Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

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Notable Quotes on Marriage

One of the best books on marriage that I have read over the years is The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Tim Keller. Ever since it was released in 2011, Lisa and I have used it in all of our pre-marital counseling, hoping to help young couples prepare for a healthy, lifelong marriage.

Here are a few notable quotes from his book…

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” (Tim Keller– Page 95)

“We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it awhile and he or she will change. For marriage, being [the enormous thing it is] means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is . . . learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.” (Stanley Hauerwas– Page 134)

“When I married my wife, I had hardly a smidgen of sense for what I was getting into with her. How could I know how much she would change over 25 years? How could I know how much I would change? My wife has lived with a least five different men since we were wed – and each of the five has been me.” (Lewis Smedes– Page 92)

“Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before), you will, nine times out of ten, become original without having noticed it. The principle runs through life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. . . . Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. . . ” (C.S. Lewis– from Mere Christianity– page 190)

 

Hope in the Dark: Encouragement in Times of Suffering

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)

“For I consider that our present sufferingsare not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18 NIV84)

“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)

“Is there nothing to sing about today? Then borrow a song from tomorrow; sing of what is yet to be. Is this world dreary? Then think of the next.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

“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)

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” (Corrie ten Boom)

“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)

“There is an old proverb which says, ‘Never cross a bridge before you come to it.’ How many Christians are filled with sorrow on account of imaginary troubles! Many timid Christians have a trouble manufactory in their own houses; they sit from morning to night endeavoring to make trouble for themselves. We have quite enough real trials to bear; and if we make any more of our own, we have no promise that God will give us grace to bear our self-made sorrows. How unwise are those people who crowd a whole year’s troubles into a single day!” (C.H. Spurgeon)

“God’s promises are like the stars; the darker the night, the brighter they shine.” (David Nicholas)

“Therefore, we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NASB)

“God writes with a pen that never blots, speaks with a tongue that never slips, acts with a hand that never fails.” (C.H. Spurgeon)

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15 NASB)

“We’re called to love him even when we feel abandoned.

We’re called to look for him even in the midst of the darkness.

We’re called to worship him even through our tears.”

 (Pete Wilson)

“But He knows the way I take;

When He has tried me,

I shall come forth as gold.

My foot has held fast to His path

I have kept His way and not turned aside

I have not departed from the command of His lips

I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

(Job 23:10-12 NASB)

“When we allow God to be exalted in our difficulties we are in the perfect place to smell the fragrance of His Presence.” (A.W. Tozer)

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31, 37-39 ESV)

A Few Thoughts for Pastors and Leaders

Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt

When asked to describe what is the “heresy of modernity,” J.I. Packer described it this way:

“The belief that…
the newer is the truer,
only what is recent is decent,
every shift of ground is a step forward,
and every latest word must be hailed as the last word on its subject.”

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” (Jim Elliot)

“Good preaching should both…

  • sting and sing, 
  • wound and heal, 
  • convict and comfort.

Much preaching today is only focused on the ‘sing, heal and comfort’ part and is therefore not presenting the ‘whole counsel’ of God’s Word.” (D. A. Carson)

“A public man, though he is necessarily available at many times, must learn to hide. If he is always available, he is not worth enough when he is available.” (Elton Trueblood)

“I use the word routine because it is rarely the spectacular that makes us successful, but simply the regularongoing faithful cadence of our lives in terms of our commitment to Him in the routines of our existence.” 
(Joseph Stowell, from Shepherding the Church into the 21st Century)

“I have done less waiting than working, and my works would have been better had I waited more. But I have enjoyed God’s incomparable companionship. I have walked the world with God as my friend.” (Carl F.H. Henry)

“The most important thing I will do today is pray.”

“God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. The man who will know God must give time to Him.” (A.W. Tozer)

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“You cannot impart what you do not possess.” (Howard Hendricks)

“The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.”

