The true usefulness of our preaching will not be known to us until each fruit on all the branches on all the trees that have sprung up from all the seeds we’ve sown has fully ripened in the sunshine of eternity.
—John Piper, The SUPREMACY OF GOD IN PREACHING
Amazing insight on the broken prayer in Nehemiah 1: 10:
They are your servants and your people O God. You have set them apart and made a covenant with them. You promised long ago to deliver them, to love them, to take care of them, to be their deliverer whenever they call on your name in their anguish. Now this nation is in ruins. Will you allow them to be oppressed and trampled down by the enemies who don’t even know your name? Will you just stand by and see the destruction of your chosen people? If you will not save them, who will you save? If you don’t show up for them, to whom will you show up Lord? If you don’t show them mercy, then we despair in utter hopelessness.
God may not answer you exhaustively but He will answer you sufficiently.
Pastor Nixon Ng, Anchors Aweigh Singles Camp
What does it mean to live as Jesus lived?
No one took Jesus’ life; He laid it down voluntarily. Did you notice the progression of events? Jesus has existed for eternity in heaven with God the Father, His equal. He chose to be born on earth in order to become a servant and to sacrifice Himself for the redemption of all mankind. Each step along the way took Him deeper into a sort of downward mobility that seems foreign to our way of life today. While we are constantly looking for how we can move up, get ahead, and break out in front of the pack, Jesus continued to surrender more of Himself until, ultimately, He gave up His own life…
[This] explains exactly what it means to live as Jesus lived. We are to decrease to ourselves on a daily basis in order that Jesus might increase in our lives. More of Jesus, less of me! We lose our lives in order to find His way.
David Putnam, BREAKING THE DISCIPLESHIP CODE
Jesus exploded onto the gospel scene with these radical words: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matt. 4:17b). Repent? I can hear the Pharisees now: “What are we repenting of?” They were the most religious people in the history of organized religion. Not only did they abide by the Ten Commandments, they added 613 rules and regulations to ensure they obeyed every detail of the Law. Yet Jesus began his earthly ministry in this context- telling them to repent. Can you imagine their consternation? Can you envision their faces? We know from the gospels that they were appalled at this man who was telling them to repent of their religion for religion’s sake. He was about to show them a whole new way.
David Putnam, Breaking the Discipleship Code
Some people think that spirituality consists in being drab. But God made color! He made all shades of colors! Look at the sunset- what is it, just something scientific? Do you think that God splashed the lovely, beautiful sky with rose, cerise, blue and white and wasn’t smiling when He did that? Is that just an accident of nature, scientifically explained? Then you’ve got too much learning for your own good! Go empty your head and get your heart filled and you’ll be better off. The Holy Spirit wrote 150 psalms and in those psalms He celebrates the wonders of God’s creation…
Let us not think anymore of God as being heavy-browed and gloomy. I repeat that when God made the heaven and earth they sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. There wasn’t a funeral at the creation of the world; there was an anthem. All creation sang.
—AW Tozer, THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD