Quote of the Day: July 13, 2012

The reality is, we need community in order to follow Christ radically. I am convinced that one reason many of us have not taken radical steps in our giving, for example, may not be so much because we love our possessions as it is because we fear isolation. If the radical, simple living we see Jesus talking about were more common in the church, it would be much easier for us to live simply as well. But we look around, and everyone else has nice cars, nice homes, and lifestyles characterized by luxuries, so we accept that this must be the norm for Christians. We may get convicted about our way of living when we look at the Bible, but then when we look at one another, we assume it must be okay because everyone else lives this way.

Platt, David (2010-04-17). Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (pp. 205-206). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Quote of the Day: July 12, 2012

I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.

- Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest, June 17 devotional

Quote of the Day: July 10, 2012

Yesterday this was the inspirational quote on the wall on the gym that I go to:

“Don’t quit now.  You’re already in pain.  You’re already hurt.  Don’t miss out on the rewards.”

I found that to be close to one of our favorite verses to quote to encourage one another to persevere:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

May you persevere today for the reward of becoming more like Jesus.

Quote of the Day: July 5, 2012

To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus. The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ. Maybe this is why we sit back and settle for a casual relationship with Christ and routine religion in the church. It is safe there, and the world likes us there. The world likes us when we are pursuing everything they are pursuing, even if we do put a Christian label on it. As long as Christianity looks like the American dream, we will have few problems in this world. But if we identify with Christ, we will lose much in this world. Jesus said this himself: “Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”9 These words should frighten us. They should frighten us because our Teacher was mocked, beaten, scourged,spit upon, and nailed to a cross. Do we really want to be like him?

Platt, David (2010-04-17). Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (pp. 167-168). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Quote of the Day: April 11, 2012

When we are “in love” with someone we often appear to attend to our beloved when in fact we are doing the very opposite.  Instead of being attentive we are acquisitive.  We use the other for our own glorification, we bask in the presence of our beloved because we enjoy the image of ourselves that is reflected back….This is the opposite of Christian love.  The opposite is all about me.  Even idolizing my beloved- Certainly a danger for the newly infatuated- is all about me, though it pretends to be all about the other, it is all about me because it does not take my beloved seriously as a person created and redeemed by God but rather imagines him to be perfect, heroic, sublime, and customized to meet my needs

Lauren Winner in “The Countercultural Path” p.38 as quoted in Timothy Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God” p.213-214

Quote of the Day: March 26, 2012

[T]hough natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings….The rule for all of us is perfectly simple.  Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did.  As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets.  When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently comes to love him.  If you injure someone you dislike. you will find yourself disliking him more.  If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less….[W]henever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less….The world man treats certain people kindly because he “likes” them: The Christian, trying to treat everyone kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on- including people he could not have imaged himself liking at the beginning.

- C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity p. 130-131 as quoted in The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Tim Keller p. 100-101

Quote of the Day: March 19, 2012

If we are a distracted people, a distracted society, it stands to reason that we would also be a distracted church, a church with a diminished ability to think deeply, to cultivate concentration, to emphasize slow, deliberate, thoughtful meditation. What Paul said of the unbelieving Jews of his day could likely be said of many of us today: “I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). Christians may be excited about God, but because they have become a product of our digital world, they have a diminished ability to think deeply about him, to truly know him as he is. More and more of us are finding that we just can’t stop long enough to read. We can’t sustain our attention long enough to study. We can’t find the time to meet with our Father. Where prayer used to be the first activity of the day, we now begin our daily routine by checking e-mail. Where the Bible used to be a special book we read and studied, now it’s an e-book that competes with our voice mail, text messages, e-mails, and the ever-present lure of the Internet.

Challies, Tim (2011-04-05). The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion (p. 116). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

International House Hunters and the Loss of Community

One of my favorite shows right now (ie. the only one I am recording) is international house hunters.  Not only is it fun to see the living situations in different parts of the world, but it is enjoyable to watch the newbies see what is available in other countries.  I always laugh the first time the couple that has lived in the U.S. for their whole life views the washing machine and then asks where the dryer is.  Or I nod along when the family of 6 finds it difficult to get a living space like they previously had for a cost less than what it would be to buy a mansion in the U.S.

But lately I have seen a trend on the show of families or couples that are moving abroad just “because” that totally underestimate the value of community.  There is very little mention of family and friends (or church) that they are leaving behind in search of a “tropical paradise”.  It makes me sad because as someone who has had to live apart from community for the last 10 years of my life on and off, I know how valuable community is to your personal life, marriage and family.  Of course, new relationships can be formed, but the deep, real relationships that will support, love challenge, encourage, weep, laugh and triumph with you take years and years of shared experiences to build.  And in our individualistic society it seems like we are  valuing those less and less.  And I think it is tot he detriment of ourselves and our families.

I am not saying that we should never move or stay in the same town we grew up in.  I see many valuable experiences that come from experiencing other cultures.  But I do think that the value of community should weigh a bit more into decisions of career, family and personal opportunities.

Quote of the Day: March 9, 2012

Part of God’s gracious work in my life has been to progressively reveal my sin to me. Again, it’s not that I didn’t know I need Him. It’s just that I didn’t know how much.

Elyse Fitzpatrick in A Steadfast Heart: Experiencing God’s Comfort in Life’s Storms [With CD] page 35

Quote of the Day: March 6, 2012

“Peace is found only in knowing that this world is meant to prepare us for the next and that the temporary pleasures and pains of this world are not our final address.  When we live knowing that the God of grace will lift us out of this broken world and is now readying us for the world to come, we can face difficult without wanting to give up and experience pleasure without becoming addicted to it.  We live with hope in our heart, eyes to the future, and hands holding this present world loosely.”

Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It by Paul Tripp, page 37