Christians Motivational Quotes

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Rejection is an opportunity for your selection.
Bernard Branson
Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Don’t tell me about your god with your words. Show me about your god with your actions.
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
Insecure people often falsify the past, in order to make the future pure.
Shannon L. Alder
Bitter people are not interested in what you say, but what you hide.
Shannon L. Alder
Not all dreamers are winners, but all winners are dreamers. Your dream is the key to your future. The Bible says that, "without a vision (dream), a people perish." You need a dream, if you're going to succeed in anything you do.
Mark Gorman
Your own setbacks aren’t what they first appear to be; rather than viewing them as failures, view them as learning opportunities that are the building blocks for future preparation.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
You can lose your MONEY. You can lose your FRIENDS. You can lose your JOB and you can lose your MARRIAGE...and still recover...as long as there is HOPE. Never lose HOPE.
John Paul Warren
CONCERNED BUT NOT CONSUMED!
Ron Sanders
If you wait until your motives are pure and unselfish before you do something, you will wait forever.
Timothy J. Keller (The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism)
That’s what accountability really is—fulfilling a promise to ourselves.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
A different vantage point gives us new information, and with that information we can begin to change our approach.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
The most difficult examinations are the ones that require us to take a hard look at ourselves and confront the things we don’t like.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
I have learned that the harder you fall…the higher you bounce!
John Paul Warren
Having uncompromising belief also means safeguarding your own spirit, defining who and what you want in your life.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
I must admit, that I have learned more from my negative experiences than I have ever learned from my positive one.
John Paul Warren
Courage is not only about finding bravery for ourselves. It is also about helping others find theirs.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
When we know what we are trying to achieve, we are less likely to be swayed by uninformed opinions and more inclined to make principled and ethical decisions.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Purposeful planning is most effective when you are actively seeking and getting feedback from those whose judgement you trust and respect.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Your circumstances do NOT define you. Expect a GRAND finale.
John Paul Warren
Pivoting does not mean changing your goal but rather changing your strategy to realize that goal.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
You start to live when you commit your life to cause higher than yourself. You must learn to depend on divine power for the fulfillment of a higher calling.
Lailah GiftyAkita
My belief is that we have an opportunity, each and every day, to make choices that can have a positive impact, or not. Each day we awake is like a reset. Decide each day to make impactful choices.
C. Toni Graham
Stopping in and of itself is not enough, and if that is all you focus on, then you run the risk of becoming overly self-critical and inadequate. What do you want to start doing?
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Faith UP! Your purpose is GREATER than all your PROBLEMS.
John Paul Warren
Whenever we take a stand, we invite others who are siting on the sidelines to join us.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
When someone we know is afraid of judgment, we can provide a safe haven for their hopes by telling them first and foremost that we are proud of their efforts.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
There’s only one power in the world great enough to help us rise above the difficult things we face: the power of God.
Stormie Omartian
Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. As we remember that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” (Mosiah 2:17) we will not find ourselves in the unenviable position of Jacob Marley’s ghost, who spoke to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s immortal "Christmas Carol." Marley spoke sadly of opportunities lost. Said he: 'Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!' Marley added: 'Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!' Fortunately, as we know, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the better. I love his line, 'I am not the man I was.' Why is Dickens’ "Christmas Carol" so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.
Thomas S. Monson
Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Only Fools despise wisdom and discipline." Proverbs 1:7 NLT
Eddie Johnson
Do you know where your breakthrough begins? Your breakthrough begins where your excuses ends.
Patience Johnson (Why Does an Orderly God Allow Disorder)
Uncompromising belief is not only about pushing back against something we disapprove of. It also requires us to stand for something, whether that be a principle, a cause, or another human being.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Know what you want and reach out eagerly for it.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
With God, you are stronger than your struggles and more fierce than your fears. God provides comfort and strength to those who trust in Him. Be encouraged, keep standing, and know that everything's going to be alright.
Germany Kent
It’s important that you keep asking God to show you what He wants you to do. If you don’t ask, you won’t know.
