Quotes Collection

An index of all of the quotes in my quotes collection.

Worship is the continuous outpouring of all that I am, all that I do, and all that I can ever become in light of a chosen or choosing god. — Harold Best, Unceasing Worship

You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society. — C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also ‘as wise as serpents.’ — C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them. — C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

For many of us the great obstacle to charity lies not in our luxurious living or desire for more money, but in our fear — fear of insecurity. — C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Most of us are not really approaching the subject in order to find out what Christianity says: we are approaching it in hope of finding support from Christianity for the views of our own party. We are looking for an ally where we are offered a Master or – a Judge. — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Chastity is the most unpopular of the Christian virtues… the Christian rule is, ‘ either marriage, with complete faithfulness to your partner, or else total abstinence.’ — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

In God, you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that – and therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison – you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are better than someone else – I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

… though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him. — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Whenever we are faced with a challenge, like mentoring another person, we must learn to flee to the life of Jesus. In any given situation, we should always ask the question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ or ‘How did Jesus accomplish this?’ In order to do this, we must all become experts on his life. — Michael Card, The Walk

It makes an e-e-enormous amount of difference if you face conflict in your own strength – or if you face it with Jesus. — Bill Lane, The Walk

Jesus wanted his disciples to be with him in the face of personal rejection. He knew that the call of God on the disciples’ lives meant that they would also find themselves in conflict with their own families and with biblical scholars (and practically everyone else.) Learning to deal with rejection is an important part of preparing for ministry. It [rejection] seems to be inevitable. — Michael Card, The Walk

A person who is a good and true Christian should realize that truth belongs to his Lord, wherever it is found, gathering and acknowledging it even in pagan literature, but rejecting superstitious vanities and deploring and avoiding those who though they knew God they did not glorify him as God or give thanks but become enfeebled in their own thoughts and plunged their senseless minds into darkness. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the image of corruptible mortals and animals and reptiles. [Rom 1:21-23] — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

So it seems to me that the following advice is beneficial for young people who are keen and intelligent, who fear God and seek a life of true happiness. Do not venture without due care into any branches of learning outside the church of Christ, as if they were a means to attaining the happy life, but discriminate sensibly and carefully between them. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

But since the human race is prone to judge sins not by the strength of the actual lust, but rather by the standard of its own practices, people generally regard as culpable only such actions as men of their time and place tend to blame and condemn, and regard as commendable and praiseworthy only such actions as are acceptable within the conventions of their own society. And so it happens that if scripture enjoins something at variance with the practices of its readers, or censures something that is not at variance with them, they consider the relevant expression to be figurative (always assuming that their minds are governed by the authority of the Word). But scripture enjoins nothing but love, and censures nothing but lust, and moulds men’s minds accordingly. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

oratorical ability, so effective a resource to commend either right or wrong, is available to both sides; why then is it not acquired by good and zealous Christians to fight for the truth, if the wicked employ it in the service of iniquity and error, to achieve their perverse and futile purposes? — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

There is a danger in forgetting what one has to say while working out a clever way to say it. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

the interpreter and teacher of the divine scriptures, the defender of the true faith and the vanquisher of error, must communicate what is good and eradicate what is bad, and in this process of speaking must win over the antagonistic, rouse the apathetic, and make clear to those who are not conversant with the matter under discussion what they should expect. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

The wisdom of what a person says is in direct proportion to his progress in learning the holy scriptures – and I am not speaking of intensive reading or memorization, but real understanding and careful investigation of their meaning. Some people read them but neglect them; by their reading they profit in knowledge, by their neglect they forfeit understanding. Those who remember the words less closely but penetrate to the heart of scripture to the eyes of their own heart are much to be preferred, but better than either is the person who not only quotes scripture when he chooses, but also understands it as he should. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

What is the use of correct speech if it does not meet with the listener’s understanding? There is no point in speaking at all if our words are not understood by the people to whose understanding our words are directed. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

The aim of our orator, then, when speaking of things which are just and holy and good – and he should not speak of anything else – the aim, as I say, that he pursues to the best of his ability when he speaks of these things is to be listened to with understanding, with pleasure, and with obedience. He should be in no doubt that any ability he has and however much he has derives more from his devotion to prayer than his dedication to oratory; and so by praying for himself and for those he is about to address, he must become a man of prayer before becoming a man of words. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

More important than any amount of grandeur of style to those of us who seek to be listened to with obedience is the life of the speaker. A wise and eloquent speaker who lives a wicked life certainly educates many who are eager to learn, although he is useless to his own soul, as scripture puts it (Ecc 37:2). That is why Paul says ‘ Let Christ be proclaimed, whether in pretence or in truth’ (Phil 1:18). Christ is the truth, and yet the truth can be proclaimed even by the untruth, in the sense that things which are right and true may be proclaimed by a wicked and deceitful heart. — Saint Augustine, On Christian Teaching

Paul wrote to Timothy, ‘Do not neglect your gift’ (1 Tim 4:14) and ‘fan into flame the gift of God (2 Tim 1:6). A spiritual gift is ‘fanned into flame’ when it is exercised or used. To let it lie dormant or unused signals a shortcoming in good stewardship. — Roy B. Zuck, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

Ultimate reality resides in the personal, sovereign, Triune God.
Absolute truth comes to man in the form of God’s self-initiating, inerrant revelation, the Bible.
The nature of human beings is declared by God to be in His image, fallen through sin, but redeemed by the Cross.
Value is not determined by society or majority vote, but ascertained as a part of God’s revelation.

