Three ways of life

There are only three kinds of persons; those who serve God, having found Him; others who are occupied in seeking Him, not having found Him; while the remainder live without seeking Him, and without having found Him. The first are reasonable and happy, the last are foolish and unhappy; those between are unhappy and reasonable.

—Pascal in Pensées

Redefining worship?

I am dismayed by the popular phrase “worship experience” to describe the church’s corporate worship. Worship has the capacity to transform us, because it focuses our hearts and minds on God—God seen in one another, in ourselves and in the world around us. However, the phrase “worship experience” suggests that worship is important because it induces feelings. In this context worship is focused more on the worshiper than on the One worshiped.…

We need to ask ourselves what a true worship experience is so that if we had one, we could recognize it.

Mark Horst in The Christian Century (Nov. 11. 1987)

Beyond sympathy

Sympathy is demeaning. Jesus never gave people sympathy. He wept with those who wept; He laughed with those who laughed. But He never said, “Oh, you poor thing. Isn’t it awful?” We are not to encourage people who are feeling sorry for themselves. Rather, we are to help them examine the possibilities for changing their situation or their attitude.

Bruce Larson in Faith for the Journey

Living beyond perfectionism

Lived fully, the experience of illness can free you from the curse of perfectionism that makes happiness conditional on having everything just right.

Cheri Register in Living with Chronic Illness: Days of Patience and Passion

Obnoxious saints

If you are a saint God will continually upset your programme, and if you are wedded to your programme you will become that most obnoxious creature under heaven, an irritable saint.

Oswald Chambers in Run Today’s Race

Profitable waste

The lottery promotes the interesting moral notion that if people are inclined to waste their money, the government should make it fun for them. And take a profit.

Charlie McDowell, quoted in the Tampa Tribune (Oct. 21, 1987)

How does your garden grow?

Any good gardener knows that beautiful roses require careful pruning. Pieces of a living plant have to die. It cannot just grow wild. We cannot simply “celebrate growth.” It is more than to be regretted, it is tragic that we seem to have lost the insight that growth in Christ requires careful pruning. Pieces of us by our intentional action need to die if we are to become the person that is in God’s vision. We are not cutting away a cancerous growth, but making room for intended growth.

Urban T. Holmes III in Spirituality for Ministry

Righting the world

It was said of the apostles, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither” (Acts 17:6). There is a story told of an eccentric English evangelist who took that text for one of his open-air sermons in a new place. He began by saying, “First, the world is wrong side up. Second, the world must be turned upside down. Third, we are the men to set it right.” In the man’s quaint phrases, this is really the purpose of the gospel. It is God’s way of making things right.

A. B. Simpson in The Best of A. B. Simpson

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