Stormie Omartian
When a human lighthouse sees you in the midst of your storm, it points you toward safety and protection. In doing so, it also sends you and uncompromising message of belief: Yes, the situation is difficult, but you are not alone. I’m standing right here with you, and I know the way home.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
God has a perfect plan and purpose for your life.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
The lighthouse does not qualify your distress; it does not ask if you are black or white, wealthy or less so, Democrat or Republican. It does not concern itself with where you stand on a particular issue. Nor does it blame you for being in the middle of the storm. Rather, its priority is how it might guide you toward safe harbor.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one's evil from oneself as well as from others than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture
M. Scott Peck
Why are...poor people more ready to share their goods than rich people? The answer is easy: The poor have little to lose; the rich have more to lose and they are more attached to their possessions. Poverty provides a deeper motivation for understanding your neighbors, welcoming others and attending to those who are suffering. I would go so far as to say that poverty helps you understand what happiness is, what serenity is in life.
Piero Gheddo
Without being push to the wall, we will have remained in our comfortable zone. But this circumstance challenges us to find the courage to move on.
Lailah Gifty Akita (On Eagles Wings:Rise)
Every adversity brings new experiences and new lessons.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Each day offers you an opportunity to overcome obstacles and fears in your life. Those victories, however small they appear, are significant and don’t need to be measured against or compared with those of someone else. They stand on their own as important measures of your own personal capabilities.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
But it is when the storm rages that we fully understand the courage the lighthouse represents. When the sea becomes a tempestuous beast, the lighthouse transforms to an urgent beacon signaling the way toward shelter, courageously defying the elements.
Steve Pemberton (The Lighthouse Effect: How Ordinary People Can Have an Extraordinary Impact in the World)
In the darkest times of your life, your praise to God should be the loudest. Let the enemy know you’re not afraid of the dark.
Stormie Omartian
Vainglory, however, no matter how much medieval Christianity insisted it was a sin, is a motor of mankind, no more eradicable than sex.
Barbara W. Tuchman (A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century)
Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire... Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1:14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.
Bernard of Clairvaux
Don’t be afraid when you have to pray fervently because of your circumstances. God is wanting to do something great through you!
Stormie Omartian
There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane, there may be no more potent force than religion. When the subject of religiously inspired bloodshed comes up, many Americans immediately think of Islamic fundamentalism, which is to be expected in the wake of 911. But men have been committing heinous acts in the name of God ever since mankind began believing in deities, and extremists exist within all religions. Muhammad is not the only prophet whose words have been used to sanction barbarism; history has not lacked for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists who have been motivated by scripture to butcher innocents. Plenty of these religious extremist have been homegrown, corn-fed Americans.
Jon Krakauer (Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith)
God wants to bless us in many ways that require faith. We must trust that He is answering our prayers even when we can’t see it.
Stormie Omartian
you won’t ever get ahead if you keep feeling sorry for yourself. You must stop all the negative talk and start thinking positive. You have a lot of potential but your life won’t change until you change how you think”.
Michele Woolley (God's Favor - Breath Of Heaven)
If you want to determine if your thoughts are from the enemy or from God, ask yourself, 'Are these thoughts I’d choose to have?
Stormie Omartian
By definition, a 'Sisterchick' is a 'friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and gives you a reality check when you're being a brat.
Robin Jones Gunn (Take Flight!: A Sisterchicks Devotional)
If it doesn't agree with your spirit let it go.
Germany Kent
To be the salt, you also need to be the shaker. To shake the world. Shake the truth. Shake the people. Shake the word. Have it sprinkle, melt and preserve humanity.
Anthony Liccione
Every great leader can take you back to a defining moment when they decided to lead
John Paul Warren
We have to walk by faith to possess all that is duly ours.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
One should measure their life by the faith they embrace and the relationships they cherish
John Paul Warren
Do not be overcome by hate. But conquer hate with love.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Think Great: Be Great! (Beautiful Quotes, #1))
In the moment of decision, may you hear the voice of the Creator saying, ‘This is right road, travel on it.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Death, I've dreamed of it, I've desired it, but what real happiness can come from it?
Jonathan Anthony Burkett (Neglected but Undefeated: The Life of a Boy Who Never Knew a Mother’s Love)
Do not be afraid of that which should be afraid of you
Constance Friday
May you find a new grace to live your dreams in coming year.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
There are two kinds of leaders, cowboys and Shepherds. Cowboys drive and Shepherds lead.
John Paul Warren
To see the first sun rise in New Year is the most sacredness of existence.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
So much can change from one day to the next, but the one thing that always remains the same is God. Stay focused on Him. In God We Trust.
Germany Kent
Never give up. Things may be hard, but if you quit trying they'll never get better. Stop worrying and start trusting God. It will be worth it.
