Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

Month: February 2016

Soli Deo Gloria

Photo by Cameron Baptist Church

This past weekend, the staff of Global Training Network traveled from across the country and around the world to gather together in the heart of Phoenix for three days of worship, prayer, teaching, collaboration and strategic planning for greater ministry effectiveness in the months and years to come. I’ve never felt more privileged to work with such a humble, gracious, godly, passionate-for-Jesus group of people in my life.

On Sunday evening after everyone had left and traveled back home, our daughter, Carrisa (who serves on staff, along with her husband Josh) wrote in her Journal these words (I asked for her permission to share this)…

“I was reminded yesterday morning that I have such a privilege to work with this amazing group of people. In our world that is obsessed with celebrity, fame and success, it is so refreshing to spend time with this team. They may not stand out in a crowd, and you wouldn’t hear anything about them in the media, but what Christ has done in them is spiritually ‘glorious’ – like the beings in C.S. Lewis’  book The Great Divorce who are finally the physical manifestation of their spiritual selves. Resilient, free, joyful, centered, running the ultra-marathon of life. They are running with eyes on the prize, casting aside the weights and burdens of this life. They are hard core, steadfast, “good soldiers” of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:3). Yes, they bear scars from life, but it has not crushed them or made them small in soul or spirit. They are large-hearted and unafraid to love.”

On Saturday morning I shared with our staff several thoughts that are central to who we are and why we exist as a ministry organization. At the heart of why we exist is summed up in the famous Latin phrase, Soli Deo Gloria (glory to God alone). John Piper’s words are so fitting:

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever.

Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It’s the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God…Missions begins and ends with worship!

“I am not pleading for a diminishing of missions but for a magnifying of God. When the flame of worship burns with the heat of God’s true worth, the light of missions will shine to the darkest peoples on earth. Where passion for God is weak, zeal for missions will be weak. “All of history is moving toward one great goal, the white-hot worship of God and his Son among all the peoples of the earth. Missions is not that goal. It is the means. And for that reason it is the second greatest human activity in the world.”

(John PiperLet the Nations be Glad)

And finally, this passage from Revelation 7 is what keeps all of us moving forward with passion and conviction…

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”

(Revelation 7:9-12 NIV)

Great Quotes from Charles Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville

This week I wanted to pass along a collection of a few quotes from one of the most respected preachers in history – Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 – 1892). Spurgeon pastored for 38 years in London, England at the New Park Street Chapel (later called Metropolitan Tabernacle).

Enjoy!

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“Have your heart right with Christ, and he will visit you often, and so turn weekdays into Sundays, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into heaven.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“God helps those who cannot help themselves.”― Charles H. Spurgeon

“A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“You will never glory in God till first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“To rejoice in temporal comforts is dangerous, to rejoice in self is foolish, to rejoice in sin is fatal, but to rejoice in God is heavenly.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“When your will is God’s will, you will have your will.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“O child of God, be more careful to keep the way of the Lord, more concentrated in heart in seeking His glory, and you will see the loving-kindness and the tender mercy of the Lord in your life.”― Charles H. Spurgeon

“As for His failing you, never dream of it — hate the thought of it. The God who has been sufficient until now, should be trusted to the end.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“The greatest joy of a Christian is to give joy to Christ.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“I bear my testimony that there is no joy to be found in all this world like that of sweet communion with Christ. I would barter all else there is of heaven for that. Indeed, that is heaven. As for the harps of gold and the streets like clear glass and the songs of seraphs and the shouts of the redeemed, one could very well give all these up, counting them as a drop in a bucket, if we might forever live in fellowship and communion with Jesus.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners after great lengths of time and then gives great favors and great privileges and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God!” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“If Christ is not all to you He is nothing to you. He will never go into partnership as a part Saviour of men. If He be something He must be everything, and if He be not everything He is nothing to you.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“Remember that the Lord Jesus came to take away sin in three ways; He came to remove the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and, at last, the presence of sin.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“It was the mighty power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him by which Jesus overcame the world–and that same quiet power, if it dwells in us, will make us win the same victory by faith.” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

“He bequeaths us His manger, from which to learn how God came down to man, and His cross to teach us how man may go up to God. ” ― Charles H. Spurgeon

 

Top 50 Most Difficult Nations to be a Christian

 “Blessed are those who have been a persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. ‘Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’”
(Matthew 5:10-12 NASB)
In the midst of the presidential primaries here in the United States, it’s easy to forget about our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in countries that make following Jesus extremely difficult.

