Thursday, 30 September 2010


'Take heed to yourselves, lest your example contradict your doctrine, and lest you lay such stumbling-blocks before the blind, as may be the occasion of their ruin; lest you unsay with your lives, what you say with your tongues; and be the greatest hinderers of the success of your own labours. It much hindereth our work, when other men are all the week long contradicting to poor people in private, that which we have been speaking to them from the Word of God in public, because we cannot be at hand to expose their folly; but it will much more hinder your work, if you contradict yourselves, and if your actions give your tongue the lie, and if you build up an hour or two with your mouths, and all the week after pull down with your hands! This is the way to make men think the Word of God is but idle tale, and to make preaching seem no better than prating. One proud, surly, lordly word, one needless contention, one covetous action, may cut the throat of many a sermon, and blast the fruit of all that you have been doing.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.63.


'When I let my heart grow cold, my preaching is cold; and when it is confused, my preaching is confused; and so I can oft observe also in the best of my hearers, that when I have grown cold in preaching, they have grown cold too; and the next prayers which I have heard from them have been too like my preaching. We are the nurses of Christ's little ones. If we forbear taking food ourselves, we will famish them; it will soon be visible in their leanness, and dull discharge of their several duties. If we let our love decline, we are not like to raise up theirs. If we abate our holy care and fear, it will appear in our preaching: if the matter show it not, the manner will. If we feed on unwholesome food, either errors or fruitless controversies, our hearers are like to fare the worse for it.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.62.


'Nothing can be rightly known, if God be not known; nor is any study well managed, nor to any great purpose, if God is not studied. We know little of the creature, till we know it as it stands related to the Creator...'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.56.


'Many a tailor goes in rags, that maketh costly clothes for others; and many a cook scarcely licks his fingers, when he hath dressed for others the most costly dishes. Believe it, brethren, God never saved any man for being a preacher, not just because he was an able preacher; but because he was a justified, sanctified man, and consequently faithful in his Master's work. Take heed, therefore, to yourselves first, that you be that which you persuade them to be, and believe that which you persuade them to believe, and heartily entertain the Saviour whom you offer to them.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.54.


'My second request to the ministers in these kingdoms, is, that they would at last, without any more delay, unanimously set themsleves to the practice of those parts of Church discipline which are unquestionably necessary, and part of their work. It is a sad case, that good men should settle themselves so long in constant neglect of so great a duty. The common cry is, "Our people are not ready for it; they will not bear it." But is not the fact rather, that you will not bear with the trouble and hatred which it will occasion?'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.47.


'If the ministers of England had sinned only in Latin, I would have made shift to admonish them in Latin, or else said nothing to them. But if they will sin in English, they must hear of it English.'
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p.38.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


'Modern conservative evangelicalism fuels sex addiction because it has come to focus on the externals of religion, not the affections. By externals I mean such things as confessions, dogmas, personal priorities, church growth strategies, church attendance, training courses, evangelism, Bible study groups and so on: things that are visible in a believer's life. By affections, I mean those things that cannot be heard or seen directly - fears, loves, joys, delights, fears, hates, anxieties: the currents that swirl in the waters of a believer's heart; the hidden desires that lie deep beneath our decisions...If we are going to help people struggling with sex addiction, we need to recognize that the manger in which their sin is cradled is not the intellect, but the heart, the seat of their desires. They therefore need something more than mere information: they need to be wooed by the true and pure lover that their heart secretly seeks.' in Tim Chester, Captured by a Better Vision, p.75.


'Every man who knocks on the door of the brothel is looking for God.'
GK Chesterton in Tim Chester, Captured by a Better Vision, p.50.


'The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier. No one sins out of a sense of duty.'
John Piper in Tim Chester, Captured by a Better Vision, p.49.


'Porn is providing the sex education for a generation of young people, setting their expectations for sex and marriage.'
Tim Chester, Captured by a Better Vision: Living porn-free, p.13.


'When you lose sense of gratitude for your acceptance into God's Kingdom, you will lose your zeal for the work of that Kingdom. And you will live in daily pursuit and daily celebration of the purposes of some other kingdom.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.184.


'He assures me that is was merely one of those aloof smiles which the Honorary Secretary of a Bible Class would have given the elderly aunt of a promising pupil...'
PG Wodehouse, Young Men in Spats, p.24.