Germany Kent
Keep trusting God. He will lead you in every step of the journey.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
The motivation of transparency is important. The culture teaches people to be candid and blunt, but this usually revolves around self-centeredness – you have a right to express your true feelings and your rage. This is an entitlement. Instead, the Christian way to approach transparency is to realize out candidness should be motivated by a desire to have a pure heart before God and others.
David Kinnaman (unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters)
Persistence and passion will make you invincible.
Christian Baloga
Allow yourself to be possessed by God by receiving Jesus, and you will never be possessed by anything else.
Stormie Omartian
Hardships refine a man to what he ought to be.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
With much prayer comes great grace from God.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Do not allow the opinions of others deter you. Be yourself and have faith in your abilities.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
If you saturate your mind with positive thoughts, it will sustain you in any situation.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
My soul is exceedingly joyful.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
The grace of endurance is the great power of God at work within us.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Why settle for a lesser vision? When you are destiny for greatness!
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
We are surrounded by adversity but we shall triumph because we have a greater spirit
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Cheers to a gracious New Year. May we uphold the fullness of God’s grace, goodness and goodwill.
Lailah Gifty Akita (Pearls of Wisdom: Great mind)
Small thinking and big dreams is an oxymoron
John Paul Warren
The secret to strong leaders is that strong leaders are strong because they have been tempered by the negative. They have discovered the secret of combining the negative and the positive to PRODUCED their very own POWER plant!
John Paul Warren
I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning - the Christian meaning, they insisted - of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.
Aldous Huxley (Ends and Means)
Encourage others each and every day–nothing’s more important than our words. Did you know that, on average, each of us speaks about twenty-five thousand words daily? My last book didn’t have that many words. A lot of language is flowing out of our mouths every day and having an impact on those around us. But how much of that flow is fulfilling God’s intended purpose for our speech? How much of it reflects pride, rather than a gospel-motivated humility?
C.J. Mahaney (Humility: True Greatness)
I am not a one-issue voter in the sense that indicates I am an ignorant fundamentalist who only cares about one thing. I believe in protecting the environment. I believe in caring for the poor, the orphan, the widow in her distress. These are some of the so-called "issues" that many of us use to justify voting for Obama. How can we possibly claim it is Christian love for the poor and helpless that motivates us to vote for such a man when he is so committed to the killing of the most helpless among us?
Joseph Bayly
Who should we be trying to make the most proud? Our family? Our friends? Our teachers or bosses? What about the one who molded us out of the earth itself, who formed us like clay, and instilled within us the very breath of life that shaped the universe?
James D. Maxon
Sometimes, the only way to solve your problems in life, the only way to conquer your fears, is if you face them. If you face your problems, they just flee. But if you flee instead, run away from them, they only get bigger, and they can totally destroy you.
Elizabeth Newton (Moon Man (Train Flight, #1))
If God wants to move me, then I go! Yes, I am scared. Yes, I doubt. Yes, I am afraid things will crumble around me. Yes, I know this will be tough and this stress will sometimes seem unbearable. Yes, I know life will never be the same. But God wants to use ME! I am not saying no. I have my call. I must go!
Sunshine Rodgers (This Is My Heaven)
Motivation is bullshit, if you ask me this country could use a little less motivation. The people who are motivated are the ones who are causing all the trouble! Stock swindlers, serial killers, child molesters, Christian conservatives? These people are highly motivated, highly motivated. I think motivation is overrated, you show me some lazy prick who's lying around all day watching game shows and stroking his penis and I'll show you someone who's not causing any fucking trouble ok?
