“We are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found amoung us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.” – A. W. Tozer
“Religion killed Christ. Or I might add religion partnered with politics. History shows that when religious and political establishments come together for a cause, it often involves violence, war, and death.” – Bruxy Cavey in The End of Religion
“Generally, what I find is that the ordinary people who come to church are basically running their lives on their own, utilizing ‘the arm of the flesh’ – their natural abilities – to negotiate their way,” he says. “They believe there is a God and they need to check in with him. But they don’t have any sense that he is an active agent in their lives. As a result, they don’t become disciples of Jesus.” – Dallas Willard in Christianity Today
“We must never forget that God’s speaking to us, however we experience it in our initial encounter, is intended to develop into a intelligent, freely cooperative relationship between mature people who love each other with the richness of genuine agape love. We must therefore make it our primary goal not just to hear the voice of God but to be mature people in a loving relationship with him.” – Dallas Willard in Hearing God
“Only broken people are truly honest. By nature you and I are full of erroneous judgments… It is only after God has shaken our natural foundation to pieces… only when all our illusions are raised and we have lost the remainder of our inborn self-confidence… only when we see we have misjudgment concerning ourselves… then do we begin to be honorable. Revelation has its price.” – Manfred Haller in Christ is All in All
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” – C. S. Lewis
Sometimes in an effort to remind people of the cost of the cross, we withhold grace until we are sure they understand their sin. But it is in giving of our grace that we remind people that they need to go to Jesus to find their own. People understand their sin without our help. It?s grace they need help in understanding.
Shawn Zimmerman in a YouTube video about the AIDs crisis in Africa.
“The hijacking of the concept of morality began, of course, when we reduced Scripture to formula and a love story to theology, and finally morality to rules. It is a very different thing to break a rule than it is to cheat on a Lover.” – Donald Miller, In Search of God Knows What
I got an email the other day and in the course of telling his story the writer included a question posed to him by a friend that he later said “rocked me to my core and ricocheted around my emptiness for years like a steel marble in a pinball machine.”
What if the guy who sold everything he had to buy the incomparable pearl, was God and you were the incomparable pearl?
What if? The context certainly allows for that interpretation, and that is in effect what Jesus did when he gave up everything he had so that we could become his – now and forever!
“This adventure is not about me but Jesus, and apart from Him and the grace of the Spirit and Abba’s love in this process I would be lost and destroyed, or dead already. So let’s be people who rock the world, who fight for the unity of the heart, who embrace powerlessness and a love that is so wondrously painful that it threatens daily to pull us out of this age and into the presence of the One we so desperately love.” – Paul Young, Author of The Shack, in a pivate email
“The mind of a Pharisee thinks truth is more important than love but Jesus showed us that love is the most important part of truth.” – Adapted from Pharisiatis Test by Don Francisco, Rocky Mountain Ministries
“You should realize that the Bible neither describes nor promotes the local church as we know it today. The local church many have come to cherish – the services, offices, programs, buildings, ceremonies – is neither biblical or unbiblical. It is abiblical – that is, such an organization is not addressed in the Bible.” – George Barna in Revolution
“I have concluded at this point that the most dangerous enemy of Jesus-brand community is viewing community as an ideal to be achieved rather than as a gift to be received.” – Ken Wilson in The Promise, Pitfalls and Pursuit of Jesus-brand Community
“We are called to be fruitful – not successful, not productive, not accomplished. Success comes from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness comes from vulnerability and the admission of our own weakness.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen
“I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man’s mind into a habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God.” – Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
“We humans are notorious for taking something Scripture describes as a reality, giving a term to it and thinking we’ve replicated the reality. Paul talked about the church that gathered in various homes, but he never called it ‘house church’. Houses were just where they ended up in their life together. Jesus was the focus, not the location.” – Jake Colsen, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore
Our priorities at Lifestream: We value God’s power over human effort, transformation over conformity, mutuality over hierarchy, authenticity over entertainment, modeling over celebrity, following Jesus rather than implementing models, and the presence of the Living Christ above all else!
