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Crazy Love by Francis Chan– Quotes and Concepts for Discussion

admin on December 19, 2010 - 3:58 pm in Book Quotes, Books, Faith & Culture

Crazy Love by Francis Chan– Quotes and Concepts for Discussion

Compiled by Stacey Tuttle

(Click here to read a chapter by chapter summary of Crazy Love.)

Preface

“To just read the Bible, attend church, and avoid ‘big’ sins—is this passionate, wholehearted love for God?”—Francois Fenelon, The Seeking Heart

I used to think “Christianity was simple:  fight your desires in order to please God.  Whenever I failed (which was often), I’d walk around feeling guilty and distant from God.  In hindsight, I don’t think my church’s teachings were incorrect, just incomplete.  My view of God was narrow and small.”

“This book is written for those who want more Jesus.  It is for those who are bored with what American Christianity offers.  It is for those who don’t want to plateau, those who would rather die before their convictions do.”

“I believe He wants us to love others so much that we go to extremes to help them.  I believe He wants us to be known for giving—of our time, our money, and our abilities—and to start a movement of ‘giving’ churches.  In so doing, we can alleviate the suffering in the world and change the reputation of His bride in America.”

“We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God.  You’ve probably heard the expression ‘I believe in God, just not organized religion.’  I don’t think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to “I can’t deny what the church does, but I don’t believe in their God.”  At least then they’d address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat.”

“We see Him as a benevolent Being who is satisfied when people manage to fit Him into their lives in some small way.  We forget that God never had an identity crisis.  He knows that He’s great and deserves to be the center of our lives.  Jesus came humbly as a servant, but He never begs us to give Him some small part of ourselves. He commands everything from His followers.”

Chapter One:  Stop Praying

“What if I told you to stop talking at God for a while, but instead to take a long, hard look at Him before you speak another word?  Solomon warned us not to rush into God’s presence with words.  That’s what fools do.”

“We are a culture that relies on technology over community, a society in which spoken and written words are cheap, easy to come by, and excessive.”

“God’s art [creation, nature, etc.] speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like.”

“I sometimes struggle with how to properly respond to God’s magnitude in a world bent on ignoring or merely tolerating Him.  But know this: God will not be tolerated.  He instructs us to worship and fear Him.”

“It confuses us when loving God is hard.  Shouldn’t it be easy to love a God so wonderful?”

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us….  Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.  For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.” –A. W. Tozer

“A lot of people say that whatever you believe about God is fine, so long as you are sincere.  But that is comparable to describing your friend in one instance as a three-hundred-pound sumo wrestler and in another as a five-foot-two, ninety-pound gymnast.  No matter how sincere you are in your explanations, both descriptions of your friend simply cannot be true.  The preposterous part about our doing this to God is that He already has a name, an identity.  We don’t get to decide who God is.”

To the Jews, saying something three times demonstrated its perfection, so to call God ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ is to say that He is perfectly set apart, with nothing and no one to compare Him to. That is what it means to be ‘holy.’”

“Colossians 1:16 tells us that everything was created for God….  Don’t we live instead as thought God is created for us, and to take care of our loved ones?”

“He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving [than we do to ask Him].  As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us.”

Chapter Two:  You Might Not Finish This Chapter

“When I am consumed by my problems—stressed out about my life, my family, and my job—I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice.  In other words, that I have a ‘right’ to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities.

Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.

Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional.  Both worry and stress reek of arrogance.”

“From start to finish, this movie [if life were a movie] is obviously about God.  He is the main character.  How is it possible that we live as though it is about us?  Our scenes in the movie, our brief lives, fall somewhere between  the time Jesus ascends into heaven (Acts) and when we will all worship God on His throne in heaven Revelation.”

“[When you die] any compliments you received on earth will be gone; all that will be left for you is truth.  The church in Sardis had a great reputation, but it didn’t matter.  Jesus said to them, ‘I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead’ (Rev. 3:1).  All that maters is the reality of who we are before God.”

Chapter Three:  Crazy Love

“My own love and desire for my kids’ love is so strong that it opened my eyes to how much God desires and loves us. My daughter’s expression of love for me and her desire to be with me is the most amazing thing.  Nothing compares to being truly, exuberantly wanted by your children.”