'But this girl before him was not pretty. She was distinctly plain. Even ugly. She looked as if she might be a stenographer selected for some business magnate by his wife out of a number of applicants.'
PG Wodehouse, Young Men in Spats, p.14.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


'It means not keeping yourself so busy with you and yours that you have no practical time to love others.
It means being committed to knowing people, because you can minister only in a very limited way to those you do not know.
It means being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others.
It means being willing to share your physical resources with others.
It means being willing to live with an open home.
It means being perseverant and patient even when the love you give is not returned.
It means actively looking for places where you can function as one of God's tools of love.
It means resisting the temptation to be judgmental, self-righteous and critical.
It means overlooking minor offences and fighting the temptation to become bitter or cynical.
It means making life decisions out of a recognition of this inescapable call to love.
It means being lovingly and humbly honest in moments of misunderstanding; more committed to reconciliation than to being right.
It means admitting that you are still learning to love as you have been loved.
It means being willing to own up to your own sins and admit your faults.
It means not judging the success of your life by the size of your house or bank account, or by the quality of your car, but by the quality of your love for God and others.
It means regularly examining the motivations, desires and thoughts of your heart in the mirror of God's Word.
It means moving beyond simply surrounding yourself with people whom you find comfortable and likeable.
It means being a student of God's Word, a joyful participant in the means of grace, and a committed participant in the fellowship of the body of Christ, so that the love you offer others may be increasingly pure and mature.
It means being willing to be misunderstood, mistreated, and misrepresented for the sake of incarnating Christ's love.
It means overcoming evil with good.
It means not letting race, social class, gender, age, or ethnicity get in the way of the biblical call to Christlike love.
It means being willing to have your schedule and plans interrupted or altered.
It menas being willing to grant and receive forgiveness.
It means paying attention to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the people God puts in your path, and looking for ways to help them bear these burdens.
It means believing that God will not call you to a task without giving you what you need to accomplish it.
It means being willing to get up earlier and stay up later.
It means learning the details about someone's struggle so that you can love wisely, while at the same time guarding the reputation of the person you are loving.
It means weeping with the one who weeps and rejoicing with the one who rejoices.
It means being willing to endure tense and uncomfortable situations lovingly.
It means not allowing yourself plausible excuses that seemingly free you from love's call.
It means making a committment to being a faithful friend.
It means being willing to take on big things, even as you humbly accept your limits.
It means being open to correction, loving criticism, and godly rebuke.
It means believing in the body of Christ and recognizing that you are but one of the tools in God's big toolbox of redemption.
It means being open to counsel and receptive to advice.
It means being willing to go to bed tired and to awake to another day of calling.
It means hiding God's Word in your heart and keeping him kingdom always before your eyes.
It means refusing to become anyone's substitute messiah, but instead to point people to the presence and grace of Jesus.
It really does mean looking out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others. It means building relationships, not just for the purpose of being relationally comfortable, but so that those relationships would be a workroom for redemption. It means loving people in such a way that they never feel like they are in debt to you.
It means remembering that you are more like than unlike the people you are called to love. It means understanding that the call to love is a call to both word and deed.
It means daily remembering Jesus, being in awe of the gift of his love, and living thankfully.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.172.


'Often when we look back on a "good" week, we think is was good because it was comfortable, predictable, pleasurable, controllable, successful, etc. Our evaluation of the week is shaped by our wants, feelings and estimation of our needs. But there is another "good" that God is working on. He is using this period of time to continue the work of radical rescue and restoration that he has begun in us.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.165.

Monday, 27 September 2010


'Are there fellow Christians in your life who you are confident, and rightly so, that they are aware of the major areas of spiritual difficulty and temptation in your life, and you are willing to discuss these areas with them in ways that are open and helpful? After more than two decades in ministry, I have to say with sadness that unless you are part of a very small minority among Christians in this culture, your honest answer is probably no.
Could the fact that you are still hiding explain why there are struggles you can't seem to get consistently under control? Are you still holding onto the belief that you really do know yourself better than anyone else? Are you still imagining that you are wiser, more sanctified, and more spiritually stronger than you actually are?
It's time to face the fact that you walk with God is a community project. It is time to come out of hiding. The Christians around you struggle just like you, and the God who is your hope is not surprised by your struggle or theirs. He knows every challenge and temptation of your heart. That's why he sent his Son to live, die, and rise again.
Step out of where you are hiding and into the kind of community that Scripture says you need. Where will you find that intentionally intrusive, Christ-centred, grace-driven, redemptive community?
You're not designed to live without it. Life in this broken-down house really is a community project.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.161.