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” (John Wesley)

“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“Fly this banner over every wound and regret: ‘Satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.’“ (Genesis 50:20) (John Piper)

“Give me 100 men that hate nothing but sin, and love nothing but Jesus Christ, and we’ll shake England for God.” (John Wesley) 

“I was amazed once to hear a seminary graduate say how adequate he felt for the ministry after his years of schooling. This was supposed to be a compliment to the school. The reason this amazed me is that the greatest theologian and missionary and pastor who ever lived [referring to the Apostle Paul] cried out, “Who is sufficient [or adequate] for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16). Not because he was a bungler, but because the magnificent calling of emitting the fragrance of eternal life for some and eternal death for others was a weight he could scarcely bear. A pastor who feels competent in himself to produce eternal fruit – which is the only kind that matters – knows neither God nor himself. A pastor who does not know the rhythm of desperation and deliverance must have his sights only on what man can achieve…the proper goals of the life of a pastor are unquestionably beyond our reach. The changes we long for in the hearts of our people can happen only by a sovereign work of grace.” (John Piper from Brothers, We Are Not Professionals)

One final note – here is an excellent article recently written for pastors by Kevin DeYoung at TGC: “A Needed Reminder on Monday Morning”

Quotes to Note – Spring 2018 Edition

“Runners in a distance race… always try to keep something in reserve for a final sprint. And my contention is that, so far as our bodily health allows, we should aim to be found running the last lap of the race of our Christian life, as we would say, flat out. The final sprint, so I urge, should be a sprint indeed.” (J.I. Packer)

“The essence of sin is we human beings substituting ourselves for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for us. We put ourselves where only God deserves to be; God puts himself where we deserve to be.” (John Stott, The Cross of Christ)

“The great basis of Christian assurance is not how much our hearts are set on God, but how unshakably his heart is set on us.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” (Corrie Ten Boom)

“What is becoming a Christian? Becoming a Christian is not only believing truth; it’s finding a treasure (Matthew 13:44). That’s what it means to become a Christian — you find the treasure. And if you find the treasure that is worth your selling everything to have, it’s the greatest treasure imaginable. So, have you found him? I’m not asking if you’re going to church, or if you’ve signed the card, prayed the prayer, or believe doctrines. I’m saying, have you found him? Are you explosively ready to let it all go to have him? Or is he just marginal? To be converted is to find Christ as a treasure.” (John Piper)

“Life changing repentance starts where blame shifting ends. Blame shifting might make you feel good but it won’t change you.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“Whether we feel like ‘more than conquerors’ or less than conquerors, or simply conquered, our Father is at work in all things for our good and his glory. No need to pretend; every need to collapse on Jesus, always.” (Scotty Smith)

“Inordinate love of money and confidence in its power blind us, and the best way to break money’s power over us is through giving lots of it away.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“Want to be like Jesus? Focus less on being like him and more on being with him. His attributes must be caught before they can be imitated.” (Scott Sauls)

“Gossip is not necessarily spreading untruths. It is revealing information that should be kept confidential. It is giving news about a person intended to lower him or her in the regard of the listener. Gossip can do its work with tones of voice or a roll of the eye.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.” (Spanish Proverb)

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” (C.S. Lewis)

“There are no sunset years for the Christian. Until the day you die, you have a race to run and a ministry to finish. Or, you can waste your life. But it’s better to lose your life than to waste it.” (John Piper)

“When we grasp that we are unworthy sinners saved by an infinitely costly grace, it destroys both our self-righteousness and our need to ridicule others.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“Unhealthy leaders, when criticized, will spin, manipulate, and regroup. Healthy leaders, on the other hand, will confess and repent.” (Scott Sauls)

“True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself.” (Dr. Timothy Keller)

“Lord, free us from comparing ourselves to anybody, and from envying some other story than out own. May Jesus increasingly be our treasure, the gospel our delight, and your grace our sufficiency.” (Scotty Smith)

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all He said; if He didn’t, then why worry about any of what He said?”
(Dr. Timothy Keller)

“Life is not a sprint to be run with reckless abandon. It is a marathon to be run with care and thoughtfulness, saving bursts of speed for when they are necessary, but allowing time to recover before the next burst.” (Randy Alcorn)

“If you are in Christ, your scars will not have the last word over your life. His scars will.” (Sarah Walton)

“Concerned or irritated by someone? Talk to them, not about them.” (Scott Sauls)

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” (C.S. Lewis)

“Nobody can produce new evidence of your depravity that will make God change his mind. God justified you with his eyes open.” (J.I. Packer)

Be encouraged… God is at work around the world!

