Can You Blame Them?

Churchgoers all across the nation say the Holy Spirit has entered them.  They claim that God has given them a supernatural ability to follow Christ, put their sin to death and serve the church.  Christians talk about being born again and say that they were dead but now have come to life.  We have become hardened to those words, but they are powerful words that have significant meaning.  Yet when those outside the church see no difference in our lives, they begin to question our integrity, our sanity, or even worse, our God.  And can you blame them?

- Chan, Francis; Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit; David C. Cook Publishers; Colorado Springs, CO; copyright 2009; p. 32-33

This is Real Freedom

The difference between living for God and living for anything else is that when we live for anything else we do so to gain acceptance, but when we live for God we do so because we are already accepted.  Real freedom (the freedom that only the gospel grants) is living for something because we already have favor instead of living for something in order to gain favor.

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 156

Its A Misguided Debate

Churches for years have struggled over whether their worship services ought to be geared toward Christians (to encourage and strengthen them) or non-Christians (to appeal to and win them).  But this debate and struggle over it are misguided.  We’re asking the wrong questions and making the wrong assumptions.  The truth is that our worship services should be geared to sinners in need of God’s rescue – and that includes both Christians and non-Christians.

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 154-155

Its Just as Much for Christians as it is Non-Christians

The story of Jonah shows us that this gospel of the cross – the good news that God relentlessly pursues sinners in order to rescue them – is just as much for Christians as it is for non-Christians.  Jonah’s life proves this, because Jonah, who knows God, obviously needs divine deliverance as much as anyone else in the story.  In fact, his need for rescue gets far more emphasis than anyone else’s.

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 154

God Does Not Just Rescue Us From Our Sin…

In redeeming us, God doesn’t simply rescue us from our sin; he also rescues us to do something – to develop the world around us to the glory of God.  Therefore, when God saves us, we no longer have to settle for creating our own transitory meaning. 

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 152

The Most Startling Aspect of God’s Mission

To me, the most startling aspect of God’s mission is that he has called fallible people like you and me to take part in it.  When Jesus came the first time, he began the process of “making all things new.”  When he comes a second time, he’ll finish what he started.  But in between those times, he has called us to carry on his mission.

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 151-152

Our Sin-Corrupted Mechanism

Regardless of where each of us is on the self-righteousness continuum, we’re all looking down our noses to some degree at someone who is not like us.  Our sin-corrupted survival mechanism makes us think “I have to believe I’m better than somebody

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 147

It’s Not Just Atheists nor Agnostics Doing This…

It’s not just atheists and agnostics and other non-Christians who write God off.  Christians too, can put him on the shelf.  In fact, every time we sin, we’re in that moment dismissing God.  ANd it’s always because in that moment, we fail to understand the size of our sin, the size of God’s grace and the size of God’s mission.

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 144

God’s Message to His People in Jonah

Jonah is the only prophetic book in the Bible that focuses on the prophet himself rather than on his message.  Jonah’s life is God’s message to his people.

What is that message?  God’s message to his people through the life of this prophet is that we’re all like Jonah.  We’re all great sinners - and God is a great Savior.

- Tchividjian, Tullian; Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il; copyright 2010; p. 143