Tuesday, 27 November 2012


'We have to make the preparation now, before we are imprisoned. In prison you lose everything. You are undressed and given a prisoner's suit. No more nice furniture, nice carpets, or nice curtains. You do not have a wife any more and you do not have your children. You do not have your library and you never see a flower. Nothing of what makes life pleasant remains. Nobody resists who has not renounced the pleasures of life beforehand.'
Richard Wurmbrand in John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, p.101.

Monday, 26 November 2012


'The Holy Spirit...makes the church both an organism and an organization - a cauldron of spontaneously generated spiritual life and ministry, as well as an ordered, structured community with rules and authority. If God only gave gifts to all believers and did not call anyone into a place of authority, the church would only be an organic, spontaneous movement with virtually no institutional structure. If he only gave gifts to "special officers" - ordained ministers - then the church would be exclusively a top-down, command-and-conmtrol institution. But God's Spirit creates both the general and special office - and so we speak of the ardour of the Spirit (creating the movement) and the order of the Spirit (creating the institution). This dynamic balance of the Spirit's work is what makes the church (in human terms) sustainable.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.347.  

Saturday, 24 November 2012


'Age and experience have not made me a Nestor qualified to tell others about how to live their lives. I feel more like more like Theodore Dreiser, who confessed that he would depart from life more bewildered than he had arrived in it. Instead of being embittered, or stoical, or calm, or resigned, or any of the standard things that a long life might have made me, I confess that I am often simply lost, as much in need of comfort, understanding, forgiveness, uncritical love - the things you used to give me - as I ever was at five, or ten.'  
Wallace Stenger, 'Letter, Much Too Late' in Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs: Living and Writing in the West, p.22.

Friday, 23 November 2012


'The question for the church is this: If we believe that Jesus is Lord in every area of life, how do we train our people in the practice of that lordship? In general, this practice has to arise out of intentional learning communities that bring together three different groups of people: (1) older accomplished Christians in a field, (2) younger arriving Christians in a field, and (3) teachers knowledgable in the Bible, theology and church history. These three groups work together to ensure that the right questions are being addressed and to forge answers to those questions that are both biblical and practical.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.333.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


'Prayers and pains through faith in Christ Jesus will do anything!'
John Eliot in John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, p.74.


'Life is war. That's not all it is. But it is always that. Our weakness in prayer is owing largely to our neglect of this truth. Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try and make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts for the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talkie so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of God advances in the world.'
John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, p.65.


'The liberating fact is that the message we take to the frontiers is that people everywhere should seek their own best interest. We are summoning people to God. And those who come say, "In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Ps. 16:11). God glorifies himself among the nations with the command, "Delight yourself in the LORD!"(Ps. 37:4). His first and greatest requirement of all men everywhere is that they repent from seeking their joy in other things and begin to see it only in him.'
John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, p.56.


'The difference between the true God and the gods of the nations is that the true God carries and the other gods must be carried. God serves; they must be served. God glorifies his might by showing mercy. They glorify theirs by gathering slaves.'  
John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, p.56.  


'The uniqueness at the heart of Christainity is the glory of God manifest in the freedom of grace.'
John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of Goid in missions, p.55.  

Monday, 19 November 2012


'The righteous are willing to disadvantage themselves to advantage the community; the wicked are willing to disadvantage the community to advantage themselves.'
Bruce Waltke in Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.323.


'....community is best understood as the way we are to do all that Christ told us to do in the world. Community is more than just the preaching of the gospel: it is itself a declaration and expression of the gospel. It is the demonstration of the good news of freedom in Christ through the evident display our transformed character and our life together. It is itself part of the good news, for the good news is this: This is what Christ has won for you on the cross - a new life together with the people of God. Once you were alienated from others, but now you have been brought near.'  
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.320.


'Our natural condition under sin is to be "glory empty" - starved for significance, honor, and a sense of worth. Sin makes us feel superior and overconfident (because we are trying to prove to ourselves and others that we are significant) and inferior and underconfident (because at a deep level we feel guilty and insecure). Some people's glory emptiness primarily takes the form of bravado and evident pride; for others, it takes the form of self-deprectaion and self-loating. Most of us are wracked by both impulses. Either way, until the gospel changes us, we will use people in relationships. We do not work for the sake of the work, we do not relate for the sake of the person. Rather, we work and relkate to bolster our own self-image - to derive it, essentially from others.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.318.


'The real secret of fruitful and effective mission in the world is the quality of our community. Exceptional character in individuals cannot prove the reality of Christianity. Atheism, as well as many other religions, can also produce individual heroes of unusual moral greatness. Though such individuals may inspire us, it is all too easy to conclude that these individuals are just that - extraordinary heroes who have set unattainable standards for the rest of us. What atheism and other religions cannot produce is the kind of loving community that the gospel produces. In fact, Jesus states that our deep unity is the way the world will know that the Father sent him and has loved us even as the Father has loved him (John 17:23). Jesus says that the main way people will believe that Christains have found the love of God is by seeing the quality of their life together in community.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.311.

