Sola Comida

Today I ate a meal by myself at this quaint Cuban restaurant and I intentionally cut off all devices. Didn’t look at my phone, a laptop, or listen to music. I ordered arroz con pollo with black beans and platanos plus hot bread and butter.

It must have been forever since I did this because I suddenly remembered what food tasted like. The texture, the aroma, the satisfaction of finding a new piece of chicken under the rice, rationing out your sides with the main portions, that slight reset button when you drink ice water. I forgot how fun it was to just eat.

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Quote: Actual Evangelism

“I know how hard it is to talk about Jesus. It’s the most awkward conversation you’ll ever have. If you even say the whole Gospel out loud right now, it sounds like the craziest thing you’ve ever heard. But the Gospel isn’t some ‘speech’ you unload on people and then ‘leave it in God’s hands.’ Blasting people with theology is like serving icing for dessert. Evangelism is your whole life, it’s sharing your home, it’s enduring patiently, it’s being a human being, it’s availability, it’s sharing Jesus through who you are; not perfectly, but passionately. Yes, invite them to church and to that revival and talk about your faith and your testimony, but once you dare to go there, just know you might be rejected immediately, a lot, and aggressively. Except secretly they can’t deny there must be something to it, because you’re not just a billboard: you’re an overflow of a barely containable supernatural miracle.”

— what I’d like to hear the preacher say about evangelism instead of all that guilt tripping

(from this post)

Quote: Whole Life

The Christian life is your
whole life. That sin which keeps defeating you has more roots than you think, and God is patient to work in you for the surgery. Our journey of faith is a growing process of fits and starts, aches and pains, highs and lows, bliss and blisters. Jesus is going to take you all the way home on this: just keep leaning in with the full weight of your weary, desperate soul. He will catch you, always.

Originally posted here.

Quote: Transitoriness

See and feel the transitoriness of this life, to think of it, with all its richness, as essentially the gymnasium and dressing-room where we are prepared for heaven, and to regard readiness to die as the first step in learning to live.

— J.I. Packer

Question: I Can’t Just “Love You The Way You Are” — Right?

Anonymous asked:

“We are not loving people when we’re telling them that God accepts them as they are without repentance, because we’re lying to them.” What does that mean exactly?

I see you quoted a famous theologian (whose name I left out), and I see what he’s saying.  He is being very careful to convey a Holy God who does not tolerate sin, who must uphold justice, and who requires broken on-your-knees repentance.  Or — he is just trying not to upset the doctrine-police.

I might have said something like this a few years ago.  It’s a very aggressive, preach-to-the-choir, sounds-good-on-paper slogan.  I get it: our sin is bad.  God hates sin.  Okay, check.  Am I done being doctrinally sound for the sake of avoiding the heresy label?  Should I be so afraid of Neo-Reformed bloggers that I must blindly agree with all similar statements? 

And really, this is only one quote that I could be taking out of context, so it’s only a small fraction of this theologian’s thoughts.  But by itself, it portrays such a measly, puny God.  I do know guys who preach like this without a single ounce of Christlike love in their heart for people.

My friend, the truth is: God does love you and accepts you and desires to be with you exactly as you are.  Yeah, I know.  Scary, right?  Nervous?  Do I sound antinomian?  Maybe you’re waiting for But even though He loves you  … 

The problem we have with God’s grace is that it’s all grace.  That makes us uncomfortable, and I understand that.  Our hearts are naturally built on legalism.  Everyone feels like they should do something to get something, so we contort God’s grace into a manageable legalistic machine filled with daily QT routines and spiritual progress charts and how-to-avoid-sin and religious busy-ness.  Nothing is inherently wrong with these things until they forfeit God Himself.

God’s love is NOT dependent on how you perform or even how you repent.  Changing your behavior doesn’t get God and we don’t get God by changing our behavior.  His love for you is constant.  One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 31:3 — I have loved you with an everlasting love.  As in eternally.  Forever.  Always been the same. 

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Quote: Gladly

There is a warning. The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life. Jesus said, ‘Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.’ In other words, it is better to lose your life than to waste it. If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full. This is not a book about how to avoid a wounded life, but how to avoid a wasted life. Some of you will die in the service of Christ. That will not be a tragedy. Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.

— John Piper

Quote: Cling

Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us. The merciful commitment strengthens us to see the truth about ourselves and repent. The conviction and repentance moves us to cling to and rest in God’s mercy and grace.

— Timothy Keller

Six Things Preached Against In Church — And Why We Can All Just Relax

There are things we hear in the pulpit that sound uber-deeply complex, but like a time travel movie, the more we think about it, the more likely our heads will explode from sheer absurdity. Here are some incomplete half-truths we hear in church that need more nuance.  Let’s be thoughtful.

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Quote: Waiting On

“If you’re waiting until the day you’ve got your act together to go be with the Lord, you’re backing up. None of us will ever be good enough, but that’s not the point! We don’t go up there to the Lord’s standards, He came down here to rescue us! Open your heart to Him right now. Tell Him you want to know Him, here today – even though you’re a mess and you’ll always be messy. He’s waiting on you… what are you waiting for?”

— Lee Younger

Quote: Excitements

Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.

— John Piper

Quote: Loneliness (Not Emptiness)

“Loneliness is a terrible fog that threatens our vision, our hope, our memories, our motion, and it feels very real. But it’s also in that silence when you feel the Creator the most: His very heartbeat that says, ‘Do not fear, for I am with you.’ Where before He was only a vague presence or doctrinal concept, He then gains shape and weightiness and extends comfort like the world never can. It is just enough to light up the dark for one more step, and though we may feel lonely, we will not be empty.”

Quote: Simple

Sometimes the tedious, defeating, robot-routine of life rips the life out of me. I forget good simple truths like: God loves me. God understands me. God knows me. God accepts me as I am. That feels selfish. But it’s more selfish to reject that, as if I could do better. Jesus loves me! Let’s keep it that simple.

It Goes On

There are some things we’d like to take back which are now irreversible, words left unsaid and calls not picked up and conversations left on the shelf and one simple decision gone south. Just when we put in the good work and get a second wind and roll up our sleeves, it can fall apart just as quickly. Too little, too late, as they say.

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Quote: Overflow

We often demand of people what only God can give us — encouragement, affirmation, strength, motivation — and we end up wringing them dry. It’s okay to expect some things from people, so long as you know they’re just human beings who thirst like you. They need an Infinite Well as much as you do. If you drink deeply of Him first, you’ll be less controlled (and controlling) by your expectations, and you’ll actually seek others not to squeeze from them but to encourage them by your overflow.

Quote: Peter

Apostle Peter gives me hope. Like that backwards I-know-this-is-mean kind of hope. Here was a disciple who was taught directly under Jesus the very Son of God, and Peter still managed to out-dumb himself. Yet he wrote some of the New Testament. He started the first megachurch. He made a wizard repent. He got orders to release the bacon for the Jews. Everything good in Peter was by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank God it’s all about the one we’re following.