Our Knowledge of Sin Is Laid Out in Paul’s Experience

The foundation of our knowledge of the power of indwelling sin in the life of a believer is laid out in Paul’s own experience.  He slugged his way through the fight till, at times, he was on the ropes, crying out from the edge of defeat (Romans 7:23-24).  Yet when the bell rang, he stood with his foot on the neck of his enemy and held up his hand to receive the crown of righteousness (II Timothy 4:7-8).

– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page

Few have the Confidence to Risk Everything for Christ

Since the day that Jesus first appeared on the scene, we have developed vast theological systems, organized world-wide churches, filled libraries with brilliant Christological scholarship, engaged in earthshaking controversies and embarked on crusades, reforms and renewals.  Yet there are still precious few of us with sufficient folly to make the mad exchange of everything for Christ; only a remnant with the confidence to risk everything on the gospel of grace; only a minority who stagger about with the delirious joy of the man who found the buried treasure.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 194

Is Life Absurd or Does It Have a Purpose?

The truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not rise and fall on the issues of corrupt clergy, the exploitation of the poor, the stinginess of multinationals or the irrational fanaticism of modern dictatorships.  It deserves to be accepted or rejected for what it is: an answer to the most fundamental questions a person may ask – is life absurd or does it have a purpose?  Jesus replies that not only do our lives have purpose but God has directly intervened in human affairs to make abundantly clear what that purpose is.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 192

Seized by the Power of a Great Affliction

Over a hundred years ago in the Deep South, a phrase so common in our Christian culture today, “born again” was seldom or never used.  Rather, the phrase used to describe the breakthrough into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was “I was seized by the power of a great affliction.”

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 188

The Cross We Never Expected and One We Find Hardest to Bear

The readiness to risk failure: Many of us are haunted by our failure to have done with our lives what we longed to accomplish.  The disparity between our ideal self and our real self, the grain specter of past infidelities, the awareness that I am not living what I believe, the relentless pressure of conformity, and the nostalgia for lost innocence reinforces a nagging sense of existential guilt: I have failed.  This is the cross we never expected, and one we find hardest to bear.

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, copyright 1990, 2000, page 186