Top Quotes from Creature of the Word

Events creature of the word The book Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church is written by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger.  The book is an extremely practical book that talks about creating a Gospel culture within the life of the church.  The book covers a wide span of issues, but there were a few chapters that stood out above the rest.

Chapter 6, Jesus-Centered Culture, was absolutely phenomenal.  This chapter alone is worth the cost of picking up this book.  Chapter 8, Pulpit to Preschool (and Puberty Too), and chapter 10, Jesus-Centered Flower Committee, are two other chapters that stood out in this book.  If you are a pastor or ministry leader wanting to understand what it looks like to saturate your church in the Gospel, then I commend this book to you.

Here is a trailer of the authors talking about some of the themes of the book:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90PTFJZs6rM

Here are a few of my top quotes from this book:

That's because the Word, the gospel, creates not just people individually, but a people. collectively.  The gospel isn't just individual and cosmic; it is also deeply corporate. (14)

We seem to have developed gospel amnesia, forgetting that the gospel not only creates and sustains the Church but also deeply shapes the Church.  Present and future. (17)

To confess our sins to one another is to violently pursue our own joy and the glory of God…and exponentially increase our rejoicing and worship, both individually and corporately. (31)

Only the gospel can grip our hearts with this kind of ongoing, unending awe.  Only the gospel can cause grateful praise to flow, and keep flowing, and never stop flowing from our lips.  Therefore, your gatherings must be soaked in the gospel.  Everything from the music, to the teaching, to the observance of the ordinances -- all of it must unashamedly, explicitly, point people to Jesus and what He has done.  Otherwise, the Creature suffers. (43)

Believers, as we know, have different careers, different political viewpoints, different parenting philosophies, different economic status, and different cultural background.  We are different in many, many ways.  Yet we are still drawn together in the body He calls the Church.  Unity in the gospel is much deeper than surface uniformity. (49)

A church culture is healthy when there dis a congruence and consistency between what the church says is important to her and what others know really is important to her.  If a church declares that the gospel is the most important message the world has ever known, and yet the gospel is not seen as the impetus and motivation for all the church offers, this disconnect is indicative of an unhealthy church personality or culture. (97)

Quite frankly, children and student ministries are often a wasteland for well-intentioned morality training. (139)

Typically pastors or staff persons are hired to minister to people.  The number of children increases, so the solution is another staff person.  The number of sick people is on the rise; therefore, someone is hired to visit people in the hospitals, and on and on.  This fart-too-common approach is both illogical and unbiblical: illogical because a church will never be able to afford hiring the entire ministry away, and unbiblical because it violates the essential doctrines of the priesthood of believers and spiritual gifting. (184)

Every single thing the Church does teaches.  Culture is continually being reinforced as leaders are always teaching and people are always learning.  Much of this teaching and learning comes through implicit messages rather than explicit ones: the songs selected, the way Scriptures is read, the attitude of the children's leaders, and the programs that are offered.  If the implicit message communicated via the programs contradicts the explicit message communicated in the teaching environments, then people are left confused and frustrated.  (188)

Top Quotes from Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Evangelismandthesovereignty

JI Packer's Book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God is a incredible work that takes on the perceived tension between Calvinism and Evangelistic urgency.  Packer proves that the two are not enemies but friends.  He argues that a robust, Biblical, understanding of the sovereignty of God rightly fuels evangelistic effort and provides hope and boldness to the evangelist.  It is an incredible work, brief and to the point.  If you have wrestled with God's Sovereignty and Evangelism (and who hasn't) be sure to give this book a read.  It is well worth your time.  Here were some top quotes I picked out in my reading to give you a taste of what this book has to offer you.  You can pick up the book at Amazon Here.

There is abroad today a widespread suspicion that a robust faith in the absolute sovereignty of God is bound to undermine any adequate sense of human responsibility. Such a faith is thought to be dangerous to spiritual health, because it breeds a habit of complacent inertia. In particular, it is thought to paralyze evangelism by robbing one both of the motive to evangelize and of the message to evangelize with.

I shall try to show further that, so far from inhibiting evangelism, faith in the sovereignty of God's government and grace is the only thing that can sustain it, for it is the only thing that can give us the resilience that we need if we are to evangelize boldly and persistently, and not be daunted by temporary setbacks. So far from being weakened by this faith, therefore, evangelism will inevitably be weak and lack

The desire to oversimplify the Bible by cutting out the mysteries is natural to our perverse minds, and it is not surprising that even good people should fall victim to it.

We must not at any stage forget that. For if we forget that it is God's prerogative to give results when the gospel is preached, we shall start to think that it is our responsibility to secure them. And if we forget that only God can give faith, we shall start to think that the making of converts depends, in the last analysis, not on God, but on us, and that the decisive factor is the way in which we evangelize.

And the point that we must see is this: only by letting our knowledge of God's sovereignty control the way in which we plan, and pray, and work in his service, can we avoid becoming guilty of this fault. For where we are not consciously relying on God, there we shall inevitably be found relying on ourselves. And the spirit of self-reliance is a blight on evangelism.

