is tough. I know the demands on our time. I know that we are often targets for criticism. But still this should never diminish our joy in being God’s ministers!

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the calling to be a pastor! Today I pray for pastors who don’t feel the joy they once felt. Holy God, will You reconfirm Your call on their lives. Reassure them that they are doing what they are doing because You called them to do it. And I ask that Your Holy Spirit would reinvigorate them with holy joy. Let the hands that hang low be lifted up in praise! Let mouths that have been tightly shut open wide in holy laughter! Let Your joy be their strength and encouragement. May You be glorified in joy-filled pastors!

Uh Oh! God’s Calling You

Back in the pre-cell phone days, my parents had to develop another system to communicate with me. Many times it was simply an agreement before I left the house like, “Be home at 6 o’clock for dinner.” Or maybe something like, “Come inside when the streetlight turns on.”

I was usually pretty good about following through on this. But occasionally I would get so caught up in what I was doing with my friends that time just sort of got away from me. That’s when I would hear the distinct voice of my Mom calling me. Not on the phone, but with her hands cupped to her mouth, yelling, “Craaaiiig! Time to come home!”

If she was calling me, that meant I missed the deadline. I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

Uh oh!

I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer. (Jeremiah 35:17)

God spoke to His people at first because they were close to Him. But then He had to call to them because they had gotten farther away from Him.

If God is calling me, perhaps it’s because I’ve gotten too far away. Maybe not on purpose. Maybe I just got caught up in what I was doing. Maybe I allowed something else to capture my attention.

I don’t want God to have to call me. I don’t even want to be close enough that He has to speak to me. I want to be so close to Him that just His whisper gets my undivided attention.

What about you? How close do you want to be?

Thursdays With Oswald #41

This 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.

The Agonizing Grip Of God’s Hand

     Never choose to be a worker; but when once God has put His call on you, woe be to you if you turn to the right hand or to the left. We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has apprehended us. There is never any thought of – “Oh, well, I am not fitted for this.” What you are to preach is determined by God, not by your own natural inclinations. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not to bear testimony only, but to preach the gospel. Every Christian must testify, but when it comes to the call to preach, there must be the agonizing grip of God’s hand on you, your life is in the grip of God for that one thing.

From My Utmost For His Highest

The agonizing grip of God’s hand: so empowering … and so humbling.

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