Links & Quotes

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Some great reading & watching from this weekend…

What it means to fight like a man.

[INFOGRAPHIC] The most popular Book of all time.

“Christians are priests, but how priests if they offer no sacrifice? Christians are lights, but how are they lights unless they shine for others? Christians are sent into the world, even as Christ was sent into the world, but how are they sent unless they are sent to pray? Christians are meant not only to be blessed themselves, but in them shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, but how if you refuse to pray?” —Charles Spurgeon

“Reason does not know that salvation must come down from above; we want to work up from below so that the satisfaction is rendered by us.” —Martin Luther

“No matter the society or culture, the city or town, God has never lacked the power to work through available people to glorify His name.” —Jim Cymbala

Chilly Chilton has a very timely message: My Take On Mark Driscoll & Acts 29.

[FREE EBOOK] I love the graphics and Bible study tools from The Overview Bible Project. Check out the free ebook they are offering on the apostles.

[VIDEO] John Maxwell says, “You cannot be full of yourself and focused on others.” Check out his video on humility.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“The upright man must never think of depriving another of anything, nor must he ever wish to increase his own advantage to the disadvantage of another. This rule the Apostle gives thee, saying: ‘All things are lawful, all things are not expedient; all things are lawful, but all things edify not. Let no man seek his own, but each another’s.’ That is: Let no man seek his own advantage, but another’s; let no man seek his own honor, but another’s.” —Ambrose

Frank Viola has a challenging word to Christians in the quote he shares from A.W. Tozer: Recovering The Departed Glory.

Claiming Jesus is not what many think it is, says Chilly Chilton in his post: Name It, Claim It, Proclaim It!

When we don’t know that life is a war and satan is the enemy, or forget when we need to know it most, we can’t make sense of our struggles, suffering, and strife.” Read more of Mark Driscoll’s post Spiritual Warfare: Who, What & Why.

The Overview Bible Project always uncovers some cool things in Scripture. Like this post about what Beelzebul really means.

Why is it organizations are not allowed to hire a Christian, but at that same time are encouraged (forced?) to hire homosexuals? The story of David Tyree is a case-in-point.

The fact is, that the same moment which brings the consciousness of sin ought to bring also the confession and the consciousness of forgiveness.” —Hannah Whitall Smith

Links & Quotes

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Some great reading I came across today.

“If your household is not the better for your Christianity—if men cannot say, ‘This is a better house than others,’ then be not deceived—ye have nothing of the grace of God.” —Charles Spurgeon

The pain of Christ’s crucifixion: A Medical Account Of Jesus’ death.

How do we know Jesus was the Messiah? A Look At Old Testament Prophesies.

“Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord.” —Arthur Pink

“God is having a difficult time getting through to us because we are a fast-paced generation. We seem to have no time for contemplation. We have no time to answer God when He calls.” —A.W. Tozer

“Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.” —Isaac Newton

Links & Quotes

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These are links to articles and quotes I found interesting today.

Some thoughts on creativity: 8 Creativity Lessons From A Pixar Animator

Tim Elmore on how to connect with others: Who Do You Connect With When You Teach?

“Thy poor prayer would have no force with Omnipotence if force were needed; but His love, like a spring, rises of itself and overflows for the supply of all thy needs.” —Charles Spurgeon

[VIDEO] Comedy from Ken Davis: Why I Don’t Have A Cat

Insight from Mark Driscoll: 5 Things To Look For In A Good Bible Teacher

“Don’t pray for sermons, let sermons come from your prayers. So, as long as I’m meeting with God, I will always have something to say.” —Chilly Chilton

Michael Hyatt’s excellent advice to leaders: 5 Reasons You Should Smile More As A Leader

Encouragement from Max Lucado: A Passion For The Forgotten

John Stonestreet on the dangers of pornography: The Root Of Sexual Exploitation

Only a little time left to download a free song from U2 and help end AIDS: Fight AIDS With (Red)

“The fundamental issue for any of us is to feel loved. If we feel loved by the significant people in our lives, we are more likely to reach out potential for God and good in the world.” —Dr. Gary Chapman

An interesting study on missionaries and societal success: The Truth About Missionaries

Book Reviews From 2013

Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire (book review)

Pouring Holy Water On Strange FireI fully admit that I’m a little biased on this one. After all, what would you expect from a fourth generation Pentecostal? But even with that disclaimer, I thought Frank Viola did a masterful job in his critique called Pouring Holy Water On Strange Fire.