God is at work around the world in amazing ways. He is faithfully building His Church and expanding His Kingdom.

As I returned from a recent month long international trip I was reminded of the global diversity of the Body of Christ and God’s promise that one day there will be people from every “tribe and tongue and people and nation” standing before His throne worshipping “the Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 5)

Here is a short 3-minute video that brings to life in a visual way Revelation 5 and reminds us of what is to come.

Enjoy!

When Breath Becomes Air

On a recent international flight to Asia I read the New York Times bestselling book, When Breath Becomes Air, by the late Neurosurgeon Dr. Paul Kalanithi. In it, he tells the story of facing his impending death from brain cancer (at a young age – his late 30’s) and his search for meaning – through science and religion. His thoughts below are insightful as they describe what science can and cannot do in terms of explaining some of the phenomena of our daily life experience. He also shares why he eventually came back to the Christian faith of his youth (after abandoning it for atheism in Med School in his 20’s). Enjoy.


Dr. Paul Kalanithi, from his New York Times best selling book, When Breath Becomes Air

“During my sojourn in ironclad atheism, the primary arsenal leveled against Christianity had been its failure on empirical grounds. Surely enlightened reason offered a more coherent cosmos. Surely Occam’s razor cut the faithful free from blind faith. There is no proof of God; therefore, it is unreasonable to believe in God.

“Although I had been raised in a devout Christian family, where prayer and Scripture readings were a nightly ritual, I, like most scientific types, came to believe in the possibility of a material conception of reality, an ultimately scientific worldview that would grant a complete metaphysics, minus outmoded concepts like souls, God, and bearded white men in robes. I spent a good chunk of my twenties trying to build a frame for such an endeavor.

“The problem, however, eventually became evident: to make science the arbiter of metaphysics is to banish not only God from the world but also love, hate, meaning – to consider a world that is self-evidently not the world we live in. That’s not to say that if you believe in meaning, you must also believe in God. It is to say, though, that if you believe that science provides no basis for God, then you are almost obligated to conclude that science provides no basis for meaning and, therefore, life itself doesn’t have any. In other words, existential claims have no weight; all knowledge is scientific knowledge.

“Yet the paradox is that scientific methodology is the product of human hands and thus cannot reach some permanent truth. We build scientific theories to organize and manipulate the world, to reduce phenomena into manageable units. Science is based on reproducibility and manufactured objectivity. As strong as that makes its ability to generate claims about matter and energy, it also makes scientific knowledge inapplicable to the existential, visceral nature of human life, which is unique and subjective and unpredictable. Science may provide the most useful way to organize empirical, reproducible data, but its power to do so is predicated on its inability to grasp the most central aspects of human life: hope, fear, love, hate, beauty, envy, honor, weakness, striving, suffering, virtue…

“Yet I returned to the central values of Christianity – sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness – because I found them so compelling. There is a tension in the Bible between justice and mercy, between the Old Testament and the New Testament. And the New Testament says you can never be good enough: goodness is  the thing, and you can never live up to it. The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.”

Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He grew up in Kingman, Arizona, and graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in English literature and a BA in human biology. He earned an MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from the University of Cambridge and graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine, where he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. He returned to Stanford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience, during which he received the American Academy of Neurological Surgery’s highest award for research. He died in March 2015. He is survived by his large, loving family, including his wife, Lucy, and their daughter, Elizabeth Acadia. 

10 Things You Should Know About Charles Spurgeon by Michael Reeves

By Michael Reeves (www.crossway.org)

This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series from Crossway.