“The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.  He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him—and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by.”

“If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)?  Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling and even ‘threatening’ demonstrate His love?  If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed?”

“Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything He gives you?”

Chapter Four:  Profile of the Lukewarm

“It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel.  It is a proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity.”—Frederic D. Huntington, Forum Magazine, 1890.

“In Luke chapter 8, when a crowd started following Him, Jesus began speaking in parables—‘so that’ those who weren’t genuinely listening wouldn’t get it.

When crowds gather today, speakers are extraconscious of communicating in a way that is accessible to everyone.  Speakers don’t use Jesus’ tactic to eliminate people who are not sincere seekers.

The fact is, He just wasn’t interested in those who fake it.”

“I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns.  Thorns are anything that distracts us from God.  When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil.  A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it.”

Lukewarm people:

  • “Attend church fairly regularly.  It is what is expected of them, what they believe ‘good Christians’ do, so they go.”
  • “Give money to charity and to the church…as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.  If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so.  After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right?”
  • “Tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.  They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives.”
  • “Don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.  They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them.  Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one.”
  • “Are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act.”
  • “Rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers or friends.  They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.”
  • “Gauge their morality or ‘goodness’ by comparing themselves to the secular world.  They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus and so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street.”
  • “Say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives.  But only a part.  They give Him a section of their time, their money, and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives.”
  • “Love God but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors and missionaries and radicals.”
  • “Love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves.  Their loves of others is typically focused on those who love them in return…  There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable.”
  • “Will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give.”
  • “Think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven….  Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come.”
  • “Are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor….  Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel ‘called’ to minister to the rich; very few feel ‘called’ to minister to the poor.”
  • “Do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty.  They want to do the bare minimum, to be ‘good enough’ without it requiring too much of them.”
  • “Are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control.  This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God.”
  • “Feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America.”
  • “Do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to.  They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens—they have their savings account.  They don’t need God to help them-they have their retirement plan in place.  They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live—they have life figured and mapped out.”
  • “Probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different form your typical unbeliever.  They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong.”

C. S. Lewis writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.  It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

Lukewarm people ask,

  • ‘How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?’ instead of ‘How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?’
  • ‘How much do I have to give?’ instead of ‘How much can I give?’
  • ‘How much time should I spend praying and reading my Bible?’ instead of ‘I wish I didn’t have to go to work, so I could sit here and read longer!’

Chapter Five:  Serving Leftovers to a Holy God

“Is this idea of the non-fruit-bearing Christian something that we have concocted to make Christianity ‘easier’?  So we can follow our own course while still calling ourselves followers of Christ?  So we can join the Marines, so to speak, without having to do all the work?”

“Jesus’ intention in [the parable of the soils] was to compare the only good soil to the ones that were not legitimate alternatives.  To Him, there was one option for a true believer.”

“Our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King.”

“Which is more messed up—that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that we don’t think we’re rich?  That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves ‘broke’ or ‘poor’?  We are neither of those things.  We are rich.  Filthy rich.”

“I am concerned for the poor but more for you.  I know not what Christ will say to you in the great day….  I fear there are many hearing me who may know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudgingly at all, requires a new heart; an old heart would rather part with its life-blood than its money.  Oh my friends!  Enjoy your money; make the most of it; give none away; enjoy it quickly for I can tell you, you will be beggars throughout eternity.”—Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“The reality is that, whether we acknowledge our wealth or not, being rich is a serious disadvantage spiritually.  As William Wilberforce once said, ‘Prosperity hardens the heart.’”

“For years I gave God leftovers and felt no shame.  I simply took my eyes off Scripture and instead compared myself to others.  The bones I threw at God had more meat on them than the bones others threw, so I figured I was doing fine.”

Hosea 13:6 “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”

“The priests of Malachi’s day thought their sacrifices were sufficient. They had spotless animals but chose to keep those for themselves and give their less desirable animals to God. They assumed God was pleased because they had sacrificed something

God described this practice as evil….  Leftovers are not merely inadequate; from God’s point of view (and les we forget, He is the only one who matters), they’re evil.”