In short, Christian axiology (values) depends on Christian epistemology (knowledge). — Kenneth O. Gangel, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

The church must affirm senior citizenry because we live in a society that puts a premium on youth. We tend to look at retired people in the light of what they have been or have accomplished, rather than what they are or perhaps still will accomplish. The result to the older person is a feeling of having been shelved, and the body of Christ should provide a balanced view. — Kenneth O. Gangel, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

Christians should seek to penetrate the world of the mass media and to equip themselves as television script writers, producers, and performers. We can hardly complain of the low standard of many current programs if we take no constructive initiatives to provide alternatives which are not only technically equal if not better, but more wholesome as well. — Johh Stott, Between Two Worlds

While it is true that teachers also serve, they serve best by leading. Servant leaders are not passive but active; they are not waiting for something to happen but causing something to happen. We all embrace the concept but fail to understand exactly what is involved. It embraces more than acts; it is an attitude that pervades all that we do. — Howard G. Hendricks, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

You can impress people at a distance but you can only impact them up close. Teachers need to intensify their interpersonal relations with their students. Leadership is caught not taught. — Howard G. Hendricks, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

In Luke 6:12-16 we see our Lord in the process of choosing His men. Three criteria were employed, all of which are usable by any teacher: (1) He bathed His choices in prayer. Jesus spent an entire night seeking the Father’s mind. John 17:6,9 informs us these were those the Father had given him. (2) He chose individuals with proven characteristics. Jesus had extensive and intimate involvement with these men – at least a year, some thing more – living and ministering together. (3) Jesus opted for diversity in His choices. He handpicked a radical and a redneck, extroverts and introverts, natural leaders and those we seldom hear from. — Howard G. Hendricks, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

Application provides the capstone of Bible study, the peak of the proccess of mining the gold of Scriptures. Without application, Bible Study remains incomplete. As James wrote, ‘Do not merely listen to the Word… Do what it says.’ (James 1:22) The Bible is not a museum piece to be exhibited or an antique to be examined. It is a guidebook for living. — Roy B. Zuck, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

This year millions of Americans will take a step which will change their own lives significantly, and profoundly affect the next generation: they will have children. How they raise their youngsters will have a greater impact on society than how they vote, what technologies they produce, the wars they fight, or the art they create. — James R. Slaughter, The Christian Educators Handbook on Teaching

“God’s ultimate goal in giving us biblical revelation is not punitive. He desires that His word equip us for His service. Its message brings us reconciliation through the work of Christ. Its probing exposes our need for a reconciled relationship with Him. And then His Word gives us the tools we need to actually experience that reconciled relationship on a daily basis. This is what Paul told Timothy about the role of the Bible: ‘All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). — Richards & Bredfeldt, Creative Bible Teaching

Some teachers focus on the content they desire to cover in the class as the primary factor in teaching. Creative Bible teachers do not. They recognize the necessity of teaching the truth of the Bible and the importance of strong content, but they also know that they teach students, not lessons. — Richards & Bredfeldt, Creative Bible Teaching

If you are going to bore people, don’t bore them with the Gospel. Bore them with calculus, bore them with earth science, bore them with world history. But it is a sin to bore people with the Gospel. — Howard Hendricks, Creative Bible Teaching

Great teachers know that people tend to learn more when they are involved than when they are uninvolved. When you are talking, students may or may not get involved in learning. But when they are talking, students must get involved. So the first principle of involvement in learning is this – to some degree, the less the Bible teacher talks, the more the students learn. — Richards & Bredfeldt, Creative Bible Teaching

The old adage that we ‘learn by doing’ is true. Somehow, when we begin to live out what we have learned, we are interested in learning more. The heart is like a sponge. Fill it with knowledge of the Word that remains unapplied, and it becomes stagnant. But use the knowledge and the heart becomes ready to soak in more. Application has a way of motivating learning. — Richards & Bredfeldt, Creative Bible Teaching

the Moral Law is not always the standard by which we treat others, but it is nearly always the standard by which we expect others to treat us. It does not describe how we behave, but how we expect others to behave. In other words, it is not the way people do behave, but the way people ought to behave. — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

we’ve always found it difficult to enforce a number of our laws, including laws against murder, spouse and child abuse, rape, and theft, yet no sane person would ever suggest that these laws should be repealed because they are difficult to enforce. Enforceability isn’t the issue. The issue is whether a particular activity is right or wrong. We should legislate against what is objectively wrong regardless of whether or not it’s difficult to enforce. — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

there is a critical difference between legislating religion and legislating morality. We can avoid legislating a particular religion, but we can’t avoid legislating morality. All laws, by their very nature, declare one behavior to be right and another to be wrong. We need laws to maintain a safe and functioning society. So the only question is, ‘Whose morality do we legislate?’ — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

Everyone realizes what ‘pro-life’ people want to impose: They want to protect the baby and thus impose on the mother the duty of carrying her child to term. But what is so often missed in this debate is that ‘pro-choice’ activists want to impose their morals on others, as well: They want to impose the morals of the mother on the baby and, in some cases, on the father. When an abortion is the choice, the morals imposed on the baby come in the form of a knife, a vacuum, or scalding chemicals. Such a choice also imposes on the biological father by depriving him of fatherhood and the right to protect his child. — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

In the final analysis, those who say they want no morals imposed on others really want their own morals imposed on everyone. The truth is, all laws impose their morals on others, good or bad. Good laws don’t allow ‘anything goes’ – they protect innocent people by limiting the freedom of others to do harm. And that means a good morality must be imposed…. legislating morality is not only ethical, it is also unavoidable and necessary for a functioning society. It is impossible not to legislate morality. — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

real moral arguments are not possible without moral absolutes. Without absolutes, all disagreements would be nothing more than differences of opinion. For example, one person would be ‘right’ in asserting Hitler was ‘better’ than Mother Theresa. Another person would also be ‘right’ in declaring that murder is the ‘best’ thing anyone could do; there’s nothing wrong with child abuse or slavery; rape should be encouraged; kindness to others should be outlawed; there’s no moral difference between the ideals of the Ku-Klux Klan and those of Martin Luther King, etc. Our morally informed consciences tell us that these conclusions are nonsense – they’re absolutely wrong. And if they are wrong, than so is relativism. — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

the moral philosophy upon which our nation was founded was presented explicitly in the Declaration of Independence. It reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Notice that our Founding Fathers, in accordance with the Moral Law, affirmed their belief in (1) a Creator (God), (2) Creation (that man was created), and (3)God-given moral absolutes (that man has God-given ‘unalienable Rights.’). — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

for the first 240 years of modern science (1620-1860), the belief in the Creation of the world was the dominant view in the scientific community. Sir Isaac Newton’s statement serves to illustrate this belief: ‘This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.’ — Geisler & Turek, Legislating Morality

love of God leads us to love our neighbor, and love of neighbor requires our participation in the culture and in the political proccess. — R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Culture Shift

There is no genuinely secular state, no secular argument, and no secular motivation, even among those who consider themselves secular. There is no neutrality. On questions as ultimate as the existence or nonexistence of God, or the binding or nonbinding character of His dictates and commands, or the objectivity or subjectivity of morality, or the absoluteness or nonabsoluteness of truth. There are no mediating positions. There is no neutrality. — R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Culture Shift

Fifth, a liberal democracy must acknowledge and respect the rights of all citizens, including its self-consciously religious citizens. One would think such a statement would be unnecessary, since the First Amendment to the Constitution specifically protects religious expression. But as Robert Audi and Kathleen Sullivan understand it, that amendment only protects religious expression insofar as it does not interfere with a purely secular state. In other words, religious people may talk amongst themselves about how they would structure society, but they are not free to air those ideas outside the walls of their churches. Christians and their religious, moral arguments ought to be excluded from the national conversation. That idea, however, cannot possibly be reconciled with the founding vision of America or with the language of the Constitution or with how human beings actually think, act, and speak. — R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Culture Shift

Clearly articulated theological reflection provides Christians with ground rules for participation in public life. It bestows content and meaning for the kind of response Christians might have to controversial issues when they arise. — Mark G. Toulouse, God in Public

The problem is not that Christians are conservative or liberal, but that some are so confident that their position is God’s position that they become dismissive and intolerant towards others and divisive forces in our national life. — Senator John Danforth, Faith and Politics

That religion is now a divisive force in American political life doesn’t mean that in order to avoid fracturing the country, religious people should stay out of political controversies and attend only to the personal side of religion. — Senator John Danforth, Faith and Politics

Religious people have engaged with government since Moses confronted Pharoah. One of the books of the Bible is called Judges. Two are called Kings. That is government. Acting for God, the prophet Samuel annointed Saul and David Kings of Israel. In the Old Testament, God was the ultimate ruler, and kings answered to God. As God’s agents, the prophets told kings where to go and where not to go; which battles to fight and when to surrender; what to build and when; and how to treat the poor, the fatherless, the widows, and the aliens. And when kings did not do as they were told, the prophets, again acting for God, confronted them and meted out punishment. The idea of incompatible realms of religion and government is not supported in the Old Testament. — Senator John Danforth, Faith and Politics

Nowhere are Christians urged to go off by themselves and set up their own social institutions. With the exception, of course, of religious institutions, they are to participate side by side with non-Christians in the institutions of their society: marriage, family, economy, and polity. They are to do so with a difference, however, a difference both in how they understand the significance of those institutions and how they conduct themselves within them. — Nicholas Walterstorff, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy

Christ is not only head of the church but also head of the state. The Christian is under the rule of Christ not only in the church but also in the state. — Nicholas Walterstorff, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy

it is your and my calling as citizens rather than mere subjects to encourage the state to live up to its task of promoting justice and serving the general welfare. When all around [people] are saying that the state is nothing more than an arena for negotiating power relationships, the Christian will never weary of insisting that the task of the state in God’s creational and providential order is to promote justice and serve the common good. — Nicholas Walterstorff, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy

Three basic facts that shape the context of evangelical political engagement – the sinful nature of the political world, the limitations of Christians engaged in the political world, and the political world being downstream from culture – are not an argument for avoiding political engagement. Far from it. We are firmly convinced that God calls Christians to be active in the political world as Christians, that is, as persons whose stances and actions are shaped by their faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives and their Savior from sin. — Stephen Monsma & Mark Rodgers, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy

All this counsels the Christian who is actively engaged with the political world to approach that world with a deep sense of humility. One must act on the basis of the best information one has, combined with a thoughtful understanding of basic biblical principles and with prayerful consideration. But one should also act with the humble realization that one’s perspective on an issue may be narrow, incorrect, or based on erroneous assumptions, and that with more and better information and further reflection and prayer, one may conclude a different approach is warranted. Christians should not be known for wagging fingers or impugning motivations. We should be known for our conviction and our civility. — Stephen Monsma & Mark Rodgers, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy

We as evangelicals have much to offer those ‘in authority over us,’ and to fail to act is to fail to shine the light of the gospel in the halls of government that are part of God’s ordering of this world. — Stephen Monsma & Mark Rodgers, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy

Christians quickly realize that they must advocate in the public square for their positions using the ‘natural law’ arguments that are accessible and persuasive to all. It does little good to argue for the sanctity of life using Psalm 139:13 when your opponent, or the public you are trying to convince, does not hold the Bible as authoritative. One must craft arguments that appeal to everyone, Christian or not. Although Scripture must always be our guide, we must be able to defend our positions with arguments that resonate with those who do not share our reliance on the Bible. We can appeal to human beings’ God-given reason, the evidence God has placed in his creation, and the precepts he has written on all persons’ hearts (Rom 1:19-20) — Stephen Monsma & Mark Rodgers, Toward an Evangelical Public Policy

Evangelicals agreed in the same high levels as the general population that ‘values are something that each of us must decide without being influenced by others,’ and that ‘what is true for me is not necessarily true for others.’ — Lawrence E. Adams, Going Public: Christian Responsibility in a Divided America

Women who have a love for the church will not, and should not, be satisfied with pouring all their energies into outside ministry opportunities. This is where shared responsibility comes into play. Women are responsible for using their abilities for the good of their local churches. The churches are responsible for employing the gifts of all their members. — Susan Hunt & Peggy Hutcheson, Leadership for Women in the Church

The bottom-line qualification for leadership is for one to have a following. No matter what other credentials a person has, if no one follows, it is quite a stretch to call that person a leader. A helper-leader is one who is ready to lead or follow, to serve or accept service from others. To quiet the voices that lead to pride or arrogance (the ones that say, ‘You deserve better than this’) and the voices that lead to dependence and failure to use our gifts (the ones that ask ‘Who do you think you are?’ and say, ‘You can’t possibly do this?’), requires prayer and support. — Susan Hunt & Peggy Hutcheson, Leadership for Women in the Church

It is evident that man never attains a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. — John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion

The real issue here is not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life. Scripture shows us that pride is strongly and dangerously rooted in our lives, far more than most of us care to admit or even think about. — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend. — John Stott, Pride, Humility, & God

Prior to our conversion we were sin’s prisoners, and even after our conversion we continue to fight the presence of sin, though we’re freed from the power and penalty of sin. And if you aren’t aware of this danger, you’ll never sufficiently appreciate the significance of His death. — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

A Christian, informed and inspired by Scripture, views the cessation of work each day, the limitation God places upon work each day, and the laying down to sleep each night, as altogether a gift from God. A gift so graciously provided in His lavish generosity. And those who neglect this gift will inevitably suffer consequences. — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

Sleep is a gift that God makes available to all humanity. It’s another of the innumerable illustrations of His extravagant generosity not only toward His people but even toward those who are hostile and opposed to Him. And we, as His own people, should not only thank Him but also respond fully and appropriately and humbly in receiving this gift. — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

A classic Peanuts cartoon opens with Linus curled up in a chair, quietly reading a book. Lucy stands behind him with a funny look on her face. ‘It’s very strange,’ Lucy tells him. ‘It happens just by looking at you.’ ‘What happens?’ Linus asks. Lucy calmly answers, ‘I can feel a criticism coming on.’ How often do you feel the same way when you look closely at those around you? The truth is, that’s the tendency we all have apart from grace. — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

The fundamental explanation of our conversion was not that we were wiser or morally superior to others in choosing God, but that God chose to have mercy on us and intervened in our lives, revealing our need for His provision of the gospel. Our salvation is owed completely to the sovereign grace of God. — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

…let me suggest that you talk to your spouse and to others close to you and ask them questions like these: Do I confess my sin consistently? Do I confess specific instances of sin and not just general categories or general references to sin? Do others find it easy to correct me? Do others know the areas of temptation in my life at present? Do they know the most pronounced patterns of sin in my life at present? — C.J. Mahaney, Humility

In the parable of the talents, the servant who buried – rather than invested – his gifts is the one who received the stiffest rebuke from Jesus. To the servant who made the most of the talents with which he was entrusted, Jesus said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things” (Matthew 25:23). — Nancy Beach, Gifted to Lead

Unless I listen to my life, I have no hope of developing my authentic and unique voice. It is out of the stuff of the seemingly ordinary, everyday moments I encounter – as a daughter, friend, wife, mother, neighbor, worker, and child of God – that I hear the whispers of the Spirit, recognize the common temptations and trials of simply being human, and make connections that God can use to breathe life and understanding into the lives of others. — Nancy Beach, Gifted to Lead

In writing his letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul reveals the mystery of how God communicates through his people: “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words” (1 Cor 2:13). I will never get over the wonder that God has gifted men and women to be his voice to a community, to articulate the timeless truths of Scripture and to apply them to our current realities with relevance and authenticity. If I had to lean on human wisdom without the anointing power of the Spirit and the words he guides me to speak, I would be just another speaker, not a messenger from God. — Nancy Beach, Gifted to Lead

[Insert your name in the blank]
___, God did not make a mistake when he made you. When the gifts were handed out in heaven, the angels didn’t say, “Whoops! That’s a girl baby – we can’t give her the gift of leadership!” Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that the Holy Spirit distributes the gifts just as he desired. Every gift that you have, ____, came from the hand of a loving father who crafted you in your mother’s womb. He delights in who you are becoming. You are not an accident, or any less female just because you love to lead and are smart and full of dreams and goals. Those dreams come from your Creator, along with your instincts to lead and your passion to make a difference. There is nothing wrong with you.
— Nancy Beach, Gifted to Lead

Here are some of the questions I’ve found helpful for assessing my voice in everyday communications:
– Did I really own up to my point of view in that meeting? Did I show up with a strong sense of my instincts and perspective of the issues we explored?
– Once I got into the flow of the conversation, especially if others expressed bold points of view, did I second-guess myself at every turn?
– Did I too readily assent when confronted with someone else’s point of view?
– Was I congruent, or was there a difference between what I really thought and said? How much hiding did I do?
– What was my tone when it came to something I felt strongly about? Did my demeanor sync with the passion I felt, or did I try to protect myself by acting as though I didn’t care so much?
– What was my degree of participation in the meeting? Did I monopolize the conversation, remain noticeably silent, or did I get the balance just right?
– Later in the day, did I think of all kinds of things I wished I would have said or communicated differently, or was I satisfied with how I showed up?
— Nancy Beach, Gifted to Lead

The posture and attitude of leaders, in particular, will set the tone for any gathering; what leaders do has more impact than they realize. It may be tempting to use the worship time to chat with people or, even worse, to hold mini staff meetings in the front row or use this time for final sermon preparation. The way leaders engage in the worship experience will send a huge message to the church community about the value and expectation placed on the worship time. — David Ruis, The Worship God Is Seeking