  1. His ministry began in the year of his conversion as a young man.

Spurgeon was raised in a Christian home, but was converted in 1850 at fifteen years old. Caught in a snowstorm, he took refuge in a small Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester. After about ten minutes, with only twelve to fifteen people present, the preacher fixed his eyes on Spurgeon and spoke to him directly:

“Young man, you look very miserable.” Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin’ to do but to look and live.” Spurgeon later wrote, ‘Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.’ 1

The ‘Prince of Preachers’ was tricked into preaching his first sermon that same year. An older man had asked Spurgeon to go to the little village of Teversham the next evening, “for a young man was to preach there who was not much used to services, and very likely would be glad of company.” It was only the next day that he realized the ‘young man’ was himself.2

  1. He was a man of hard work and huge influence.

He went on to preach in person up to thirteen times per week, gathered the largest church of his day, and could make himself heard in a crowd of twenty-three thousand people (without amplification). In print he published some eighteen million words, selling over fifty-six million copies of his sermons in nearly forty languages in his own lifetime.

  1. He was self-consciously a theological and doctrinal preacher.

While Spurgeon is not known as a theologian as such, he was nevertheless a deeply theological thinker and his sermons were rich in doctrine, and dripping with knowledge of historical theology – especially the Puritans.

Some preachers seem to be afraid lest their sermons should be too rich in doctrine, and so injure the spiritual digestions of their hearers. The fear is superfluous. . . . This is not a theological age, and therefore it rails at sound doctrinal teaching, on the principle that ignorance despises wisdom. The glorious giants of the Puritan age fed on something better than the whipped creams and pastries which are now so much in vogue.3

  1. He was pre-eminently a theologian and preacher of the cross.

Spurgeon’s was a cross-centered and cross-shaped theology, for the cross was “the hour” of Christ’s glorification (John 12:23–24), the place where Christ was and is exalted, the only message able to overturn the hearts of men and women otherwise enslaved to sin. Along with Isaiah 45:22, one of Spurgeon’s favorite Bible verses was John 12:32: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

He insisted on celebrating the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, and often broke bread during the week as well. He believed his preaching of the crucified Christ was the only reason why such great crowds were drawn to his church for so many years.

Who can resist his charms? One look of his eyes overpowers us. See with your heart those eyes when they are full of tears for perishing sinners, and you are a willing subject. One look at his blessed person subjected to scourging and spitting for our sakes will give us more idea of his crown rights than anything besides. Look into his pierced heart as it pours out its life-flood for us, and all disputes about his sovereignty are ended in our hearts. We own him Lord because we see how he loved.4

  1. He aimed his ministry and preaching at new birth.

Regeneration was one of the “three Rs” (ruin, redemption, and regeneration) Spurgeon always sought to preach. And regeneration was something he always expected to see as he preached the gospel. A friend of his once came to him, depressed because for three months of ministry he had not seen a single conversion. Spurgeon slyly asked, “Do you expect the Lord to save souls every time you open your mouth?” Embarrassed, the man answered “Oh, no, sir!” “Then,” Spurgeon replied, “that is just the reason why you have not had conversions: ‘According to your faith be it unto you.’”5

Regeneration, he saw, is a work of pure grace—and those the Lord regenerates, he will indwell. And “with such an indweller we need not fear, but that this poor heart of ours will yet become perfect as God is perfect; and our nature through his indwelling shall rise into complete meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.”6

  1. He knew how to enjoy life.

Spurgeon loved life and saw the creation as a blessing from God to be enjoyed. For tired ministers, he recommended:

A day’s breathing of fresh air upon the hills, or a few hours’ ramble in the beech woods’ umbrageous calm,’ which ‘would sweep the cobwebs out of the brain of scores of our toiling ministers who are now but half alive. A mouthful of sea air, or a stiff walk in the wind’s face, would not give grace to the soul, but it would yield oxygen to the body, which is next best.’7

He couldn’t resist walking outside in thunderstorms (‘I like to hear my Heavenly Father’s voice in the thunder’), he is known for his cigar smoking, and he had a keen interest in botany. Like us all, Spurgeon was uniquely himself. Yet his big-heartedness and joy as he walked through his Father’s creation displays exactly the sort of life that will always grow from the theology he believed.

