10 Quotes From “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”

As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a collection of 49 sermons from Eugene Peterson. Check out my full book review by clicking here. Below are a few quotes that caught my attention.

“The Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence—congruence between ends and means, congruence between what we do and the way we do it, congruence between what is written in Scripture and our living out what is written, congruence between a ship and its prow, congruence between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation, the congruence of the Word made flesh in Jesus with what is lived in our flesh.”

“Science and religion are opposites, the way your thumb and forefinger are opposites: if you are going to get a grip on things, you need them both.”

“Friendship is not a way of accomplishing something but a way of being with another in which we become more authentically ourselves.”

“Naming an event a miracle doesn’t mean we can’t understand it. It means we can’t anticipate it. It means we can’t reproduce it. We cannot control it. There is more going on then we can comprehend.”

“There are people today who mistakenly look at those [Ten] Commandments as restrictive, not realizing that for those who first heard them—and for those who hear them still, in faith—they provide for and preserve the values of the free life. The reality and truth of God is protected from commercialization and manipulation. Human life is honored. The dignity of work is protected. Close personal relationships are preserved. Truth is respected. Each of the commands articulates a reality and a value that protects a free life.”

“Aaron made a god, a golden calf. At that moment Aaron quit being their pastor and became their accomplice. There are some people who are always looking for a religion that makes no demands and offers only rewards, a religion that dazzles and entertains, a religion in which there is no waiting and no emptiness. And they can usually find someone like Aaron who will help them make it up, some sort of golden calf religion.”

“Acts of love cannot be canned and then used off the shelf. Every act of love requires creative and personal giving, responding, and serving appropriate to—context specific to—both the person doing the loving and the person being loved.”

“Our habit is to talk about God, not to Him. We love discussing God. The psalms resist these discussions. They are not provided to teach us about God but to train us in responding to Him.”

“The Christian life is not, in the first place, something we do. It consists of the healthy and mature formation of our lives by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Christian living goes off the rails badly when it is conceived as a program or routine that we engage in or skills that we master.”

“In prayer we do not act. God does. In prayer we do not develop a technology that sets the gears and pulleys of miracle in motion. We participate in God’s action. ‘Not my will but Yours.’”

The Most Christ-like Person In The World

“The most Christ-like person in the world is the man who never finds his fellow-man a nuisance. It is easy to feel Christian in the moment of prayer and meditation; it is easy to feel close to God when the world is shut out. But that is not religion—that is escapism. Real religion is to rise from our knees before God to meet men and the problems of the human situation. Real religion is to draw strength from God in order to give it to others. Real religion involves both meeting God in the secret place and men in the market place. Real religion means taking our own needs to God, not that we may have peace and quiet and undisturbed comfort, but that we may be enabled graciously, effectively and powerfully to meet the needs of others.” —William Barclay

Is Jesus The Only Way?

“Sometimes people ask me ‘Is Jesus the only way?’ and of course the question alludes to a journey. It occurs to me that when attempting to be helpful in giving directions, some facts are more relevant than others. In this case, perhaps none more so than one: the question of destination. When asking ‘Is Jesus the only way?’ it begs at least one further question, which is ‘To what?’ or ‘To where?’

“In our society, it is not uncommon to hear the statement ‘All religions lead to God.’ Although it’s not a logical statement, I find the second part of it—the ‘lead to God’ bit—very interesting. There seems to be an awareness, however subconscious, however little thought through, that only God Himself is the appropriate destination. Where does this thought come from? …

“Don’t all religions lead to God? No, they don’t even claim to.

“I have found it helpful at times to ask, ‘What is the destination you are aiming for? What is the destination you hope would be true?’ It seems to me that in the search for truth and meaning, many of us are not primarily or only looking for logical answers, but for a response to the existential longing for true life.

“Jesus says that He has come so that we might have life and life in all its fullness—life abundantly. The Message translation puts it as ‘real and eternal life, more and better life than [you] ever dreamed of’ (John 10:10). But what I find so intriguing about this is that Jesus tells us not just that He will give us life, not just that He will change and transform our lives, not just that He will show us the way to life, but that He Himself is the life (John 14:6). In other words, He is the destination. There is one faith that does claim to lead to God: Jesus stands unique across the ages. He is not simply the means through which we might get to some other destination. He is not a means to an end. Relationship with Jesus is the end.” —Tanya Walker, in A New Kind Of Apologist

11 Quotes From Important Islam Booklets

I recently read four very insightful booklets on how Christians can best prepare themselves to share their faith in Jesus with their Muslim neighbors. You can read my complete review of these booklets by clicking here. Below are just a few quotes that caught my attention.

