“I believe you and I are in far greater spiritual danger than any of our brothers and sisters in Iraq, in Iran, and in other parts of the world where the cost of following Jesus might end in your physical death or in the torture of your own life or those you know and love. There is no great angst coming in to worship this morning. There is no, “Please, God, encourage my spirit. Please, God, protect us. Please, God, move.” No, it’s just comfort and a cushy chair and, “Give me a good coffee. Man, it’s a little cold in here.” It’s dangerous. It can just be an add-on. My point is this. Whether or not Christianity sits at the center of a culture, has been pushed to the margins, or is illegal, the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be stopped.”
“For some reason we’ve got this veil pulled over our face like we’re all living to 70…Because [death] is so far off our radar, nobody feels like they need to press in and know the Lord. No one feels like you’re going to give an account today.” -Matt Chandler
“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”
“Our superficial labeling system also guarantees that we will never find freedom ourselves. It takes courage and humility to recognize we are as messed up as the drug addict next door, and many of us never get that honest with ourselves. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, we’ll never be honest with God. We’ll continue to whitewash our dark sides and flaunt our good deeds, and nothing will ever change.”
“There’s freedom in hitting bottom, in seeing that you won’t be able to save or rescue your daughter, her spouse, his parents, or your career, relief in admitting you’ve reached the place of great unknowing. This is where restoration can begin, because when you’re still in the state of trying to fix the unfixable, everything bad is engaged: the chatter of your mind, the tension of your physiology, all the trunks and wheel-ons you carry from the past. It’s exhausting, crazy-making…
“There are no words for the broken hearts of people losing people, so I ask God, with me in tow, to respond to them with graciousness and encouragement enough for the day. Everyone we love and for whom we pray with such passion will die, which is the one real fly in the ointment, so we pray for miracles– please help this friend live, please help that friend die gracefully– and we pray for the survivors to somehow come through…
“In prayer, I see the suffering bathed in light. In God, there is no darkness. I see God’s light permeate them, soak into them, guide their feet. I want to tell God what to do: ‘Look, Pal, this is a catastrophe. You have got to shape up.’ But it wouldn’t work. So I pray for the people who are hurting, that they be filled with air and light. Air and light heal: they somehow get into those dark, musty places, like spiritual antibiotics.
“We don’t have to figure out how this all works–‘Figure it out’ is not a good slogan. It’s enough to know it does.”
-Anne Lamott, Help. Thanks. Wow.
We most often think about sin in terms of right or wrong, but it’s also about freedom or slavery. Life reminds us how easy it is to be consumed by errant desires. The forgiveness of sins is not extended so that mankind can become moral, it is extended so that mankind can enter into a union with God. We then attempt to live more purely not to be an impressive citizen, but to surrender ourselves to God, that we might notice and have the courage to respond to the prompting of God’s spirit in us, and live out a faith expressed in love. This is true freedom.
–“Petraeus and Sin as a Spectator Sport” by Ian Ebright (Relevant Magazine)
There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live. Turning down this invitation comes in lots of flavors. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as just normal. It can also look like refusing to forgive or not being grateful or getting wrapped around the axle with fear or envy. I think every day God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get head-faked into thinking we haven’t really been invited. But you see, we have been invited—every day, all over again.
-Bob Goff, Love Does