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" Amusement is a way of boredom-avoidance through external stimulation that fails to exercise our minds. It's mere diversion. "
" In community, we discover who we really are and how much transformation we still require. This is why I am irrevocably committed to small groups. Through them, we can accomplish our God-entrusted work to transform human beings. "
" Sometimes in churches somebody will discover a particular vein of spirituality and seek to recruit others into it, or assume a superior position because they have found certain techniques - but no one actually wants to become like them. "
" People cheer the Bible, buy the Bible, give the Bible, own the Bible - they just don't actually read the Bible. "
" I need an inspiration that is grounded in reality while thoroughly transcendent. "
" We all want to feel spiritually vigorous, and we hurt when we don't. This pain is intensified for people who lead church ministries. "
" I am a political junkie. During a presidential campaign, I will often buy a couple of newspapers a day just to keep up. "
" I hate how hard spiritual transformation is and how long it takes. I hate thinking about how many people have gone to church for decades and remain joyless or judgmental or bitter or superior. "
" Politics, after all, is largely about power. And power goes to the core of our issues of control and narcissism and need to be right and tendency to divide the human race into 'us' vs. 'them.' "
" No one wants pain. Not even long-time, mature Christians who want to grow. We will always find ways to avoid pain. Pain itself is a bad thing. "
" When it comes to sermon writing, generally there are two problems. Some preachers love the research stage but hate the writing, and they start writing too late. Others don't like doing research, so they move way too fast to the writing part. "
" There are dozens of references to God in the Scriptures for every one to the figure of Satan. This reflects a sometimes forgotten theological truth that the devil is by no means God's counterpart. He is a creature, not the Creator. "
" Evil exists. Evil is real. One of the hallmarks of evil is that it seeks to convince its victims that it exists 'out there.' "
" I'm not sure ministry can ever have the urgency it requires if it is not aware of evil, both externally and internally. "
" Prudence is not the same thing as caution. Caution is a helpful strategy when you're crossing a minefield; it's a disaster when you're in a gold rush. "
" The day people around me stop questioning my character is the day my character begins to grow vulnerable. "
" Spiritual formation is for everyone. Just as there is an 'outer you' that is being formed and shaped all the time, like it or not, by accident or on purpose, so there is an 'inner you.' You have a spirit. And it's constantly being shaped and tugged at: by what you hear and watch and say and read and think and experience. "
" Jesus is why women have traveled continents, spent decades learning a strange language so they could translate the Gospel, planting churches, caring for the sick, educating the illiterate, and marching for the oppressed. "
" This much I have learned: human beings come with very different sets of wiring, different interests, different temperaments, different learning styles, different gifts, different temptations. These differences are tremendously important in the spiritual formation of human beings. "
" When someone is in crisis, don't start by teaching, leveraging, or explaining. Just be with. "
" Normally, if someone's legacy will outlast their life, it's apparent when they die. On the day when Alexander the Great, or Caesar Augustus, or Napoleon, or Socrates, or Muhammad died, their reputations were immense. When Jesus died, his tiny, failed movement appeared clearly at an end. "
" Universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard all began as Jesus-inspired efforts to love God with all ones' mind. "
" We do not need answers or formulas to minister in crisis. "
" We call an obsession with having someone's approval 'co-dependency;' the Bible's word for it is idolatry. A country can be an idol. A family can be an idol. "
" Being deeply contented with God in my everyday life is a focused attitude. It is always available. It means practicing letting go of my obsession with how I'm doing. It means training myself to learn to actually be present with people, and seeking to love them. "
" God has entrusted us with his most precious treasure - people. He asks us to shepherd and mold them into strong disciples, with brave faith and good character. "
" As much as we complain about it, though, there's part of us that is drawn to a hurried life. It makes us feel important. It keeps the adrenaline pumping. It means I don't have to look too closely at my heart or life. It keeps us from feeling our loneliness. "
" Nobody lives up to the norms that God had in mind when he first created human beings. "
" Better to be a loving person without knowing how you got there, than an expert no one can stand to be around. "
" Learning something new is a fabulous way to be refreshed. When work can grind you down, something about learning a new activity thrills the soul. It reminds you that the world is bigger than your desk and your to-do list. "
" Pastors have historically understood their primary battle to be not the battle to build a big church, but the battle against the power of sin. "