'...we live in interwoven networks of terminally casual relationships. We live with the delusion that we know one another, but we really don't. We call our easygoing, self-protective, and often theologically platitudinous conversations "fellowship," but they seldom ever reach the threshold of true fellowship. We know cold demographic details about one another (married or single, type of job, number of kids, general location of housing, etc.), but we know little about the struggle of faith that is waged every day behind well-maintained personal boundaries.
One of the things that still shocks me in counseling, even after all these years, is how little I often know about people I have counted as true friends. I can't tell you how many times, in talking with friends who have come to me for help, that I have been hit with details of difficulty and struggle far beyond anything I would have predicted. Privatism is not just practiced by the lonely unbeliever; it is rampant in the Church as well.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.152.


'People with a religious upbringing can grasp the idea of sin as the violation of God's moral law. That law can be explained in such a way that they realize they fall short of it. In that context, Christ and his salvation can be presented as the only hope of pardon for guilt. This, the traditional gospel of the last generation, is a "gospel for the circumcised."
However, Manhattan is also filled with postmodern listeners who consider all moral statements to be culturally relative and socially constructed. If you try to convict them of guilt for sexual lust, they will simply say, "You have you standards, and I have mine." If you respond with a diatribe on the dangers of relativism, your listeners will simply feel scolded and distanced. Of course, postmodern people must at some point be challenged about their mushy views of truth, but there is a way to make a credible and convicting gosple presentation to them even before you get into such apologetic issues.
I take a page from Kirkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death and define sin as building your identity - your self-worth and happiness - on anything other than God. That is, I use the biblical definition of sin as idolatry. That puts the emphasis not as much on "doing bad things" but on "making good things into ultimate things."
Instead of telling them they are sinning because they are sleeping with their girlfriends or boyfriends, I tell them they are sinning because they are looking to their romances to give their lives meaning, to justify and save them, to give them what they should be looking for from God. Their idolatry leads to anxiety, obsessiveness, envy, and resentment. I have found that when you describe their lives in terms of idolatry, postmodern people do not give much resistance. Then Christ and his salvation can be presented not (at this point) so much as their only hope for forgiveness, but as their only hope for freedom. This is my "gospel for the uncircumcised."'
Timothy Keller, 'The Gospel in All its Forms'. Available at:

Saturday, 25 September 2010


'...nothing between human beings isn't complicated and there's no way to speak of human beings without simplifying and misrepresenting them.'
Joyce Carol Oates, We Were the Mulvaneys, p.377.

Friday, 24 September 2010


'God knows that in ourselves we are not up to the tasks he calls us to, but he never makes a false assignment. When he sends us we are sent as instruments in his almighty hands. He is the one who creates the change. He is the great Restorer. He never calls us to what we cannot accomplish in him, but he always calls us to what we could never accomplish without him.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.141.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


'How can you consider disease, war, and environmental distress and not be angry? How can you look at the fact that nothing in your world was exactly as it was meant to be and not be angry? You simply cannot look at the world with the eyes of truth and with a heart committed to what God says is right and good, and not be angry at the state of things in this fallen world. In a fallen world, anger is a good thing. In a fallen world, anger is a constructive thing. In a fallen world, anger is an essential things.
That is, if the anger is about something bigger than you.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.128.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


'Theoretical faith is always easier than practical, functional faith, and when we are faced with the challenge of waiting it can be disturbing to realize how little of that real-life faith we have. When forced to wait, we may find that what has given us peace and rest is not solid, functional confidence in God's presence, promises, power, wisdom, and love. Perhaps instead what has given us our inner sense of well-being is our ability to figure life out and our seeming power to control our circumstances, whether through intelligence, determination, prosperity, or something else. When God calls us to wait through circumstances we cannot understand and in places where important things are out of control, losing that inner peace can make life unbearably hard.
Waiting will always reveal where you have placed your hope. Your hope is always exposed by the way that you wait.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.115.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


'Wisdom is something you live. You don't show wisdom by demonstrating what you know. You reveal wisdom by the way you think, desire, choose, act, react, speak, and respond to the situations and relationships around you.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.92.


'What do you think was meant to characterize authentic human living? What was the original (and still unchanged) purpose of human existence? That our lives might revolve around service to God and love of others. In practical, tangible ways, my life ought to demonstrate devotion to God and a self-sacrificing love of others. If it is not, I am living neither in authentic Christianity nor in true humanity. True spirituality is inseperable from the stuff of daily life, and inseperable from true humanity. I am never more authentically human than when I am living in functional worship of God and active love for my neighbor.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.90.


'...we cannot be satisfied with a faith that lives most vibrantly in abstract theological concepts and the ease of Sunday-morning services. We cannot be satisfied with a Christianity that features episodic moments of ministry but otherwise is shaped by the values of the world. We cannot be satisfied with a Christianity that simply fills another slot in an all-too-busy schedule. We cannot be satisfied with a Christianity that allows us to live at the center of our world. We cannot be satisfied with a Christianity that does not live the biblical hymns we sing and does not apply the biblical exhortations we have heard.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.90.

