Minus the Cross

5 04 2012

Jude 1:3
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

A cheap Christianity, without a cross, will prove in the end a useless Christianity, without a crown.
– J.C. Ryle





Your Serve

7 08 2009

“And a scribe came up and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever You go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'”
(Matthew 8:19,20)

stain_glass“Jesus has many who love His kingdom in heaven, but few who bear His cross. He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire suffering. He finds many to share His feast, but few His fasting.

All desire to rejoice with Him, but few are willing to suffer for His sake. Many follow Jesus to the breaking of the bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion. Many admire the miracles, but few follow Him to the humiliation of the cross. Many love Jesus as long as no hardship touches them.”

–Thomas a Kempis





Waiting

31 03 2009

Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.
(Luke 24:46-49) 

“This season of waiting is always an essential qualification for successful service. God would have His children realizewaiting-on-god the utter inadequacy of all human means to accomplish His gigantic purposes, that thus the praise and glory might be afterwards ascribed exclusively to Him. The disciples were given ten days to review the field of battle, to recognize the difficulties that bristled round on every side, to measure the adversaries’ strength, and to understand their own helplessness and weakness; thus were they driven to their knees in earnest, anxious prayer. Then came the answer. The promise was fulfilled, and the power stored up in the almighty Savior was brought down to His disciples in the person of the Holy Spirit.”

-Hugh D. Brown





Whatever

6 10 2007

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narrow-gate.jpg 

“And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.”
(Matthew 4:20) 

“Lord, I am willing
To receive what You give,
To lack what You withhold,
To relinquish what You take,
To suffer what You inflict,
To be what You require.”

–from an ancient hymn
quoted in Jerry Bridge’s Transforming Grace, p185





The Nature of Worship

26 06 2007

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:21-24)

Worship is not what you feel when you look at the ocean or when you are enjoying a wonderful mountain lakworship-at-the-beach.jpge. It’s not the way you feel smelling the cut grass of a perfectly manicured golf course or hearing the squeak of perfect snow under your skis. Many of us confuse worship with inspiration. Inspiration occurs when God illumines our lives with His gracious presence. Worship is our response to those moments. If we truly want to honor the God who gave us perfect swells, clear trout streams, ski slopes, golf greens, beautiful children, and loving spouses, we should enjoy those things six days a week and then give God the worship He commands on the seventh. Worship always includes gathering with God’s people and participating in “spirit and in truth.”

–Tod E. Bolsinger, It Takes A Church To Raise A Christian: How The Community of God Transforms Lives, pp93-4





Warring For Peace

19 06 2007

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
(Ephesians 4:29)

About 20 years ago, I said something impromptu to the new members lined up across the front of the church. As we received them, the Holy Spirit prompted me to add, “And now, I charge you that if you ever hear another member speak an unkind word of criticism or slander against anyone—myself, an usher, a choir member, or anyone else—that you stop that person in mid-sentence and say, ‘Excuse me—who hurt you? Who ignored you? Who slighted you? Was it Pastor Cymbala? Let’s go to his office right now. He’ll apologize to you, and then we’ll pray together so God can restore peace to this body. But we won’t let you talk critically about people who aren’t present to defend themselves.’

“I’m serious about this. I want you to help resolve this kind of thing immediately. And know this: If you are ever the one doing the loose talking, we’ll confront you.”

To this day, every time we receive new members, I say much the same thing. That’s because I know what most easily destroys churches. It’s not crack cocaine, government oppression, or even lack of funds. Rather it’s gossip and slander that grieves the Holy Spirit.

–Jim Cymbala, pastor Brooklyn Tabernacle





Another Religion

17 06 2007

“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”
(1 Timothy 4:16)

I once had another religion, mincing, lisping, baited breath, proper, hunting the Bible for hidden truths, but no obedience, no sacrifice.

ct-studd.jpg–C.T. Studd (1860-1931), English missionary to China, India and Africa