  1. He was a mischievous, funny man.

‘What a bubbling fountain of humour Mr. Spurgeon had!’ wrote his friend William Williams. ‘I have laughed more, I verily believe, when in his company than during all the rest of my life besides.’8 A whole chapter of Spurgeon’s ‘autobiography’ is entitled ‘Pure Fun,’ and he regularly surprised people who expected the zealous pastor to be dour and intense. Grandiosity, religiosity, and humbug could all expect to be pricked on his wit.

  1. He was serious about joy.

Spurgeon’s humour and jollity were not trivial or frivolous. For him, joy was a theological matter and a manifestation of that happiness and cheer which is found in Christ alone. He refused to take himself—or any other sinner—too seriously, believing that to be alive in Christ means to fight not only the habits and acts of sin but also sin’s temperamental sullenness, ingratitude, bitterness, and despair.

Christ wishes his people to be happy. When they are perfect, as he will make them in due time, they shall also be perfectly happy. As heaven is the place of pure holiness, so is it the place of unalloyed happiness; and in proportion as we get ready for heaven, we shall have some of the joy which belongs to heaven, and it is our Saviour’s will that even now his joy should remain in us, and that our joy should be full.9

  1. He suffered with depression.

Spurgeon was full of life and joy, but also suffered deeply with depression as a result of personal tragedies, illness, and stress. Today he would almost certainly be diagnosed as clinically depressed and treated with medication and therapy. His wife, Susannah, wrote, “My beloved’s anguish was so deep and violent, that reason seemed to totter in her throne, and we sometimes feared that he would never preach again.”10

Spurgeon believed that Christian ministers should expect a special degree of suffering to be given to them as a way of forming them for Christlike, compassionate ministry. Christ himself was made like his weak and tempted brothers in order that he might help those who are tempted (Heb. 2:16–18), and in the same manner, it is weak and suffering people that God has chosen to minister to the weak and suffering.

  1. He was emphatically Christ-centered.

Spurgeon saw theology much like astronomy: as the solar system makes sense only when the sun is central, so systems of theological thought are coherent only when Christ is central. Every doctrine must find its place and meaning in its proper relation to Christ. “Be assured that we cannot be right in the rest, unless we think rightly of HIM. . . . Where is Christ in your theological system?”11

Spurgeon’s view of the Bible, his Calvinism, and his view of the Christian life are all deeply Christocentric–and even that astronomical analogy may be too weak to capture quite how Christ-centered Spurgeon was in his thinking.

For him, Christ is not merely one component—however pivotal—in the bigger machinery of the gospel. Christ himself is the truth we know, the object and reward of our faith, and the light that illumines every part of a true theological system. He wrote, ‘He himself is Doctor and Doctrine, Revealer and Revelation, the Illuminator and the Light of Men. He is exalted in every word of truth, because he is its sum and substance. He sits above the gospel, like a prince on his own throne. Doctrine is most precious when we see it distilling from his lips and embodied in his person. Sermons are valuable in proportion as they speak of him and point to him.’12

Notes:

  • H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, vol. 1 (Chicago: Curts & Jennings, 1898),106.
  • H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, vol. 1 (Chicago: Curts & Jennings, 1898), 200.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865–1891), 125–26.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, 63 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1917),* vol. 23, 269.
  • H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1834–1854, vol. 2:151.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, 63 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1917),* vol.18:225.
  • H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Addresses Delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1889) vol. 1, 172.
  • William Williams, Personal Reminiscences of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (London: Passmore & Alabaster,
  • 1895),, 17–18.
  • H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, 63 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1917),* vol. 51:229.
  • Charles Ray, “The Life of Susannah Spurgeon,” in Morning Devotions by Susannah Spurgeon: Free Grace and Dying Love (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2006), 166.
  • H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1900), 364.
  • H. Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, 6 vols. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855–1860),1:vi.

