Paul Madson


Year: 2010 (page 1 of 3)

Lesson #1: What I Wish (as a Pastor) that I had Known, Understood, Believed and Lived 30 years ago

Subtitle: “Decide which hills are worth dying on, and which are not.” Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to speak to a group of pastors on the subject of “What I Wish (as a Pastor) I Had Known, Understood, Believed and Lived 30 years Ago.” I narrowed my list down to “12 Lessons” (out of 50 that I began with). I thought I would share with you one or two of these each week for the next few weeks. Even if you are not a pastor, I think you will find that most of the principles that I will be sharing are applicable to all of life…your personal life, family life and ministry.
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Stand Alone Post: Suffering hardship, experiencing pain, and dealing with discouragement

What happens when your dreams are shattered?

Called to Suffer

Recently I read an excellent book by Pete Wilson (lead pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN) entitled…

Plan B

Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up The Way You Thought He Would?
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Stand Alone Post: Tears of the Saints

I wanted to share two incredibly powerful and excellent ministry-related resources with you today from the historic Lausanne Congress that just wrapped up last weekend in Cape Town, South Africa. The first is a heart-grabbing, tear-producing video entitled “The Tears of the Saints” relating the latest statistics on the needs in our world today. I would encourage you to take 4-5 minutes and watch it (I sat at my desk in stunned silence with tears welling up in my eyes after I watched it). I think you will agree with my assessment of it and I believe that you won’t regret it.
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Stand Alone Post: How Do We Overcome Sin?

Over the years, one of my favorite writers and speakers has been Randy Alcorn. When I was in seminary (Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon) back in the late 1980’s, our family attended Good Shepherd Community Church where Stu Weber was lead pastor and Randy Alcorn was associate pastor. We learned much from both Stu and Randy during those years (and have since through their books).
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Stand Alone Post: Think – The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

This past weekend I had the privilege of participating in the 2010 Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis, MN. The theme for this year’s conference was:

“Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.”

The speakers this year ranged from…

Francis Chan

R.C. Sproul

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Rick Warren

Randy Alcorn

to John Piper (who sponsors the conference each year).
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Stand Alone Post: Decisions, Choices, and Wisdom . . .

Here are a few quotes on decisions, choices and wisdom

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. The little decisions you and I make every day are of infinite importance.” (C. S. Lewis)

“Our lives are (to a large degree) a product of the choices we make. Make right choices.” (Chuck Swindoll)

“Everyday we are either going forward or backwards in our walk with God. There is no such thing as ‘standing still.’ The moment we stop giving our utmost attention to following Christ, we begin to decline in your walk with Him!”

“If you would win the world, melt it, don’t hammer it.” (Scottish Preacher – Alexander MacLaren … 1826 – 1910)

“Our choices flow out of our hearts, and therefore we must take care to guard them from contamination: ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.’ (Prov. 4:23). What’s the most effective way to contaminate a water supply? Poison it at its source. If you don’t guard your heart from the world’s values, you will be conformed to the world.” (Randy Alcorn)

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” (Charles Spurgeon)

God’s Grace, Mercy and Greatness

Here are a few quotes on God’s grace, mercy and greatness

“At the cross, the love of God and the wrath of God shake hands; the mercy of God and the justice of God embrace; and the holiness of God and the sinfulness of humanity appear in stark contrast.” (William P. Farely, from his book – Outrageous Mercy)

“We cannot find God without God. We cannot reach God without God. We cannot satisfy God without God… The decisive part of our seeking is not our human ascent to God, but his descent to us. Without God’s descent there is no human ascent. The secret of the quest lies not in our brilliance but in his grace.” (Os Guinness)

“Never believe anything about yourself or God that makes His grace to you seem anything less than astonishing. Because that’s exactly what it is.” (Randy Alcorn)


“…so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

“Pray to the Lord to keep you low at his feet, for in no other place can you be largely used of him.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

“If we are to succeed in living by grace, we must come to terms with the fact that God is sovereign in dispensing His gracious favors, and He owes us no explanation when His actions do not correspond with our system of merits.” (Jerry Bridges)

Troubles, Trials, and Trusting God . . .

For almost 35 years now, I have been a voracious collector of “quotable quotes,” “nuggets of wisdom,” and “pithy sayings.” I think if I were to count them and put them all together, there would be well over 15,000.

Great quotes boil a whole bunch of truth down into a simple and memorable sentence or two. For the next few weeks, I want to share with you some of the best quotes that I have come across in the past few months.

I pray that these “nuggets” would be an encouragement to your heart and soul, and a stimulus to your mind. Before I go any further, let me add, nothing comes close to or is more important than the actual words of Scripture! Our Bibles should be our steady daily diet. But other books, written by great men and women of God, can help us to grasp and understand many of the riches found throughout the pages of the Bible.