George Carlin
The aim is to love God because the pure heart loves loving God and because the true mind knows He deserves it. Unlike the accusations and beliefs of the critics and skeptics, it is neither an obligation of duty; nor a fear of damnation; nor a wish for power; nor a desire to appear more righteous than others; nor because God needs it; but because through all love, truth, reason, faith, honesty, and joy in and beyond oneself and the universe, He is worthy.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Now, for example, people with freckles aren’t thought of as a minority by the nonfreckled. They aren’t a minority in the sense we’re talking about. And why aren’t they? Because a minority is only thought of as a minority when it constitutes some kind of a threat to the majority, real or imaginary. And no threat is ever quite imaginary. Anyone here disagree with that? If you do, just ask yourself, What would this particular minority do if it suddenly became the majority overnight? You see what I mean? Well, if you don’t – think it over! “All right. Now along come the liberals – including everybody in this room, I trust – and they say, ‘Minorities are just people, like us.’ Sure, minorities are people – people, not angels. Sure, they’re like us – but not exactly like us; that’s the all-too- familiar state of liberal hysteria in which you begin to kid yourself you honestly cannot see any difference between a Negro and a Swede….” (Why, oh why daren’t George say “between Estelle Oxford and Buddy Sorensen”? Maybe, if he did dare, there would be a great atomic blast of laughter, and everybody would embrace, and the kingdom of heaven would begin, right here in classroom. But then again, maybe it wouldn’t.) “So, let’s face it, minorities are people who probably look and act and – think differently from us and hay faults we don’t have. We may dislike the way they look and act, and we may hate their faults. And it’s better if we admit to disliking and hating them than if we try to smear our feelings over with pseudo liberal sentimentality. If we’re frank about our feelings, we have a safety valve; and if we have a safety valve, we’re actually less likely to start persecuting. I know that theory is unfashionable nowadays. We all keep trying to believe that if we ignore something long enough it’ll just vanish…. “Where was I? Oh yes. Well, now, suppose this minority does get persecuted, never mind why – political, economic, psychological reasons. There always is a reason, no matter how wrong it is – that’s my point. And, of course, persecution itself is always wrong; I’m sure we all agree there. But the worst of it is, we now run into another liberal heresy. Because the persecuting majority is vile, says the liberal, therefore the persecuted minority must be stainlessly pure. Can’t you see what nonsense that is? What’s to prevent the bad from being persecuted by the worse? Did all the Christian victims in the arena have to be saints? “And I’ll tell you something else. A minority has its own kind of aggression. It absolutely dares the majority to attack it. It hates the majority–not without a cause, I grant you. It even hates the other minorities, because all minorities are in competition: each one proclaims that its sufferings are the worst and its wrongs are the blackest. And the more they all hate, and the more they’re all persecuted, the nastier they become! Do you think it makes people nasty to be loved? You know it doesn’t! Then why should it make them nice to be loathed? While you’re being persecuted, you hate what’s happening to You, you hate the people who are making it happen; you’re in a world of hate. Why, you wouldn’t recognize love if you met it! You’d suspect love! You’d think there was something behind it – some motive – some trick…
Christopher Isherwood (A Single Man)
More than my questions about the efficacy of social actions were my questions about my own motives. Do i want social justice for the oppressed or do i jusy want to be known as a socially active person? I spend 95 percent of my time thinking about myself anyway. I dont have to watch the evening news to see the world is bad, i only have to look at myself. I am not brow beating here, i am only saying that true charge , true living giving, God honoring change would have to start with the individual. I was the very problem i had been protesting. I wanted to make a sign that read “I am the problem
Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (Paperback))
Because the persecuting majority is vile, says the liberal, therefore the persecuted minority must be stainlessly pure...What's to prevent the bad from being persecuted by the worse? Did all the Christian victims on the arena have to be saints? ...A minority has its own kind of aggression. It absolutely dares the majority to attack it. It hates the majority - not without a cause, I grant you. It even hates the other minorities - because all minorities are in competition; each one proclaims that its sufferings are the worst and its wrongs are the blackest. And the more they all hate, and the more they're all persecuted, the nastier they become! Do you think it makes people nasty to be loved? You know it doesn’t! Then why should it make them nice to be loathed? While you’re being persecuted, you hate what’s happening to you, you hate the people who are making it happen; you’re in a world of hate. Why, you wouldn’t recognize love if you met it! You’d suspect love! You’d think there was something behind it—some motive—some trick.
