Posts Tagged ‘quote’

Would my kids know Jesus from knowing me?

April 28, 2010

Would they? I don’t know. That’s my aim, however.

If my family were somehow shown the essence of Jesus, as he was incarnated, (I mean as he was in human form, not as the majestic being of infinite glory ascended and seated at the right hand of God the Father) would they be able to say, “Yeah, I’ve seen that before. That’s kinda like my Dad/Husband.” Or if God were to grant my prayer that they might “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”, would they be able to say, “I already know a little bit of that kind of love.”

Lord, have mercy. May it be so.

The following is a post from Anne Voskamp, at “A Holy Experience” (another of my favorite blogs) that looks at this question.


How The Kids & The Neighbor-Next-Door Might Really Become Christians?

I’m brushing my teeth, flecks of white spraying the sunny mirror, confetti celebrating new morning, when she crawls up on the toilet, leans into the mirror to find my reflection and ask me straight up, “How do you become a Christian?”

I’m Crest-foaming.

Which is slightly less than conducive for a theological treatise.

I rinse, wash the pearly whites clean, swish again, decide the best way to answer the curl girl’s question might be exactly the Jesus answered questions.

With another question.

Aren’t the answers that strike the deepest the ones our own unlikely lips discover, pull out of thin air?

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“Shalom,” I tap the toothbrush dry on the side of the sink, porcelain knocking at today. I still haven’t found my glasses amidst the teetering stack of books on my bedside stand so I have to peer into her face, her one shake of seven freckles peppering her nose. “You tell me, Shalom… How do you become a Christian?”

I want to think I’ve fulfilled my parental calling, that she knows this one and this is a test more of my own mothering than of her four-year-old mind. But nose to that sun-kissed nose, I’ve got to concede: “Do I even know?”

What is it to become a Christian? Aren’t I still, even now, always, becoming Who I really am? Whose I really am?

What I used to think of as a four-line prayer on the back of a Billy Graham tract I now see as oceanic, cosmic, a decision made with every lugging up of the lungs for breath and it takes a whole life to labor into rebirth.

Lashes dipped gold, she rolls her sapphire eyes and grins sheepish, her head tilted shy. Has she got it? Yes? I smile, tap the end of her button nose, a vending machine tap of the universe for the right answer and maybe the Child can show me the way into the Kingdom?

So how do you become a Christian?” I set my toothbrush in its cup and turn to her and she looks clear into my canyon depths and before she opens her mouth I feel exposed.

“I know…. ” she touches my cheek in morning light mottled.

I get it from you.”

Oh.

I’m not ready for that.

I reel, pull away, glance me in the mirror and I don’t want to see, turn, fold a towel up just straight, breathe through the burn.

She’s got her theology all wrong. And all right.

She’s getting her Jesus from me.

Is that what we’re all doing here? Passing out the crumbs of our Jesus, the Bread of life we’ve been given, to the beggar starving sunken beside us?

And is that why there are fewer and fewer of genuine disciples?Because we who have Bread are indifferent hoarders, letting the masses die? Or because we’re going around passing out cardboard, pseudo-Life, because the ugly truth is that we’ve never tasted of the Real Christ ourselves?

He said those Easter People would receive power when the Holy Spirit came, that we’d be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the table, the ends of the couch, the ends of the street. The ends of the earth. Witnesses who hand out the Real Story. With their whole body.

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And I’ve got to ask and I’m the one who has to find my own answers:

What Christ am I witnessing and what Christ do I read of, and where do I see God in my life and Who do I really eat of every Sunday? And is this body of bones wrapped in bluing thin flesh a faithful witness at all to the Truth or do my words twist the Gospel, my hands and my tongue lying outright about Christ, the Messiah?

Doesn’t anyone take the witness stand for the God who laid it all down? Have we not seen? Heard? Touched? Why shrink away? Why lie about it?

I don’t know…. I don’t claim to know.

I just know that the Child’s startling claim that she’s getting her Christianity from me brings me to my knees. It’d better keep me there.