Here are a few quotes on troubles, trials and trusting God

“Do not be anxious about what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.” (St. Francis de Sales)

“God is in the business of turning rough coals into diamonds through pressure. When we suffer, it is a God-given opportunity to become more like the One who suffered most.” (Randy Alcorn)

“Christ followers contract malaria, bury children, and battle addictions, and as a result, face fears. It’s not the absence of storms that sets us apart. It’s whom we discover in the storm: an unstirred Christ.” (Max Lucado from his new book Fearless)

“Today’s impossibility is tomorrow’s miracle!”

“Let the size of your God determine the size of your goal!”

“May the omnipotence of God be the measure of our expectation!”

“O God, let me make a difference for You that is utterly disproportionate to who I am.” (from the Journal of David Brainerd – American Missionary to the Native Americans – 1718-1747)

“There is nothing which shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every cross is a message from God, and intended to do us good in the end. Trials are intended to make us think—to wean us from the world—to send us to the Bible—to drive us to our knees.” (J. C. Ryle)

(Part 3) Humility: That Elusive, All-Important, Hard-to-Define Character Trait

This week, I wanted to add seven more characteristics of “Proud People” vs. “Humble People” to the list I shared with you last week. This list has come primarily from Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ excellent book entitled, Brokenness: The Heart God Revives.

Before you read this, could I ask you to do one thing? Promise that you will not think about anyone else except your own heart.

Here they are:

Have you noticed that people typically do not like “proud, arrogant people?” Nor do they like to be around people like that. And yet, even though we know this, we find ourselves (at times) somewhere on the left side of the above list. This is part of maturity and growing in Christ. None of us have “arrived” in our sanctification process (nor will we this side of heaven).

There is probably no greater propensity as humans than that of moving towards self-deception. We look at the “Proud” side of the list and say, “Oh, that is definitely not me!” And yet other people look at us and say, “Oh yes, that is definitely you!” Why does this happen so frequently?

This is where it is so important that we learn to approach God on a daily basis with a humble, broken heart and say, like David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 ESV)

One of the men who deeply influenced me (through his speaking and writing) in my early walk with Christ was Dr. Joseph C. Aldrich, former president of Multnomah School of the Bible. Joe used to say,

“Maturity is always a return to the reality about yourself.”

We will never mature fully until we are willing to face up to areas in our lives where we have a propensity toward self-deception. God’s Spirit needs to be invited on a daily basis to do surgery in our hearts and to show us areas where we need to grow.

Jesus said in Luke 14:11, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:5, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble

My prayer is… “O Lord, I need your grace today! You promise grace to the humble. May I not look at everyone else’s life to see who is proud and who is humble. May I always and only look at my own heart and choose humility each and every day!”

(Part 2) Humility: That Elusive, All-Important, Hard-to-Define Character Trait

One of the most helpful tools that I have ever come across that helps to clearly distinguish between Proud, Unbroken People and Humble, Broken People is a list that Nancy Leigh DeMoss put together from her study of Scripture and her experience in both life and ministry.

There are dozens of items on both the “Proud” side and the “Humble” side. Today I want to share with you just six of them. Here they are:

Have you ever noticed the link between “wisdom” and “humility?” In James 3:13 it says, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

Did you ever notice how Jesus described himself in Matthew 11:28-30? It’s the famous passage we love to quote, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden…”, but did you notice in the next verse, Jesus says “…for I am gentle and humble in heart.” The very Son of God who flung the stars into space (Colossians 1) and created everything there is, modeled for us what “humble in heart” looks like.

Max Anders in his book The Good Life, clarifies some common misconceptions about humility:

“Humility does not mean you must see yourself as a pitiful excuse, a lowlife, a piece of refuse at the bottom of the human pile.

Rather, it means you see yourself as God sees you: you have infinite and inherent value, but no more value than anyone else. It means being willing to accept God as the authority over your life, rather than insisting on being your own supreme authority. And since you accept God as the supreme authority over your life, and because you are of equal value but no greater value than everyone else, you are willing to order your life in such a way as to be a servant to others.

When Christians do this, we meet each other’s needs in a context of harmony and love. When we fail to subordinate ourselves to others and are concerned only with meeting our own needs, we live a life of individualism and isolation — a state in which the Christian cannot be satisfied. We are not created to be loners. We are part of a family!”

I came across a humorous cartoon awhile back that pictured a man bowing on his knees praying in a church building. And he was praying this:

Dear Lord, let me be the big cheese in the number-one job of the top outfit in the country, and let me come up with the right answers at the right times in the right places, but with it all, Lord, let me remain soft-spoken, country-shy, plain old Jeff Crotts from Spickard, Missouri.”

The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:1-2, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility…”

Back in the Greek culture during biblical times, humility was looked upon as a vice, not a virtue. So when Paul writes this to the Ephesian believers, it is in direct contrast to the secular culture of the day. Is it really any different than today in 2010?

Humility is one of the those strange characteristics, that when you know you have it — you’ve lost it! It’s one of those virtue’s to be highly sought after but never claimed — because once you’ve claimed it — it’s forfeited!

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