When God Comes To Church

An excerpt from Bob Kauflin’s post on the book When God Comes to Church by Ray Ortlund, Jr:

The Proof that the Spirit is With Us

So what is the proof that the Spirit is being poured out on us? The voice of the church rings with prophetic clarity. The people of God are no longer passive, intimidated, unresponsive, uncertain. They are no longer preoccupied with self, convenience, comfort. They are no longer complaining, whining, griping. Instead, they become outspoken in God’s praises and gospel truth, “declaring the wonders of God” (Acts 2:11). (87)

To turn us from self-exaltation to Christ-exaltation, from self-focus to Christ-focus, is a true mark of God’s presence in our midst.


Active, but Not Alive

The church is to be set apart by spirituality. Revival triggers a firm rejection of the foolish devices of carnality firing up the engine of the church and a joyous rediscovery of the awesome power of simple, biblical spirituality. The revival of a dead church occurs through spiritual awakening granted by God, not through our programs and devices. If a church is invigorated with other animating forces, it may be active but it is not alive. (120)

May God protect us from having the appearance of life in our churches and ministries – activities, programs, busy-ness, full schedules – and no true life, which can only come through the gospel and the power of God’s Spirit.


What are You Expecting?

God is not limited to our past experiences, our traditions, or what we think the church’s next step should be. We must leave room for divine mystery, for surprise. God never acts out of character but he does exceed our expectations. (31)

What are you expecting God to do in and through your life this year? Are you anticipating that you might be surprised?

Loving = Listening

This thought has been incredibly evident in my life lately. I love so much more when I listen.

“Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives us God’s Word, but also lends us God’s ear.

We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them. So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to “offer” something when they are together with other people. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening. But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God. The death of the spiritual life starts here, and in the end there is nothing left but empty spiritual chatter and clerical condescension which chokes on pious words. Those who cannot listen long and patiently will always be talking past others, and finally no longer will even notice it. Those who think their time is too precious to spend listening will never really have time for God and others, but only for themselves and for their own words and plans.”

–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

(HT: Koinonia)

Via Take Your Vitamin Z

On Great Quote, One Sad Quote

“Christianity is the only major religion to have as its central event the humility of its God.”

– Bruce Shelley, Church History in Plain Language, p. 3

via Take Your Vitamin Z

“The most eminent American universities have become centers where sexual license and depravity are praised and the only conduct that meets with official rebuke is open disapproval of immorality” (Harold O.J. Brown, The Sensate Culture, p. 207).

via Blog and Mablog