Monday, 20 September 2010


'I can rest in the midst of busyness because:
  • trusting God to be my Saviour sets me free from the pressure to prove myself
  • trusting God to be my Master sets me free from the weight of other people's expectations
  • trusting God to be my Provider sets me free from the fear that things will get out of control
  • trusting God to be my Refuge stes me free from the compulsion to hide behind my busyness
  • trusting God to be my Joy sets me free from the vain pursuit of satisfaction ibn possessions
  • trusting God to be my Hope sets me free from the frantic need to make the most of this life.'
Tim Chester, The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness, p.151.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


'Christians acting like Christians would be the most effective possible evidence for the truth of what they profess...
...Care should be taken to protect the beauty, dignity, and integrity of Christianity so that people are not turned away by experience that makes it seem corrupt, hypocritical, subject to manipulation by other interests, or simply crude. Again I am not speaking here of anything besides adherence on the part of Christians to the teachings of Christ. This would be beauty and dignity enough.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Marilynne Robinson Takes on Bad Science Writers' in Christianity Today (September 2010). Availabel online: www.christianitytoday/ct/septemberweb-only/47-11.0.html


'The religion has not remembered its own strength over against the arguments that test it. It has not equipped the generality of people to realize that, for the purposes of the societies where it has been important, it has been the origin and sponsor of a great intellectual culture. Where have the sciences flourished as well, where has freedom of thought and inquiry developed so powerfully, as in Christian civilization? These things are not new to us, not alien, not threatening. They are properly the heritage of Christian people, and the institutions of Christianity should honor and preserve them, beginning with the seminary and the local church.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Marilynne Robinson Takes on Bad Science Writers' in Christianity Today (September 2010). Available online: www.christianitytoday/ct/2010/septemberweb-only/47-11.0.html


'I think it is true without question that the churches and religious culture in general have been deformed by a fear of science, and especially by deference toward bad science. They have more or less accepted the notion that then more people know, the less inclined they will be toward belief - a central assumption of atheism. With this comes the idea that whatever is most toxic from a religious point of view must therefore epitomize science. And all sorts of nonsense goes unchallenged.
Christianity has abandoned its intellectual traditions, ceding the ground to anybody in a white coat. Where it has tried to muster courage, it has too often tended to become irrational and shrill. Meanwhile, a great age in true science, an absolute catalog of wonders, passes by unnoticed.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Marilynne Robinson Takes on Bad Science Writers' in Christianity Today (September 2010). Available online at:


'I think the mind should inspire religious awe in the Christian, for the richness of the human circumstance, and for human beings as such. It saddens me that Christians need to be reminded that awe is owed also to those who disagree with them, who believe otherwise than they do. I am afraid this hardening towards "enemies," toward those images of God some of them are so ready to view as enemies, indicates acceptance of the worst aspects of a body of thought they actually think they reject.'
Marilynne Robinson, 'Marilynne Robinson Takes on Bad Science Writers' in Christianity Today (September 2010). Available online at:


'Rest for the mind in his word.
Rest for the conscience in his blood.
Rest for the heart in his care.'
Mrs Perry in Tim Chester, The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness, p.77.


'It is doubtful whether holidays are good for us. Eight out of ten people work extra hours before going away. One in three finds the days before a holiday the most stressful of the year. Most say they feel as stressed as ever by the end of the first week back. When you pattern is 48 weeks work and four weeks rest then your holiday is everything. People speak as working for their holidays. Christmas letters typically consist of holiday itineraries. That is the the sum of people's lives. Life has become week after week of toil for two weeks in the sun.'
Tim Chester, The Busy Christian's Guide to Busyness, p.29.

Monday, 13 September 2010


'Wise people are not wise because they are prophets who see the future. Wise people are not wise because they can look into men's hearts and discern their thoughts and motives. Wise people are not wise because they are better at learning from experience. Wise people are not those who have been bleesed with superior intellect.
Wise people are those who treasure the lamp of God's Word, seeking out and crying out for the light of truth. In other words, wise people are simply prepared people - biblically prepared and equipped for whatever might come along. People become wise when by God's grace they are humble enough to accept how unprepared they actually are in themselves. Sacrificing the false god of their own independence, they run to the one place where actual certainty can be found. Then they are able to live hopefully, productively, and courageously. Then they are prepared for whatever comes along - not because they saw it coming, but because they have been students of the Word of God. They don't know more about the future than anyone else does. But God, through the wisdom of the Bible, has made them ready for it.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.84.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