Open Doors, a ministry focused on serving persecuted Christians around the world, just released their 2016 World Watch List. This list details the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted on a regular basis. Many of these countries on this list are the most challenging to get into, let alone to do Christian ministry within.

Global Training Network is now involved in 72 countries globally. Out of those 72 countries, 20 are on the 2016 World Watch List. This past year, I spent time in two of the countries mentioned (India and Ethiopia) where Christians face (according to Open Doors) “severe persecution.”

As you may remember, we were all horrified last April as we watched the following story play out on the nightly news: 28 Ethiopian Christians who were blindfolded and beheaded (12) or shot (16) by members of ISIS as they knelt on a beach along the Mediterranean Sea.

Below is the brand new 2016 World Watch List. I encourage you to remember in prayer our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in these countries and face regular persecution because of their Christian faith.

“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”
(Hebrews 13:3 NLT)

To Quote

“The loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced what you thought would deliver the ultimate – and it has let you down.” (Ravi Zacharias)

“Most people don’t change until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of having to change.” (Anonymous)

“If you want to see what judgment looks like, go to the cross. If you want to see what love looks like, go to the cross.”  (D.A. Carson)

“Show me a church’s songs and I’ll show you their theology.” (Gordon Fee)

“Nobody stands under the wrath of God except those who have chosen to do so.” (J.I. Packer)

“What will it profit a man if he silences his adversary and loses that humble spirit in which the Lord delights?” (John Newton)

“No matter what good truths you have to teach, no one will thank you if you do not speak kindly.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

“Tolerance has suffered a great deal recently in our religious and political and educational areas. And tolerance, because truth has been pulled away from it, has slipped over into the idea that everything is equally right. No longer is tolerance a matter of saying, “I disagree with you and I believe you’re wrong, but I accept you and I extend to you the right to be wrong.” That’s not enough. We’re now in the situation where everyone must be equally right, where you cannot claim that people are wrong and still love them.” (Dallas Willard)

“Christ refuses none for weakness, but accepts none for greatness.” (Richard Sibbes)

“Either worrying drives out prayer, or prayer drives out worrying.” (D.A. Carson)

“The sermon which does not lead to Christ, or of which Jesus Christ is not the top and the bottom, is a sort of sermon that will make the devils in hell laugh, but make the angels of God weep.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

“And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives… and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” (Nate Saint – martyred missionary)

“Do not have your concert first, and tune your instruments afterward. Begin the day with God.” (Hudson Taylor)

“It’s not the intensity of our faith but the object of our faith that saves.” (D.A. Carson)

“God’s commands are not designed to rob you of life or to plunder your freedom, but to graciously protect you from harm.” (Paul Tripp)

“It’s one thing to be grateful. It’s another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do.” (Anonymous)

“Everybody thinks sanctification looks like strength. Really what it looks like is weakness.” (Ed Welch)

“The doctrine of grace creates a culture of grace where good things happen to bad people.” (Ray Ortlund, Jr.)

“Two equations for our early morning hours:

Isolation + feeding on vanity = soul-starving loneliness

Isolation + communion with God = soul-feeding solitude.”

(John Piper)

“Unless you point to the good news of God’s grace people will not be able to bear the bad news of God’s judgement.” (Timothy Keller)

“The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus.” (John Piper)

“Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart.” (Paul Miller)

“The strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours.” (John Piper)

© 2018 Paul Madson

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