And I know that I’d better be handing out the real Bread — not something that will make her, anyone, soul sick. And maybe the answer is that, whether we realize it or not, every moment is our testimony before a world who has Christ on trial.

When I tenderly gather her up into the lap there on the edge of the tub, I explain what it means, how to break the amniotic waters of new life, or what little I know of the mysteries of being born again, and I feel so small.

She feels along the story for days.

I pray my hands are a better witness than my words.

She prays a sinner prayer on a Tuesday, and we who conceived her bones are bent with her, midwives for the second birthing. I pull her close, kiss her forehead fresh with heaven’s scent and I whisper into curls, “The angels have seen this, Shalom, the angels bear witness. The angels have a party today.”

On her new day one, we make angel cookies, her and I, of the wheat kernels fallen to the ground, gathered and ground fine, angel cookies for the angel party, for the lost sheep found, celebration for the long delivery begun.

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And I bear witness to her splitting smile, the Christ Alive and bits of the heavens fallen quiet across the greening earth, the blue periwinkles, the dark violets, the dandelion suns.

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To Dabble and Splash

October 19, 2009

“This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash.”            – C. S. Lewis

Revival?

May 31, 2008
Update: I just about finished this and realized that I wasn’t writing in the first person. BIG mistake. If you read this, realize that it applies to me first. Then anyone else that wants to join up, feel free. 

“It is my considered opinion that under the present circumstances we do not want revival at all. A widespread revival of the kind of Christianity we know today in America might prove to be a moral tragedy from which we would not recover in a hundred years.”- A.W. Tozer

Don’t tell me about Lakeland. Don’t tell me about emotional “worship experiences”. Don’t tell me about spiritual gifts. Don’t tell me about programs, projects, and long term strategies. Don’t tell me about good preaching or sound theology. Don’t tell me about looking at the “fruit” of a church’s (or a preacher’s) ministry if you mean numbers in attendance, or even converts (remembering the parable of the sower). God may be at work in all these.

Then again, he may not be.

The fruit we should be looking for is found in the letter to the Galatians.

We’re called to discern the spirits. Well?

Do you see evidence of this, “… enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy,…” in yourself, or the people in your congregation? Remember, this comes next, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Are your people, are you, more loving? Is this your aim, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil. 2)

Are you increasingly more joyful? Does the joy set before you cause you to endure the cross and its shame? Is that joy your strength? Do newcomers to your group notice a deep seated joy that transcends circumstances?

What about peace? Are you a peacemaker? Are you known as an ambassador of reconciliation? Or does your proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom mostly convey strife and division? The Gospel will always have an unpopular, prophetic edge to those who smell death instead of life, but which direction are you headed as a people?

Patience? Are you content? When people interrupt your plans how do you react? Is the desire for your vision of ministry frustrated by the very people you are shepherding? How do you react to those weaker brothers?

Kindness?… anyone?… anyone?… kindness?” (read in your best Ben Stein voice) How do you measure yourself and your folks when you read this from Henry Drummond?

“‘The greatest thing,’ says someone, ‘a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children.’ I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are? How much the world needs it. How easily it is done. How instantaneously it acts. How infallibly it is remembered.” (The Greatest Thing In The World)

What about goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?

(*crickets*?)

What about the first things that history tells us happened in almost all, if not all, real revivals. Prayer, and Godly sorrow leading to repentance?

Ruthlessly look at your own heart, see if you are at least moving the right direction, then I’m pretty sure you’ll know what real revival would look like.

“A 20th Century Prophet”

April 16, 2008

For those who don’t know, I’m an A. W. Tozer fan. Apart from scripture no book has had a bigger influence on my formation than
The Pursuit of God.

If you haven’t read it, stop whatever you’re doing (after reading this post) and go get it. If you need more than my recommendation here’s the preface. If you’ve read it before, read it again and feel that heartache, that longing again.

The Pursuit of God

A. W. Tozer

 

 

Preface

In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct `interpretations’ of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water. This is the only real harbinger of revival which I have been able to detect anywhere on the religious horizon. It may be the cloud the size of a man’s hand for which a few saints here and there have been looking. It can result in a resurrection of life for many souls and a recapture of that radiant wonder which should accompany faith in Christ, that wonder which has all but fled the Church of God in our day. But this hunger must be recognized by our religious leaders.