'Secrets! As a child you come to see the world's crisscrossed with them like electromagnetic waves, maybe even held together by them. But you can't know. Not, as kids, say for sure. And if you blunder by accident into a secret it's like you've pushed open a door where you thought was just a wall. You can look through, if you're brave or reckless enough you can even step inside - taking a chance that what you'll learn is worth what it costs.'
Joyce Carol Oates, We Were the Mulvaneys, p.94.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


'Have you placed your little hands in the huge and capable hands of your heavenly Father? Have you realized that your life is played out in the middle of a rowdy and overstimulated crowd? Have you accepted how small you really are? Has that made you panic? Or has it given you rest? You will only ever know the rest God can give you in the broken world when you begin to accept your limits.
You have real and obvious limits to your wisdom, power, and righteousness. But your heavenly Father is infinite in wisdom, and infinite in power, and is the only source of true righteousness. You God has no boundaries, edges, or limitations. In his power and authority, he bows to no one. You are riddled with imperfections, but God is perfect in every way. Therefore, they key to rest is not continually lying to yourself in a futile effort to convince yourself that you are strong. No, it is when you humbly embrace your foolishness, weakness, and sin that you are in the best position to know peace of heart and to live productively in this broken-down house.
So let your smallness drive you to the One who alone is great.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.75.


'Struggles we have resting in God's Sovereignty:
  • You Will Be Confronted with Your Lack of Control
  • You Will Wish You Had More Power
  • You Will Be Tempted to Think Your World Is Out of Control
  • You Will Fear the Power of Another
  • You Will Be Tempted to Question God's Wisdom and Love
  • You Will Think That Rest Requires Understanding
  • Somone Else's Life Will Look Better Than Yours
  • You Will Reach a Place of Greater Rest in God's Rule'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.54-59.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


'You cannot embrace both the doctrine of creation and the illusion of personal autonomy. The first cancels out the second. The Bible begins by declaring that the entire physical world (including humans) is the product of God's creative artistry. It follows from this that we are owned by him. Therefore, he alone has the right to tell us how we should participate in the existence that is his creation.
The doctrine of creation also exposes the lie of self-sufficiency. You can plant the healthiest seeds available, but if God doesn't send the rain your plants will die. You are dependent on God for your very life and breath. If he would withdraw his hand this orderly world would explode into chaos.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.53.


'I would kneel in front of them at eye level and say, "Please look at Daddy's face. Do you know how much I love you? Do you know that you Daddy is not a mean, bad man? Do you know that I would never ask you to do anything that would hurt you or make you sick? I am sorry that you can't understand why Daddy is asking you to do this. I wish I could explain this to you, but you are too young to understand. So I am going to ask you to do something - trust Daddy. When you walk down the hallway to do what Daddy has asked you to do, say to yourself, 'My Daddy loves me. My Daddy would never ask me to do something bad. I am going to trust my Daddy and stop trying to be Daddy of my Daddy.'"
God does the same with you, over and over again. He meets you in one of the difficult hallways of your life, kneels down before you in condescending love, and asks you to trust his loving and wise rule, even though you don't have a clue what he is doing. He knows there are many times when your life doesn't look like there is anyone ruling it, let alone someone wise and good. He knows there will be times you will be overwhelmed by what is on your plate. He knows that his plan will confuse and confound you. And he knows that real rest cannot be found in understanding. Real rest is found in trust. So he is willing to have the conversation with you again and again, and he has made sure that his Word assures you of his rule again and again.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House, p.50.

Monday, 6 September 2010


'The Bible is a picture book in many ways. No, God didn't include drawings or photographs for you, but the language of the Bible is wonderfully visual and graphic. Again and again, God reaches into the physical world and paints a familiar image to help us grasp the less familiar realities of the spiritual world. Bread, the sun, a rock, a river, a judge, a flower, a lion, and more all become visual tools for understanding God and his kingdom. It is not an accident that the physical world pictures the spiritual world so well. This was part of God's intention. He embedded rich metaphors all over the universe he made, knowing full well that he would employ them to help us understand the spiritual realities we must grasp in order to live life his way.
The more I study Scripture, the more I appreciate this qulaity of vibrant physicality. Word pictures splash across page after page, reminding us how much God cares for us. From the seed in the ground, to the cross to be carried, to the weed, to the treasure in the field, God wants to draw from his storehouse of physical examples to help us know him, ourselves and our world more accurately. This means that, in simply looking out my window, I can be reminded of precious truths that God has connected to the physical world I am viewing.'
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad, p.9.