Ritual vs Reality

29 Nov

There are a few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian! Most folks have never discovered the difference between the one and the other, so that there are those who sincerely try to live a life they do not have, substituting religion for God, Christianity for Christ, and their own noble endeavors for the energy, joy, and power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of reality, they can only grasp at ritual, stubbornly defending the latter in the absence of the former, lest they be found with neither! They are lamps without oil, cars without gas, and pens without ink, baffled at their own impotence in the absence of all that alone can make man functional; for man was so engineered by God that the presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to his humanity. Christ gave Himself for us to give Himself to us! His presence puts God back into the man! He came that we might have life – God’s life!”

Ian ThomasIan Thomas

Foreword, Classic Christianity, Harvest House, 1989, 7.


More Than Enough

27 Nov

“I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!

Watch what comes next: I’ll bring my people back from the north country And gather them up from the ends of the earth, gather those who’ve gone blind And those who are lame and limping, gather pregnant women, Even the mothers whose birth pangs have started, bring them all back, a huge crowd!

The people will climb up Zion’s slopes shouting with joy, their faces beaming because of GOD’s bounty– Grain and wine and oil, flocks of sheep, herds of cattle. Their lives will be like a well-watered garden, never again left to dry up.

Young women will dance and be happy, young men and old men will join in. I’ll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.

I’ll make sure that their priests get three square meals a day and that my people have more than enough.”

Jeremiah the Prophet quoting God

Jer 31:3,8,12-14, Message Bible


25 Nov


New Covenant Ministry

22 Nov

New-covenant ministers, essentially, can do only two things for others. First, we can help remove obstacles that are keeping people from carrying out what is written in their hearts and in their minds. These obstacles can be fears, misconceptions, habits, strongholds. Through love and witness, a minister can help remove these barriers and open the way for faith to operate freely. Second, we can help provide opportunities for God’s people to do what they have already been programmed to do by their new birth. Looking at ministry in light of these two tasks helps shed light on how best to minister without manipulation. It is not wrong, for example, for ministers to give us opportunities for service. Christians needed to be challenged to do what is in their hearts to do – to believe, to serve, to give. Placing opportunities in front of others is not necessarily manipulation. Only when the inner person is sacrificed to external behavior does manipulation replace ministry. Manipulation is playing God. That is a tiring and exasperating experience; you are just not equipped for it. If you fall into the habit of relying on manipulation in the service of ministry, your energy level will not hold out. In the long run, you cannot be successful. Ministry, on the other hand, is following God, immersing yourself in the reality of the gospel of grace and responding to his leadership as you lead others.

Dudley_HallDudley Hall

Grace Works, Vine Books, 1992, 198.

How to Spell Relief

20 Nov

God created humanity with a burning need for love. That’s why you’re sitting there needing love. If you didn’t need love, you wouldn’t need God. In fact, that’s why you were created with needs, period. God is the supreme authority figure who has the market cornered on being able to supply all our needs. Thus, He created a bunch of people who have a ton of needs. This way, some of us would recognize our need and turn to Him through Jesus to get our needs supplied His way. God spells relief J-e-s-u-s.”

Bill Gillham

Lifetime Guarantee, Harvest House, 1993, 18


Thy will be done

18 Nov

You are His Message

15 Nov

He does not want you to be used by anyone, and He would never use you. Your gifts were given to you for the purpose of bringing joy to your life, not for the purpose of serving Him or furthering His cause.… He wants people to think highly of and respect you. He loves it when folks are drawn to you and when they are amazed at how gifted you are… Christians today have been trained to purposefully cover their light, rather than let them shine for all to see, for fear that God might get angry at how bright they are. How crazy is that?…

His purpose is for us to be His sons and daughters, and out of those relationships, we become the message.… What is the one thing all good parents want for their children? They want them to enjoy life.… God’s love is not concerned with what He can get; He’s concerned with what He can give.

Darin_HuffordDarin Hufford

The Misunderstood God, Windblown, 2009, 100-1.