Archive for the 'quote' Category

Friends,

I am the new guy around here and as you can see I had a lot to say this week. That’s not really all I have to say, but I realize that perhaps brevity is the salt of wit and absence makes the heart grow fonder so from here on out I will not be posting as much as I did this week; I’ll try to say more with less.

Before I engage my short parable, I’d like to say a couple of things.

First, I had a lot of fun this week posting here at CRN.info. I am truly honored to be among those who have decided to honor the Lord Jesus Christ by preaching the Gospel of grace and dining with sinners as Jesus himself did so often. I also learned a lot about people this week. The most surprising thing I learned was that I am not someones friend. I am sincerely disappointed by this and I will work to change it. Second, I will be on vacation next week and not around as much. I ask for you to continue praying for my brother (in law) Bobby (30). He has a brain tumor that is not getting smaller. We will be giving a couple of our vacation days to stay with the family and help them take care of Bob.

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Now, for a parable.

Wednesday evening two of my three sons, along with a friend of theirs, were outside enjoying the cool evening air. The moon was bright and it was somewhat late (after 9:30 PM). I don’t normally have to pay too much attention to them when they are outside because they are trustworthy and the neighborhood is relatively safe.

We live next door to the church building.

In the front of the church building is a nice brick, lighted marquee which we use to advertise service times, on one side, and for witty, thought provoking quotes on the other. When I finally called my sons, and their friend who was staying the night, in, I noticed they were playing in front of the church building by the lighted marquee. I naively thought not too much about it.

Thursday afternoon I was in my study, poring over books in an effort to understand how the prophet Isaiah used the word ‘justice’ in his preaching (turns out it’s a little more complex than I thought). All of a sudden, my Verizon Blackberry starts to buzz and chirp. I grab it and read the message which was from the man who took over as Cubmaster of my Cub Scout Pack when I retired earlier this year. He informed me that as he was driving home from a Cub Scout bowling event the previous evening he caught sight of a rather startling thing: Three bare, white butts illuminated by the bright, flourescent light of the church marquee were ’staring’ at him as he drove by. 

I had some fun with the boys at the dinner table later that evening saying, “Hey Renee, guess who was driving by the church building last evening when the boys were out mooning cars in front of the church building?” The embarassed, flushed look on my eldest son’s face was payment enough. We had a good laugh and finished our dinner.

Now, imagine just for a moment, that the New Cubmaster had never written that e-mail on Thursday afternoon.

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Dependence upon God produces humility in man. Pride and boasting are traits of natural man, and spring from man’s dependence upon self and self-sufficiency. Whatever success comes to man tends to feed and nourish his pride. These traits, though not always obvious, are very persistent and are also evident in the lives of those who are saved. There is a deep rooted desire to be something. If not openly, yet in the heart persists a feeling of self-importance. This feeling of pride is out of harmony with God’s program of grace, for grace emphasizes the fact that everything is of God. ‘For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what has thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Cor 4:7). “And the base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Cor 1:28, 29). (J F Strombeck, The Discipline of Grace, 61)

Have a nice weekend!

Soli Deo Gloria!

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Friends,

I originally posted this at my own blog, but I thought perhaps it deserved a wider audience.

I read this book a couple of years ago. I saw it on the shelf today while preparing lessons for my week of deaning junior high church camp next week. I saw one of those small green post-it flags attached to a page so I turned to it to see what had caught my eye two years ago. Here it is:

My father believes, as I do, that the church is the place where the incompetent, the unfinished, and even the unhealthy are welcome. I believe Jesus agrees.

Christianity is not for people who think religion is a pleasant distraction, a nice alternative, or a positive influence. Messy spirituality is a good term for the place where desperation meets Jesus. More often than not, in Jesus’ day, desperate people who tried to get to Jesus were surrounded by religious people who either ignored or rejected those who were seeking to have their hunger for God filled. Sadly, not much has changed over the years.

Desperate people don’t do well in churches. They don’t fit, and they don’t cooperate in the furthering of their starvation. ‘Church people’ often label ‘desperate people’ as strange and unbalanced. But when desperate people get a taste of God, they can’t stay away from him, no matter what everyone around them thinks.

Desperate is a strong word. That’s why I like it. People who are desperate are rude, frantic, and reckless. Desperate people are explosive, focused, and uncompromising in their desire to get what they want. Someone who is desperate will crash through the veil of niceness. The New Testament is filled with desperate people, people who barged into private dinners, screamed at Jesus until they had his attention, or destroyed the roof of someone’s house to get him. People who are desperate for spirituality very seldom worry about the mess they make on their way to be with Jesus.”–Mike Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality, 33-34

You know what the problem is with us Christians? We become so certain of our faith in Christ, that we have forgotten what it means to be desperate, we forget how to be desperate. We are so confident in our Justification that we forget about Sanctification. So confident in knowledge we forget about grace. We settle. And badly.

Perhaps it would behoove us to remember what it is like to be desperate, starving, dying of thirst. Perhaps if we remembered these, satisfied as we are, it would be much easier for us to understand those who still are in such dire straits. Perhaps we have forgotten how parched the land really is and why we came to Christ in the first place. Perhaps we need, quickly, to remember. All of us, that is.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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