Friday, March 28, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 3

Below are quotes from chapters 10-13. Some very good and encouraging words.

God's ways are always right. They may not make sense to us. They may be mysterious, inexplicable, difficult, and even painful. But they are right. p. 97

Regarding the things about which we fret:
  • 40 percent never happen
  • 30 percent regard unchangeable deeds of the past
  • 12 percent focus on the opinions of others that cannot be controlled
  • 10 percent center on personal health, which only worens as we worry about it
  • 8 percent concern real problems that we can influence

Ninety-two percent of our worries are needless! pp. 101-102

Worry betrays a fragile faith, an "unconscious blasphemy." We don't intentionally doubt God, but don't we, when we worry, essentially doubt God? We assume the attitude of a kid asking Michelangelo, "You sure you know what to do with that rock? p. 102

Want to worry less? Then pray more. Rather than look forward in fear, look upward in faith. p. 103

Are you afraid of a giant? Then recall the lion and the bear. Don't look forward in fear; look backward in appreciation. God's proof is God's past. Forgetfulness sires fearfulness, but a good memory makes for a good heart. p. 104

In Ps. 91:1-16 there are sixteen verses that collaborate to envision one image: God as your guardian. See if you can spot the most common word of the psalm:

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest."

"He will rescue you."

"He will shield you."

"He will shelter you."

"Evils will not touch you."

"They [angles] will hold you."

"The LORD says, 'I will rescue.'"

"I will protect you."

"I will answer."

"I will be with them."

"I will rescue."

"I will satisfy." p. 118

As you walk, He leads. As you sleep, He patrols. "He will shield you with His wings. He will shelter you with His feathers." v. 4 p. 119

God, your gardian, protects you from:

"every trap" v.3

"the fatal plague" v.3

"the plague that stalks in darkness" v. 6

"the terrors of the night . . . the dangers of the day" v. 5 p. 119

Have bad things really happened to you? You and God may have different definitions for the word bad. Parents and children do. Look up the word bad in a middle-schooler's dictionary, and you'll read definitions such as "pimple on nose," "Friday night all alone," or "pop quiz in geometry." Dad, this is really bad!" the youngster says. Dad, having been around the block a time or two, thinks differently. Pimples pass. And it won't be long before you'll treasure a quiet evening at home. Inconvenience? Yes. Misfortune? Sure. But bad? Save that adjective for emergency rooms and cemeteries.

What's bad to a child isn't always bad to a dad.

What you and I might rate as an absolute diaster, God may rate as a pimple-level problem that will pass. He views your life the way you view a movie after you've read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theater. Everyone else gasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you. Why? You've read the book. You know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God views your life with the same confidence. He's not only read your story . . . He wrote it. His perspective is different, and His purpose is clear.

God uses struggles to toughen our spiritual skin.

Consider it a sher gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4) pp. 120-121

Did you know that the smith in silversmith comes from the old English word smite? Silversmiths are accomplished smiters. So is God. Once the worker is satisfied with the form of his tool, he begins to planish and pumice it. Using smaller hammers and abrasive pads, he taps, rubs, and decorates. And no one stops him. No one yanks the hammer out of his hand and sys, "Go easy on that silver. You're pounded enough!" No, the craftsman buffets the metal until he is finished with it. Some silversmiths, I'm told, keeppolishing until they can se their face in the tool. When will God stop with you? When He sees His reflection in you. "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me" (Ps. 138:8). Jesus said, My Father never stops working" (John 5:17).

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Velvet Elvis

You know, all truth is God's truth. Therefore even though some books we read may contain false teaching they also will contain some truth. I just finished reading Rod Bell's book, Velvet Elvis. Even though I think he is off on several points, he still makes some good points. I have listed them below:

First, no amount of success can heal a person's soul. In fact, success makes it worse. If you have issues surrounding your identity, those issues will not go away if you "make it." p. 110

There is a great saying in the recovery movement: "Whever you go, there you are." That's why when we talk with people who are itching to leave town because they "just need to get out of here," we know they will be back. Often they find out whatever it is, it went with them. The problem is not the town. The problem is somewhere inside of them. p. 111

Success doesn't fix anything. We have the same problems and compulsions and addicitions, only now we have more stress and more problems and more pressure. p. 111

Superpastor is always available to everyone and accomplishes great things but always has time to stop and talk and never misses anyone's birthday and if you are sick h's at the hospital and you can call him at home whenever you need advice and he loves meetings and spends hours studying and praying and yet you can interrupt him if you need something - did I mention he always puts his family first? p. 115