Christopher Isherwood (A Single Man)
Do not say, 'But it is hypocritical to thank God with my tongue when I don't feel thankful in my heart.' There is such a thing as hypocritical thanksgiving. Its aim is to conceal ingratitude and get the praise of men. That is not your aim. Your aim in loosing your tongue with words of gratitude is that God would be merciful and fill your words with the emotion of true gratitude. You are not seeking the praise of men; you are seeing the mercy of God. You are not hiding the hardness of ingratitude, but hoping for the in-breaking of the Spirit. Thanksgiving with the Mouth Stirs Up Thankfulness in the Heart Moreover, we should probably ask the despairing saint, 'Do you know your heart so well that you are sure the words of thanks have no trace of gratitude in them?' I, for one, distrust my own assessment of my motives. I doubt that I know my good ones well enough to see all the traces of contamination. And I doubt that I know my bad ones well enough to see the traces of grace. Therefore, it is not folly for a Christian to assume that there is a residue of gratitude in his heart when he speaks and sings of God's goodness even though he feels little or nothing. To this should be added that experience shows that doing the right thing, in the way I have described, is often the way toward being in the right frame. Hence Baxter gives this wise counsel to the oppressed Christian: 'Resolve to spend most of your time in thanksgiving and praising God. If you cannot do it with the joy that you should, yet do it as you can. You have not the power of your comforts; but have you no power of your tongues? Say not that you are unfit for thanks and praises unless you have a praising heart and were the children of God; for every man, good and bad, is bound to praise God, and to be thankful for all that he hath received, and to do it as well as he can, rather than leave it undone.... Doing it as you can is the way to be able to do it better. Thanksgiving stirreth up thankfulness in the heart.
John Piper (When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God—And Joy)
This realization is much like Donald Miller's awakening after a day of protesting President Bush: "More than my questions about the efficacy of social action were my questions about my own motives. Do I want social justice for the oppressed, or do I just want to be known as a socially active person? I spend 95 percent of my time thinking about myself anyway. I don't have to watch the evening news to see that the world is bad, I only have to look at myself.... I was the very problem that I had been protesting. I wanted to make a sign that read "I AM THE PROBLEM!" " I cannot plead innocent. I have contributed to the sum total of misery in the world. ...Or, as Casey incisively remarks, "I have more evidence of crime against myself than I have for any other human being. My conscience accuses me directly of so much malice, whereas I know only by hearsay of the evil done by others. To be humble before God is to know that I am blameworthy." " Such Christian humility is not the same thing as low self-esteem or poor self-image. It is simply the refusal to be deluded by the lie that I am guiltless: "Empowered by the intensity of God's unconditional love for me, I find it possible to demolish my defenses and admit to the truth of my condition. There is nothing in my constitution or personal history that would give me any confidence in my own competence to bring my life to a happy conclusion.
Dennis Okholm
The Christian up to his eyes in trouble can take comfort from the knowledge that in God’s kindly plan it all has a positive purpose, to further his sanctification. In this world, royal children have to undergo extra training and discipline which other children escape, in order to fit them for their high destiny. It is the same with the children of the King of kings. The clue to understanding all his dealings with them is to remember that throughout their lives he is training them for what awaits them, and chiseling them into the image of Christ. Sometimes the chiseling process is painful and the discipline irksome, but then the Scripture reminds us: “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons . . . No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:6-7,11). Only the person who has grasped this can make sense of Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good to them that love God” (KJV); equally, only he can maintain his assurance of sonship against satanic assault as things go wrong. But he who has mastered the truth of adoption both retains assurance and receives blessing in the day of trouble: this is one aspect of faith’s victory over the world. Meanwhile, however, the point stands that the Christian’s primary motive for holy living is not negative, the hope (vain!) that hereby he may avoid chastening, but positive, the impulse to show his love and gratitude to his adopting God by identifying himself with the Father’s will for him.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane -- as a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devout -- there may be no more potent force than religion. When the subject of religiously inspired bloodshed comes up, many Americans immediately think of Islamic fundamentalism, which is to be expected in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. But men have been committing heinous acts in the name of God ever since mankind began believing in deities, and extremists exist within all religions. Muhammad is not the only prophet whose words have been used to sanction barbarism; history has not lacked for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists who have been motivated by scripture to butcher innocents. Plenty of these religious extremists have been homegrown, corn-fed Americans. Faith-based violence was present long before Osama bin Laden, and it ill be with us long after his demise. Religious zealots like bin Laden, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara, and Dan Lafferty are common to every age, just as zealots of other stripes are. In any human endeavor, some fraction of its practitioners will be motivated to pursue that activity with such concentrated focus and unalloyed passion that it will consume them utterly. One has to look no further than individuals who feel compelled to devote their lives to becoming concert pianists, say, or climbing Mount Everest. For some, the province of the extreme holds an allure that's irresistible. And a certain percentage of such fanatics will inevitably fixate on the matters of the spirit. The zealot may be outwardly motivated by the anticipation of a great reward at the other end -- wealth, fame, eternal salvation -- but the real recompense is probably the obsession itself. This is no less true for the religious fanatic than for the fanatical pianist or fanatical mountain climber. As a result of his (or her) infatuation, existence overflows with purpose. Ambiguity vanishes from the fanatic's worldview; a narcissistic sense of self-assurance displaces all doubt. A delicious rage quickens his pulse, fueled by the sins and shortcomings of lesser mortals, who are soiling the world wherever he looks. His perspective narrows until the last remnants of proportion are shed from his life. Through immoderation, he experiences something akin to rapture. Although the far territory of the extreme can exert an intoxicating pull on susceptible individuals of all bents, extremism seems to be especially prevalent among those inclined by temperament or upbringing toward religious pursuits. Faith is the very antithesis of reason, injudiciousness a crucial component of spiritual devotion. And when religious fanaticism supplants ratiocination, all bets are suddenly off. Anything can happen. Absolutely anything. Common sense is no match for the voice of God...