“‘America’s mosques are loaded with people who grew up in church’ [says Carl Ellis]. Ellis says that many converts to Islam are African-American males who see traditional churches as male unfriendly and as failing to address their real needs.”

“God is bringing thousands of Muslim immigrants to our shores every year. These people are coming from Islamic nations where they could not be evangelized before. Yet here in America, they are free to listen and respond to the Gospel. In this ‘land of the free’ they do not have to fear horrible consequences if they believe the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

“Our hearts should be increasingly burdened not only by the enormous spiritual need of the 1.4 billion Muslims, but also by the apathy of the missionary movement towards them. …  Instead of being evangelized, Muslims are evangelizing. …

“It is reported that Muslims are counting on Europe, the birthplace of the Reformation and the modern missionary movement, to become completely Islamic within the next few decades. In England more than 300 closed churches have been converted into mosques. … Muslims are now a majority in 44 countries of the world.”

“When you are discussing the Bible with the Muslim, it is important that you read the Bible verses in context. The Muslim has developed an intricate system of ‘abrogation’ or substitution of one verse for another, due to the random way the Qur’an is written. He will have a tendency to try to find verses in the Bible that ‘contradict’ each other. Anyone witnessing to a Muslim must know the Scriptures thoroughly and be able to lead the Muslim to understand the meaning of passages in relation to the setting in which they are found.”

“The Muslim will be impressed with a Christian’s words only if he experiences genuine friendship from the Christian and sees him living a consistent moral life. A Christian’s lifestyle must match his testimony.”

“It is better to win the Muslim as a friend than to win an argument and lose his friendship.”

“Christians should be aware that Muslims are people who seek after God!”

“Here, surely, is a key to witnessing to Muslims, both in the United States and around the world: Love them as Jesus loves us. … You must give your SELF to your Muslim friend—not just the gospel!”

“A cardinal rule is: Never become involved in arguments—especially theological ones! Nominal and even irreligious Muslims often become fanatical advocates of their faith when pushed by argument. The truth is: We have argued and debated for hundreds of years without success. Let us now become witnesses—not debaters!”

“No religion on the face of the earth deals with forgiveness of sins except Christianity. … The concept of God as a loving Heavenly Father is completely foreign to a Muslim. … Show him from the Bible how God has provided a way whereby all sins can be forgiven, and every trace of guilt can be completely removed. This is a very powerful tool in witnessing.”

“One way the power of the Holy Spirit is demonstrated is through physical healing. If your Muslim friend or a member of his family is sick, offer to go and pray for him. He will deeply appreciate your concern, and when the person is healed, this demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power will be convincing—often the key to his accepting Christ as Savior and Lord.” 

Some other helpful resources on this topic are two books from Nabeel Qureshi: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and Answering Jihad. Also, check out Praying For Muslims.

11 Quotes From “Man—The Dwelling Place Of God” by A.W. Tozer

A.W. Tozer’s 50-year-old publication Man—The Dwelling Place Of God still rings with timely truth for today. You can check out my full book review by clicking here.

“I long ago decided that I would rather know the truth than be happy in ignorance. If I cannot have both truth and happiness, give me truth. We’ll have a long time to be happy in heaven.”

“Shakespeare may be enjoyed without penitence; we may understand Plato without believing a word he says; but penitence and humility along with faith and obedience are necessary to a right understanding of the Scriptures.”

“Faith and morals are two sides of the same coin. Indeed the very essence of faith is moral. Any professed faith in Christ as personal Savior that does not bring the life under plenary obedience to Christ as Lord is inadequate and must betray its victim at the last. The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is not true faith present.”

“There are two kinds of love: the love of feeling and the love of willing. The one lies in the emotions, the other in the will. Over the one we may have little control. It comes and goes, rises and falls, flares up and disappears as it chooses, and changes from hot to warm to cool and back to warm again very much as does the weather. Such love was not in the mind of Christ when He told His people to love God and each other. … The love the Bible enjoins is not the love of feeling; it is the love of willing, the willed tendency of the heart.

“Let no one interpret the Scriptures for you in such a way as to rule out the Father’s gift of the Spirit. Every man is as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. Make your heart a vacuum and the Spirit will rush in to fill it.”

“I am among those who believe that our Western civilization is on its way to perishing. It has many commendable qualities, most of which it has borrowed from the Christian ethic, but it lacks the element of moral wisdom that would give it permanence. Future historians will record that we of the twentieth century had intelligence enough to create a great civilization but not the moral wisdom to preserve it.”

“The church today is suffering from the secularization of the sacred. By accepting the world’s values, thinking its thoughts and adopting its ways we have dimmed the glory that shines overhead. We have not been able to bring earth to the judgment of heaven so we have brought heaven to the judgment of the earth. Pity us, Lord, for we know not what we do!”

