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Category Archives: Quotes that motivate me

Hudson Taylor was one of the pioneer missionaries to China.  Everything was hard for him–he got sick, had conflicts with other missionaries, and he became more and more depressed.  One day he received a letter from his friend John McCarthy, who told him to try “abiding, not striving or struggling.”  Christ himself is “the only power for service; the only ground for unchanging joy,” McCarthy wrote.

Taylor said, “As I read, I saw it all.  I looked to Jesus, and when I saw, oh, how the joy flowed.  As to work, mine was never so plentiful or so difficult; but the weight and strain are gone.”  By the time Hudson Taylor died, his organization had 800 missionaries in China.

What is it about returning to Jesus that free, encourages, strengthens, and renews? Beholding Him leads to becoming like Him (2 Cor 3:18)

The church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply, a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose. C. S. Lewis

If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.

This applies in a special way to the complaints often heard from pastors and zealous members about their congregations. A pastor should never complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.

. . . let [the pastor or zealous member] nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God. Let him rather accuse himself for his unbelief. Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in the consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren. Let him do what he is committed to do, and thank God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, LIfe Together

Henry Martyn served as a missionary to India and Persia (Iran) in the early 1800’s. In an amazing feat of discipline and genius, he translated the New Testament from Greek into Urdu and Persian (languages he learned during those five years). He also supervised its translation into Arabic. All this – before he died at age 31.

He once said…

The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions, and the nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we must become.

The Vision – by Pete Greig

So this guy comes up to me and says:
“what’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open my mouth and words come out like this:
The vision?

The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army.
And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won.

They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision ?

The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to loose,
that they might one day win
the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Winners. Martyrs.
Who can stop them ?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them ?

And the generation prays

like a dying man
with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and
with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive

Inside.

On the outside? They hardly care.
They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives – swap seats with the man on death row – guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,
they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.

Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdo’s! Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.
They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.
Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be.
It will come to pass;
it will come easily;
it will come soon.

How do I know?

Because this is the longing of creation itself,
the groaning of the Spirit,
the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is his today.
My distant hope is his 3D.
And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great ‘Amen!’ from countless angels, from hero’s of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Guaranteed.

We are all expert planners, are we not?

Those people [the builders of Babel’s Tower] were planners. They drew the specifications of the city. They had it all worked out. We all do that in life, do we not? You have your plans. Your future life and career are mapped out. You know what you want to do.

Where does God come in? Is the plan made under God, or is it made apart from him?

The one lesson of [Genesis 11] is that if you plan your life without God at the center, it will come to nothing, nothing at all. It will be as futile and as fatuous as the Tower of Babel. God will come down and will destroy it, whether you like that or not. This is the whole history of the Bible. It is the history of the subsequent centuries after the end of the Bible. It is the history of the twentieth century. The human race is not allowed to build a civilization without God, and you are not allowed to build your life without God.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“I love to sin, but the reason I choose not to is because I love Jesus more!” Steve Brown

1. If you’re looking for the next cool thing in town (We want to grow by conversion growth, not just church-goer transfer growth).

2. If you’re a Christian and you don’t like your current church (You will find reasons to not like this church).

3. If you have a bad track record at churches of being unteachable and causing problems (You won’t change here, you’ll repeat the pattern).

4. If you’re a consumer wanting to “go to church” 1 time a week for a nice show (We are not a Sunday show, we are a community of disciples on a mission).

5. If you want religion (This church will be built on the radical gospel of grace).

6. If you have an agenda (We have our vision, our mission, and our values—your private agenda does not supercede them).

7. If you’re a wolf (We will sniff you out).

8. If you think this will be a nice little church that stays the same size, where everybody knows your name and you have my cell number on speed dial and we have a picnic lunch together every week (By God’s grace, we are growing and will continue to grow).

9. If you think this will be easy and smooth (This will be hard and difficult; this will be a fight, a battle, and a challenging mission).

10. If you want to hold onto your comfortable life (You must lose your life).

Sir Ernest Shackleton used an advertisement to recruit men for his expedition to Antarctica in 1914:

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.

Originally written by Justin Buzzard, a church planter

I recently came across a definition of how to effectively plant a church.

“Get the right guy, rightly equipped, with the right heart, right doctrine, and right team, in the right place at the right time doing the right things, and good things will happen.”

We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization, “I’m accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

John Owen (1616-1683)

“It is impossible to spend several months in close study of the remarkable short book, conventionally known as the Acts of the Apostles, without being profoundly stirred and to be honest, disturbed. The reader is stirred because he is seeing Christianity, the real thing, in action for the first time in human history. The newborn church, as vulnerable as any human child, having neither money, influence nor power in the ordinary sense, is setting forth joyfully and courageously to win the pagan world for God through Christ. The young Church, like all young creatures, is appealing in its simplicty and singleheartedness. Here we are seeing the Church in its first youth, valiant and unspoiled — a body of ordinary men and women joined in an unconquerable fellowship never before seen on this earth.

Yet we cannot help feeling disturbed as well as moved, for this surely is the Church as it was meant to be. It is vigrorous and flexible, for these are the days before it ever became fat and short of breath through prosperity or muscle-bound by over-organisation. These men did not make ‘acts of faith,’ they believed, they did not ‘say their prayers,’ they really prayed. They did not hold conferences on psychosomatic medicine, they simply healed the sick. But if they were uncomplicated and naive by modern standards, we have ruefully to admit that they were open on the God-ward side in a way that is almost unknown today.

No one can read this book without being convinced that there is Someone here at work besides mere human beings. Perhaps because in their very simplicity, perhaps because of their readiness to believe, to obey, to give, to suffer, and if need be to die, the Spirit of God found what surely He must always be seeking – a fellowship of men and women so united in love and faith that He can work in them and through them with the minimum of let or hindrance. Consequently it is a matter of sober historical fact that never before has any small body of ordinary people so moved the world that their enemies could say, with tears of rage in their eyes, that these men ‘have turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6).”

J. B. Phillips, Preface to The Young Church in Action (New York, 1955), page vii.

C.S. Lewis was once asked, “Is attendance at a place of worship or membership with a Christian community necessary to a Christian way of life?”

This is how he answered:

“That’s a question which I cannot answer. My own experience is that when I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; and then later I found that it was the only way of flying your flag; and, of course, I found that this meant being a target. It is extraordinary how inconvenient to your family it becomes for you to get up early to go to Church. It doesn’t matter so much if you get up early for anything else, but if you get up early to go to Church it’s very selfish of you and you upset the house.
If there is anything in the teaching of the New Testament which is in the nature of a command, it is that you are obliged to take the Sacrament, and you can’t do it without going to Church. I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off.

I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.’”

C.S. Lewis — God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, pg. 61-62

You are required to believe, to preach, and to teach what the Bible says is true, not what you want the Bible to say is true. R. C. Sproul

The book of Job is not only a witness to the dignity of suffering and God’s presence in our suffering but also our primary biblical protest against religion that has been reduced to explanations or answers. Many of the answers that Job’s so called friends give him are technically true. But it is the technical part that ruins them. They are answers without personal relationship, intellect without intimacy.

On behalf of all of us who have been misled by the platitudes of the nice people who show up to tell us everything is going to be all right if we simply think such and such and do such and such, Job issues an anguished rejoiner. He rejects the kind of advice and teaching that has God all figured out, that provides glib explanations for every circumstance. Job’s honest defiance continues to be the best defense against the clichés of positive thinkers and the prattle of religious small talk.

Eugene Peterson