Category Archives: quotes
Out of this whole array, from stars to sea-creatures, only man can look at this scene with the insight to ask such a question, even in doubt; therefore it already points to its answer. Further, man has been taught to say thy and thou in such a setting: not only to acknowledge a Creator but to converse with Him.
Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 (Leicester: IVP, 1973), 67.
“To imagine that Jesus merely rehashes some general ethical principles of benevolence and altruism is a fantasy. According to him, our ‘hearts’ (ie.what drives our inner self) are broken, and can only be renewed as we ‘come to our senses’ and find our Father again (Luke 15:11-32). He dreams of us entering a new ‘kingdom’, where all orbit joyfully around his Father. His life’s work begins to make that dream a reality.”
Andrew Cameron, Joined-up Life (Nottingham: IVP, 2011), 92.
1. A personal record of what I’ve done – people I met, decisions I have made, how I used my time, how I served people and fulfilled my personal life statement.
2. Self-reflection on my mood, attitudes, feelings, health, stress, dreams – what I’ve thought and felt, the highs and lows of the day, ways I’ve experienced change within myself.
3. A record of spiritual experiences – ways I’ve been aware of God’s presence, and what these experiences might mean.
4. Working through relational issues – how to engage with a particular person, why I struggle in particular relationships, coming to terms with a bereavement.
5. Saying things to God – hopes, longings, dreams, worries, fears.
6. Pondering problems – decisions I’m concerned about, discerning God’s perspective on life and seeking his will for the future.
James Lawrence, Growing Leaders (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 124.
To this, I would add ponderings on God’s word – questions raised, challenges posed, rebukes that have landed, encouragements that have lifted.
“The Internet world we live in today is awash in narcissism and vanity, with some people taking their clothes off literally, because exposure gives them a rush, and others doing it spiritually—because the addicting power of talking about yourself, where anyone in the world can read it, is overpowering.”
—John Piper, “The Pastor as Scholar,” in The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry by John Piper and D.A. Carson, ed. Owen Strachan and David Mathis (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), p. 24.
H/t Justin Taylor
Every Christian community must know that not only do the weak need the strong, but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the community.
Life Together, 96
Doing some prep for our intern (apprentices) training, came across this good insight from Peter Brain:
Assertiveness will first help me to claim my right to say ‘no’, and then willingly give up that right and respond to the request. No longer will I view the request as a demand I cannot possibly escape, but a request that I am free to respond to if I so choose. To offer a person a sacrifice of time or energy, it must first be mine to offer.
When I feel that a demand must be met because of the asker’s expectations, then I can only say ‘yes’ begrudgingly. In this case a certain amount of bitterness and anger will be present. Guilt may well be mingled with bitterness if I actually enjoyed what I did, or the recipient was particularly grateful and full of praise. When I realise that I can say ‘no’ to demands and expectations, I can then willingly give my ‘yes’ without feeling pressured. Freedom follows sacrifice that is freely given.
Peter Brain, Going the Distance, 45
“I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
—The Apostle Paul to the Ephesian elders, Acts 20:27
D. A. Carson explains what he meant:
When Paul attests that this is what he proclaimed to the believers in Ephesus, the Ephesian elders to whom he makes this bold asseveration know full well that he had managed this remarkable feat in only two and a half years.
In other words, whatever else Paul did, he certainly did not manage to go through every verse of the Old Testament, line by line, with full-bore explanation. He simply did not have time.
What he must mean is that he taught the burden of the whole of God’s revelation, the balance of things, leaving nothing out that was of primary importance, never ducking the hard bits, helping believers to grasp the whole counsel of God that they themselves would become better equipped to read their Bibles intelligently, comprehensively.
- God’s purposes in the history of redemption (truths to be believed and a God to be worshiped),
- an unpacking of human origin, fall, redemption, and destiny (aworldview that shapes all human understanding and a Saviorwithout whom there is no hope),
- the conduct expected of God’s people (commandments to be obeyed and wisdom to be pursued, both in our individual existence and in the community of the people of God), and
- the pledges of transforming power both in this life and in the life to come (promises to be trusted and hope to be anticipated).
—D. A. Carson, “Challenges for the Twenty-first-century Pulpit,” in Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent Hughes, ed. Leland Ryken and Todd Wilson [Crossway, 2007], pp. 177-178; bullets and italics added.
Busyness, over commitment and pressure take their inevitable toll. Emotional, physical, relational and spiritual depletion lead to burnout, a clinical condition with a long, hard road to recovery.
Unfulfilled dreams, discouragement and disillusionment lead the person to either leaving their area of ministry to engage in a different occupation, or continuing their ministry role but with little heart or energy for it, often finding personal fulfilment in a peripheral area of ministry that eventually becomes central.
The person reaches a plateau and, for whatever reason, stops growing as a leader.
Fuelled by unmet emotional needs and over commitments, the leader succumbs to escapist sin in a desire to meet the increasin sense of hollowness within.
With a growing uncertainty about the focus of their ministry, the leader dabbles in an ever-widening array of activities. Often gifted in many areas, they may be competent for most of the tasks, but the lack of focus leaves a rising sense of dissatisfaction.
James Lawrence, Growing Leaders – Cultivating Discipleship for Yourself and Others (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004), 30-31.
I don’t think ministers are to be blamed for raising the affections of their hearers too high, if that which they are affected with be only that which is worthy of affection, and their affections are not raised beyond a proportion to their importance, or worthiness of affection.
I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with.
from Desiring God