“When religion replaces the actual experience of the living Jesus, when we lose the authority of personal knowing and rely on the authority of books, institutions, and leaders, when we let religion interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we lose the very reality that religion itself describes as ultimate.” – Brennan Manning in The Wisdom of Tenderness
“The most important things in life are not things.” – Seen on a refrigerator magnet in Ireland
“Unless a definite step is demanded, the call vanishes into thin air, and if people imagine that they can follow Jesus without taking this step, they are deluding themselves like fanatics… Although Peter cannot achieve his own conversion, he can leave his nets.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship
“Brothers and sisters, break free from whatever ruts you have settled into! Whoever does not want to be set free – well, suit yourself, but don’t say you are living in Christ’s spirit. You can continue in the old ways and be a part of Christianity, but not of God’s kingdom. You can live in Christianity but not in Christ; the gulf between the two is great.” – Christoph Blumhardt in Break Free
In the last issue I mentioned a new book by Brian Dodd, entitled Empowered Church Leadership. I like a lot of what this book does to rethink the nature of leadership in the body as servants of character not power-brokers. I thought you would enjoy Brian’s depiction of the dysfunctional body life that exalts human effort over God’s mercy. He offers these Rules of Self-effort:
Rule 1: Don’t have anything wrong with you.
Rule 2: If you do, get over it quickly.
Rule 3: If you can’t get over it quickly, then fake it.
Rule 4: If you can’t get over it quickly or fake it, then stay way from me. I don’t want anyone to think I have it too.
Is it any wonder that people do not grow and cannot find healing in that kind of environment. Jesus offers us so much more?
“Jesus was not killed by atheism and anarchy. He was brought down by law and order allied with religion, which is always a deadly mix. Beware those who claim to know the mind of God and who are prepared to use force, if necessary, to make others conform. Beware those who cannot tell God’s will from their own. Temple police are always a bad sign. When chaplains start wearing guns and hanging out at the sheriff’s office, watch out. Someone is about to have no king but Caesar” – Barbara Brown Taylor in A Deadly Mix
“It’s hard to imagine a more depressing place than a room with a few hundred people expecting community to happen to them.” – Brian D. Mclaren in Leadership Journal
“Much Christian leadership is exercised by people who do not know how to develop healthy, intimate relationships and have opted for power and control instead. Many Christian empire builders have been people unable to give and receive love.” – Henri Nouwen
“Nothing makes people n the church more angry than grace. It’s ironic: we stumble into a party we weren’t invited to and find the uninvited standing at the door making sure no other uninviteds get in. Then a strange phenomenon occurs: as soon as we are included in the party because of Jesus’ irresponsible love, we decide to make grace ‘more responsible’ by becoming self-appointed Kingdom Monitors, guarding the kingdom of God, keeping the riffraff out (which as I understand it, are who the kingdom of God is supposed to include.)” – Michael Yaconelli in Messy Spirituality
“I think almost without exception that if I want to go deeper with God, be more spiritually alive, I probably need to do less of something. For so many years I saw being more spiritually alive as throwing one more duty on top of the pile.” – Ben Patterson in Leadership Journal
“Even in its ruined condition a human being is regarded by God as something immensely worth saving. Sin does not make you worthless, but only lost.” – Dallas Willard in The Renovation of the Heart
“Why, then, is there so much unfreedom in religious circles today? The sad truth is that many Christians fear the responsibility of being free. It’s often easier to let others make the decisions or to rely exclusively on the letter of the law. Some men and women want to be slaves.” – Brennan Manning in The Wisdom of Tenderness
Who Are You?
From an interview with author, Sheila Walsh in Leadership Journal, Summer 2002
In 1992 my life hit the wall. One morning I was on national television with my nice suit and my inflatable hairdo and that night I was in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital. It was the kindest thing God could have done for me.
The very first day in the hospital, the psychiatrist asked me, “Who are you?”
“I’m the co-host of The 700 Club.”
“That’s not what I meant,” he said.
“Well, I’m a writer. I’m a singer.”
“That’s not what I meant. Who are you?”
