We swapped the glory of the eternal God for a fabricated greatness we’ve forged on our own, one that never seems to be enough. We were created to image God, to resemble and reflect his glory, but we’ve seen it, suppressed it, and sold it, and now we’re left with an emptiness that nothing else can fill.
That’s the problem of sin. We’ve gotten rid of the very thing that gives us lasting pleasure.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 50
If gospel messengers were meant to merely blast out information, Jesus would have told his followers to go make subscribers, not disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). But because the Christian story is a message about Jesus, the real person, our response is not about what we do with the data but what we do with him.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 93
Your greatest contribution to the world may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
Andy Stanley, Global Leadership Summit, August 10, 2017
if obedience is not asking more of us that we are, then it won’t lead us to more of Jesus. Obedience that doesn’t need him won’t have him. But really, there’s no such thing as obedience like that.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 124
The people of God is actually a people of peoples, individuals from every tribe and language on this earth who become one people by their union to Jesus. It means Jews and Gentiles. It means Greeks and barbarians. It means anyone, regardless of his or her ethnicity, social status, or past; we’re talking about a people consisting of anyone and everyone who trusts in Jesus and finds in him the significance and happiness we all crave.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 118
Anger is not an original emotion. It never exists on its own; instead, anger is reactionary and always depends upon a context of previously established love. It can happen only as a reaction to a threat against someone or something that we truly value. In fact, the more we consider it, we begin to see that anger itself serves as a form of love that aims to defend our beloved.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p 75.
God loves himself more than anything else because he is the most lovable being there is. It’s the right thing to do. If he loves anything else more than he loves himself, he’d be an idolater, because idolatry is esteeming lesser things as if they had ultimate value. And because God is God, he’s good and right and true, which means his assessments and ultimate allegiance must always be good and right and true. And all this means, at the very least, that you and I are not the center of the universe. God is.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle for Normal, p. 23.
Sometimes I wake, and, lo! I have forgot,
And drifted out upon an ebbing sea!
My soul that was at rest now resteth not,
For I am with myself and not with thee;
Truth seems a blind moon in a glaring morn,
Where nothing is but sick-heart vanity;
Oh, thou who knowest! save thy child forlorn.
George MacDonald, A Book of Strife in the Form of The Diary of An Old Soul, p. 6
Published in 1880.
You’re not going to find in these pages a message that runs with the whole “find your inner champion” glibness. You don’t have an inner champion. You have an inner brokenness that desperately needs to be healed by Jesus. All of us, including me, are sinners who have bought into the lies around us, at least at some level. And if we’re really honest, we’ve likely fallen for them hook, line, and sinker. That’s because the lies are so many and so common that we don’t recognize them as lies. They’ve become too normal. It’s what I like to call “the stupid normal.”
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 2
One of the grandest things in having rights is, that though they are your rights, you may give them up.
from A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors, Both Ancient and Modern by Tryon Edwards, D.D.
Thanks to Tom Pedersen for bringing this quote to my attention.