“Does anyone enjoy token praise?  I sure don’t.  I’d rather you not say anything than compliment me out of obligation or guilt.  Why would we think God is any different?”

“In Malachi, God says, ‘Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar!  I am not pleased with you,…nor will I accept an offering from you’ (NASB)….  I wonder how many church doors God wants to shut today.”

“Mark Buchanan writes, ‘Physical sickness we usually defy.  Soul sickness we often resign ourselves to.’”

“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”—Tim Kizziar

“I thought it was incredibly ironic that these [potato] chips were being advertised in a way that makes me think they are not harmful yet were really full of empty calories, weird chemicals, and, ironically, trans fat.

It struck me that many Christians flash around their ‘no trans fat’ label, trying to convince everyone that they are healthy and good.  Yet they have no substantive or healthful elements to their faith.”

If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream.  When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream.”

“Henri Nouwen writes… in his book With Open Hands: ‘It is hard to bear with people who stand still along the way, lose heart, and seek their happiness in little pleasures which they cling to.…  You feel sad about all that self-indulgence and self-satisfaction, for you know with an indestructible certainty that something greater is coming.’”

“We say to the Creator of all this magnitude and majesty, ‘Well, I’m not sure You are worth it….  You see, I really like my car, or my little sin habit, or my money, and I’m really not sure I want to give them up, even if it means I get You.’”

“When we put it plainly like this—as a direct choice between God and our stuff—most of us hope we would choose God.  But we need to realize that how we spend our time, what our money goes toward, and where we will invest our energy is equivalent to choosing God or rejecting Him.  How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all?”

“Are you willing to say to God that He can have whatever He wants?  Do you believe that whole hearted commitment to Him is more important than any other thing or person in your life?  Do you know that nothing you do in this life will ever matter; unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made?”

Chapter Six:  When You’re In Love

“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this:  If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever like, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?”—John Piper, God is the Gospel (Wheaton, IL:  Crossway, 2005), 15.

“Lukewarm living and claiming Christ’s name simultaneously is utterly disgusting to God.  And when we are honest, we have to admit that it isn’t very fulfilling or joyful to us, either.”

“The fact is, I need God to help me love God.  And if I need His help to love Him, a perfect being, I definitely need His help to love other, fault-filled humans.”

“The Bible says that when we obey God’s commands, we benefit.  I think we naturally assume that if we look out for our own interests and concerns, we will be happy.  But people who sacrifice for others will tell you that seasons of giving are the most rewarding of their lives.”

“George Bernard Shaw writes, ‘This is true joy in life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.’”

This [Mal. 3:10] is the only place in the Bible where God invites His people to test Him, to try to out-give Him.  He knows it is impossible, that no one can out-give the One from whom all things come.  God knows people will realize that ‘we have given you only what comes from your hand’ (I Chron. 29:14)”

Chapter Seven:  Your Best Life…Later

“Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.”

“John clearly tells us that ‘whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did’ (I John 2:6).”

In this passage [I John 3:16-20], we see that John questions whether it is possible to truly have God’s love in you if you have no compassion for the poor.”

“God didn’t just give a little for us; He gave His best.  He gave Himself.”

“Another important element of giving is with our time.  Most of us are so busy that the thought of adding one more thing to our weekly schedule is stressful.  Instead of adding in another thing to our lives, perhaps God wants us to give Him all of our time and let Him direct it as He sees fit.”

“One of the most memorized verses in the whole Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave’ (John 3:16).  Right there we see the connection between loving and giving evidently established.”

“When it’s hard and you are doubtful, give more.  Or, as Deuteronomy says, ‘Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake’ (15:10 NRSV).”

“When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples (Luke 9:3), He told them to ‘take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.’  Why do you suppose He said this?  Why not let them run home and grab a few supplies?  Why not allow them to bring some money along just in case?

Jesus was forcing His disciples to trust Him.  God would have to come through for them because they had nothing else to fall back on.”