We spend so little time and energy equipping the church body for worship. I am not talking about training to play instruments or learning the skill of worship leading or even training in the arts (although we have a long way to go in this department). I am talking about equipping the whole church to worship. Most of the training that goes on (if it happens at all) is for the worship team. It is rare to see a community that is equipped in the area of worship. We teach on evangelism and spiritual gifts and make room for all sorts of aspects of what it means to be a follower of Christ in community, but somehow we expect worship to just “magically” happen when we gather. — David Ruis, The Worship God is Seeking

The simplest principle I can state about justice interwoven in worship is to not assume that the marginalized, the poor and the broken of our culture and society are a distraction. Sometimes, they are the very point of worship. But we must find ways to allow them access and to move them from being an outreach or a charity to becoming part of the identity of the church. We must also make room for the silenced and muted voices around us to find their expression. This is a challenge, and it is necessary to equip the community in order to understand it, but the rewards are outstanding. — David Ruis, The Worship God is Seeking

It would seem that we are at risk of creating a church culture in which aesthetics and entertainment become the watermark for a great worship experience. We are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of worship by the response of the people. We paint a picture of God as a Being who is there for our benefit, and we “view worship as designed to reinforce our basic selfishness, masked under ‘meeting our needs.’” — David Ruis, The Worship God is Seeking

Another dynamic within current culture that influences our approach to worship is the desire to make our worship accessible to people who are seeking after God yet may be unfamiliar with our particular liturgy or church culture. It is critical that we create bridges of understanding for people who may discover God through a church meeting; but it is just as important that we maintain a God-centered focus in worship. There is nothing worse than someone’s journey toward God being frustrated by unnecessary Christian cliches and religious baggage. However, we must not be ashamed of worship that is biblically authentic, or become insecure living in a society that has the potential of being hostile toward God and his ways. — David Ruis, The Worship God is Seeking

Whenever we see a renewing work of the Holy Spirit, worship always accompanies His presence. He does bring empowered preaching and an impact that shakes society to its very core, but resonating at the heart of it all is a new song. John Wesley had Charles. Dwight Moody had Sankey. Billy Sunday had Rodeheaver. Billy Graham has Cliff Barrows. There were the songs of the Welsh revival, the Finney revival, and on and on it goes. Where the Spirit of God has free reign, the worship of the saints will emerge. You can’t stop the song. — David Ruis, The Worship God is Seeking

Though human beings are incredibly creative, many have not carried this God-inspired creativity into what it means to be the church, into our experience of growing in our practice of prayer and scripture reading. All too often we do not follow in the imaginative and innovative ways of God when it comes to issues of faith. As a result, too much of Christianity today is generic and copycat in nature. Instead of displaying ingenuity, we have become reactionary to whatever pop culture is doing… How is it that we who serve the most creative being in the universe have made following him so predictable, boring, and rut-filled? — Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith

Tell me about the first time you experienced the presence of God? What if that question was how we began a conversation with an unbeliever? … All too often we think it is our job to get people in a place where they can call on God, but what if God has already called them? Then our role in someone’s life is to help them respond to the overtures of God. The scriptures are rife with examples of this. [The Magi, Cornelius, Eli/Samuel] — Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith

Salvation isn’t just an individual experience; it’s communal as well. To follow Jesus is to become part of God’s chosen people, the body of Christ. The scriptures tell us that we are chosen by God as his children. However, we are not an only child; our adoption makes us part of an extremely diverse family that has a ‘firstborn’ son with whom we are co-heirs. Responding to the call of the gospel is to respond as an ‘I’ and a ‘we.’ — Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith

The scriptures are a mystery being revealed, a song being sung, a way of life being presented. They are meant to be sought and experienced and lived. They are more than a science project. — Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith

The biblical vision of prayer has a different starting point. It’s not, ‘How much did I pray today?’ but rather, ‘Did I ever stop praying today?’ Our preoccupation with time leaves us missing the point of unceasing prayer. In the process we strive for bare minimums instead of pursuing what is truly possible, namely, unending, unbroken communion with Jesus. We were designed to live with God for all time, for God is with us all the time. — Robert Gelinas, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith

if your idea of God, if your idea of the salvation offered in Christ, is vague or remote, your idea of worship will be fuzzy and ill-formed. The closer you get to the truth, the clearer becomes the beauty, and the more you will find worship welling up within you. That’s why theology and worship belong together. The one isn’t just a head-trip; the other isn’t just emotion. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

the God we worship here is the God of costly love. ‘ The love of Christ,’ Paul wrote, ‘overwhelms us, when we consider that one died for all; and his purpose in dying was that those who live should live no more for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised.’ …The true God is the one who became human and died and rose again in order to offer a new way of being human, a way of worship and love. Christ died, says Paul, so that we might embody the saving faithfulness of God: ‘It is all God’s work.’ — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Where is it written in scripture that we can expect the church to be free from financial problems, from doctrinal controversy, from difficulties about leadership, from deeply personal and corporate anxieties? Where is it written in history that there ever was such a church? Where is it written in theology that God demands such perfection? Go back in Paul’s second letter to Corinth and you will find that it concerns exactly these issues. And Paul addresses his readers in Corinth, not with carping criticism, but with the power of love; not with sneering put-downs about what a shabby lot they were in Corinth, but with the gospel of Jesus; not with cynicism, but with the cross. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Because of the cross, being a Christian, or being a church, does not mean claiming that we’ve got it all together. It means claiming that God’s got it all together; and that we are merely, as Paul says, those who are overwhelmed by his love. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Worship is humble and glad, worship forgets itself in remembering God; worship celebrates the truth as God’s truth, not its own. True worship doesn’t put on a show or make a fuss; true worship isn’t forced, isn’t half-hearted, doesn’t keep looking at its watch, doesn’t worry what the person in the next pew is doing. True worship is open to God, adoring God, waiting for God, trusting God even in the dark.
Worship will never end; whether there be buildings, they will crumble; whether there be committees, they will fall asleep; whether there be budges, they will add up to nothing. For we build for the present age, we discuss for the present age, and we pay for the present age; but when the age to come is here, the present age will be done away. For now we see the beauty of God through a glass, darkly, but then face to face; now we appreciate only in part, but then we shall affirm and appreciate God, even as the living God has affirmed and appreciated us. So now our tasks are worship, mission, and management, these three; but the greatest of these is worship.
— N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