“I don’t have a clue,” I said, and he replied, “Now that’s right, and that’s why you’re here”
And the greatest thing I discovered there (was that I could be) fully known and fully loved. Jesus knew the worst and He loved me. What a relief to know the worst about yourself and at the same moment to be embraced by God. It’s so liberating to reach the end of yourself.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
The Pressure’s Off: There’s a New Way to Live
by Larry Crabb
This book was recommended to me by a respected friend who told me it was one of the best he’d ever read. I think you’ll agree when you read the first three-fourths of this book. Crabb invites us to stop trying to earn or seek God’s blessing, and instead put our intimate friendship with him above everything else we might want from God. My heart soared as I read his words (see below). The last fourth, however, is a disappointment as he subverts his own message by giving techniques for that relationship that put God and the reader back in a box that won’t satisfy. It seemed to me that he has not yet found the fullness of trust he longs for, but he longingly points us to an oasis on the horizon. Yet, for that alone it is well-worth reading.
Excerpt: “The central obstacle to His life flowing in us and pouring from us is this: We want something else more. And that’s evil. We want the blessings of a better life more than we desire to draw near to Jesus. “We approach him the way a weary child approaches a weary Santa Claus in the mall, who for the hundredth time asks, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ I wager no child has ever pressed close to Santa’s chest, looked into his eyes, and said, ‘You! I want only you!’ No child believes having Santa join him for dinner could bring more joy than watching Santa stack presents beneath the tree.”
A man had been stranded on the proverbial deserted island for years. Finally a boat comes into view, and the man frantically waves to draw its attention. The rescuers turn toward shore and arrive on the island. After greeting the stranded man, one looks around and asks,
“What are those three huts you have here?”
“Well, that’s my house there.”
“What’s that next hut?” asks the sailor.
“I built that hut to be my church.”
“What about the other hut?”
“Oh, that’s where I used to go to church.”
“Expectations are resentment waiting to happen.” – Anne Lamott in Crooked Little Heart
“Not forgiving is like swallowing rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott in Traveling Mercies
“The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself.” – Rita Maye Brown
“What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know they must do at the last day. For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God.” – A.W Tozer
“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.” – Dave Barry
“May all your expectations be frustrated. May all your plans be thwarted. May all of your desires be withered into nothingness. That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.” – A blessing prayed over Henri Nouwen by a friend
“Ruthless trust comes down to this: faith in the person of Jesus and hope in his promise in spite of all disconcerting appearances.” – Brennan Manning in Ruthless Trust
- Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
- Name the last five Heismann trophy winners.
- Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
- Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
- Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor or actress.
- Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.
How did you do? Now try Part 2
- List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
- Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
- Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
- Think of four people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
- Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
- Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.
Did you do better? None of us remember the headliners of yesterday. The people you’ll remember are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the biggest awards. They are the ones who care.
“Anyone God uses significantly is always deeply wounded… We are, each and every one of us, insignificant people who God has called and graced to use in a significant way… On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars.” – Brennan Manning in Ruthless Trust
Say that Again?
An official of a large denomination spoke of inviting Eugene Peterson to come and address their national pastor’s conference.
“How many people are you expecting?” Eugene asked.
“Between seven and eight hundred,” came the answer.
After a pause, Eugene respectfully declined their invitation.
Concerned that they had not gathered a crowd large enough to impress this well-known writer and translator of The Message, the denominational official asked if there was anything they could do to change his mind.
“At this point in my life, I want to make every minute count.” Eugene responded, “I rarely address groups larger than twenty people. If you can put something together more like that, I’d be honored to come.”
Now there’s someone who understands how Father does his work.