 

Michael Reeves (PhD, King’s College, London) is president and professor of theology at Union School of Theology in Oxford. He is the author of Delighting in the Trinity, Rejoicing in Christ, and The Unquenchable Flame: Discovering the Heart of the Reformation.

Remembering Billy Graham (1918 – 2018)

Years ago, Billy Graham said,

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”

Justin Taylor compiled a list of TGC’s coverage of Billy Graham’s life and legacy…

A Few New Quotes to Note

“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“It is much harder to look down on the sin of others when you are looking up at Jesus, who took your sin on the cross.” (Garrett Kell)

“Man is at his greatest and highest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God.” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

“You may not feel like praying. You may be tired and even bored. But God welcomes you just as you are. Spend a few minutes talking with Him. God’s presence is not the same as the feeling of God’s presence and He may be doing most for us when we think He is doing least.” (C.S. Lewis)

“When you pray, four persons are involved. The Father listens. The Spirit helps, and the Son intercedes. A Christian never prays alone.” (Colin Smith)

“Believe God’s love and power more than you believe your own feelings and experiences. Your rock is Christ, and it is not the rock that ebbs and flows but the sea.” (Samuel Rutherford)

“We must not allow our emotions to hold sway over our minds. Rather, we must seek to let the truth of God rule our minds. Our emotions must become subservient to the truth.” (Jerry Bridges)

When it comes to studying God’s Word, remember… “Raking is easy, but you get only leaves; digging is hard, but you might find diamonds.” (John Piper)

“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.” (John Stott)

“Every human being—regardless of color, nationality, economic status, or intellect—has been created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect.” (Kevin DeYoung)

“Runners in a distance race… always try to keep something in reserve for a final sprint. And my contention is that, so far as our bodily health allows, we should aim to be found running the last lap of the race of our Christian life, as we would say, flat out. The final sprint, so I urge, should be a sprint indeed.” (J.I. Packer)

“There are no sunset years for the Christian. Until the day you die, you have a race to run and a ministry to finish. Or, you can waste your life. But it’s better to lose your life than to waste it.” (John Piper)

Loving People: Not as They Deserve, Not as They Love, Not as We Need

A while back, Scotty Smith wrote on the topic of loving others – and how we can fully and freely do so only when Jesus is our sole satisfaction and deepest identity. Scotty wrote this as a prayer, but I’ve reworded it as a brief article. Enjoy.


Of all the pits easy to fall into, being too impacted by how people relate to us is the pit with the deadliest toxins in it. When people have too much power over our hearts, their approval can be as addictive as heroin or money. Their criticism can paralyze and kill us, like the venom of vipers. Their distance can fuel our anxieties and intensify our shame.

All of us want our relationship with Jesus to be the most defining reality in our lives—our greatest peace, joy, and hope.

We need to regularly ask God to restore to us the joy of our salvation; to renew our experience of His delight in us; to refresh our hearts in His everlasting love and unfailing kindness.

Only God’s love is better than life.

We need to be freed to relate to people and love them, “as unto the Lord,” as an act of worship—whether our kindness is acknowledged, reciprocated, or ignored.

We need to ask God to help us break the cycle of letting people be the thermostat in our lives. People will always make lousy saviors. Nobody can be Jesus to us but Jesus; and we dare not take on Jesus’ role in other people’s lives.

We need to be grateful that our heavenly Father doesn’t despise our weaknesses or brokenness, even when we have to confess the same things to Him over and over.

We long for the Day when we will be made perfect in love.

Until that Day, Lord, we ask that you would keep freeing us from our “people idolatries.”

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.”
(Eph. 6:7 NIV)

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
(Gal. 1:10 NLT)

“The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”
(Psalm 118:6 NIV)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
(Jer. 31:3 NIV)

(Bold and italics mine)

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