I began to sort out with those around me what God did make me to do. What kept coming up was that my life work is fundamentally creative in nature. And creating has its own rhythms, its own pace. Inspiration comes at strange times when you create. And inspiration comes because of discipline. And discipline comes when you organize your life in specific, intentional ways. It means saying yes to certain things and no to other things. And then sticking to it. p. 115

I went to the leaders of our church and shared with them my journey as it was unfolding. I told them if they needed to release me and find superpastor, I understood. If we don't know who we are or where we're trying to go, we put the people around us in an uncomfortable position. They are doing the best they can with what they have, but sometimes we haven't given them much, have we? p. 116

And when we begin to pursue becoming the people God made us to be, we give them more and more to go on. p. 116

Sabbath is taking a day a week to remind myself that I did not make the world and that it will continue to exist without my efforts.

Sabbath is a day when my work is done, even if it isn't.

Sabbath is a day when my job is to enjoy. Period.

Sabbath is a day when I am fully available to myself and those I love most.

Sabbath is a day when I remember that when God made the world, He saw that is was good.

Sabbath is a day when I produce nothing.

Sabbath is a day when I remind myself that I am not a machine.

Sabbath is a day when at the end I say, "I didn't do anything today." and I don't add, "And I feel so guilty."

Sabbath is a day when my phone is turned off, I don't check my email, and you can't get ahold of me. pp. 117-118

To order this book click here!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 2

Below are some quotes from Max Lucado's book, Come Thirsty, No Heart Too Dry for His Touch. Part 2 covers chapters 6-9. To order this book see Part 1.

You began your life in Christ by the Spirit. Now are you trying to make it complete by your own power? That is foolish (Gal. 3:3) p. 57

As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in Him (Col. 2:6) . p. 58

How does one receive Christ? By coming thirsty and drinking deeply. How, then, does one live in Christ? By coming thirsty and drinking deeply. p. 58

When you do, saving power becomes staying power. " God, who began the good workin you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus come back again." (Phil. 1:6) p. 58

The real question is not, how do I get more of the Spirit? but rather, how can you, Spirit, have more of me? p. 60

... God opened the floodgates on the greatest movement [Pentecost] in history. It began because the followers were wiiling to do one thing: wait in the right place for power. p. 66

... waiting doesn't mean inactivity - rather inHIMactivity. p. 66

For ten days the disciples prayed. Ten days of prayer plus a few minutes of preaching led to three thousand saved souls. p. 67

Change your definition of prayer. Think of prayers less as an activity for God and more as an awareness of God. Seek to live in uninterrupted awareness. Acknowledge His presence everywhere you go. As you stand in line to registar your car, think, Thank you, Lord, for being here. In the grocery store as you shop, Your presence, my King, I welcome. As you wash the dishes, worship your Maker. Brother Lawrence did. This well-known saint called himself the "lord of pots and pans." In his book, The Practice of the Presence of God, he wrote:

The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon knees at the blessed sacrament." p. 68

God gets His fingers into our lives, inch by inch reclaiming the territory that is rightfully His.
Your tongue. He claims it for His message.
Your feet. He requisitions them for His purpose.
Your mind? He made it and intends to use it for His glory.
Your eyes, face, and hands? Through them He will weep, smile, and touch. p. 72

C.S. Lewis put it well:
Christ says, "Give me All. I don't want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don't want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. ... Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the desires you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours." p. 74

And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. p. 75

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Come Thirsty Part 1

I'm teaching a Power Walk class at church called "Come Thirsty." It is based on Max Lucado's book, Come Thirsty. Therefore, I am now reading the book. Max is a great story teller. So all of his books are easy reads. I just finished chapter five. Below are a few quotes from this book:

Eph. 2:4-9

Look how grace defines us. We are:
  • spiritually alive: "He gave us life" v. 5
  • heavenly positioned: "seated with Him in the heavenly realms" v.6
  • connected to God: "one with Christ Jesus" v.6
  • billboards of mercy: "examples of the incredible wealth of His favor and kindness toward us" v.7
  • honored children: "God saved you by His special favor" v.8 from p. 33
People hold no clot. Only God does. p. 36

You hang as God's work of art, a testimony in His gallery of grace. p. 36

Angels watch body burials the same way grandparents monitor delivery-room doors. "He'll be coming through any minute!" They can't wait to see the new arrival. While we're driving hearses and wearing black, they're hanging pink and blue streamers and passing out cigars. We don't grieve when babies enter the world. The hosts of heaven don't weep when we leave it. pp. 41-42

Max's study is based on the WELL:

Receieve Christ's:
Work on the the cross
Energy of His Spirit
Lordship over your life
Love, unending, unfailing

To order this book click here!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

My Grandfather's Son Part 3

I'm sure you are enjoying reading quotes from My Grandfather's Son. Listed below are the last four chapters (7-10). Please use the link from Part 1 if you would like to order this book.