the God who sent the Son is the God who sends the Spirit of the Son, to put into practice, to implement, what the son achieved. To believe in the Trinity is to believe that God comes today, in the Spirit, to the place where pain is still at its height, to share the groaning of this world in order to bring the world to new life. But the Spirit doesn’t do that in isolation. The Spirit does it by dwelling within Christians and enabling them to stand, in prayer and in suffering, at that place of pain… It is the doctrine that assures us that our visiting of the sick, our teaching of the young, our creating of beauty, our praying and working for justice and peace in the world, are not simply us doing something for God; they are God acting in and through us. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

There is always a danger when we speak of God’s judgement and imagine God as a fierce, bullying, domineering God. I suspect that many people in our society today, if they use the word ‘God’ at all (other than as an expletive), think of God basically like that. That’s why so many of them have rejected him. There are quite enough bullies in the world already without having one up in the sky as well. But the reason that the true God will come to right all wrongs in the world (and that’s what ‘judgement’ really means) is not because he’s a fierce bully but precisely because he is the bridegroom who wants to woo and win his bride; because he is the shepard who longs to carry the lambs close to his heart; because he is the servant who is wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. If this is what the true God is like, it’s the fierce bullies, the Herod’s of the world – who are in for a shock. This is the God whose coming judgement will be based upon love. This is the God whose word will stand forever, while the grass withers and the flower fades. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

The church is here to be the Voice to the world; the Voice that does not claim great things for itself, but simply urges the world to get ready for the God who comes in power and judgement of love. We are to live, and we are to speak, in such a way as to do for our generation, more or less, what John did for his: to demonstrate and to announce that there is a different way of being human, the way of love, the way of God, and so to bring to the world the news (good news for the weary, bad news for the bullies) that the creator of the world is also the comforter of the world. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

The cross of Jesus is such a huge reality, standing in the middle of the world and of history, that we are often at a loss to know how to respond to it, what we’re supposed to think or do when we are confronted with it. When we try to say that the cross means this, or that, or the other thing, we usually end up doing something analogous to playing a Beethoven symphony on a mouth-organ. We bring it down to the level of our own thinking and feeling, instead of allowing it to lift our thinking and feeling – yes, and our praying and living and loving – up to its own level.

I don’t pretend for a moment that what I say here will escape the same problem. But I want to try to point beyond words, including my own words, so that our eyes rest on the fact itself. And the fact is, as I say, that the cross of Jesus changed the world. It didn’t just create a new possibility for human devotion. It didn’t just reveal an aspect of the character of God. It wasn’t just the most wonderful example of a terrible death bravely suffered. It changed the world. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Christian faith, faith in the crucified Jesus, is more than my individual belief that he died for me, vital though that is. It is the faith that on the cross Jesus in principle won the victory over sin, violence, pride, arrogance, and even death itself, and that that victory can now be implemented. This faith refuses to accept that violence, greed and pride are unassailable and unchallengable. This faith will go to work to challenge and subvert those destructive forces, in ourselves, in our local communities, in our corporate and political life, in the belief, albiet often in the teeth of the evidence, that they have been defeated and that the power of God’s love is stronger than they are. To say that the cross changed the world is a statement of faith; but it is not a blind faith, whistling in the dark. It is faith that looks up at the creator God and knows him to be the God of love. And it is faith that looks out at the world with the longing to bring that love to bear in healing reconciliation, and hope. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

And, as we look, and worship, it is not only the world that is changed; it is not only God who is changed; we ourselves are changed. We are changed, after all, by a smile from a stranger; how can we not be changed when we look at the face of Love himself? We find ourselves caught and held in the arms of the divine prisoner; we are captivated by the music of his stretched sinews; we are swept up into the mountaintops, from which we see the world in a whole new way. And we ourselves, made prisoners in our turn by that love, discover that we have a new identity. As we are set free by that love from our own pride and fear, our own greed and arrogance, so we are free in our turn to be agents of reconciliation and hope, or healing and love. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Many movements in the modern church try to make the worship of God more accesible; often all they succeed in doing is to trivialize it. Of course there must be understanding, of a sort, if worship is not to degenerate into mumbo-jumbo. But when you are confronted by fire, the proper respons is not a rational analysis, or ‘will-the-people-in-the-pew-understand-it?’, or a lowest-common-denominator levelling of words or music, but falling on your face. And, without mincing any words, people are more likely to be confronted by the majesty and awesomeness of God when the music and drama used in worship was written and is performed with that in mind. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

When we come to worship, and to the Eucharist in particular, we come into the presence of the Almighty God, and to feast at his table, not because we are good people, but because we are forgiven sinners. We come, as we come to a doctor, not because we are well, but because we are sick. We come, not because we’ve got it all together, but because God’s got it all together and has invited us to join him. We come, not because our hands are full of our own self-importance or self-righteousness, but because they are empty and waiting to recieve his love, his body and blood, his own very self. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

But, though money is important, it’s not all-important. Everybody gave Levi money; Jesus gave him something else. He gave him back his humanity. We need to look around us and discover where people are being dehumanized – by their jobs or lack of jobs, by their homes or lack of homes, by their families or thier lack of families. We need to find ways of communicating to them what Jesus communicated to Levi ben Alphaeus; that they are human beings, that they are valuable, that they don’t need to pretend. We need to communicate to them that God loves them. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least to appear, strong, in order to be weak; and we follow a gospel which says that when I am weak, then I am strong. — N.T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

