“When we reflect how prone we are to be drawn into error in our judgments, and into vice in our practice; and how unable, at least how very unwilling, to espy or correct our own miscarriages; when we consider how apt the world is to flatter us in our faults, and how few there are so kind as to tell us the truth; what an inestimable privilege must it be to have a set of true, judicious, hearty friends about us, continually watching over our souls, to inform us where we have fallen, and to warn us that we fall not again for the future.” —George Whitefield
“This was the staple preaching of [George] Whitefield. He was always great upon that which he called the great R—Regeneration. Whenever you heard him, the three Rs came out clearly—Ruin, Regeneration, and Redemption! Man ruined, wholly ruined, hopelessly, helplessly, eternally ruined! Man regenerated by the Spirit of God, and by the Spirit of God alone wholly made a new creature in Christ! Man redeemed by precious blood from all his sins, not by works of righteousness, not by deeds of the law, not by ceremonies, prayers, or resolutions, but by the precious blood of Christ!” —Charles Spurgeon
Here is a cool story about the churches in Cedar Springs making history.
If you see a book entitled Forgive Me, you might think that it is a book extolling the virtue of asking forgiveness. Although author David Kirkwood is asking forgiveness from his family, friends, and neighbors, this isn’t a book telling us how or why to forgive.
David Kirkwood’s apology is to those he interacts with on an everyday basis. His sin: not telling them the simple truth about how much God loves them!
Forgive Me is an excellent book for Christians to buy in bulk, and then hand out to people they care about. David will lead the reader through a logical progression of why we are here, the futility of trying to find purpose or a lasting legacy on our own, and how God’s love led to Jesus purchasing the forgiveness from our sins.
This isn’t a deep doctrinal book, nor is it a “preachy” book. It’s loving, and kind, and easy for anyone to read. Please share this book with any of your family or friends who haven’t yet experienced the joy of knowing Jesus as their Savior.
The Kirkwood family graciously provided me with a copy of this book so I could read it and review it for you.
Mark O. Wilson had some great heart-stirring thoughts on evangelism in his book Purple Fish (you can read my full book review by clicking here). He also did a great job incorporating thoughts from others in his book. Here are some of the quotes he cited in Purple Fish.
“Christians and non-Christians have something in common: we are both uptight about evangelism.” ―Becky Pippert
“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” ―Brennan Manning
“If you change how you see people, the people you see will change.” ―Rick Warren
“God wants us to have an encounter, so that we become an encounter, so that others can have an encounter.” ―Kevin Dedmon
“Prayer is the supreme way to be workers together with God.” ―Wesley Duewel
“Prayer evangelism is talking to God about our neighbors before we talk to our neighbors about God.” ―Ed Silvoso
“Nothing has done greater damage to our Christian testimony than our trying to be right and demanding right of others.” ―Watchmen Nee
“There is no point trying to size people up because souls defined measuring.” ―Ann Vovkamp
“Like it or not, you represent the entirety of Christianity to that person in that moment; that’s a lot of responsibility.” ―Christian Piatt
“If your weakness troubles you, cast yourselves on God. And trust in Him. The apostles were mostly unlearned fisherman, but God gave them learning enough for the work they had to do. Trust in Him, depend on His providence; fear nothing.” ―Francis de Sales
“You don’t fail when you invite people to repent and follow Christ and no one response. You fail when you don’t invite people to repent and follow Christ.” ―Craig Groeschel
“I define evangelism as ‘nudge’ and evangelists as ‘nudgers.’ Evangelism is awakening each other to the God who is already there. Evangelism is nudging people to pay attention to the mission of God in their lives into the necessity of responding to that initiative in ways that birth new realities.” ―Leonard Sweet
I also shared some quotes from Mark Wilson in a previous post, which you can read by clicking here.
“Lord, show me just so much (neither more nor less) about myself as I need for doing Thy will now.” —C.S. Lewis personal prayer
“The whole problem of our life was neatly expressed by John the Baptist when he said (John 3:30) ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ This you have realised. But you are expecting it to happen suddenly: and also expecting that you should be clearly aware when it does. But neither of these is usual. We are doing well enough if the slow process of being more in Christ and less in ourselves has made a decent beginning in a long life (it will be completed only in the next world).” —C.S. Lewis
For my pastor friends: “Our preaching and teaching must endeavor to promote three kinds of love: a proper self-love, love for God, and love for our neighbors.” —T.M. Moore
“Among those who are able to enjoy God with us, we love some whom we help, some by whom we are helped, some whose help we need and whose wants we supply, and some on whom we bestow no benefits and from whom we await none ourselves. Be that as it may, we should desire that all enjoy God with us and that all the assistance we give them or get from them should be directed toward this end.” —Augustine
[VIDEO] John Maxwell on the value of exploring new things—
Whenever I am working on a series of messages, I always end up with way more material than I could possibly share. But it’s still really good stuff! I remember a movie director once remarking that some of his best and favorite scenes ended up on the cutting room floor during the movie’s editing process. So here are some of the quotes and thoughts I really liked, recovered from “the cutting room floor” as I prepared our Love In The Law series.