Friday, 16 November 2012


'Because the gospel not only converts nonbelievers but also builds up believers, the church should not have to choose evangelism over discipleship. Because the gospel is presented to the world not only through word but also through deed and community, we should not choose between teaching and carrying out practical ministry to address people's needs. Because the gospel renews not only individuals but also communities and culture, the church should disciple its people to seek personal conversion, deep Christian community, social justice, and cultural renewal in the city. These ministry areas should not be seen as independent or optional but as interdependent and fully biblical.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.291.  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


'I believe the single most important way for pastors or church leaders to turn passive laypeople into courageous and gracious lay ministers is through their own evident godliness. A pastor should be marked by humility, love, joy, and wisdom that is visible and attracts people to trust and learn from them. As a pastor, you may not be the best preacher, but if you are filled with God's love, joy, and wisdom, you won't be boring! You may not be the most skillful organizer or charismatic leader, but if your holiness is evident, people will follow you. This means, at the very least, that a dynamic, disciplined, and rich prayer life is not only important in the abstract and personal sense; it my be the most practical thing you can do for your ministry.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.288.


'...we will have an impact for the gospel if we are like those around us yet profoundly different and unlike them at the same time, all the while remaining very visible and engaged.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.282.


'To be missional today requires that lay Christians be equipped by their churches to do three things: (1) to be a verbal witness to the gospel in their webs of relationships, (2) to love their neighbors and do justice within their neighborhoods and city, and (3) to integrate their faith with their work in order to engage culture through their vocations.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.272.

Monday, 12 November 2012


'In Christendom, you could afford to train people solely in prayer, Bible study, and evangelism - skills for their private lives - because they were not facing radically non-Christian values in their public lives. In a missional church, all people need theological education to "think Christianly" about everything and to act with Christian distinctiveness. They need to know which cultural practices reflect common grace and should be embraced, which are antithetical to the gospel and must be rejected and which practices can be adapted or revised.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.260.


'...the church is too deeply shaped by the sprit of the age, in both its conservative and liberal forms. In its liberal form, it has bought uncritically into a secular account of things, de-supernaturalizing the gospel so that the Spirit's work is seen mainly in secular movements of liberation, thus turning the liberal mainline churches into little more than social service centers where the language of secular rights activists reigns. In its conservative form, it has bought uncritically into the idea of religion as fufillment of individual consumer needs, thus turning the conservative church into something like felt-need shopping centers where the language of modern therapy and marketing reigns. People see Christ as a way to self-fulfillment and prosperity, not as a model for radical service to others. Both wings of the Christian church are, then, captive to the reigning idols of Western culture. They are failing to challenge these idols in their preaching and practice.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.255.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


'This biblical understanding of our falleness - cursed yet still sustained by non-salvific grace - is crucial for relating Christ to culture. The world is inherently good and sustained by common grace - yet it is cursed. Christians are redeemed and saved - yet they are still filled with remaining sin. The battle line between God and idols not only runs through the world; it runs through the heart of every believer. So the work and cultural productions of Christians and non-Christians will have both idolatrous and God-honoring elements in them. Cultural products should not be judged as "good if Christians made them" and "bad if non-Christians made them." Each should be evaluated on its own merits as to whether it serves God or an idol.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.227.


'If the church does not identify with the marignalized, it will itself be marginalized. This is God's poetic justice.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.224.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


'I have had homosexual friends, both men and women, tell me that one of the the factors that made homosexual love attractive to them was how much easier it was than dealing with someone of a different sex. I have no doubt this is true. A person of one's sex is not as likely to have as much Otherness to embrace. But God's plan for married couples involves embracing the otherness to make us unified, and that can only happen between a man and a woman. Even at the atomic level, all the universe is held together by the attraction of positive and negative forces. The embrace of the Other, as it turns out, really is what makes the world go around.'
Kathy Keller in Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage, p.182.

Thursday, 1 November 2012


'...be very careful to think about your audience's premises. Don't assume, for example, that everyone listening trusts the Bible. So when you make a point from the Bible, it will help to show that some other trusted authority (such as empirical science) agrees with the Bible. Use it to promote trust in the Bible, saying something like, "See, the Bible was telling us centuries ago what science now confirms." That will help convince your hearers of that point so you can move on. By the end of the sermon, of course, you will be appealing only to God's Word, but in the early stages of the sermon you invite non-believers along by showing respect for their doubts about the Bible's reliability.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.177.


'...we will...meet a lot of people who hold to other religions or to no religion who are wiser, kinder and more thoughtful than we are, because even after growth in grace, many Christians are weaker people than many non-Christians. When this surprises you, reflect on it. If the gospel of grace is true, why would we think that Christians are a better kind of person than non-Christians? These living examples of common grace may begin to show us that even though we intellectually understand the doctrine of justification by faith alone, functionally we continue to assume that salvation is by moral goodness and works.'
Timothy Keller, Center Church, p.168.