Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Holy Sweat Part Two: From the Mouths of Others

Previously in Truth Is..., I shared some stellar words from Tim Hansel's book, Holy Sweat. Now, the revelation that this book is not only full of good thoughts and catchy phrases from his own pen...Mr. H also does an excellent job of passing down quotable quotes from others.

  • Those who believe in God can never, in a way, be sure of Him again. Once they have seen Him in a stable, they can never be sure where He will appear or to what lengths He will go, to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation He will descend in His wild pursuit of man. If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant's child, then there is no place or time so lowly or earthbound but that holiness can be present there too. And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place that we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from His power to break in two and recreate the human heart because it is just where He seems most helpless that He is most strong, and just where we least expect Him that He comes most fully. (Frederick Buechner)
  • Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. (Will Rogers)
  • He who has learned to laugh at himself shall never cease to be entertained. (John Powell)
  • God doesn't ask us to give till it hurts - he simply asks us to give it all. (Bill Milliken)

Truth is...with so much good stuff out there, I sometimes wonder why I write anything of my own at all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Holy Sweat

I do not regret for a single moment the years I spent as a youth minister. They were the most fulfilling years of my life, filled with a sense of being used for a greater purpose than earning a paycheck.

It was also a time of being exposed to some great people. For instance, when I heard Tim Hansel speak at a National Youth Leaders Conference, I was introduced to a great guy, who has written a few wonderful books, one of which is Holy Sweat. Tim's explanation of the title: "HOLY reminds us of our highest calling. SWEAT is what it takes to get there."

Here's a little taste of the gems included in this tome...

  • I believe it is more important to live one word of Scripture than it is to memorize volumes. (From the chapter, "Turning Our Theology into Biology")
  • We are, in a sense, walking Gospels as we re-present Christ to the world through our "fifth Gospel."
  • The Bible does not give us much reason to believe that being saved is in any way to be equated with being safe. For instance, we often hear that Daniel's faith got him out of the lion's den, but we forget that it also got him into the lion's den.... God doesn't promise a carefree life; he promises peace and joy in the midst of the trouble (John 16:33).
  • The greatest act of courage is the first step.
  • It is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than it is to think your way into a new way of acting.
  • Stop worrying and start believing. You can't worry and praise God at the same time.
  • I'd rather make my days count than simply count my days.
  • We don't get a free detour around problems when we become a Christian; we get a guided tour through them.
  • Which would you rather have - a Christian reputation or Jesus Christ?
  • I believe the world gets to know what Jesus looks like by looking at us, God's people. So I say, let's give them a good look. Let's live a life so powerful, so unsettling, so wonderful, so joyous, so giving, that our lives wouldn't make a bit of sense if God didn't exist.

Truth is...sometimes cleaning off your shelf can be a glorious thing.

Next week: Hansel lays down some great quotes from others.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Who Will Speak Up For The Little Ones?

During the mid-to-late eighties, I spent my fair share of time on picket lines outside abortion clinics, protesting the loss-of-life taking place inside those walls. At the time, it was the standard approach for the pro-life folks among us.

But now, it is so much more satisfying to be able to say that I've spent the last 15 years speaking in high school health classes about the advantages of abstinence before marriage...and doing so on behalf of Amnion Pregnancy Center, a place where women and men can get non-judgmental counseling and support to help them through the difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy.

In honor of the upcoming Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, allow me to offer a song by Phil Keaggy that has been a motivator for hundreds of pro-life efforts for the past 30 years.

Truth is...it is far better to offer help and hope, than merely to speak up against something. Phil's song does a little bit of that. The hope lies in "though all on Earth forsake you now, yet He'll never forsake you," and in the recruitment of people who will speak up for the benefit of those who have no voice.

For the record, here are a couple prior pieces I've written in my personal effort to speak up for the little ones:

On Abortion

Murder or Medical Procedure?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pickled Truth

Thanks to Brian Crane's comic strip, Pickles, this particular edition of Truth Is... wrote itself.

Truth is...Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5, NASB)