Viola’s book is a critique of John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire, in which MacArthur attempts to make the case that the way Pentecostals and Charismatics advocate and practice their faith is unscriptural. MacArthur would fall into the camp of the cessationists, who claim that all of the operational gifts of the Holy Spirit enumerated in the New Testament ceased when the apostles died, or when the canon of Scripture was closed. I’ve always found this a strained argument at best, or as Mark Driscoll says, one needs to do “exegetical origami” to reach the cessationists’ conclusion.

Frank Viola systematically critiques Strange Fire thought-by-thought, section-by-section. He does so fairly and academically, using respected Bible commentators, the writings of Church fathers, logic, personal examples, as well as other respected contemporary voices who express similar concerns against MacArthur’s arguments.

This is a good book for any student of the Bible to read. It’s not a lengthy tome, so you will not get bogged down in reams of academia, but you will be able to weigh the evidence that both cessationists and Pentecostals use. You can download the ebook version by clicking here.

Thursdays With Oswald—Our Father

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.

Oswald ChambersOur Father

     Think for one minute, have you behaved today as though God were your Father or have you to hang your head in absolute shame before Him for the miserable, mean, unworthy thoughts you have had about your life? 

     It all springs from one thing, you have lost hold of the idea that God is your Father. Some of us are such fussy, busy people, refusing to look up and realize the tremendous revelation in Jesus Christ’s words—“Your heavenly Father knows what you need….” 

From He Shall Glorify Me 

What an amazing thought that when Jesus taught us to pray, He said we could address Almighty God with the affectionate title of “Our Father.” In his book Who Do You Think You Are?, Mark Driscoll points out—

“In the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, God is referred to only as Father roughly fourteen times—and each time it’s impersonally, in reference to the nation of Israel, not to individuals. Everything radically changed with Jesus. He spoke of God as Father more than sixty times in the New Testament.

Your heavenly Father loves you more than you can possibly imagine! Let that truth sink in. Don’t give in to the thoughts that your life is not very valuable, or even that God doesn’t like you very much.

God loves you as if you were the only person on earth to love! And He sent Jesus to earth to make it possible for you to be adopted into His family, to call Him Father. Even more than that, to call Him “Daddy God” (see Romans 8:15-17).

Live in your heavenly Father’s love today.

19 Quotes From “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Who Do You Think You AreWho Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll is an insightful journey through the book of Ephesians. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are some of the passages that especially stood out to me.

“This world’s fundamental problem is that we don’t understand who we truly are—children of God made in His image—and instead define ourselves by any number of things other than Jesus. Only by knowing our false identity apart from Christ in relation to our true identity in Him can we rightly deal with and overcome the issues in our lives.”

“What you do doesn’t determine who you are. Rather, who you are in Christ determines what you do.”

“Our worship never starts and stops. It’s not limited to a building in which we attend sacred meetings and sing worship songs. Rather, our entire life is devoted to pouring ourselves into someone or something. Saying it another way, we’re ‘unceasing worshippers.’ We aren’t created to worship, but rather we’re created worshipping.”

“While it’s not a sin to plan and strive for a better tomorrow, it is a sin to set one’s joy and identity on who we will be, what we will do, or what we will have tomorrow in our own efforts rather than on Christ today and who He will make us, what He will have us do, and what He will give to us tomorrow.”

“While it’s true that sin has affected the totality of our persons, including our minds, wills, and emotions, we fail to say all that the Bible does regarding our identity when we place undue focus on our depravity as fallen sinners and ignore our dignity as created image bearers and our new identity as redeemed Christian saints. While a non-Christian is totally depraved, a Christian is in Christ.”

“A saint does sin. But a Christian is one who has saint as their constant identity and sinner as their occasional activity. For the Christian, there is a vital difference between having sin and being sin.”

“Sin may explain some of your activity, but it’s not your identity. Your identity is in Christ, and because of your new identity, by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit’s power, you can change your activity. Because you are a new person positionally in Christ, you can live a new life practically by the power of the Holy Spirit. This truth is deeply helpful and vitally practical.”