Jon Krakauer (Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith)
Most churches do not grow beyond the spiritual health of their leadership. Many churches have a pastor who is trying to lead people to a Savior he has yet to personally encounter. If spiritual gifting is no proof of authentic faith, then certainly a job title isn't either. You must have a clear sense of calling before you enter ministry. Being a called man is a lonely job, and many times you feel like God has abandoned you in your ministry. Ministry is more than hard. Ministry is impossible. And unless we have a fire inside our bones compelling us, we simply will not survive. Pastoral ministry is a calling, not a career. It is not a job you pursue. If you don’t think demons are real, try planting a church! You won’t get very far in advancing God’s kingdom without feeling resistance from the enemy. If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. Once a month I get away for the day, once a quarter I try to get out for two days, and once a year I try to get away for a week. The purpose of these times is rest, relaxation, and solitude with God. A pastor must always be fearless before his critics and fearful before his God. Let us tremble at the thought of neglecting the sheep. Remember that when Christ judges us, he will judge us with a special degree of strictness. The only way you will endure in ministry is if you determine to do so through the prevailing power of the Holy Spirit. The unsexy reality of the pastorate is that it involves hard work—the heavy-lifting, curse-ridden, unyielding employment of your whole person for the sake of the church. Pastoral ministry requires dogged, unyielding determination, and determination can only come from one source—God himself. Passive staff members must be motivated. Erring elders and deacons must be confronted. Divisive church members must be rebuked. Nobody enjoys doing such things (if you do, you should be not be a pastor!), but they are necessary in order to have a healthy church over the long haul. If you allow passivity, laziness, and sin to fester, you will soon despise the church you pastor. From the beginning of sacred Scripture (Gen. 2:17) to the end (Rev. 21:8), the penalty for sin is death. Therefore, if we sin, we should die. But it is Jesus, the sinless one, who dies in our place for our sins. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus died to take to himself the penalty of our sin. The Bible is not Christ-centered because it is generally about Jesus. It is Christ-centered because the Bible’s primary purpose, from beginning to end, is to point us toward the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for the salvation and sanctification of sinners. Christ-centered preaching goes much further than merely providing suggestions for how to live; it points us to the very source of life and wisdom and explains how and why we have access to him. Felt needs are set into the context of the gospel, so that the Christian message is not reduced to making us feel better about ourselves. If you do not know how sinful you are, you feel no need of salvation. Sin-exposing preaching helps people come face-to-face with their sin and their great need for a Savior. We can worship in heaven, and we can talk to God in heaven, and we can read our Bibles in heaven, but we can’t share the gospel with our lost friends in heaven. “Would your city weep if your church did not exist?” It was crystal-clear for me. Somehow, through fear or insecurity, I had let my dreams for our church shrink. I had stopped thinking about the limitless things God could do and had been distracted by my own limitations. I prayed right there that God would forgive me of my small-mindedness. I asked God to forgive my lack of faith that God could use a man like me to bring the message of the gospel through our missionary church to our lost city. I begged God to renew my heart and mind with a vision for our city that was more like Christ's.
