Greetings to all,
After a few weeks vacation it's feels good to be back in the office preparing messages and doing ministry. In my time away I came across two good quotes. The first is by William Barclay in his Daily , and the other is by Deitrich Bonhoeffer (one of my favorites) in his book "Spiritual Care."
The first is simple truth. The second is a bit more profound, but addresses so well the cause of much spiritual apathy, distress and anxiety and what we must do if we are ever to move beyond it. Enjoy!
"We must always remember this -- that Christianity does not mean knowing all the theories about the ; still less does it mean knowing all the theologies and the Christologies; because Christianity does not mean knowing about Christ; it means knowing Christ; and to do that requires not earthly wisdom, but heavenly grace."
"To a great extent it has become customary to expect from spiritual care and proclamation, not faith and salvation but advice and aid in any kind of emergency. We cannot allow this to continue. This is an avoidance of the gospel even and especially when the person in question participates in worship. As a rule this (desire for little more than advice and aid in emergencies) happens because the person is unwilling to give himself to the Word of God without reservation, to trust and obey the Word. There is a kind of natural acknowledgment of God's lordship over our lives, but when it comes to turning over to God a very concrete area and a definite decision, we deny that to him. Precisely this one item -- maybe only this one item we want to withhold from God. God is not to rule in this particular area and we do not notice that in this way we deny God lordship over our lives in general....
The withholding of specific parts of our own nature, of our vocation, and of our social life gradually delivers us into tight imprisonment. This condition is experienced as distress, but not understood as sin. And this condition can lead to total indifference toward proclamation (we become spiritually numb and unable to hear God speak)...
The human will does not want to bow before the will of God. One becomes spiteful, callous, and unrepentant toward God. People accuse God; they ask why God burdened them with this sickness, this death, this failure, this marital problem. The crucial question behind all these problems is whether or not is being accepted as God's Word...
It must always be clear to the pastor that the core of the "problem" is flight from the Word of God... Everything necessary for our help is to be found in the Word of God. It is essential for us to listen to the Word. The person must be brought back to the path of (listening to the proclamation of God's Word) from which he strayed in impenitence over a quite specific sin... As long as you consciously deny Christ obedience at this particular point in your life you can't hear...
Those trapped in a vice are not healed by being hit with advice. The flesh is strong. It loves a good argument. People will never relinquish the enjoyment of their sins even when outwardly they seem to be seeking advice. Only surrender to Christ and joyful discipleship are able to spring us free of the bonds of sin."
For those north of the equator, enjoy what remains of the summer and the approach of autumn (my favorite time of the year)!
In the Service of Jesus, Pastor Jeff
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans