Costly Discipleship

The passion of Christ is the victory of divine love over the powers of evil, and therefore it is the only supportable basis for Christian obedience. Once again, Jesus calls those who follow him to share his passion. How can we convince the world by our preaching of the passion when we shrink from that passion in our own lives? On the cross Jesus fulfilled the law he himself established and thus graciously keeps his disciples in the fellowship of his suffering. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Love Is Not

Dedicated to Becca:

To live, you have to die
To have, you have to lose
To get, you must give to
The one who steals from you

Most of all
Life’s light whispers within:
To love, you will be hurt
Then love and be hurt again

To live, to have, to get, to love
He said, Die and lose and give


Scripture has plenty to say about the orphan and our responsibility to them. We’re instructed that our neglect of the orphan reflects the purity of our faith before the Father (James 1:27). We’re warned that mistreatment of the orphan is punished by the wrath of God (Exodus 22:22–24). We are also exhorted to seek justice for the orphan (Psalm 10:18; 82:3). Since Scripture is our guide for living faithfully in this fallen world, we cannot afford to ignore the orphan if we desire to follow Christ.

During Old Testament times, the word “orphan” most often referred to children that were fatherless and not only isolated to those who had lost both parents. However, when our culture thinks about orphans, hardly anyone thinks about the boy or girl growing up in a single-mother home….

It takes men and families building relationships with kids and young adults intentionally looking for spiritual sons and daughters to adopt unofficially. To our surprise, I think we’d find most kids and young adults with absent fathers would be open to older godly men acting as a spiritual father in their lives.

–Phillip Holmes, Finding the Fatherless: A Call to Fill the Gap

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When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right. It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been No for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

–Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement address

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You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. (Ephesians 2:5)

…The thought is overwhelming, that soon this body of mine must be a carnival for worms; that in and out of these places, where my eyes are glistening, foul things, the offspring of loathsomeness, shall crawl; that this body must be stretched in still, cold, abject, passive, death, must then become a noxious, nauseous thing, cast out even by those that loved me, who will say, Bury my dead out of my sight.

Perhaps you can scarcely, in the moment I can afford you, appropriate the idea to yourselves. Does it not seem a strange thing, that you, who have walked to this place this morning, shall be carried to your graves; that the eyes with which you now behold me shall soon be glazed in everlasting darkness; that the tongues, which just now moved in song, shall soon be silent lumps of clay; and that your strong and stalwart frame, now standing to this place, will be unable to move a muscle, and become a loathsome thing, the brother of the worm and the sister of corruption? You can scarcely get hold of the idea; death doth such awful work with us, it is such a Vandal with this mortal fabric, it so rendeth to pieces this fair thing that God hath builded up, that we can scarcely bear to contemplate his works of ruin.

Now endeavour, as well as you can, to get the idea of a dead corpse, and when you have so done, please to understand, that that is the metaphor employed in my text, to set forth the condition of your soul by nature. Just as the body is dead, incapable, unable, unfeeling, and soon about to become corrupt and putrid, so are we if we be unquickened by divine grace; dead in trespasses and sins, having within us death, which is capable of developing itself in worse and worse stages of sin and wickedness, until all of us here, left by God’s grace, should become loathsome beings; loathsome through sin and wickedness, even as the corpse through natural decay. Understand that the doctrine of the Holy Scripture is: that man by nature, since the fall, is dead; he is a corrupt and ruined thing; in a spiritual sense, utterly and entirely dead. And if any of us shall come to spiritual life, it must be by the quickening of God’s Spirit, vouchsafed to us sovereignly through the good will of God the Father, not for any merits of our own, but entirely of his own abounding and infinite grace.

…every man that is born into the world is dead spiritually, and that spiritual life must be given by the Holy Spirit, and can be obtained from no other source.

–CH Spurgeon, Spiritual Resurrection

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«The challenge of modern life, even for people who do not have ADD, is to learn how to put on the brakes. In order to cope with the many demands of everyday life and the information overload each day brings, a person needs to be able to stop and think, to pause over one point long enough to extract what matters before moving on. Otherwise the day becomes a blur in which no significant work gets done. Lots of energy gets expended, but it is mere sound and fury. In order for the energy to get focused, a person must be able to put the brakes on incoming stimuli and outgoing impulses long enough to concoct a complex thought. Life is a powerful accelerator these days; what separates the successful from the frustrated is the quality of their brakes and their ability to use them. As mentioned earlier, a summary of the symptoms of true ADD looks like a description of what many millions of Americans contend with today even if they do not have true ADD.»
–Edward Hallowell, CrazyBusy

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«Our attention is constantly in demand; we have created a technological world which has filled our every waking moment with distractions. Attention Deficit Disorder expert, Dr. Edward Hallowell, now labels our society as having cultural ADD. Hallowell notes that there are two kinds of states that our mind can be in: one is the F-stateyou’re frantic, frenzied, furious…about to utter another f-word; the other state is the C-statecalm, cool, collected, concentrated.” The C-state is where your brain gets a chance to contemplate, to recharge, to let itself wander. C-State is the space of prayer, of meditation, of spirituality. However our superflat, superbusy, superstimulated culture has eaten into our C-state time. So many of us simply do not have the time to address or even contemplate the question of God or the meaning of life. C-state time is simply not part of our lives. Our sensory overload contributes to our spiritual poverty.»
–Mark Sayers, Superflat Faith

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If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn’t change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.

Socrates taught us: Know thyself.

Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, stricken dumb: it is, after all, only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren’t.

…From good to evil is one [eighth note], says the proverb.

And correspondingly, from evil to good.

(Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago)

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  1. Are you praying for quickening in your own life, in the life of your fellow-workers, and in the Church?
  2. Are you longing for greater power of the Holy Spirit in your own life and work, and are you convinced that you cannot go on without this power?
  3. Will you pray that you may not be ashamed of Jesus?
  4. Do you believe that prayer is the great means for securing this spiritual awakening?
  5. Will you set apart one-half hour each day as soon after noon as possible to pray for this awakening, and are you willing to pray till the awakening comes?

John Hyde, Punjab Prayer-Union:

  1. Mutual vivification
  2. Desperation for Spiritual baptism
  3. Bold proclamation
  4. Concerted prayer for revival
  5. Devoted prayer until revival

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«[French scholars argue that] in the postmodern era, after the 1960s or 1970s, our society is little by little losing the value of Depth, the value of something behind the visible or perceptible things we are confronted with in our daily lives. It may be God, Truth, Justice, Nation, Ideology, or Subject, depending on the cultural context; and all such grand things are now losing its credibility—so say postmodernists.»
–Hiroki Azuma, Superflat Japanese Postmodernity

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Sometimes we have to get lost to find ourselves.

Sometimes we gotta go walkabout.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Romans 8:38-39)

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