Archive for category quotes

Praying in Jesus’ Name

I am getting really fired up for our next series, Jesus on Prayer, where we’ll look at Jesus’ teaching on prayer. Our goal for the series is simple but audacious:  As individuals and as a church, we want to pray more in the next three months than we ever have in our entire lives.

One of my favorite resources in preparation for this series has been Paul Miller’s A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World. Here’s a brief quote from this book that motivates me to pray:

Imagine your prayer is a poorly dressed beggar reeking of alcohol and body odor, stumbling toward the palace of the great king. You have become your prayer. As you shuffle toward the barred gate, the guards stiffen. Your smell has proceeded you. You stammer out a message for the great king: “I want to see the king.” Your words are barely intelligible, but you whisper one final word, “Jesus. I come in the name of Jesus.” At the name of Jesus the palace comes alive. The guard snaps to attention, bowing low in front of you. Lights come on and the door flies open. You are ushered into the palace and down a long hallway into the throne room of the great king, who comes running to you and wraps you in his arms.

The name of Jesus gives royal access. They get through. Jesus isn’t just the Savior of my soul. He’s also the Savior of my prayers. My prayers come before the throne of God as the prayers of Jesus. “Asking in Jesus’ name” isn’t another thing I have to get right so my prayers are perfect. It is one more gift of God because my prayers are so imperfect.

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Since I am His Child, Change is Possible

Really enjoying Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life, which I’m reading in preparation for our next series, “Jesus on Prayer.” I like this quote from Miller about how God’s sovereignty brings us hope:

Many Christians haven’t stopped believing in God; we have just become functional deists, living with God at a distance. We view the world as a box with clearly defined edges. But as we learn to pray well, we’ll discover that this is my Father’s world. Because my Father controls everything, I can ask, and he will listen and act. Since I am his child, change is possible–and hope is born.

May we be men and women who press constantly press into our reigning Father.

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Why 4 different gospel accounts?

Have you ever wondered why there are four different versions of the same gospel story? Mark Driscoll gives a helpful explanation:

The way the Gospels in our Bible have been arranged provides a perfect example of how the same gospel story can be presented in different ways. Some critics of Scripture have argued that the differences between the Gospels are contradictions. This could not be farther from the truth. The four gospels simply are similar to your local nightly news. The first three gospels are like local network television affiliates for ABC, NBC, and CBS, which generally report the same stories with some variation in eyewitness accounts and details. This explains why roughly 60 percent of the first three gospels give the same information. John, on the other hand, is more like one of the national cable television newscasts—such as CNN—which have news stories that are rarely found on the local nightly news. This explains why roughly 90 percent of John is unique to his account. (Radical Reformission, 57)

What do you think are the implications of this in terms of how we adapt our gospel presentation? How can we adjust the form of our gospel presentation without adjusting the content?

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Do you know God?

In his excellent must-read book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer makes the following statement:

The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.

Knowing God is what our Living in 4G series is all about. We’ve had a great time exploring God’s power and majesty over the last few weeks as we’ve looked at the reality that God is Great and God is Glorious.

Be sure to join us this Sunday as we continue this powerful series and–if you have a good friend or family member that needs to get to know God–be sure to invite them!

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The Glorious Song of the Gospel

In his wonderful book, You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions, Tim Chester beautifully illustrates the difference between fighting sin with rules and legalism and fighting sin with the beauty of the gospel:

In Greek mythology, the Sirens would sing enchanting songs, drawing sailors irresistibly toward the rocks and certain shipwreck. Odysseus filled his crew’s ears with wax and had them tie him to the mast. This is like the approach of legalism. We bind ourselves up with laws and disciplines in a vain attempt to resist temptation. Orpheus, on the other hand, played such beautiful music on his harp that his sailors ignored the seductions of the Sirens’ song. This is the way of faith. The grace of the gospel sings a far more glorious song than the enticements of sin, if only we have the faith to hear its music.

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The Secret of Change

I’m currently reading an excellent book by Tim Chester, You Can Change. I hope to write more about it in coming weeks when I finish, but I couldn’t resist posting this quote:

“The secret of gospel change is being convinced that Jesus is the good life and the fountain of all joy.”

Pray with me that we would see Jesus as the fountain of all joy in such a way that we would joyfully forsake the fleeting pleasures of sin.

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Motives for Biblical Understanding

In preparing for this Saturday’s seminar on how to read and understand the Bible, I was reminded of this tremendous quote by J.I. Packer from his classic book, Knowing God.

For the fact that we have to face is this: If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate and dismiss them as very poor specimens. For, as Paul told the conceited Corinthians, ‘Knowledge puffs up…. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know’ (1 Cor 8:1-2).

To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception. We need to guard our hearts against such an attitude, and pray to be kept from it… there can be no spiritual health without doctrinal knowledge; but it is equally true that there can be no spiritual health with it, if it is sought for the wrong purpose and valued by the wrong standard.

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