One reporter told me that good news about civil rights simply wasn't "newsworthy" during the Reagan years. p. 162

[a prayer Thomas keeps in his wallet attributed to St. Francis of Assisi] "Keep a clear eye toward life's end. Do not forget your purpose and destiny as God's creature. What you are in His sight is what you are and nothing more. Do not let worldly cares and anxieties or the pressures of office blot out the divine life within you or the voice of God's spirit guiding you in your great task of leading humanity to wholeness. If you open yourself to God and His plan printed in your heart, God will open Himself to you." p. 181

[Senator Danforth talking to Thomas before the going to the Caucus room to face the Judiciary Committee] "You'll probably think I'm strange to ask you to do this," he said kiddingly, but by then I wasn't able to see the humor in much of anything. As soon as the four [both men and the wives]of us had crowded into the bathroom, he pulled out a portable tape recorder and played us a recording of "Onward, Christian Soldiers" by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The look on his face told me that this was no joke. Virginia [Thomas's wife] and I listened intently to the hymn's long-familiar words: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, / With the cross of Jesus going on before. / Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; / Forward into battle see His banners go! Then Senator Danforth prayed that the day would go well, told me to go forth in the name Christ, and implored me to let the Holy Ghost speak through me. p. 233

Psalm 57 showed me the way:
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed...
I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts-
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
They spread a net for my feet-
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path-
but they have fallen into it themselves. p. 237

[The oath Thomas takes to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court] "Then repeat after me: I, Clarence Thomas, do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to person, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all of the duties incumbent upon me as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God." p. 287

Wow, what an enjoyable book to read!

My Grandfather's Son Part 2

I have finished Clarence Thomas' book, My Grandfather's Son. If you enjoy biographies and/or political books then this is one should should buy. I have a link on Part 1 to purchase this book. Listed below are some quotes from chapter 4-6.

... real freedom meant independence from government intrusion, which in turn meant that you had to take responsibility for your own decisions. When the government assumes that responsibility, it takes away your freedom - and wasn't freedom the very thing for which blacks in America were fighting? p. 73

... I swore on the spot never to let Jamal [Thomas's son] go to a public school, even if I had to starve to pay his tuition. I had no intention of allowing my son to become a guinea pig in some harebrained social experiment. p. 79

... it turned out that blacks were responsible for almost 80 percent of violent crimes committed against blacks, and killed over 90 percent of black murder victims. This was a bitter pill to swallow. Until then I'd ignored the obvious implications of black-on-black crime rates. After I worked on that case, I knew better than to assume that whites were responsible for all the woes of blacks, and stopped throwing around the word "oppression" so carelessly. I also grew more wary of unsupported generalizations and conspiracy theories, both of which had become indispensable features of radical argument. p. 95

They understood what mattered: family, home, church, friends. p. 99

... honesty is what you do when no one is looking. p.101

... my needs, however great they might be, didn't convert wrong to right or bad to good. p. 101

Thomas Sowell in Race and Economics wrote: " Perhaps the greatest dilemma in the attempts to raise ethnic minority income is that those methods which historically proved successful - self-reliance, work skills, education, business experience - are all slow developing, while those methods which are more direct and immediate - job quotas, charity, subsidies, preferential treatment - tend to undermine self-reliance and pride of achievement in the long run. If the history of American ethnic groups shows anything, it is how large a role has been played by attitudes - and particularly attitudes of self-reliance." pp. 105-106

... blacks could never hope to improve their lives until they took responsibility for them. p. 107

The one good thing about Monsanto was the money, but by then I knew there were more important things in life. p. 113

[Speaking of Jay Parker] I'll never forget the time when he reminded me that freedom came from God, not Ronald Reagan. p. 127

I took as my motto a saying of Bobby Knight, then Indiana University's men's basketball coach: "Everybody has a will to win. What's far more important is having the will to prepare to win." p. 128

... the pain of individual effort is part of the price you pay for achievement. p. 130

[One of the black janitors in the Dirksen Senate Office building told Thomas] "You cannot give what you do not have." p. 136

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012