'Thinking our work will glorify God when people do not know we are Christians is like admiring an effective ad on TV that never mentions the product. People may be impressed but won't know what to buy.'
John Piper in Julian Hardyman, Maximum Life, p.78.
'Lazy minds breed lazy hearst and hands. The greatest threat to Christianity is never vigorous intellectual critcism but a creeping senility that transforms truths into feelings, public claims into private experiences, and afcts into mere values.'
'It is arrogant to assert, "I found it!" or to give the impression that we are better people or that we have the truth. It is is arrogant to suggest that we are saved by belonging to the right group and performing the right rituals. However, the gospel announces that God has found us - sinners - while we were running from him. The door is wide open to all sinners. There is no path from us to God. However, God has found a path to us in his Son. We are not testifying to our moral, intellectual, or spiritual superiority. On the contrary, we are procliaming the God of grace who saves sinners. Precisley because the gospel is Good News for sinners and not a good plan for good people and groups, it is not something for which we can assume any pride.'
'Besides revealing a seriously deficient view of Scripture, this contrast between Jesus and Paul rests on a misunderstanding of our Lord's teaching concerning the kingdom. Jesus's proclamation of the kingdom is identitical to Paul's proclamation of the gospel of justification. Contrasting the kingdom with the church is another way of saying that the main point of Jesus's commission consists in our social action rather than the public ministry of the Word and sacrament. In other words, it's another way of saying that we are building the kingdom rather than receiving it; that the kingdom of God's redeeming garce is actually a kingdom of our redeeming works.'
'How we define the kingdom will have a lot to do with whether we think it is already here and, if so, to what extent. Forgivenness of sins and the new birth are not the only things that God promised through the prophets. As we have seen, it includes a sweeping cosmic renewal, with the kingdoms of the world under the domain of Christ. It is the salvation not just of souls but of bodies, and not just of human beings but of the whole creation. Yet the New Testamnet teaches that this kingdom arrives in two phases. Like its head, the church suffers now in humiliation, under the cross, in order in order to reign in future glory with Christ (Rom.8:17). In this intermission, the kingdom is the gospel and the gospel is the kingdom. Wherever Christ is forgiving and renewing sinners by his Spirit through the ministry of the gosple, the King is present and his kingdom is expanding.
This view focuses most clearly on the character and message of the kingdom that we find in the prophets and the Gospels. In both alternatives accounts of the kingdom mentioned above, the emphasis falls on a gepolitical regime, whether it is in terms of a revived theocracy in Israel (including sacrifices) or an ever-expanding, gobal influence on nations and cultures. Both views identify the kingdom with visible power and glory, overlooking the fact that what we have now is a kingdom of grace that is present wherever the gospel is preached and the sacraments are administered. The preoccupation, in both views, seems to be analogous to the expectation of Jesus's contemporaries (even his disciples) prior to Pentecost.'
'The Great Commission is given to the church for this time between his first and second comings. It is an intermission between his accomplishment of redemption and his return to consumate its blessings. However, this intermission isn't a time for loitering in the lobby as consumers; it is a time of joyful activity on behalf of our neighbors: loving and serving them through our witness to Christ and also through our daily callings in the world.'
'...the Government of ones own soul requires greater Parts and Virtues than the Management of Kingdoms, and the Conquest of the disorderly rebellious Principles in our Nature, is more glorious than the acquisition of Universal Dominion.'
John Adams in Margaret A Hogan and C James Taylor (Ed.), My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams, p.7.
'There has almost certainly never been another Samson among the people of God, but there have been many other strange characters. We are very unwilling to learn that God wants to use all the gifts He has given, while we should like to confine him to our respectabilities.'
'The gospel promises far more than going to heaven when you die. It is an all-encompassing pledge from God for the total renewal of creation. It involves the resurrection of our bodies and the liberation of the whole of creation from its bondage to sin and death.'
'Jesus Christ did not make it possible for us to be saved. He did not begin a work of redemption. He did not do "his part" so that we could do ours. Rather, Jesus Christ has accomplished everything. He has assumed our flesh. He has fulfilled all righteousness in our place and has borne the judgment for every one of our sins as our substitute. And he has been raised as the firstfruits of a whole harvest, the beginning of the resurrection from the dead. There is no more redeeming work to be done!'
'In many ways our era is more similar to the first-century context than it is to any period since the Constantinian fusion of Christ and culture in "Christendom." On the one hand, the gospel is spreading in many places around the world, despite the imminent threat of persecution and martyrdom. On the other hand, like a lot of Christians in the first-century Roman Empire, most believers in Europe and North America face disapproval, distarction, and disbelief more than martyrdom. We are threatened more by a broad cultural sentiment against strong truth claims that might upset the vague spirituality that holds the empire together than by secret police.'
