11 Quotes From “How Great Is Our God”

Scholars, tradesmen, politicians, theologians, pastors, and martyrs—all have spoken or written about the greatness of God over the past two millennia. In How Great Is Our God we are treated to a sampling of these writings. Check out my full book review by clicking here, and then enjoy this first set of quotes.

“Oh, that everyone would strive to put down, in themselves, mastery and honor, so that the Lord of heaven and earth might be exalted!” —George Fox

“Those who are poor in spirit are men and women who have realized that things mean nothing, and that God means everything. …

“Poverty is not a good thing. Jesus would never have called blessed a state where people live in slums and do not have enough to eat, and where health deteriorates because conditions are all against it. It is the aim of the Christian gospel to remove that kind of poverty. The poverty which is blessed is the poverty of spirit, when people realize their own utter lack of resources to meet life, and find their help and strength in God. …

“So, the first beatitude means: O the bliss of those who have realized their own utter helplessness, and who have put their whole trust in God, for thus alone can they render to God that perfect obedience which will make them citizens of the kingdom of heaven!” —William Barclay

“Christ pronounces those to be happy who, chastened and subdued by afflictions, submit themselves wholly to God, and, with inward humility, turn to Him for protection.” —John Calvin

“Christ does not merely affirm that mourners are not unhappy. He shows that their very mourning contributes to a happy life, by preparing them to receive eternal joy, and by furnishing them with motives to seek true comfort in God alone.” —John Calvin

“Teach me to seek Thee, and reveal Thyself to me, when I seek Thee, for I cannot seek Thee, except Thou teach me, nor find Thee, except Thou reveal Thyself.” —Anslem

“I realize that I shouldn’t be surprised at God’s doing things that I can’t explain. I shouldn’t doubt His existence just because I find that I sometimes can’t understand why or how He has made something. I know that my nature is weak and limited and that God’s is limitless, incomprehensible, and infinite. From this, I can infer that He can do innumerable things for reasons that are unknown to me.” —René Descartes

“Truly the love of God and of this world may never be together in one soul, but whichever love is stronger puts out the other.” —Richard Rolle

“Two periods stand out in Christ’s life: His entrance into public ministry at His Baptism, and the culmination of it at His Passion. At both He had a fierce encounter with the devil. This should give you an idea of how the master tempter works. The more public your place, and the more eminent your service for God, the greater the probability that satan is at that very moment hatching some deadly scheme against you. If even the cadet corps need to be armed against satan’s bullets of temptation, how much more the commanders and officers, who stand in the front line of battle!” —William Gurnall

“Men should avoid taking their own vengeance, but avenge injury of God, with the intention to change. … Thus Moses, mildest man of all, killed many thousand of his people, for they worshipped a calf as they should worship God. And thus in our works of mercy lies much discretion….” —John Wycliffe

“God alone remits sin through Jesus Christ, His Son, and alone our Lord.

“Anyone who assigns this to creatures detracts from the honor of God and gives it to him who is not God; this is real idolatry.

“Therefore the confession that is made to a priest or neighbor shall not be declared to be a remittance of sin, but only seeking for advice.

“Works of penance coming from the council of human beings do not cancel sin; they are imposed as a menace to others.

“Christ has borne all our pains and labor. Therefore whoever assigns to works of penance what belongs to Christ errs and slanders God.” —Zwingli

“There is nothing better than to count up the worth of Christ; to take Him up and weigh Him again and again: and after this to have none other to court your love, and to woo your soul’s delight, but Christ.” —Samuel Rutherford 

Lots and lots of additional quotes are coming from this book. Some of them will be posted here, and several will be shared on my Tumblr and Twitter accounts.

Read More And Read Better

Just part of my current reading list

Just part of my current reading list

It’s no secret that I like to read. I read a little for pleasure, but mostly I read because it make me a better Christian, a better husband, a better dad, a better preacher. It expands my horizons. It gives me new ideas. It teaches me life lessons. It gives me insights to share with others.

My first priority is to read my Bible every day, and then all of my other reading is filtered through that prism of Scripture. I don’t read only “Christian” books, but I do read good books.

It’s true: Leaders are readers. If you want to lead more and lead better, read more and read better.

“When a very young minister, I asked the famous holiness preacher, Joseph H. Smith, whether he would recommend that I read widely in the secular field. He replied, ‘Young man, a bee can find nectar in the weed as well as in the flower.’ I took his advice (or, to be frank, I sought confirmation of my own instincts rather than advice) and I am not sorry that I did. John Wesley told the young ministers of the Wesleyan Societies to read or get out of the ministry, and he himself read science and history with a book propped against his saddle pommel as he rode from one engagement to another.” —A.W. Tozer

“Keep yourself full with reading. Reading gives you a vocabulary. Don’t read to remember; read to realize.” —Oswald Chambers

“It is a dreadful deception that learning and mental growing are strictly associated with school. Good reading should be the vocation of a lifetime.” —John Piper

“Paul says to Timothy, so he says to everyone, ‘Give yourself to reading.’ He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritans and expositions of the Bible. The best way for you to spend your leisure is to be either reading or praying.” —C.H. Spurgeon

“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.” —Rene Descartes 

“After all that professors may do for us, the real University is a collection of good books.” —Thomas Carlyle

“Ignoring good books enfeebles vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency; the belief that the here and now is all there is.” —Allan Bloom

Familiar Conversations


I read a long time ago the statement, “Leaders are readers.” I’m a wholehearted supporter of this. Thanks to a marvelously talented carpenter in our church named Noah Waldon, I have a new home for all of my books. I’m so excited to get my library out of boxes and onto the shelves.

Actually, they’re more than just books… they are familiar conversations. Rene Descartes said, “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of past centuries.” I agree.

People often ask me what I’m reading or what they should be reading. As to the second question — what should they read — I answer, “What conversation would you like to have? Is there an area of your life you would love to talk with someone who’s been-there-done-that?” That’s what reading is, having a conversation with some of the great thinkers or most articulate people in past or modern history.

As to the first question — what am I reading — I try to keep readers of the blog up-to-date. Down the right column you will see the list of books I have in progress, and the ones I’ve read this year. Let me highlight just a couple of books.

Wounded Healer. To go deeper in my relationships with others, I have to be able to relate to them at deeper levels. Henri Nouwen has captured the essence of this in Wounded Healer. We cannot minister to others out of our wounds, but out of our scars. In other words, once we’ve healed, but the scar is still there to remind us of the wound, we’re ready to help others heal from the same injury.

Love & Respect. Even though Betsy and I have known each other for nearly 25 years, I know I can still learn more about being a better husband. Emerson Eggerichs is helping me do a better job.

21 Laws of Leadership. This is a classic leadership book from John Maxwell. I can’t even count how many times I’ve read through this book. But I’m going through it again with my church Board, and watching John teach the video series on this book too. Every time I have this conversation with John Maxwell I learn something new.

To be a better leader in any area of your life, don’t shy away from having better conversations with great authors. If you’ve got a book to suggest, send it my way. I’d also be happy to help you find a book as a conversation-starter for you… just ask me.

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