“David Brainerd once compared a man without the power of the Spirit trying to do spiritual work to a workman without fingers attempting to do manual labor. The figure is striking but it does not overstate the facts. The Holy Spirit is not a luxury meant to make deluxe Christians, as an illuminated frontispiece and a leather binding make a deluxe book. The Spirit is an imperative necessity.”

“I do not believe that it is the will of God that we should seek to be happy, but rather that we should seek to be holy and useful. The holy man will be the useful man and he’s likely to be a happy man too; but if he seeks happiness and forgets holiness and usefulness, he’s a carnal man.”

“That religion may be very precious to some persons is admitted, but never important enough to cause division or risk hurting anyone’s feelings. In all our discussions there must never be any trace of intolerance; but we obviously forget that the most fervent devotees of tolerance are invariably intolerant of everyone who speaks about God with certainty. And there must be no bigotry, which is the name given to spiritual assurance by those who do not enjoy it.”

“The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his Savior glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected.”

10 Quotes From “When A Nation Forgets God”

Dr. Erwin Lutzer discovers some scary parallels in the culture that gave rise to the Nazis and what is happening in America today. Please check out this book! You can read my review by clicking here.

“The role of the church [in Nazi-controlled Germany] was minimized by privatizing faith and instituting laws about what could or could not be said from a pulpit.”

“The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) believes that God must be separated not just from government, but from every sphere of American life. Religion—particularly Christianity—must be ousted from government, from law, education, and the workplace.

“Thus with the so-called public square free of any hint of religious values, the vacuum is then filled with secular values: the cheapness of human life (abortion and euthanasia), the promotion of all forms of immorality (including homosexual marriages), and the sexualization of schoolchildren (often with pornography and the ridicule of traditional values).”

“As Americans we must keep in mind that the First Amendment was not intended to mean that atheists and agnostics have veto power over all those who believe in God.”

“Of course the United States is not Germany, and, as we have observed, parallels between us and the Nazi era can easily be overdrawn. But there is this abiding lesson: satan was right when he said, ‘All that and man has he will give for his life’ (Job 2:4). Survival is a powerful drive within us all, and most of us are willing to compromise our values in order to live. And if the government can guarantee our financial future, we support that government even if we intuitively suspect we are being led down a dangerous path.” 

“Moral relativists who believe that laws are nothing more than the result of social conditioning, subject to the whim of leaders and nations, would have to agree with Goehring, Hitler’s designated successor, when at Nuremberg he insisted, ‘This court has no jurisdiction over me, I am German!’ By what laws then, should the Nazis be tried? And what would be the basis of such laws? At Nuremberg, Robert H. Jackson, chief counsel of the United States, argued that there was ‘a law about the law’ that stood in judgment of all men in all countries and societies.”

“We are not required to win our political battles; we are expected to show our commitment even in the face of threats and sanctions. We must not permit the lawmakers or the courts of America to discourage us from doing what we must: representing Christ in our personal and corporate witness. As our freedoms are curtailed, our witness becomes more focused, more challenging. Let us be obedient to a higher law, the law as given us by the Supreme Court of the Universe.”

“When Hitler starved children, he called it putting them on a ‘low-calorie diet.’ And the extermination of Jews was called ‘cleansing the land.’ Euthanasia was referred to as ‘the best of modern therapy.’ Children were put to death in ‘Children’s Specialty Centers.’ … Sanitized terms were used to camouflage unspeakable crimes. Planned massacres were spoken of in clinical terms to mislead the naïve and to assuage the conscience of the perpetrators.”

“Important though the right leaders might be, we must always remember that God is neither Republican nor Democrat. When the Cross is wrapped in the flag of a political party, it is always distorted or diminished.”

“I believe that the spiritual climate of America will never be changed unless we have a revival of what we used to call ‘the laymen.’ That is, we need ordinary people living authentically for Christ in their vocations, among their neighbors, and in positions of influence.”

I will be sharing some more quotes from When A Nation Forgets God soon. Stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe to my blog so you will be notified as soon as these new quotes are posted.

Good Religion Must Be Practical

“Religion which has no practical impact on our daily lives quickly becomes a vague, abstract notion that amounts to nothing. Yet many have nothing more than an empty profession to prove they are Christians. …

“A good Christian but a nagging wife, a godly man but a negligent father—these are contradictions that cannot be reconciled. The man who does not walk uprightly in his own house is nothing more than a hypocrite at church. If you are not a Christian in your shop, you are not a Christian in your closet—even though you may pray there.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

More quotes from this book can be found here and here.

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