'...self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from but into the midst of men. Wherever men suffer, there will we be to comfort. Wherever men strive, there we will be to help. Wherever men fail, there will be we to uplift. Wherever men succeed, there will we be to rejoice. Self-sacrifice means not indifference to our times and our fellows: it means absorption in them. It means forgetfulness of self in others. It means entering into every man's hopes and fears, longings and despairs: it means manysidedness of spirit, multiform activity, multiplicity of sympathies. It means richness of development. It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives, - binding ourselves to a thousands souls by filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours. It means that all the experiences of men shall smite our souls and shall beat and batter these stubborn hearts of ours into fitness for their heavenly home.'
'Men tell us that God is, by very necessity of His nature, incapable of passion, incapable of being moved by inducements from without; that He dwells in holy calm and unchangeable blessedness, untouched by human sufferings or human sorrows for ever, - haunting
The lucid intersapce of world and world, Where never creeps a cloud, nor moves a wind, Nor ever falls the least white star of snow, Nor ever lowest roll of thunder moans, Nor sound of human sorrow mounts to mar His sacred everlasting calm.
Let us bless our God that this is not true. God can feel; God does love. We have Scriptural warrant for believing, as it has been perhaps somewhat inadequately but not misleadingly phrased, that moral heroism has a place within the sphere of the divine nature: we have Scriptural warrant for believing that, like the old hero of Zurich, God has reached out loving arms and gathered into His own bosom the forest of spears which otherwise had pierced ours.
But is this not gross anthropomorphism? We are careless of names: it is the truth of God. And we decline to yield up the God of the Bible and the God of our hearts to any philosophical abstraction.'
'Everyday church will expose our idols. You never really know what drives you until you live in an community. Other people threaten or thwart our sinful desires. Suddenly our idols keep popping up all over the place. They sit comfortably on the mantlepiece of our heart until somebody knocks them off. Then we cry out in protest or dive to catch them. But let them fall!'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.188.
'...it comes back to identity. We build our lives around how we see ourselves. If you see yourself first and foremost as a businessman or housewife or professional then you will build you life around this with your church as part of an orbiting fringe of activities. But if you see yourself first and foremost as a member of God's missional people then you will build your life around this identity. Jobs, houses, incomes are made to fit around your core identiaty.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.169.
'We know him to be a good, wise, loving, merciful God because he has shown himself to be that by giving his Son on the cross. That one act interprets all of God's other actions, functioning as a lens through which we should view life in all of its complexity.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everday Church, p.156.
'The maker of heaven and earth refused to walk away from Eden, shrugging his shoulders and muttering, "You win some and you lose some." No, he is the stubborn God who will set all creation ablaze with holy war in order to have a seed and people for himself.'
'Many people today do not feel a big sense of guilt. And the guilt of falling short of God's law is not a feature of their thinking. There may be moments when they feel the need of forgiveness but generally they do not have a strong sense of being sinners. But they do feel trapped, unable to be the people they want to be. And the Bible has a compelling and persuasive explanantion for this - and good news of a way out.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.141.
'Because we live in a plural world that no longer gives us privileged place and power, we have the choice to confine our business to the private realm of self and its leisure choices or to find new patterns for faithful public deeds. The calling to seek first the reign of God and God's justice means reorientating our public deeds away from imposing our moral will onto the social fabric, and toward giving tangible experience of the reign of God that intrudes as an alternative to the public principles and loyalties.'
George Hunsberger in Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.117.
'The vast majority of Christians feel that they do not get any significant support for their daily work from the teaching, preaching, prayer, worship, pastoral, group aspect of local church life. No support for how they spend 50 percent of their working lives.'
Mark Greene in Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.104.
'Sin is always the result of misplaced affections. Sin makes promises. When we believe those promises, we think sin offers more than God. This lie warps our affections. Our love, our delight, our fear, our hope become misplaced.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.87.
'...everyday pastoral care is not the same as spontaneous pastoral care. Do not idolize the spontaneous over the scheduled. People can have rather romantic notions of "community" as a spontaneous activity in which people hang out without that much planning. Somehow community does not count uless it is spontaneous. But there is nothing especially virtuous about spontaneity. When people have busy work lives, community can only happen if people plan to do everyday pastoral care. We all have different personalities and life patterns. Some may need to plan to meet with others or send a regular text or stick a reminder in their schedule. Others will do the hanging out more. We should not value one abouve the other or assume our way of relating is normative. Let us celebrate diversity within community.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.78.
'...the context for pastoral care and discipleship is everyday life. Community takes place as we do the chores, watch TV, got to work, eat meals and do a dozen other things. It is about asking someone about their walk with the Lord while you do the dishes together, sharing a car ride to the shops and talking about how the Spirit has spoken to you through God's Word. It is about having people in your home and them seeing how you parent your children. It is about walking the dog together and discovering a pastoral need as you chat. It is about pausing in the supermarket to pray when you learn of a need. It is about having people live with you in your home.