What is our calling, then? We are called, simply, to hold on to Christ with one hand, with all our might; and to hold on to those we are given to love with the other hand, with all our might, with courage, humour, self-abandonment, creativity, flair, tears, silence, sympathy, flexibility, Christlikeness. When we find their tears becoming our own, we may know that healing has begun to happen; when they find Christ in being held on to by us, whether we realize it or not, we are proving the truth of what Paul said: God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, so that in him we might embody the saving faithfulness of God. — N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Paul’s point [in Galatians 2], however, is this: if you understand justification by faith, you will be left in no doubt about who you may sit down and eat with. The whole discussion is about community definition. The thrust of it all for us today, I believe, is that the original Pauline doctrine of justification is not only something that all Christians might be able to agree on, but ironically, that is in itself the strongest ecumenical doctrine. It isn’t just that if we try really hard in our doctrinal discussions we might come up with a formula which enables us to bury the hatchet from centuries of acrimonious debate about justification; justification is itself the doctrine that tells us that we should bury the hatchet and, moreover, tells us how we might do it. — N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Membership in God’s family is not by race, but by grace. It is not by moralism, but by the forgiving love of God. It is not tied to a particular culture or class or gender; the ground is level at the foot of the cross. As he sums it up a chapter later, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female; all are one in Christ Jesus. The only badge of membership, therefore, is that which is the same for us all: the saving act of God in Christ Jesus, and the helpless acceptance that the believer, simply in the act of believing itself. — N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

We have to learn how to translate Jesus’ message to his contemporaries so that it becomes our message to our contemporaries. The Sermon [on the Mount] isn’t just Jesus’ challenge to the church. It ought to be the church’s challenge to the world. But our world is not expecting covenant renewal, with a list of blessings, an intensification of the Jewish law, and a newly deepened piety. Our world is not wanting to rebuild a temple, a house on a rock. We cannot simply throw at our contemporaries the same language and imagery that Jesus used in his day and hope it will somehow stick. We have to take the difficult, but exhilarating, step of working out where our contemporaries are and translating the message into their language and setting. — N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Blessed are the poor in spirit; yours is the kingdom of heaven! What could the church do, not just say, that would make the poor in spirit believe that? Blessed are the mourners; they shall be comforted! How will the mourners believe that, if we are not God’s agents in bringing that comfort? Blessed are the meek; they shall inherit the earth. How will the meek ever believe such nonsense if the church does not stand up for their rights against the rich and the powerful, in the name of the crucified Messiah who had nowhere to lay his head? Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God’s justice; how will that message get through, unless we are prepared to stand alongside those who are denied justice and go on making a fuss until they get it? Blessed are the merciful; how are people to believe that, in a world where mercy is weakness, unless we visit the prisoner and welcome the prodigal? Blessed are the pure in heart; how will people believe that, unless we ourselves are worshipping the living God until our own hearts are set on fire and scorched through with his purity? Blessed are the peacemakers; how will we ever learn that, in a world where war in one country means business for another, unless the church stands in the middle and says that there is a different way of being human, a different way of ordering our common life? Blessed are those who are persecuted and insulted for the kingdom’s sake, for Jesus’ sake; how will that message get across if the church is so anxious not to court bad publicity that it refuses ever to say or do anything that might get it into trouble either with the authorities, for being so subversive, or with the revolutionaries, for insisting that the true revelation begins at the foot of the cross? — N. T. Wright, For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church

Is all knowledge inherently good? The bible would not agree with the modernists. Some knowledge, specifically the knowledge gained through disobedience (‘the knowledge of good and evil’) is inherently bad… Not only should we as humans challenge the inherent goodness of knowledge, but we should also reject the idea that human reason is the sole means of gaining and judging knowledge. The Bible speaks of truth coming to human beings through prophecy, revelation, and such nonrational (or suprarational) means as dreams, visions, and angelic visitations. Emotions and intuition, therefore, should be added to human reason as legitimate biblical ways to discover truths. — Rich Nathan, Who is my Enemy?

What is wrong with the world, therefore, is not that there are too many liberals or New Agers or feminists or postmodernists in our schools or in our government. What is most wrong with the world is that the people of God fail to act and live like the people of God. Or to put it another way, what is most wrong with the world is that there is too much of ‘the world’ in the church. Jesus’ strictest scrutiny is always reserved for those who supposedly are in a covenant relationship with God, not for those outside of a covenant with God. — Rich Nathan, Who is my Enemy?

We believe God has spoken through the biblical authors, but we also need to believe that God speaks through what he has spoken. — John Stott, A Definition of Biblical Preaching, from The Art and Call of Biblical Preaching

Response to the word of God depends on the content of the Word that has been spoken.

  • If God speaks to us about himself and his own glorious greatness, we respond by humbling ourselves before him in worship.
  • If God speaks to us about us – our waywardness, fickleness, and guilt – then we respond in penitence and confession.
  • If He speaks to us about Jesus Christ and the glory of His person and work, we respond in faith, laying hold on this Savior.
  • If He speaks to us about His commandments, we determine to obey them.
  • If He speaks to us about the outside world and its colossal spiritual and material need, then we respond as his compassion rises within us to take the gospel throughout the world, to feed the hungry, and to care for the poor.
  • If He speaks to us about the future, about the coming of Christ and the glory that will follow, then our hope is kindled and we resolve to be holy and busy until He comes.