Darrin Patrick (Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission)
As Christians we face two tasks in our evangelism: saving the soul and saving the mind, that is to say, not only converting people spiritually, but converting them intellectually as well. And the Church is lagging dangerously behind with regard to this second task. If the church loses the intellectual battle in one generation, then evangelism will become immeasurably more difficult in the next. The war is not yet lost, and it is one which we must not lose: souls of men and women hang in the balance. For the sake of greater effectiveness in witnessing to Jesus Christ Himself, as well as for their own sakes, evangelicals cannot afford to keep on living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence. Thinking about your faith is indeed a virtue, for it helps you to better understand and defend your faith. But thinking about your faith is not equivalent to doubting your faith. Doubt is never a purely intellectual problem. There is a spiritual dimension to the problem that must be recognized. Never lose sight of the fact that you are involved in spiritual warfare and there is an enemy of your soul who hates you intensely, whose goal is your destruction, and who will stop at nothing to destroy you. Reason can be used to defend our faith by formulating arguments for the existence of God or by refuting objections. But though the arguments so developed serve to confirm the truth of our faith, they are not properly the basis of our faith, for that is supplied by the witness of the Holy Spirit Himself. Even if there were no arguments in defense of the faith, our faith would still have its firm foundation. The more I learn, the more desperately ignorant I feel. Further study only serves to open up to one's consciousness all the endless vistas of knowledge, even in one's own field, about which one knows absolutely nothing. Don't let your doubts just sit there: pursue them and keep after them until you drive them into the ground. We should be cautious, indeed, about thinking that we have come upon the decisive disproof of our faith. It is pretty unlikely that we have found the irrefutable objection. The history of philosophy is littered with the wrecks of such objections. Given the confidence that the Holy Spirit inspires, we should esteem lightly the arguments and objections that generate our doubts. These, then, are some of the obstacles to answered prayer: sin in our lives, wrong motives, lack of faith, lack of earnestness, lack of perseverance, lack of accordance with God’s will. If any of those obstacles hinders our prayers, then we cannot claim with confidence Jesus’ promise, “Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it”. And so I was led to what was for me a radical new insight into the will of God, namely, that God’s will for our lives can include failure. In other words, God’s will may be that you fail, and He may lead you into failure! For there are things that God has to teach you through failure that He could never teach you through success. So many in our day seem to have been distracted from what was, is and always will be the true priority for every human being — that is, learning to know God in Christ. My greatest fear is that I should some day stand before the Lord and see all my works go up in smoke like so much “wood, hay, and stubble”. The chief purpose of life is not happiness, but knowledge of God. People tend naturally to assume that if God exists, then His purpose for human life is happiness in this life. God’s role is to provide a comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view, this is false. We are not God’s pets, and the goal of human life is not happiness per se, but the knowledge of God—which in the end will bring true and everlasting human fulfilment. Many evils occur in life which may be utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness; but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of God.
William Lane Craig (Hard Questions, Real Answers)
There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. The difference is commitment. Motivation and discipline will not ultimately occur through listening to sermons, sitting in a class, participating in a fellowship group, attending a study group in the workplace or being a member of a small group, but rather in the context of highly accountable, relationally transparent, truth-centered, small discipleship units. There are twin prerequisites for following Christ - cost and commitment, neither of which can occur in the anonymity of the masses. Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention. Discipleship training is not about information transfer, from head to head, but imitation, life to life. You can ultimately learn and develop only by doing. The effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure. Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well. If there are no explicit, mutually agreed upon commitments, then the group leader is left without any basis to hold people accountable. Without a covenant, all leaders possess is their subjective understanding of what is entailed in the relationship. Every believer or inquirer must be given the opportunity to be invited into a relationship of intimate trust that provides the opportunity to explore and apply God's Word within a setting of relational motivation, and finally, make a sober commitment to a covenant of accountability. Reviewing the covenant is part of the initial invitation to the journey together. It is a sobering moment to examine whether one has the time, the energy and the commitment to do what is necessary to engage in a discipleship relationship. Invest in a relationship with two others for give or take a year. Then multiply. Each person invites two others for the next leg of the journey and does it all again. Same content, different relationships. The invitation to discipleship should be preceded by a period of prayerful discernment. It is vital to have a settled conviction that the Lord is drawing us to those to whom we are issuing this invitation. . If you are going to invest a year or more of your time with two others with the intent of multiplying, whom you invite is of paramount importance. You want to raise the question implicitly: Are you ready to consider serious change in any area of your life? From the outset you are raising the bar and calling a person to step up to it. Do not seek or allow an immediate response to the invitation to join a triad. You want the person to consider the time commitment in light of the larger configuration of life's responsibilities and to make the adjustments in schedule, if necessary, to make this relationship work. Intentionally growing people takes time. Do you want to measure your ministry by the number of sermons preached, worship services designed, homes visited, hospital calls made, counseling sessions held, or the number of self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus? When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the names of family, friends and others who are self initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.
Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time)