“We are each given different gifts and talents by our Master.  The thing that matters most is how we use what we have been given, not how much we make or do compared to someone else.  What matters is that we spend ourselves.”

Chapter Eight:  Profile of the Obsessed

“The love for equals is a human thing—of friend for friend, brother for brother.  It is to love what is loving and lovely.  The world smiles.  The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing—the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely.  This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world.  The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing—to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the rich for the rich, of the black man for the white man.  The world is always bewildered by its saints.  And then there is the love for the enemy—love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love.  It conquers the world.” –Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat.

“We are consumed by safety.  Obsessed with it, actually.  Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to pray for God’s protection, but I am questioning how we’ve made safety our highest priority.  We’ve elevated safety to the neglect of whatever God’s best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world.

Would you be willing to pray this prayer?  God bring me closer to You during this trip, whatever it takes….”

“If one person ‘wastes’ away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has betting things to do that worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one?  If one person invests her or his resources in the poor—which, according to Matthew 25, is giving to Jesus Himself—and the other extravagantly remodels a temporary dwelling that will not last beyond his few years on this earth, who is the crazy one?”

On going to the movies…“I just don’t know if this is where I want to be when Christ returns.  I’d rather be helping someone or on my knees praying.  I don’t want Him to return and find me sitting in a theater.” –Grandma Clara

Obsessed people:

  • “People who are obsessed with Jesus give freely and openly, without censure.  Obsessed people love those who hate them and who can never love them back.”
  • “People who are obsessed with Jesus aren’t consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else.  Obsessed people care more about God’s kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress.”
  • “People who are obsessed with Jesus live lives that connect them with the poor in some way or another.  Obsessed people believe that Jesus talked about money and the poor so often because it was really important to Him (I John 2:4-6, Matt. 16:24-26).”
  • Obsessed people are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo.  A person who is obsessed with Jesus will do things that don’t always make sense in terms of success or wealth on this earth.  As Martin Luther put it, ‘There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day’ (Luke 14:25-35, Matt. 7:13-23; 8:18-22; Rev. 3:1-6).”
  • “A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the sin of pride is always a battle.  Obsessed people know that you can never be ‘humble enough,’ and so they seek to make themselves less known and Christ more known (Matt. 5:16).”
  • “People who are obsessed with Jesus do not consider service a burden.  Obsessed people take joy in loving God by loving His people (Matt. 13:44; John 15:8).”
  • “People who are obsessed with God are known as givers, not takers.  Obsessed people genuinely think that others matter as much as they do, and they are particularly aware of those who are poor around the world. (James 2:14-26).”
  • “A person who is obsessed thinks about heaven frequently.  Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is here in front of them.”
  • “A person who is obsessed is characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being.”
  • “People who are obsessed are raw with God; they do not attempt to mask the ugliness of their sins or their failures.  Obsessed people don’t put it on for God; He is their safe place, where they can be at peace.”
  • “People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him.  They are nourished by God’s Word throughout the day because they know that forty minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them for a whole week, especially when they will encounter so many distractions and alternative messages.”
  • “A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort.  Obsessed people know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God (James 1:2-4).”
  • “A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the best thing he can do is be faithful to his Savior in every aspect of his life, continually saying “Thank You!” to God.  An obsessed person knows there can never be intimacy if he is always trying to pay God back or work hard enough to be worthy.  He revels in his role as child and friend of God.”

Chapter Nine:  Who Really Lives That Way?

 “Once Nathan [Barlow] got a toothache, the pain of which was so intense that he had to fly away from the mission field to get medical attention.  Nathan told the dentist that he didn’t ever want to leave the mission field for the sake of his teeth again, so he had the dentist pull out all of his teeth and give him false ones so he wouldn’t slow God’s work in Ethiopia.”  (His work can be found at www.mossyfoot.com)

“When asked how he lives and where he gets a salary, [Simpson Rebbavarapu] answered in the most simple and humble manner, ‘I live by faith….  I don’t have a family or a wife, so what do I need a salary for?’  He would rather have that money go to supporting another program to help people or to expose more people to the Word of God.

