Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why It's Hard To Love Jesus

Joseph M. Stowell in his book, Why it's hard to love Jesus, makes some great points. It is really a convicting book. I trust some of the quotes below will allow God to work in your heart.

Any addition to or subtraction from who He is, what He is like, and what He requires is a move away from Him. Ungodliness is not always about the really bad people. Sometimes it is about the really good people who are more restrictive than God. pp. 24-25

... a true love for Christ is not a responsibility but a relationship based on a love for Christ that consumes him. p. 63

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Love as a responsibility is about lifestyle. Love as a response is about heartstyle. God is not interested in our lifestyle if it does not begin with heartstyle. From God's perspective, lifestyle without heartstyle is no style at all. p. 63

Loving Christ is about living life at His feet, not about having Him sit with us at our table. Until we absorb that reality, we will be tempted to use Him, not love Him. p. 87

We have long forgotten that even our good works in the light of His holy presence are like trash (Isaiah 64:6). Yet we insist on parading them as a badges of honor. You and I could point out the times we have said no to temptation and yes to the really hard things He has asked us to do. But He is not impressed. Under the shinning spotlight of His holiness our desperate condition comes into view. p. 103

That's what Christ did for us. Broken, abandoned, and lost in the depth of our sin, we were dead in the polluted waters. The hand of the Master Redeemer plucked us out and crafted us into new creations. The hollow cells that sin craved within us now resonate with life sounds that glorify Christ. In turn, we fill our world with the unsurpassed harmony of His presence. p. 104

Christ knows we love Him by watching what we do with our lives. And we treat people is the first place He looks. p. 105

Think of walking through the mall and seeing a group of "alternative" teens approaching. As they get closer, you notice the arrogant swaggers and hair shaved on one side of the head and styled in red-and-orange spikes on the other. These teens have metal pierced into just about every conceivable place on their bodies, and their wrists are wrapped with leather bands sporting metal spikes.
What is your heart response? Do you pray as you walk by that someone will love them and lead them to Christ? Do you smile at them, hoping to let them know that someone our age really does care? Or does the revulsion in your soul win the day? pp. 114-115

From your "neighbors" in heavy traffic, to the neighbors next door, to the neighbors in the poorer sections of your town, to the most intimate "neighbors" who live under the same roof, Jesus made one thing crystal clear: Loving Him is about loving them. p. 119

Abiding in His love is also reciprocal. Vines and branches reciprocate in the relationship. The vine is the source of strength, supply, nourishment, and support. The branch bears fruit for the benefit and the glory of the vine. And the branch finds joy and satisfaction in fulfilling its purpose.
Christ teaches us that fruit is the sign that genuine abiding has taken place. When we stay in love with Christ in every choice, action, and attitude, we will be fruitful for Him and a source of blessing to others. For instance, choosing to love Christ by loving those who offend us triggers the fruit of forgiveness. That, in turn, glorifies His character and blesses those who receive forgiveness. p. 166

To order this book click here!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Shack

I just finished reading The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. I must say it was a wonderful read. The part that made me uncomfortable was the way God was manifested. I have listed several quotes below that spoke to my heart. I trust they will be an encouragement to you!

There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry. p. 15

“You mean,” Mack interjected a little sarcastically, “that I can’t just ask, ‘What Would Jesus Do’?”
Jesus chuckled. “Good intentions, bad idea. Let me know how it works for you, if that’s the way you choose to go.” He paused and grew sober. “Seriously, my life was not meant to be an example to copy. Being my follower is not trying to ‘be like Jesus,’ it means for your independence to be killed. I came to give you life, real life, my life. We will come and live our life inside of you, so that you begin to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and touch with our hands, and think like we do. But, we will never force that union on you. If you want to do your thing, have at it. Time is on our side.”
“This must be the dying daily that Sarayu was talking about,” said Mack and nodded.” p. 149

Have you noticed that in your pain you assume the worst of me? I’ve been talking to you for a long time, but today was the first time you could hear it, and all those other times weren’t a waste, either. Like little cracks in the wall, one at a time, but woven together they prepared you for today. You have to take the time to prepare the soil if you want it to embrace the seed. p. 176

Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors. p. 185

“Mackenzie, religion is about having the right answers, and some of their answers are right. But I am about the process that takes you to the living answer and once you get to Him, He will change you from the inside. There are a lot of smart people who are able to say a lot of right things from their brain because they have been told what the right answers are, but they don’t know me at all. So really, how can their answers be right even if they are right, if you understand my drift?” She smiled at her pun. “So even though they might be right, they are still wrong.” p. 198

To order this book click here!

The Family

The Family
Braves Game 2012