Of course this does not mean anything as crass as saying, "Come over and watch us parent our children." Rather, as you share your life, people will see Christian living modelled - or alternatively see Christian grace modelled when you fail to live as you should! We have a generation of young people from dysfunctional homes who need to experience Christain families in action before they themselves become husbands, wives and parents.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everday Church, p.75.
'...we do not read the Bible simply to fill our minds, but to change our hearts, not simply to be informed, but to be conformed to the image of Jesus. We read the Bible to stir our affections: our fear, our hope, our love, our desire, our confidence. We read it until our hearts cry out, "The Lord is good!"'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everday Church, p.71.
'...the Christian community demonstrates the effectiveness of the gospel. We are the living proof that the gospel is not an empty word, but a powerful Word that takes men and women who are lovers of self and transforms them by grace through the Spirit into people who love God and love others. We are the living proof that the death of Jesus was not just a vain expression of God's love, but an effective death that achieved the salvation of a people who now love one another sincerely from a pure heart...
The Church may never outperform TV shows and music videos, but there is nothing like the community life of the church, nowhere else where diverse diverse people come together in the same way, nowhere else where broken people find a home, nowhere else where grace is experienced and God is present by his Spirit.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church, p.65.
'If you prepare Bible teaching in a coffee shop...you are more likely to find yourself developing your teaching as a dialogue with the culture. But if you simply prepare in your study surrounded by your books, then you will naturally speak into this context, addressing the concerns of professional exegetes.'
Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Everyday Church: mission by being good neighbours, p.50.
'Just as people smash marriages because they are looking for what is romantically and sexually perfect and in this poor world do not find it, so human beings often smash up what could have been possible in a true church or true Christian group. It is not just the "they" involved who are not yet perfect, but the "I" is not yet perfect either. In the absence of present perfection, Christians are to help each other on to increasingly substantial healing on the finished work of Christ.'
'I've known many people whose relationship with God was significantly transformed as they started to speak up with their Father. Previously, "prayer" fizzled out in the internal buzz of self-talk and distractions, worries and responsibilities. Previously, what they thought of as prayer involved certain religious feelings, or a set of seemingly spiritual thoughts, or a vague sense of comfort, awe and dependency on a higher power. Prayer meandered, and was virtually indistinguishable from thoughts. Sometimes it was indistinguishable from anxieties and obsessions! Sometimes prayer was confused with the act of stopping to ponder and quietly collect yourself. But as a person begins to talk to the God who is there, who is not silent, who listens, and who acts, he or she begins to deal with him person-to-person. Speaking up is no gimmick or technique (and other ingredients also contribute to wise, intelligent, purposeful, fervent prayer). But out loud prayer becomes living evidence of an increasingly honest and significant relationship. As you become vocal, your faith grows up.'
'It man tries to find everything in a man-woman or a friend-to-friend relationship, he destroys the very thing he wants and destroys the ones he loves. He sucks them dry, he eats them up, and they as well as the relationship are destroyed. But as Christians we do not have to do that. Our sufficiency of relationship is in that which God made it to be, in the infinite persdonal God, on the basis of the work of Christ in communication and love.
The same thing is true for Christian parents and their own children. If we try to find everything in human relationships or if we forget that neither we nor they are perfect, we destroy them. The simple fact is that the bridge is not strong enough. To try to run on the bridge of human relationships that which it cannot bear is to destroy both the relationship and ourselves. But for the Christian, who does not need to have everything in human relationships, human relationships can be beautiful.'
'The trouble with human relationships is that man without God does not realize that all men are sinful, and so hangs too much on his personal relationships, and they crush and break. No love affair bewtween a man and a woman has ever been great enough to hang everything on. It will crumble away under your feet. And as the edges begin to break away the relationship is destroyed. But when I am a creature in the presence of God, and I see that the last relationship is with an infinite God, and these human relationships are among equals, I can take from a human relationship what God meant it to provide, without putting the whole structure under an intolerable burden. More than this, when I acknowledge that none of us are perfect in this life, I can enjoy that which is beautiful in a relationship, without expecting it to be perfect.'
'One does not have to have had much pastoral experience to have met married couples that refuse to have what they can have, because they have set for themselves a false standard of superiority. They have set up a romanticism, either on the romantic side of love or the physical side, and if their marriage does not measure up to their own standards of superiority, they smash everything to the ground. They must have the ideal love affair of the century just because they are who they are! Certainly many of the multiple marriage and divorce situations turn just upon this point. One couple refuses to have less than what they have set as a romantic possibility, forgetting that the Fall is the Fall. Another may want sexual experience beyond what one can have in the midst of the results of the Fall. You suddenly see a marriage smashed - everything gone to bits, people walking away from each other, destroying something really possible and beautiful - simply becasue they have set a proud standard and refuse to have the good marriage they can have.
We wait for the resurrection of the body. We wait for the perfect application of the finished work of Christ for the whole of man. We wait for this, but on this side of the Fall, and before Christ returns, we must not insist on "perfection or nothing," or we will end with nothing.'