Category Archives: quotes

mission & the kingdom

some great thoughts by the venerable Newbigin

“The concern for mission is nothing less than this: the kingdom of God, the sovereign rule of the Father of Jesus over all humankind and over all creation. Mission.. is the proclamation of the kingdom, the presence of the kingdom and the prevenience of the kingdom. By proclaiming the reign of God over all things the church acts out its faith that the Father of Jesus is indeed ruler of all. The church, by inviting all humankind to share in the mystery of the presence of the kingdom hidden in its life through its union with the crucified and risen life of Jesus, acts out the love of Jesus that took him to the cross. By obediently following where the Spirit leads, often in ways neither planned, known, nor understood, the church acts out the hope that it is given by the presence of the Spirit who is the living foretaste of the kingdom.” (Newbigin, The Open Secret, 64)

“I have described mission in terms of the proclamation, the presence, and the prevenience of the reign of God. The reign concerns the whole history of the human family and of the cosmos. At the heart of the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples is the petition: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is to be done on earth. The call of Jesus to believe the good news of the impending kingdom leads at once to the call to “Follow me.” There can be no separation between believing and following, between faith and obedience. The prayer “Thy will be done” is in vain if it is not made visible in action for the doing of that will. Consequently, missions have never been able to separate the preaching of the gospel from action for God’s justice.” (Newbigin, The Open Secret, 91″

HT: NextReformation

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leadership words to live by

very counter-intuitive & very hard to implement I am finding. but true nonetheless.

Most churches make the mistake of selecting as leaders the confident, the competent, and the successful. But what you most need in a leader is someone who has been broken by the knowledge of his or her sin, and even greater knowledge of Jesus’ costly grace. The…leaders in every church ought to be the people who repent the most fully without excuses, because you don’t need any now; the most easily without bitterness; the most publicly and the most joyfully. They know their standing isn’t based on their performance. -Tim Keller


MLK Day


from Ben Sternke

In honor of a true modern-day prophet, here are the final words of Martin Luther King, Jr’s strangely prophetic speech the day before his murder.

It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”
And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say that threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Another really great quote by MLK

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”


leadership, redefined

great, great thoughts on leadership that I need to remember, and anyone who ‘aspires’ to be something of a leader, needs to remember.

We have one leader, and his name is Jesus. I want to bang this home with a quotation from Jesus from Matthew 23, where he seems to be staring at the glow of leadership in the eyes of his disciples, and he does nothing short of deconstructing the glow:

But you are not to be called “Rabbi,” for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth “father,” for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Instead of seeing myself as a leader, I see myself as a follower. Instead of plotting how to lead, I plot how to follow Jesus with others. Instead of seeing myself at the helm of some boat—and mine is small compared to many others—I see myself in the boat, with Jesus at the helm. –HT: Scot McKnight


being an artist – to change our vision of reality

to my artist wife, and to all of our artist friends here in Hollywood

“In my experience, the Christian painter or poet, sculptor or dancer, is regularly regarded as something of a curiosity, to be tolerated, humored even, maybe even allowed to put on a show once in a while. But the idea that they are, or could be, anything more than that—that they have a vocation to re-imagine and re-express the beauty of God, to lift our sights and change our vision of reality—is not often even considered.”

“Here is the challenge, I believe, for the Christian artist, in whatever sphere: to tell the story of the new world so that people can taste it, and want it, even while acknowledging the reality of the desert in which we presently live.” –N.T. Wright


Security = superstition? & Living w/ doubt

I used to be into reading as many biographies as I could. Some of that was very profitable, some not so much. However, I do remember reading Helen Keller’s biography a long time ago. In that book, I read this quote and it never fails to challenge me whenever I see it again:

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, Nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer, in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.” –Helen Keller

I was reminded of this when I read this – at Seth Godin’s blog this morning:

Living with doubt
… is almost always more profitable than living with certainty.
People don’t like doubt, so they pay money and give up opportunities to avoid it. Entrepreneurship is largely about living with doubt, as is creating just about any sort of art.
If you need reassurance, you’re giving up quite a bit to get it.
On the other hand, if you can get in the habit of seeking out uncertainty, you’ll have developed a great instinct.

Wow, a couple of great thoughts to start my week with.
Security is a MYTH! seek out uncertainty. use your instincts.


The flunk-outs and drop-outs and burned-outs…

The flunk-outs and drop-outs and burned-outs. The broke and the broken. The drug heads and the divorced. The HIV-positive and herpes-ridden. The brain-damaged, the incurably ill. The barren and the pregnant too-many-times or at the wrong time. The overemployed, the underemployed, the unemployed. The unemployable. The swindled, the shoved aside, the replaced. The parents with children living on the street, the children with parents not dying in the “rest” home. The lonely, the incompetent, the stupid. The emotionally starved or emotionally dead. And on and on and on.

Is it true that “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal?” It is true!…
Jesus offers to all such people as these the present blessedness of the present kingdom—regardless of circumstances…
Even the moral disasters will be received by God as they come to rely on Jesus, count on him, and make him their companion in his kingdom. Murderers and child-molesters. The brutal and the bigoted. Drug lords and pornographers. War criminals and sadists. Terrorists. The perverted and the filthy and the filthy rich. The David Berkowitzs (“Son of Sam”), Jeffrey Dahmers, and Colonel Noriegas.

Can’t we feel some sympathy for Jesus’ contemporaries, who huffed at him, “This man is cordial to sinners, and even eats with them!” Sometimes I feel I don’t really want the kingdom to be open to such people. But it is. That is the heart of God….

If I, as a recovering sinner myself, accept Jesus’ good news, I can go to the mass murderer and say, “You can be blessed in the kingdom of the heavens. There is forgiveness that knows no limits.” To the pederast and the perpetrator of incest. To the worshiper of Satan. To those who rob the aged and weak. To the cheat and the liar, the bloodsucker and the vengeful: Blessed! Blessed! Blessed! As they flee into the arms of The Kingdom Among Us. — Dallas Willard