“True obedience to God (not just to lists of laws) means more than outward performances which can be tallied in percentages (like 80 percent obeyed). Rather, true obedience is to be so transformed that we delight to do God’s will at multiple levels. We delight in His will as the excellent expression of His wisdom and justice and love. We delight in personal, close communion with Him as our guide, which we would lose, at least for a season, if we acted against His counsel. We delight in His gift of a clean conscience. We delight in the smile of His approval. We delight in God Himself whom we see and know more clearly when we walk in unbroken fellowship and obedience. We delight in the prospect of ongoing assurance and hope, which is jeopardized and weakened if we gradually slip away from Him in callous disobedience.” —John Piper
I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is with in my heart. —Psalm 40:8
“To detect ourselves thus balancing a transgression here, against many observances there, ought at once to startle us into the conviction that the whole principle of our lives must be faulty. Our aim is, not to love God, or to obey Him, but to get to heaven, or at least escape hell, on the cheapest terms.” —Alfred Plummer
“Our will is morally and spiritually flawed. Nevertheless we are responsible to do the commandments of God. The moral corruption that cripples us does not relieve us of our responsibility to do what is right and good to do.” —John Piper
“I call the love to God the motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for His own sake, and the enjoyment of one’s self and of one’s neighbor for the sake of God.” —Augustine
“If thou neglect thy love to thy neighbor, in vain thou professest thy love to God; for by thy love to God, the love to thy neighbor is begotten, and by thy love to thy neighbor, thy love to God is nourished.” —Francis Quarles
“A pennyweight o’ love is worth a pound o’ law.” —Scottish Proverb
It pleased the Lord for the sake of His righteousness to make His law great and glorious. —Isaiah 42:21
J.I. Packer wrote a very readable, but scholarly, book examining how 21st-century people should live out the biblical Ten Commandments. You can read my full book review by clicking here, but I’m sharing some of my favorite quotes below.
“God’s love gave us the law just as His love gave us the gospel, and as there is no spiritual life for us save through the gospel, which points us to Jesus Christ the Savior, so there is no spiritual health for us save as we seek in Christ’s strength to keep the law and practice the love of God and neighbor for which it calls.”
“Where the law’s moral absolutes are not respected, people cease to respect either themselves or each other; humanity is deformed, and society slides into the killing decadence of mutual exploitation and self-indulgence.”
“The negative form of the Commandments has positive implications. ‘Where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded’ (Westminster Larger Catechism, Question 99). The negative form was needed at Sinai (as in the West today) to curb current lawlessness that threatened both godliness and national life.”
“Moral permissiveness, supposedly so liberating and fulfilling, is actually wounding and destructive: not only of society (which God’s law protects), but also of the lawless individual, who gets coarsened and reduced as a person every time.”
“Law-keeping is that life for which we were fitted by nature, unfitted by sin, and refitted by grace, the life God loves to see and reward; and for that life liberty is the proper name.”
“The Bible, however, takes promises very seriously; God demands full faithfulness of our vows. Why? Partly because trustworthiness is part of His image, which He wants to see in us; partly because without it society falls apart.”
“We honor God by respecting His image in each other, which means consistently preserving life and furthering each other’s welfare in all possible ways.”
“We have in us capacities for fury, fear, envy, greed, conceit, callousness, and hate that, given the right provocation, could make killers out of us all. … When the fathomless wells of rage and hatred in the normal human heart are tapped, the results are fearful.”
“When you lie to put someone down, it is malice; when you lie to impress, move, and use him, and to keep him from seeing you in a bad light, it is pride.”
“Reformed theologians said that God’s law has three uses or functions: first, to maintain order in society; second, to convince us of sin and drive us to Christ for life; third, to spur us on in obedience, by means of its standards and its sanctions, all of which express God’s own nature.”
“What is God’s ideal? A God-fearing community, marked by common worship (commandments 1, 2, 3) and an accepted rhythm of work and rest (commandment 4), plus an unqualified respect for marriage and the family (commandments 5, 7), for property and owner’s rights (commandments 8, 10), for human life and each man’s claim on our protection (commandment 6), and for truth and honesty in all relationships (commandment 9).”
“When God’s values are ignored, and the only community ideal is permissiveness, where will moral capital come from once the Christian legacy is spent? How can national policy ever rise above material self-interest, pragmatic and unprincipled? How can internal collapse be avoided as sectional interests, unrestrained by any sense of national responsibility, cut each other down? How can an overall reduction, indeed destruction, of happiness be avoided when the revealed way of happiness, the ‘God first, others next, self last’ of the Commandments, is rejected? The prospects are ominous. May God bring us back to Himself and to the social wisdom of His Commandments before it is too late.”
Take the 9th Commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20). This is the first of two commandments that emphasize the damage that can be done to our neighbor if we violate the law. Speaking falsely against someone does real harm to our neighbor, so in a sense God says, “Don’t do it!”
But God also tells us what to Do so that He can bless us—
The word for false in this commandment can mean: (1) an untruth; (2) insincere or deceptive words (e.g. flattery); (3) being purposely vague; or (4) speaking words that are true but harmful. So we Don’t want to do those, but what should we Do?
Jesus said that the way we speak is an indication of what has been going on in our heart and mind (Luke 6:45), so the way to fulfill the Do part of the commandment starts inside. A good guide is Paul’s list in Philippians 4:8—are my thoughts about my neighbor focused on what’s true? noble? right? pure? lovely? admirable? excellent? and praiseworthy?
In the New Testament, the word “blessing” is a compound word that literally means good words. So here’s the question I’m asking myself: Are my words to and about my neighbor a burden to them or a blessing?