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" Nobody lives up to the norms that God had in mind when he first created human beings. "
" Amusement is a way of boredom-avoidance through external stimulation that fails to exercise our minds. It's mere diversion. "
" 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 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. "
" Jesus viewed his own destiny - to be glorified in and through death - as an expression of a kind of cosmic principle: the pathway to life runs through death. "
" I know that those of us who go into church work are to regard ourselves as servants, are to offer our lives as a gift. "
" I'm not sure ministry can ever have the urgency it requires if it is not aware of evil, both externally and internally. "
" The human longings that are deep inside of us never go away. They exist across cultures; they exist throughout life. When people were first made, our deepest longing was to know and be known. And after the Fall, when we all got weird, it's still our deepest longing - but it's now also our deepest fear. "
" Although the church has often been far too slow to follow his lead, Jesus' insistence that women, as well as men, bear the full image of God has had a way of sparking reform movements across the centuries. "
" People with the strongest and healthiest sense of calling are not obsessed with their calling. They are preoccupied with the Caller. "
" Real spiritual authority has to do with the truth of the actual words being spoken, and the spirit of the person behind the words. Really, authority is about truth: honest-living truth. "
" 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. "
" Congregations shaped by the Scriptures generally have preachers who are shaped by the Scriptures. "
" I have always heard that you need to give yourself a long time to unplug when you do a sabbatical. I unplugged so fast I was a little concerned that I was losing brain capacity. "
" Sin is protean. It is a cancer that keeps mutating, and just when you think you have killed off one form, it turns out a deadlier strain yet is threatening your heart. "
" The single dynamic that helps people be most aware of God and most experiencing the fruit of the Spirit is gratitude. "
" I wrote 'Soul Keeping' because we are taught more about how to care for our cars than how to steward our souls. But you cannot have an impactful life with an impoverished soul. "
" 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 I teach the formal curriculum, I have the chance to think about it ahead of time. I can rehearse it. I can illustrate it with self-deprecating humor and humble-sounding personal disclosure. I can try to make it comes out just right. "
" Jesus had a universal concern for those who suffered that transcended the rules of the ancient world. "
" 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. "
" My main job is to live with deep contentment, joy, and confidence in my everyday experience of life with God. Everything else is job number two. "
" As a preacher, my charge is to proclaim the message of the Scriptures. To help the people in my congregation become a people of the book. I love getting to do this. "
" At the heart of Christian faith is the story of Jesus' death and resurrection. "
" Authentic spiritual authority is what puts you in touch with reality. "
" The most important criterion is this: hire someone whose character and humility and attitude you would like to have reproduced in your church and in yourself. "
" Some leaders are not intimidated by opposition; they actually thrive on it. It wakes them up. It energizes them. It calls them to battle. It causes them to mobilize their thoughts and energy. "
" Universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard all began as Jesus-inspired efforts to love God with all ones' mind. "
" When people feel they're getting to speak into what's being preached, there is high built-in motivation to participate. "