We’ve built our modern churches on the assumption that God works through a few talented, impressive, and wealthy people. And we give all the other people comfortable seats from which they can be blessed by what God does through these leaders and influencers.
I honestly believe we in the American Church need to get on our knees and repent of our condescending attitudes toward God’s Holy Spirit. We have read Scripture’s clear statements about the Spirit manifesting Himself through every Christian, but we’ve decided we know better, these people aren’t ready for anything serious, and it will be more effective if the talented few do all the heavy lifting.
Francis Chan, Letters to the Church, page 164.
My gravest warning for a pioneer (though this applies to any
believer) is the hazard of duty without beauty. If Jesus Himself needed to
withdraw from crowds to be with His Father, and could not manage a ministry of
relief and humanitarian aid without a plumb line of prayer, we certainly cannot
either, and should not try.
Stephanie Quick, To
Trace A Rising Sun, p. 215.
The only hope for people lies not in giving them an example of how to behave but in the preaching of Jesus Christ as the Saviour from sin. The hearts of all get hope when they hear that.
Oswald Chambers, Disciples Indeed, page 309.
A. T. Pierson said, “There has never been a revival in any country that has not begun in united prayer, and no revival has ever continued beyond the duration of those prayer meetings.”
William Larkin, Acts, page 45.
“Revival is impossible apart from confession of sin among believers. It must be confession to God, and it may be confession to one another. Every hindrance must go. Sin must be confessed in order that it may be cleansed…Judgement must begin at the house of the Lord.” Only a holy people, a repentant and restored people, are vessels fit to be revived.
William Larkin, Acts, page 47-48.
When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men seek to perpetuate an unjust ‘status quo’, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some years ago I spoke to a man who had been a minister in a liberal, mainline denomination in Manhattan for four decades. He told me that when he had been trained for ministry in the early 1960s, he was confidently told by his teachers that the only religion that would survive in the future was the most mild, modern kind that did not believe in miracles or the deity of Christ or a literal, bodily resurrection. But when I spoke to him he was nearing retirement, and he observed that most of his generation of ministers presided over empty church sanctuaries and dwindling, aging congregations. “Ironically,” he observed, “they can only keep the doors open by renting them out to growing, vibrant churches that believe all the doctrines they were told would soon be obsolete.”
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, pages 24-26.
An implication of saying that the essence of worship is satisfaction in God is that worship becomes radically God-centered. Nothing makes God more supreme and more central than when people are utterly persuaded that nothing-not money or prestige or leisure or family or job or health or sports or toys or friends or ministry-is going to bring satisfaction to their aching hearts besides God. This conviction breeds a people who go hard after God on Sunday morning (or any other time).They are not confused about why they are there. They do not see songs and prayers and sermons as mere traditions or mere duties. They see them as means of getting to God or God getting to them for more of his fullness.
John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, p. 228
Another mark of good training is giving people responsibility with accountability. Our problem in the churches is that we don’t do that. The United States government takes multimillion-dollar planes and puts them in the hands of kids nineteen years old, and when those same kids come to church, we won’t even let them take up the offering.
Teaching to Change Lives, Howard Hendricks, p. 108
“The best teacher is not the one who knows most but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful.”
H. L. Mencken
quoted by Brad Lomenick, The Catalyst Leader: 8 Essentials for Becoming a Change Maker.