“The turning point in our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.” – Patrick Morley in The Seasons of a Man’s Life
“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think and act like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning away from the old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” – I Peter 4:1-2 in The Message
“It is symptomatic that in the Western world… the mass of people still pass Christianity by. Why? Because the visible presence of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in Christians as a whole, apart from a few individuals, is no longer present.” – Brennan Manning in Prophets and Lovers
“My true brothers are those who rejoice for me in their hearts when they find good in me, and grieve for me when they find sin. They are my true brothers, because whether they see good in me or evil, they love me still.” – Augustine in Confessions
Truth in Strange Places
“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is!” – Mark Twain
“The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.” – Charles Spurgeon in Lifeline, Fall 90
Truth in Strange Places
“Well, I may not know much about God, but I have to say, we built a pretty nice cage for him .” – Homer Simpson after helping some island natives build a chapel.
“There has been persecution of people who will live this costly life throughout the history of organized religion. We need to see that the real enemy of the cross-life? comes from the established religion of the day. That seems to be the clear teaching of Jesus – and history has born him out.” – David Boan and John Yates, brothers from Australia in an unpublished manuscript
Reflections for Ragamuffins
by Brennan Manning
Looking for a good devotional to encourage you daily in the kind of thinking that will draw you closer to Father? Look no further. Reflections for Ragamufffins offer excerpts from the writings of Brennan Manning. Admittedly the title is a bit weird, unless you have read the Ragamuffin Gospel but don’t let that distract you. Brennan Manning understands the Father’s heart and offers such relational insights into who God is and how we can engage him in the practical details of every day life. Here are some excerpts:
- The life he has planned for Christians is a Christian life, much like the life he lived. He was not poor that we might be rich. He was not mocked that we might be honored. He was not laughed at so that we could be lauded. On the contrary, he was revealing the Christian picture of man, one that was meant to include you and me.
- In choosing to be born in utter obscurity, the kIng of the universe ignored conventional expectations. He celebrated in his own birthday the freedom to be unorthodox. In failing to live up to people’s presuppositions, Jesus became a stumbling block to many of his contemporaries. The houseborken Jewish imagination cringed at the crib, shuttered at the ersatz salvation of a humble, unpredictable God. A king in rags was an insult to the finely honed intellect of the Pharisee and the rational mind of the scribe. There is a fascinating principle at work here in very religious people: ‘Messiah, you get our allegiance only when you fulfill our expectations.’
From the mind of Bob Blassingame, and the artistic talents of Dave Aldrich.
Religion vs Relational Life
- Religion conforms people to a system; relational life frees them to trust God.
- Religion divides people by preference and perspective; relational life celebrates the incredible diversity in God’s family.
- Religion bores people with routine; relational life is as fresh as a new conversation with an endearing friend.
- Religion rewards image and pretense; relational life demands honesty and reality.
- Religion provides substitutes for the active presence of Jesus in people’s lives; relational life focuses on that presence alone.
- Religion sacrifices people for the good of the institution; relational life teaches people how to live together as Father’s family.
- Religion uses what God says and does for its own agenda; relational life allows God to set the agenda and for us to simply follow him.
- Religion leaves us able to boast about how much we’re doing or how hard we’re working; relational life finds joy only in celebrating God’s work among us.
- Religion finds love inefficient and cumbersome; relational life embraces love as the heart of God’s working.
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” – Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” – Popular Mechanics, 1949
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” – The editor of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.
“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” – Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.
“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” – A Yale University management professor in response to a paper proposing a reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express.)
“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” – Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With The Wind.”
“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” – Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.
“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” – Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” – Spencer Silver, on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads.
“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” – Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.
“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” – Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure deGuerre.
“640K ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates, 1981
“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.'” – Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.
“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
Remember these next time someone tries to steal your dream.
Don’t Quit Keep Playing!
Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her.
Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked NO ADMITTANCE. When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing.
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.”
Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized.
That’s the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren’t exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life’s work truly can be beautiful.
Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.”
Feel His loving arms around you. Know that His strong hands are there helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces. Remember, God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. And He’ll always be there to love and guide you on to great things.
New Element Discovered!
The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by investigators at a major US research university. The element, tentatively, named administratium, has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of O. However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, which gives it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons. It is also surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since it has no electrons, administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would have normally occurred in less than a second.
Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. Some studies have shown that the atomic mass actually increases after each reorganization.
Research at other laboratories indicates that administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, churches and universities. It can usually be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.
Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.