Current evangelicalism has (to change the figure) laid the altar and divided the sacrifice into parts, but now seems satisfied to count the stones and rearrange the pieces with never a care that there is not a sign of fire upon the top of lofty Carmel. [See 1 Kings 18 for the allusions.-ccp] But God be thanked that there are a few who care. They are those who, while they love the altar and delight in the sacrifice, are yet unable to reconcile themselves to the continued absence of fire. They desire God above all. They are athirst to taste for themselves the `piercing sweetness’ of the love of Christ about Whom all the holy prophets did write and the psalmists did sing.

There is today no lack of Bible teachers to set forth correctly the principles of the doctrines of Christ, but too many of these seem satisfied to teach the fundamentals oft he faith year after year, strangely unaware that there is in their ministry no manifest Presence, nor anything unusual in their personal lives. They minister constantly to believers who feel within their breasts a longing which their teaching simply does not satisfy. I trust I speak in charity, but the lack in our pulpits is real. Milton’s terrible sentence applies to our day as accurately as it did to his: `The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.’

It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table. The truth of Wesley’s words is established before our eyes: `Orthodoxy, or right opinion, is, at best, a very slender part of religion. Though right tempers cannot subsist without right opinions,yet right opinions may subsist without right tempers. There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward Him. Satan is proof of this.’

Thanks to our splendid Bible societies and to other effective agencies for the dissemination of the Word, there are today many millions of people who hold `right opinions,’ probably more than ever before in the history of the Church.Yet I wonder if there was ever a time when true spiritual worship was ever a time when true spiritual worship was at a lower ebb. To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the `program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us.

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

This book is a modest attempt to aid God’s hungry children so to find Him. Nothing here is new except in the sense that it is a discovery which my own heart has made of spiritual realities most delightful and wonderful to me. Others before me have gone much farther into these holy mysteries than I have done, but if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame.

A. W. Tozer Chicago, Ill. June 16, 1948.

Quote Of The Day

February 11, 2008

Here’s a good one. Ouch.

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?

Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”

-Soren Kierkegaard

On Being Satisfied…Or Not

December 5, 2007

Here’s a question for you.

Are you satisfied pleasing God?

Are you really? Or are the things you do designed more for pleasing people (your self included)?

Think about that for a while, and I’ll do some confessing in the mean time.

Lately God has been dealing with me in three areas. He’s been gentle, and even though I’m seeing more of the way I really am, there’s no condemnation. It’s as if he’s saying, “You’re now ready to see a little bit more of what I see everyday.”

It’s a humbling thing to know more about yourself. Humility ought to make me shut up. Lack of it makes me, like Job, utter what I do not understand. So I think I’ll try more quiet & listening, and less speaking. At least the kind that comes from thinking I’m further along than someone else. 

In a nutshell, he’s showing me that I’m…

1) …very fallible and incompetent.   I was under no delusion before, but I had hoped I was closer to swapping the prefix in- between those two words. There are some good stories connected with this one. (More later…)

 2) …not usually brokenhearted over my sin. I’m more irritated and frustrated, so I “try to do better”. But “sin management” doesn’t work too well. On the other hand, when I have been brokenhearted about some besetting sin, I’ve seen much more real change in my life. But that’s a scary prayer, “Lord, Break my heart over my sin.” (see Psalm 51)

3) …not satisfied with pleasing Him.  This one was really a question, “If I called you to a life of hiddeness, and I was most pleased by that, would that be enough?”

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to please, or impress the people around me. But my greatest pleasure  -and ultimately it is about my pleasure. Pascal said, “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end.”, and I find no reason not to believe him.-   should come from pleasing God.

I know that.

We all know that, at least in our heads. I don’t know about you, but my problem isn’t that I don’t know. My problem is that I don’t trust Him enough to quit “spending [my] money on that which isn’t bread, and [my] labor on that which doesn’t satisfy.”