Generosity is not a rule to be followed. It isn’t a nice ethic to live by. It’s a declaration about the way things actually work. The world is not closed, and God’s resources are not scarce or limited. They are abundant. . . So we distribute. We bring in to give out.
Choosing to give generously is a loud, rebellious statement to the world that God can be trusted.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.160
The easy Jesus, we think, is supposed to deliver us from our pain – relieving it.
But the real Jesus leads us through the pain – redeeming it. He causes good to appear where once there was only despair.
But here’s what it also means: We will never experience the redemption of our pain unless we are first willing to follow Jesus through it.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p. 88
Theologian Miroslav Volf makes the point that evil needs two victories in order to be triumphant. “The first victory happens when an evil deed is perpetrated; the second victory, when evil is returned” as revenge.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p. 59
The truth is, we will never encounter the real Jesus until we go beyond merely believing in him and actually start following him. Yes, it’s much harder to follow that to merely believe. But following is the only route to the rich and satisfying life we desire.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus forward, page 24.
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
Your greatest contribution to the world may not be something you do, but someone you raise.”
Andy Stanley, Global Leadership Summit, August 10, 2017
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.
If we let the Bible form how we think about him – if we let God is Father become that first thought – then we will see him as a God who fundamentally cares about relationships. We will see him as a personal being, not a distant deity out of touch with our lives. He is a God who has never done anything arbitrary. He has never done anything out of an isolated, self-centered will. Instead, He is a God who is involved. He is a God who, in his essence, is aware. He is a God who takes an interest in what comes into your mind when you first think of him.
Relationship is at the heart of who he is, the God triune – the Father who loves his Son in the fellowship of the Spirit.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 19
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
Lewis compared having a body to having an old automobile – “When all sorts of apparently different things keep going wrong, but what they add up to is the plain fact that the machine is wearing out! Well, it was not meant to last forever. Still, I have a kindly feeling for the old raddle trap.
As Lewis grew older, he joked about his health and his imminent reception in heaven. “What on earth is the trouble about there being a rumor of my death? There’s nothing discreditable in dying: I’ve know the most respectable people to do it.”
Terry Lindvall, Surprised by Laughter
C.S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady