Thursdays With Oswald—The People God Can Do Nothing With

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.

The People God Can Do Nothing With

     We say, “It seems out of all proportion that God should choose me—I am of no value”; the reason He chooses us is that we are not of any value. It is folly to think that because a man has natural ability, he must make a good Christian. People with the best natural equipment may make the worst disciples because they will “boss” themselves. It is not a question of our equipment, but of our poverty; not what we bring with us, but what He puts in us; not our natural virtues, our strength of character, our knowledge, our experience; all of that is of no avail in this matter; the only thing that is of avail is that we are taken up into the big compelling of God (1 Corinthians 1:26-28). His comradeship is made out of men who know their poverty. God can do nothing with the men who think they will be of use to Him. 

From The Place Of Help

God cannot impart wisdom to a know-it-all, but He can impart it to someone hungry to learn.

God cannot use someone who believes the world revolves around them, but He can use someone who believes the world revolves around Him.

Which are you?

Thursdays With Oswald—Experience Or Expression?

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.

Experience Or Expression?

     It is not sufficient to have an experience. If all I can do is to preach and recount the experiences God has given me, it is dangerously inefficient. … Experience must be worked out into expression; the expression is a strong family likeness to Jesus, and its mark is found in the secular life, not in the sequestered life. … 

     A witness is not one who is entranced by Jesus, by the revelation He gives, by what He has done; but one who has received the energy Jesus Himself had, and is become a witness that pleases Him, wherever he is placed, whatever he is doing, whether he is known or unknown. … 

     The spiritual life can never be lived in religious meetings, it can only be lived on sordid earth, where Jesus lived, amongst the things that makes human life what it is. 

From The Place Of Help

It’s not what I’ve experienced from Jesus, but how I am expressing that experience in my daily life. People don’t need me to be a storyteller of my experiences, but a living expression of the change that has taken place in me because of that experience with Christ!

All of the stories of my spiritual experiences can be undone in a single moment of un-Christlike living. But when I live a life energized by the power of Jesus in me, the story of His life-changing power is told without words.

Do I want to merely experience God’s life-changing power, or do I want to be a living expression of His life-changing power?

Thursdays With Oswald—At Home With Jesus

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.

At Home With Jesus

     Beware of the people who tell you life is simple. Life is such a mass of complications that no man is safe apart from God. Coming to Jesus does not simplify life, it simplifies my relationship to God. … 

     God’s idea is that individual Christians should become identified with His purpose for the world. When Christianity becomes over-organized and denominational it is incapable of fulfilling our Lord’s commission; it doesn’t “feed His sheep,” it can’t (see John 21:15-17). …  

     If my religion is not based on a personal history with Jesus it becomes something I suffer from, not a joyous thing, but something that keeps me from doing what I want to do. 

From Disciples Indeed

Jesus came to give us life to the full. He didn’t come to help simplify life or organize our religion. The key word for our relationship with Jesus is personal. He wants you, not your religious ideas or religious activities.

Jesus died for you. Jesus lives for you. And Jesus wants to live in and through you. Jesus replied, “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make Our home with each of them (John 14:23).

Will you let Him be at home with you?

Thursdays With Oswald—My Personal History With Jesus

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic 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.

My Personal History With Jesus

Beware of the people who tell you life is simple. Life is such a mass of complications that no man is safe apart from God. Coming to Jesus does not simplify life, it simplifies my relationship to God.

God’s idea is that individual Christians should become identified with His purpose for the world. When Christianity becomes over-organized and denominational it is incapable of fulfilling our Lord’s commission; it doesn’t “feed His sheep,” it can’t (see John 21:15-17). 

If my religion is not based on a personal history with Jesus it becomes something I suffer from, not a joyous thing, but something that keeps me from doing what I want to do.

From Disciples Indeed

These three quotes from one chapter in this book have a common theme: What makes life a joy is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Doctrine can’t do it. Easy answers won’t work. Religion can’t do it. My church denomination won’t.

Only knowing Jesus intimately, personally—only having a “personal history” with Him will bring me lasting joy! I pray that you can know this joy!

(If you would like to read more quotes from Disciples Indeed, please click here.)

Thursdays With Oswald—Passionate, Devoted, Absorbed

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic 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.

Passionate, Devoted, Absorbed

     Christian experience does not mean we have thought through the way God works in human lives by His grace, or that we are able to state theologically that God gives the Holy Ghost to them that ask Him—that may be Christian thinking, but it is not Christian experience. Christian experience is living through all this by the marvelous power of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost working in me does not produce wonderful experiences that make people say “What a wonderful life that man lives”; the Holy Ghost working in me makes me a passionate, devoted, absorbed lover of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

From Our Place Of Help

Too many people are trying to “figure out” Christianity. But let me ask this: can you figure out why you fell in love? You probably can’t give the hows and whys of your love for someone else, but you know you are in love nonetheless. 

The Holy Spirit isn’t given to a Christian so that he can come up with good theology, or even so he can have an experience. The Holy Spirit is given to make Jesus realGod has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).

This is why Jesus wants us to receive His Spirit, because the Spirit would make Jesus known to us (John 14:16-17) … make Him real to us (John 14:25-26) … make us into a passionate, devoted, absorbed lover of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Have you received the Holy Spirit? If not, you can—How much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13).

C.S. Lewis On Spiritual Feelings

Someone wrote to C.S. Lewis about the profound and moving spiritual experience they had just experienced, and wondered what Lewis thought about it. His reply is very insightful—

C.S. Lewis at his desk“It is quite right that you should feel that ‘something terrific’ has happened to you (it has) and be ‘all glowy.’ Accept these sensations with thankfulness as birthday cards from God, but remember that they are only greetings, not the real gift. I mean, it is not the sensations that are the real thing. The real thing is the gift of the Holy Spirit which can’t usually be—perhaps not ever—experienced as a sensation or emotion. The sensations are merely the response of your nervous system. Don’t depend on them. Otherwise when they go and you are once more emotionally flat (as you certainly will be quite soon), you might think that the real thing had gone too. But it won’t. It will be there when you can’t feel it. May even be most operative when you can feel it least.” —C.S. Lewis (emphasis added)

The spiritual experiences are great, but let them use you to turn to the Bible to find the facts behind your experience. Lewis is quite right that feelings come and go, but the Holy Spirit never does.

12 More Quotes From “Purple Fish”

Purple FishMark 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.

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