Fill Your Affections With the Cross of Christ

“When someone sets his affections upon the cross and the love of Christ, he crucifies the world as a dead and undesirable thing. The baits of sin lose their attraction and disappear. Fill your affections with the cross of Christ and you will find no room for sin”–– John Owen

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Chuck Swindoll: 10 Leadership Lessons Learned in 50 Years of Leadership

Chuck Swindoll, accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award at Catalyst 09, offered the following lessons he has learned:

  1. It’s lonely to lead. Leadership involves tough decisions. The tougher the decision, the lonelier it is.
  2. It’s dangerous to succeed. I’m most concerned for those who aren’t even 30 and are very gifted and successful. Sometimes God uses someone right out of youth, but usually he uses leaders who have been crushed.
  3. It’s hardest at home. No one ever told me this in Seminary.
  4. It’s essential to be real. If there’s one realm where phoniness is common, it’s among leaders. Stay real.
  5. It’s painful to obey. The Lord will direct you to do some things that won’t be your choice. Invariably you will give up what you want to do for the cross.
  6. Brokenness and failure are necessary.
  7. Attitude is more important than actions. Your family may not have told you: some of you are hard to be around. A bad attitude overshadows good actions.
  8. Integrity eclipses image. Today we highlight image. But it’s what you’re doing behind the scenes.
  9. God’s way is better than my way.
  10. Christlikeness begins and ends with humility.

The Two ‘Courts’

“There are two ‘courts’ we must deal with: the court of God in Heaven and the court of conscience in our souls. When we first trust in Christ for salvation, God’s court is forever satisfied. Never again will a charge of guilt be brought against us in Heaven. Our consciences, however, are continually pronouncing us guilty. That is the function of conscience. Therefore, we must by faith bring the verdict of conscience into line with the verdict of Heaven. We do this by agreeing with our conscience about our guilt, but then reminding it that our guilt has already been borne by Christ.”

– Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace (Colorado Springs, Co: NavPress, 1994), 54.

Do not Starve Yourself Any Longer

“What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear, to this day, is lack of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher who read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian. Oh begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercise. You may acquire the taste which you have not; what is tedious at first will afterward be pleasant. Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a pretty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether. Then will all the children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you, and in particular yours.”

John Wesley, writing to a younger minister, quoted in D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, Letters Along The Way, page 169.

“In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself”

Wislawa Szymborska, “In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself”

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn’t know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they’d claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn’t understand remorse.
Lions and lice don’t waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they’re right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they’re light.

On this third planet from the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.

“Discipling God”

“We have the idea that God could not reign if he did not have wise and understanding people to help him. . . . [The wise and understanding] are always exerting themselves; they do things in the Christian church the way they want to themselves. Everything that God does they must improve, so that there is no poorer, more insignificant and despised disciple on earth than God; he must be everybody’s pupil, everybody wants to be his teacher. . . . They are not satisfied with what God has done and instituted, they cannot let things be as they were ordained to be. . . . These are the real wiseacres, of whom Christ is speaking here, who always have to have and do something special in order that the people may say, ‘Ah, our pastor or preacher is nothing; there’s the real man, he’ll get things done!’ . . . Should God be so greatly pleased with these fellows who are all too smart and wise for him and are always wanting to send him back to school? . . . Things are in a fine state indeed when the egg wants to be wiser than the hen.”

Martin Luther, preaching his last sermon, on Matthew 11:25-30, quoted in Luther’s Works: Sermons I, pages 383-384.