He who does not devote himself to evangelism in every way that he can is not, therefore, playing the part of a good and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

In other words, evangelism is the issuing of a call to turn, as well as to trust; it is the delivering, not merely of a divine invitation to receive a Savior, but of a divine command to repent of sin.

The results of preaching depend, not on the wishes and intentions of men, but on the will of God Almighty

We never know what sin really is till we have learned to think of it in terms of God, and to measure it, not by human standards, but by the yardstick of his total demand on our lives. What we have to grasp, then, is that the bad conscience of the natural man is not at all the same thing as conviction of sin. It does not, therefore, follow that a man is convicted of sin when he is distressed about his weaknesses and the wrong things he has done. It is not conviction of sin just to feel miserable about yourself and your failures and your inadequacy to meet life's demands. Nor would it be saving faith if a man in that condition called on the Lord Jesus Christ just to soothe him, cheer him up and make him feel confident again.

In our own presentation of Christ's gospel, therefore, we need to lay a similar stress on the cost of following Christ, and make sinners face it soberly before we urge them to respond to the message of free forgiveness. In common honesty, we must not conceal the fact that free forgiveness, in one sense, will cost everything; or else our evangelizing becomes a sort of confidence trick.

It is a tragic and ugly thing when Christians lack desire, and are actually reluctant, to share the precious knowledge that they have with others whose need of it is just as great as their own. It was natural for Andrew, when he found the Messiah, to go off and tell his brother Simon, and for Philip to hurry to break the good news to his friend Nathanael (Jn 1:40ff.). They did not need to be told to do this; they did it naturally and spontaneously, just as one would naturally and spontaneously share with one's family and friends any other piece of news that vitally affected them. There is something very wrong with us if we do not ourselves find it natural to act in this way: let us be quite clear about that.

We should not be held back by the thought that if they are not elect, they will not believe us, and our efforts to convert them will fail. That is true; but it is none of our business and should make no difference to our action.

Were it not for the sovereign grace of God, evangelism would be the most futile and useless enterprise that the world has ever seen, and there would be no more complete waste of time under the sun than to preach the Christian gospel.

Paul's confidence should be our confidence too. We may not trust in our methods of personal dealing or running evangelistic services, however excellent we may think them. There is no magic in methods, not even in theologically impeccable methods. When we evangelize, our trust must be in God who raises the dead.

God can make his truth triumphant to the conversion of the most seemingly hardened unbeliever. You and I will never write off anyone as hopeless and beyond the reach of God if we believe in the sovereignty of his grace.

Top Quotes from "Dangerous Calling"

10 12 dangerous calling

This past week I read Paul Tripp's new book, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. In this book Tripp diagnoses the problems with modern pastoral cultures and with his usual gospel-centered eloquence, gets to the heart of pastors.  If you are a pastor you need to pick this book up and read it.  If you are a Christian, you need to pick this book up to know how to pray and encourage your pastor.  

As I was reading here were some of my favorite quotes from the book:

No one celebrates the presence and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ more than the person who has embraced his desperate and daily need of it. (23)

One of the rings that makes a sermon compelling is that the preacher is worshiping his way through his own sermon. (35)

Autonomous Christianity never works, because our spiritual life was designed by God to be a community project. (38)

The ultimate purpose of the Word of God is not theological information but heart and life transformation. (51)

The real struggle they (pastors) are having, one that is very hard for a pastor to admit, is with God.  What has caused ministry to become hard and burdensome is disappointment with and anger at God.  It's hard to represent someone you have come to doubt.  It's hard to encourage others to functionally trust someone you're not sure you trust.  It's hard to represent someone you have come to doubt.  It's hard to encourage others to functionally trust someone you're not sure you trust.  It is nearly impossible in ministry to give away what you yourself do not have. (74)

Monasteries were a failure because they neglected one very significant biblical truth: the biggest danger to every human being, even those in ministry, is located inside of him, not outside of him.  (108)

If your heart is in functional awe of the glory of God, then there will be no place in your heart for poorly prepared, badly delivered, functional pastoral mediocrity…. Mediocrity is not a time, personnel, resource, or location problem.  Mediocrity is a heart problem.  We have lost our commitment to the highest levels of excellence because we have lost our awe. (141)

Perhaps in ministry there is no more potent intoxicant than the praise of men, and there is no more dangerous form of drunkenness than to be drunk with your own glory. (167)

You simply cannot be a good ambassador of the grace of the King without recognizing your need for the King in your own life.  Public ministry is meant to be field and propelled by private devotion. (197)

Here is the bottom line: wherever you are in ministry, whatever your position is, not matter how many people look up to you, whatever influence your ministry has collected, and no matter how long and successful you ministry has been your ministry will never be about you because it is about him.  God will not abandon his kingdom for yours.  He will not offer up his throne to you. (215)