Simpson says that by living this way, he has to trust that God has His hand on his life and will keep taking care of him.  He also says his dependence keeps him in prayer and close to God.”  (See www.beumin.org)

“Before Junio’s mom died from AIDS, she came to Jamie and said, ‘I have heard how you are taking care of my son, and I have never known such a love.  I want to be saved.’”

“[Rich Mullins] didn’t consider music to be his primary purpose in life; to him, it simply enabled him to pursue the higher calling of loving people: children, his neighbors, enemies, and non-Christians.  Sometimes he shows up to his concerts unshaven and barefoot.  To keep others from putting him on a pedestal, he often confessed his sins and failures in public….  Rich never knew how successfully his albums sold because the profits form his concerts and albums went directly to his church.  They paid him a small salary and gave the rest of the money away.”

“Rings likes to say that if Jesus saved him, then Jesus is able to save anyone and everyone. So instead of using his monthly check to buy alcohol or a hotel room for himself, he spends all of it on food at the local supermarket.  He transfers the food he buys to coolers in the back of his truck, then he drives to the beach and makes meals for his fellow homeless….  This man gives everything he has to others—literally everything—because he knows he has nothing that wasn’t given to him by God.”

“[George] Mueller’s purpose in starting the orphanage became twofold: The first was obviously to help the orphans; the second was to show people what it looked like to trust God for everything…  By the time George died, in 1898, over ten thousand orphans had been housed and cared for in the five orphan houses they built.

During his lifetime, a million and a half pounds went through George’s hands in the form of donations. [Note: he never asked for any money of anyone.]  He directed every cent toward those in need.  After his death, a British paper wrote of George that he ‘robbed the cruel streets of thousands of victims, the jails of thousands of felons, and the poorhouses of thousands of helpless waifs.’  Another newspaper noted that it had all been accomplished by prayer alone. ”

“Lucy lives near the same streets where she once worked as a prostitute and consistently opens her home to other young women who are caught in prostitution.  It is common knowledge on the streets that if you need anything, you can come to Lucy’s house.  She doesn’t have a lot, but her home is always open.”

“[Cornerstone Community Church is] committed to giving away 50 percent of our budget.  This is because we believe that when Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself,” He wasn’t kidding.  If we really want to love our neighbors as ourselves, then it makes sense that we spend at least as much on them as we do on ourselves.”

Chapter Ten:  The Crux of the Matter

“’Is this the most loving way to do life?  Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?’  I urge you to consider and actually live as though each person you come into contact with is Christ.”

“The point is that there is another path, an alternative to the individualism, selfishness, and materialism of the American Dream (even the so-called Christian version).”

“Oswald Chambers writes, ‘Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.’  To that I would add, ‘Be careful not to turn others’ lives into the mold for your own.’  Allow God to be as creative with you as He is with each of us.”

“We have a God who is a creator, not a duplicator.”

“I wrote this book because much of our talk doesn’t match our lives.  We say things like, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”  Then we live and plan like we don’t believe God even exists.  We try to set our lives up so everything will be fine even if God doesn’t come through.  But true faith means holding nothing back.  It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His promises.”

“Christians are like manure:  spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly.”

“Most of us use ‘I’m waiting for God to reveal His calling on my life’ as a means of avoiding action.  Did you hear God calling you to sit in front of the television yesterday?  Or to go on your last vacation?  Or exercise this morning?  Probably not, but you still did it.  The point isn’t that vacations or exercise are wrong, but that we are quick to rationalize our entertainment and priorities yet are slow to commit to serving  God.”

“For much of my life I didn’t understand the desirability of God or trust in His love enough to submit my hopes and dreams.”

“Trying harder doesn’t work for me.  Slowly I’ve learned to pray for God’s help and He has become my greatest love and desire.”

“If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate.  We never grow closer to God when we just live life; it takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.  When I pray, I sometimes ask god to make it the most intimate time of prayer I’ve ever had.”

“We are not alone.  Even now there are thousands of beings in heaven watching what is going on down here—a ‘great cloud of witnesses,’ the Scripture says.  It reminds me that there is so much more to our existence than what we can see.  What we do reverberates through the heavens and into eternity.”

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