The Kingdom Imperative

22 04 2011

“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
(2 Peter 3:17,18)

A church is truly relevant when it seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It becomes irrelevant when the tangential worries (packaging, PR, what brand of coffee is served in the foyer, etc.) take precedence over living and preaching the biblical gospel.”

–Brett McCracken, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide

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Not A Cakewalk

15 06 2007

Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”
(Matthew 8:21)

There are moments that significantly test our resolve to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Following Christ is a cakewalk when He leads us through familiar terrain or comfortable passages. But when followership means that we have to give up something important to us, or it challenges the familiar or comfortable, or it flies in the face of reason or natural instincts, then we find ourselves at a strategic crossroads on our pilgrimage. When responding as a fully devoted follower, we advance to new levels of effectiveness. But when we cling to what is safe, secure and familiar, we put our followership on hold and face ineffectiveness and disappointment.

–Joseph Stowell, Following Christ: Experiencing Life The Way It Was Meant To Be, p135





If I Had My Way

14 06 2007

“But when he [John the Baptizer] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;
and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.
The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.'”

(Matthew 3:7-11)

“If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of ‘the plan of salvation’ in America for one to two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airways and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, and the Law of God, until sinners would cry out, ‘What must I do to be saved?, Then I would take them off in a corner and whisper the gospel to them. Don’t use John 3:16. Such drastic action is needed because we have gospel-hardened a generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding of why they need to be saved.”

– Paris Reidhead

(Thanks to my friend, Don, for sharing this quote)





Prince And Power Of The Air

1 06 2007

“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
(Romans 1:25)

cursed-television-set.jpg

Television is the supremely powerful drug. I end up living my existence before the very thing that eliminates me.

–Jacques Ellul, 20th century French philsopher, sociologist, theologian and christian anarchist





Changing Jesus

8 05 2007

“I have come as a Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
(John 12:46)

“As Jesus moves about, He leaves behind him a trail of transformed scenes and changed situations: fishermen no longer at their nets, sick people restored to health, critics confounded, a storm stilled, hunger assuaged, a dead girl raised to life. Jesus’ presence is an activecolor-splash.jpg and instantly transforming presence. He is never the mere observer of a scene, or the one who waits upon events, but is always the transformer of the scene and the initiator of events.”

 

–W.H. Vanstone





Narrow Is The Gate

30 03 2007

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
(Matthew 7:13,14)

narrow-gate.jpgThere’s a common misconception that the choice between Christ and false gods is the choice between desiring to go to hell and desiring to go to heaven. I’ve heard preachers say the narrow way is the way of Christianity that people choose when they want to go to heaven, and the broad way is the way people choose who are content to go to hell. But they are misinformed or confused. It is not a contrast between godliness and Christianity on one hand and irreligious, lewd, lascivious pagan masses headed merrily for hell on the other. It is a contrast between two kinds of religions, both roads marked, “This Way to Heaven.” Satan doesn’t put up a sign that says, “Hell—Exit Here.” That’s not his style. People on the broad road think that road goes to heaven.

It is not enough to listen to preaching about the gate; it is not enough to respect the ethics; you’ve got to walk through the gate…You can’t stand outside and admire the narrow gate; you’ve got to drop everything and walk through it…You come through, stripped of everything…

–John MacArthur
Hard To Believe, pp78,81





The Storm Before The Calm

18 02 2007

“In those days…the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
(Mark 13:24-26, NIV)

As Jesus draws near, so rises the storm.

When Jesus draws near, He draws near as Lord, and He implicitly challenges all other lords. These lords—greed, lust, ambition, pride and so forth—do not care to be toppled from their pedestals, and during a crisis, when their lordship is challenged, they will demand even greater devotion…

…The closer Jesus gets, the more violent the storm within. It gets to the point that either we must die or Jesus must die, and our souls fight ferociously for self-preservation.

–Mark Galli
Jesus, Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of an Untamable God, pp157-8