Wednesday, 25 November 2009


'When idolatry is mapped onto the future - when idols are theatened - it leads to paralysing fear and anxiety. When it is mapped onto the past - when we fail our idols - it leads to irremediable guilt. When idolatry is mapped onto our present life - when our idols are blocked or removed by circumstances - it roils us with anger and despair.'
Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p.149.


'Those who are not secure in Christ cast about for spiritual life preservers with which to support their confidence, and in their frantic search they cling not only to the shreds of ability and righteousness they find in themselves, but they fix upon their race, their membership in a party, their familiar social and ecclesiastical patterns and their culture as means of self-recommendation. Their culture is put on as though it were armor against self-doubt, but it becomes a mental strait-jacket which cleaves to the flesh and can never be removed except through comprehensive faith in the saving work of Christ.'
Richard Lovelace in Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p.140.


'Making an idol out of doctrinal accuracy, ministry success, or moral rectitude leads to constant internal conflict, arrogance and self-righteousness, and oppression of those whose views differ. These toxic effects of religious idolatry have led to widespread disaffection with religion in general and Christianity in particular. Thinking we have tried God, we have turned to other Hopes, with devastating consequences.'
Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p.132.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


'One of the great ironies of sin is that when human beings try to become more than human beings, to be as gods, they fall to become lower than human beings. To be your own God and live for your own glory and power leads to the most bestial and cruel kind of behavior. Pride makes you a predator, not a person.'
Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p.121.

Monday, 23 November 2009


'I have never met a more loving community in my life than the GLBT community. Obviously there are exceptions in any community, but in general I've found that GLBT people don't care if you're skinny, hairy, fat, pimpled, a millionaire or dead broke; there is room for everyone. All they want is to give the same love to others as they want to receive themselves. When I first immersed myself I was completely taken aback by the way I was treated. I was welcomed and included in everything, like I had belonged my entire life. I continued to experience this over and over, and the more it happened to me, especially at the beginning of my immersion, the more upset I became. Their actions were supposed to be me - I was getting out-Jesused by gays and lesbians! They put a bullet in my soul. To be honest, that was the furthest thing from what I thought would happen. I expected the exact opposite.'
Andrew Marin, Love is an Orientation, p.166.


'...most relationships are stuck at a stagnant superficial level void of productive kingdom growth - everyone is too scared to be honest about their true colors and admit we're in a mess together.'
Andrew Marin, Love is an Orientation, p.164.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


'Many see vacations as the end or purpose of work, and even of life itself. Their work earns a holiday; they then deserve a vacation. When they return from their two of three weeks, they hate the thought of going back to work; and they can hardly wait for the next set of holidays. By contrast, the Christian loves to serve. Ministry of all kinds is the end, the purpose; holidays are simply a means to that end. Far from serving in order to earn a rest, we take rests now and then in order to serve the better.'
DA Carson, When Jesus Confronts the World, p.110.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009


'Church is a place to give rest to your soul, a place of gathering where anyone should be able to come and involve themsleves with a community of believers who are joined by a common faith in the Lord Almighty. Church is believers - transparent, real and raw. Church is a lifetime of discovery as people brace themselves against their neighbour so both are able to stand and walk together. And yet there are still churches around this country with no sinners. I understand that there will always be people who feel intimidated and overwhelmed in church, but we must do everything we possibly can to rectify an image of perfection that no one can live up to, from the lead pastor down.'
Andrew Marin, Love Is an Orientation, p.59.


' real life both Christians and GLBT community are imagining themselves in the same role: each as the underdog who has to fight their way out of the corner. Both believe they are David and the other is Goliath. Two oppressed mindsets fighting each other will never be able to win the same battle.'
Andrew Marin, Love Is an Orientation, p.57.


'There are nine main concepts that both secular and religious GLBT communities think and fear regarding conservative evangelical churches and people.
1. How can I possibly relate to Christians in a church environment?
2. Will Christians always look at me as just gay?
3. Will I be able to be like everyone else in church activities and groups?
4. Do they think homosexuality is a special sin?
5. Do they believe that I chose to be life this?
6. Do they think I'm going to hit on them?
7. Do they think I'm going to abuse their children?
8. Are they scared that I'm going to infect them with an STD or HIV/AIDS?
9. When will I be rejected and kicked out?'
Andrew Marin, Love Is an Orientation: Elevating The Conversation with the Gay Community, p.31.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


'When God seems silent and our prayers go unanswered, the overwhelming temptation is to leave the story - to walk out of the desert and attempt to create a normal life. But when we persist in a spiritual vacuum, when we hang in there during ambiguity, we get to know God. In fact, that is how intimacy grows in all close relationships.'
Paul E Miller, A Praying Life, p.192.


'Spiritual blindness not only blinds me to the reality of my sin, but it also blinds me to the glory of God that is everywhere around me. God has created his world to be a constant sight-and-sound display of his power, glory, faithfulness, and love. Yet, the eyes of my heart can be so clouded by the duties of the day, by the busyness of the schedule, and by the problems of life that I don't see the God of grace whose glory is evident everywhere I look.'
Paul David Tripp, A shelter in the time of storm, p.36.

Monday, 16 November 2009


'Outside a few black evangelical churches, formal rhetoric is almost dead in Britain; there are as few people left in the country who can hold an audience spellbound for an hour by the sheer power of their language as there are sword-swallowers.'
Andrew Marr, My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism, p.139.

Friday, 13 November 2009


'...we recruit the wrong people. There are a number of common mistakes:
  • We only recruit people like ourselves - people who fit with our particular personality or style of ministry.
  • We overlook the maverick or the revolutionary, who is harder to train but might evangelize nations.
  • We miss the creative or intuitive person, who is poor administrativley but will reach people in ways we haven't thought of.
  • We recruit the flashy, outgoing young superstar rather than the person of real character and substance.
  • We recruit only for one kind of ministry - usually the traditional form of it in our denomination - rather than starting with a gifted, godly person and thinking about what kind of ministry might be built around them.
  • We don't let people escape from the box into which we've put them; we don't let them outgrow the first impressions we have of them.
  • We wait too long to recruit someone, and they make family or career decisisons that close off ministry options.'
Colin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine, p.148.

Thursday, 12 November 2009


'To say that sermons (in the sense of Biblical exposition in our Sunday gatherings) are necessary but not sufficient is simply to stand on the theological truth that it is the word of the gospel that is sufficient, rather than any one particular form of its delivery. We might say that the speaking of the word of the gospel under the power of the Spirit is entirely sufficient - it's just that on its own, the 25 minute sermonic form of it is not.
We say this because the New Testament compels us to. As we have already seen, God expects all Christians to be disciple-makers by prayerfully speaking the word of God to others - in whatever way and to whatever extent their gifting and circumstances allow. When God has gifted all the members of the congregation to help grow disciples, why should we silence the contribution of all but one of them (the pastor), and think that this is sufficient or acceptable?'
Colin Marshall & Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine, p.102.


'...I've always said, you know, that I don't respect people who don't proselytize. I don't respect them at all. If you believe that there's a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think that, well, it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward...How much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean if I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you, and you didn't believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that...'
Penn Jillette in Colin Marshall and Tony Payne, The Trellis and the Vine: The ministry mind-shift that changes everything, p.53.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


'The Christian says, "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let in get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of my life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same."'
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.115.


'Aim at Heaven and you will get earth "thrown in": aim at earth and you will get neither.'
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity, p.113.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


'When we listen to an MP3 recording of a sermon we are not listening to preaching, but to an echo of preaching that happened in the past. Listening on my own to a recording can never be more than a poor second-best to actually being there with the people of God in a local church. It is better to listen to the pastor you know, and who knows you, than to hear a recording of the well-known preacher you don't know, and who doesn't know you.'
Christopher Ash, Listen Up! A practical guide to listening to sermons, p.13

Monday, 9 November 2009


'What contradictions meet
In ministers' employ!
It is a bitter sweet,
A sorrow full of joy.'
John Newton, Olney Hymn No. 26.

Friday, 6 November 2009


'The Psalms live in your city, on your street, in your family. The Psalms tell your story. It is a story of hope and disappointment, of need and provision, of fear and mystery, of struggle and rest, and of God's boundless love and amazing grace. People in the Psalms get angry, grow afraid, cry out in confusion, survive opposition, hope for better days, hurt one another, help one another, run from God, trust in God, make foolish choices, ask for forgiveness, and grow wiser and stronger. They are people just like you and me.'
Paul David Tripp, A Shelter in the Time of Storm: meditations on God and trouble, p.7.


' Luke 12 Jesus says, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed." That is a remarkable statement. Think of another traditional sin that the Bible warns against - adultery. Jesus doesn't say, "Be careful you aren't committing adultery!" He doesn't have to. When you are in bed with someone else's spouse - you know it. Halfway through you don't say, "Oh, wait a minute! I think this is adultery!" You know it is. Yet, even though it is clear that the world is filled with greed and materialism, almost no one thinks it is true of them. They are in denial.'
Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p.57.


'There are many people in the world who have not found a romantic partner, and they need to hear the Lord say, "I am the true Bridegroom. There is only one set of arms that will give you all your hearts desire, and await you at the end of time, if only you turn to me. And know that I love you now." However, it is not just the those without spouses who need to see that God is our ultimate spouse, but those with spouses as well. They need this in order to save their marriage from the crushing weight of their divine expectations. If you marry someone expecting them to be like a god, it is only inevitable that they will disapoint you. It's not that you should try to love your spouse less, but rather that you should know and love God more.'
Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p.44.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


'...some people mistake the tears for pain, when of course they're not, they're the pain coming out.'
Timothy Knatchbull, From a Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb, p.240.

Monday, 2 November 2009


'God saw Abraham's sacrifice and said, "Now I know you love me, because you did not withold your only son from me." But how much more can we look at his sacrifice on the Cross, and say to God, "Now we know that you love us. For you did not withold your son, your only son, whom you love, from us."'
Timothy Keller, Counterfeit Gods: When the emopty promises of love, money and power let you down, p.18.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


'The great preachers you hear or that you read about in your church history books are almost never those who were preaching great sermons from the very beginning of their ministries.
Great preachers are the ones who preach really bad sermons. The difference is that they preach really bad sermons when they’re young, and are sharpened for life by critique.
Mediocre preachers are those who start off with sermons that are, eh, pretty good, but they’re never critiqued and thus never grow.'