“Pride is our enemy and humility is our ally. Pride compares us to other sinners; humility compares us to our sinless Savior. Pride covets the success of others; humility celebrates it. Pride is about me; humility is about Jesus and other people. Pride is about my glory; humility is about God’s glory. Pride causes separation from God; humility causes dependence on God. Pride is pregnant with all sins; humility is pregnant with all joys. Pride leads to arrogance; humility leads to confidence. Pride causes me to do things in my own strength; humility compels me to do things in God’s strength. …None of us, with the exception of Jesus Christ, can ever say we’re truly humble. Instead, all we can say is that we’re proud people pursuing humility by the grace of God.”

“In Christ, you’re graced. You’re chosen by grace, saved by grace, kept by grace, gifted by grace, empowered by grace, matured by grace, and sanctified by grace. You persevere by grace, and one day will see Jesus, the best Friend you’ve ever had, face-to-face, by grace.”

“God is as equally glorified when we praise Him for His unmediated grace as when we’re thankful for those through whom He chooses to deliver it. …We’re to thank God for being faithful to His people and to thank His people for being faithful to Him.”

“Before we can understand and embrace our identity in Christ, we must first accept our identity apart from Christ. Becoming a Christian is not merely accepting the truth about Jesus as our Savior. It’s also accepting the truth about ourselves as needy sinners.”

“Because afflictions cost us so much, they are too precious to waste. Though God may not cause your affliction, He can use your affliction for His glory, others’ good, and your growth, if you are in Christ.”

“Our God didn’t suffer so that we wouldn’t suffer. He suffered so that when we do suffer, we can become more like Him and point more people to Him.”

“Too many Christians pit knowledge against experience and the head against the heart. The truth is, both are needed to grasp God’s love. The love of God is what happens when the truth in our heads captivates the affections of our hearts, which spurs us on to grasp the love of God in our lives. …As the love of God increasingly captivates our hearts and we grasp onto his love, we’re changed and become increasingly mature in Christ because our affections determine our actions.”

“Sometimes, Christians shy away from involvement in a local church because they see faults with the church. Ironically, the fact that they see a lack may indicate that there’s a need for them and their gifts. Rather than complaining, it’s better to humbly start serving to meet a church’s needs and invite others to also help.”

“Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God helps us live holy lives and enables us to obey Him. In this way, regeneration is the opposite of religion, which tragically teaches that if you obey God, He will then love you. The exact opposite is true. Regeneration reveals that because God loves us, we can obey Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. You have new power in Christ.”

“Your Father is perfect, loving, gracious, merciful, patient, holy, helpful, and generous. The more you get to know Him through Scripture, prayer, song, service, and time with your brothers and sisters in Christ, the more you will come to love and enjoy Him. Your desires will change from sin to holiness, and you’ll increasingly want to be like your Dad. You’ll love what He loves and hate what He hates.”

“As Christians, our goal is not to merely experience behavior modification by changing how we act and react. Our primary goal is getting to know, love, and trust God as our Father.”

“The last thing the church needs is cowards that treat the Bible like an artifact more fit for a museum than a weapon for the battlefield.”

Who Do You Think You Are? (book review)

Who Do You Think You AreIf you’ve ever heard Mark Driscoll speak, you know that he pulls no punches as he unashamedly uses the Bible to address the situations we all face. Who Do You Think You Are? is no exception.

Your friends, Madison Avenue, your colleagues, even your family members are all trying to influence you. They all weigh-in on who you are, or who they think you should be. But Pastor Mark Driscoll wants to show you who the Bible says you are. So using the book of Ephesians in the Bible, Pastor Mark convincingly and lovingly will show you that you are…

  • In Christ
  • A saint
  • Blessed
  • Appreciated
  • Saved
  • Reconciled
  • Afflicted
  • Heard
  • Gifted
  • New
  • Forgiven
  • Adopted
  • Loved
  • Rewarded
  • Victorious

Pastor Mark writes in a very readable, conversational style as he uses the powerful words of Ephesians, along with some personal stories from his own life, as well as the lives of others he has known, to make sure you know how God sees you. In a world where everyone else wants to squeeze you into a different mold, how freeing it is to discover how God sees you, and to know that God loves you because you’re you!

This was a very encouraging read. I’d recommend this to anyone struggling with peer pressure or with their own self-identity. I also think this would be an excellent book to use in a small group setting, perhaps even among a recovery group.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

Book Reviews From 2012

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