— John Stott, A Definition of Biblical Preaching, from The Art and Call of Biblical Preaching

No matter what our station, daily life in a fallen world is a walk through a gauntlet of belittlement. Those who attend our churches are daily bombarded by false values and beliefs that cheapen God’s creation, by personal slights and insults, by Satan’s accusations. Their minds are assaulted by scabrous images in the media and by profanity that is objectionable to God precisely because it debases the creation. They are subject to sins that mar God’s image within them. They suffer distorted images of themselves that contradict God’s truth.

After such a week, it’s a wonder that a person can walk into church with any sense of worth (and the faces of many confirm that).

But then they hear anointed preaching, and gravity reverses as people sense the upward pull of heaven. The sermon reveals the character of God, who infuses all life with meaning and majesty. The sermon tells who we are in God’s sight: created in the divine image, beloved beyond description, destined for glory. The sermon uncovers sins—then announces how to be redeemed. The sermon honors the morality that exalts humankind. The sermon assumes that people can think and discern about life and the Book of Life. The sermon appeals to the will, treating people as responsible agents whose choices matter forever. The sermon preaches Christ Immanuel, forever hallowing human flesh, second Adam who will one day resurrect believers in his likeness. A sermon is the most intense dose of dignity any person can receive. — Craig Brian Larson, A Weekly Does of Compressed Dignity, from The Art and Call of Biblical Preaching

“Jesus is risen, therefore his followers have a new job to do. And what is that new job? To bring the life of heaven to birth in actual, physical, earthly reality… The bodily resurrection of Jesus is more than a proof that God performs miracles or that the Bible is true. It is more than the Christians’ knowing of Jesus in our own experience (that is the truth of Pentecost, not of Easter). It is much, much more than the assurance of heaven after death (Paul speaks of “going away and being with Christ,” but his main emphasis is on coming back again in a risen body, to live in God’s newborn creation). Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.”

“every act of love, every deed done in Christ and by the Spirit, every work of true creativity—doing justice, making peace, healing families, resisting temptation, seeking and winning true freedom—is an earthly event in a long history of things that implement Jesus’s own resurrection and anticipate the final new creation and act as signposts of hope, pointing back to the first and on to the second.”
— N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope

When we read Romans 8, we find Paul affirming that the whole of creation is groaning in travail as it longs for its redemption. Creation is good, but it is not God. It is beautiful, but its beauty is at present transient. It is in pain, but that pain is taken into the very heart of God and becomes part of the pain of new birth. The beauty of creation, to which art responds and which it tries to express, imitate, and highlight, is not simply the beauty it possesses in itself but the beauty it possesses in view of what is promised to it: back to the chalice, the violin, the engagement ring. We are committed to describing the world not just as it should be, not just as it is, but as—by God’s grace alone!—one day it will be. And we should never forget that when Jesus rose from the dead, as the paradigm, first example, and generating power of the whole new creation, the marks of the nails were not just visible on his hands and his feet. They were the way he was to be identified. When art comes to terms with both the wounds of the world and the promise of resurrection and learns how to express and respond to both at once, we will be on the way to a fresh vision, a fresh mission. — NT Wright, Surprised by Hope

When God saves people in this life, by working through his Spirit to bring them to faith and by leading them to follow Jesus in discipleship, prayer, holiness, hope, and love, such people are designed—it isn’t too strong a word—to be a sign and foretaste of what God wants to do for the entire cosmos. What’s more, such people are not just to be a sign and foretaste of that ultimate salvation; they are to be part of the means by which God makes this happen in both the present and the future — NT Wright, Surprised by Hope

Easter week itself ought not to be the time when all the clergy sigh with relief and go on holiday. It ought to be an eight-day festival, with champagne served after morning prayer or even before, with lots of alleluias and extra hymns and spectacular anthems. Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don’t do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn’t take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom? It’s long overdue that we took a hard look at how we keep Easter in church, at home, in our personal lives, right through the system. — NT Wright, Surprised by Hope

Easter is the time to sow new seeds and to plant out a few cuttings. If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume, and in due course bearing fruit. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving. You may be able to do it only for six weeks, just as you may be able to go without beer or tobacco only for the six weeks of Lent. But if you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities, new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life. It might help you wake up in a whole new way. And that’s what Easter is all about. — NT Wright, Surprised by Hope

Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling to some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice “out there” calling me to become something I’m not. It comes from a voice “in here” calling me to become the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God. — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

We do not find our callings by conforming ourselves to some abstract moral code. We find our callings by claiming authentic selfhood, by being who we are, by dwelling in the world as Zusya rather than straining to be Moses. The deepest vocational question is not “What should I do with my life?” It is the more elemental and demanding, “Who am I? What is my nature?” — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

If you seek vocation without understanding the material you are working with, what you build with your life will be ungainly and may well put lives in peril, your own and some of those around you. “Faking it” in the service of high values is no virtue and has nothing to do with vocation. It is an ignorant, sometimes arrogant, attempt to override one’s nature, and it will always fail. — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Self care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch. — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

If I try to be or do something noble that has nothing to do with who I am, I may look good to others and to myself for a while. But the fact that I am exceeding my limits will eventually have consequences. I will distort myself, the other, and our relationship – and may end up doing more damage than if I had never set out to do this particular “good.” When I try to do something that is not in my nature or the nature of the relationship, way will close behind me. — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love, but is, in reality, loveless – a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. That kind of giving is not only loveless, but faithless, based on the arrogant and mistaken notion that God has no way of channeling love to the other except through me. Yes, we are created in and for community, to be there, in love, for one another. But community cuts both ways: when we reach the limits of our own capacity to love, community means trusting that someone else will be available to the person in need. — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

When the gift I give to the other is integral to my own nature, when it comes from a place of organic reality within me, it will renew itself – and me – even as I give it away. Only when I give something that does not grow within me do I deplete myself and harm the other as well, for only harm can come from a gift that is forced, inorganic, unreal. — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a creative tension between our limits and our potentials. We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials that God gave us. — Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation