“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” (Francis Chan)
This is last Sunday’s sermon in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, on Moses. And below are some more juicy quotes to stir and challenge your soul:
C.S.Lewis talked of how sometimes people experience extraordinary times of intimacy and closeness to God. “But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs – to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be.”
Michael Green: “There is one test and one test only of the extent of our love for Him and it’s a very uncomfortable one: how have we handled the poor?”
Nouwen: “Look at the many ‘if’ questions we raise: What am I going to do if I do not find a spouse, a house, a job, a friend, a benefactor? What am I going to do if they fire me, if I get sick, if an accident happens, if I lose my friends, if my marriage does not work out, if a war breaks out? What if tomorrow the weather is bad, the buses are on strike, or an earthquake happens? What if someone steals my money, breaks into my house, rapes my daughter, or kills me?” But if we let such questions guide our lives, we end up taking out a second mortgage in the house of fear.
Safety is not in the absence of danger, but in the presence of God!
Fear of other people’s opinions: “We would worry less about what people think about us is we realized how seldom they do.” Whose opinions matter? The Audience of One.
Brennan Manning: “Freedom in Christ produces a healthy independence from peer pressure, people-pleasing, and the bondage of human respect. The tyranny of public opinion can manipulate our lives. What will the neighbours think? What will my friends think? What will people think? The expectations of others can exert a subtle but controlling pressure on our behaviour.” “When I was eight, the impostor, or false self, was born as a defense against pain. The impostor within whispered, ‘Brennan, don’t ever be your real self anymore because nobody likes you as you are. Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know.’” ARE YOU WEARING A THICK MASK? Do you know where the most lies are told? In Church on Sunday morning: “How are you?” “I’m great!”
To sinful patterns of behaviour that never get confronted and changed,
Abilities and gifts that never get cultivated and deployed –
Until weeks become months
And months turn into years,
And one day you’re looking back on a life of
Deep intimate gut-wrenchingly honest conversations you never had;
Great bold prayers you never prayed,
Exhilarating risks you never took,
Sacrificial gifts you never offered
Lives you never touched,
And you’re sitting in a recliner with a shriveled soul.
And forgotten dreams,
And you realise there was a world of desperate need,
And a great God calling you to be part of something bigger than yourself –
You see the person you could have become but did not;
You never followed your calling.
You never got out of the boat.
“You have listened to fears, child” said Aslan, “come, let me breathe on you. Are you brave again?”