You Don’t Have a Holy To-Do List

But here is the good news: it is not your ministry, church or people.  You do not have to create and protect a personal legacy, but simply to distribute and guard Christ’s legacy entrusted to his apostles.  You don’t have to bind Satan and storm the gates of hell.  Christ has already done this.  We’re just sweeping in behind him to unlock the prison doors.  You  don’t have to live the gospel, be the gospel, do the gospel, and lead the troops to redeem culture and reconcile the world to God.  We are not building a kingdom that can be convulsed with violence like other realms, but we are “receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28).

– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 119-120

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Some Questions on our Worship

Does our worship focus on this unfolding historical drama of the Triune God?  Are we being constantly directed outside of our inner experience and our own felt needs to the real newsmaker in history?  Are we perpetually drawn outside of ourselves, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,, despising the same, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God?” (Hebrews 12:2)?  Is our corporate and private worship centered on “human will or exertion” or “on God who has mercy,” (Romans 9:16)?  Is the main point trying to see how God fits into our existing plot or to hear God tell us how we fit into his unfolding drama of redemption?  Like the Old Testament feasts, the great events celebrated by Christians have to do with God’s mighty acts; the Son’s becoming flesh (Christmas), the crucifixion (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter), Christ’s exaltation to the right hand of the Father (Ascension Day), and the sending of the Spirit (Pentecost).  There is no room in the Christian calendar for celebrating our own work.

– Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 29

The Key is not Willpower but Deep, Unshakable Confidence.

The fight for joy in Christ is not a fight to soften the cushion of Western comforts.  It is a fight for strength to live a life of self-sacrificing love.  It is a fight to join Jesus on the Calvary road and stay there with him, no matter what.  How was he sustained on that road? [see Hebrews 12:2]  The key to endurance in the cause of self-sacrificing love is not heroic willpower, but deep, unshakable confidence that the joy we havetasted in fellowship with Christ will not disappoint us in death.  Sacrifices in the path of love were sustained in the New Testament not by willpower, but by joyful hope (Hebrews 10:34).

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 21

The Ministry of the Church

The ministry of the church is God’s service to us through pastors, teachers, elders and deacons, which generates a thankful community of genuine gift giving that overflows to the world.  The kingdom of God is something we are receiving, not something we are building (Hebrews 12:28)

– Horton, Michael; Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 2008; p. 233

There Is a Point of No Return

There is a point of confirmed sinning which may take you over the line of no return and you will be like Esau who sought repentance with tears and could not find it (Hebrews 12:16-17).  He could not repent.  If he could have there would have been forgiveness.  But the heart can become so hardened by sin that even its desires to repent are counterfeit.

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 149

The Author of Hebrews Insists that We Do This

When the author of Hebrews enjoins the reader, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), he not only gives a simple prescription for Christian transparency but insists on a reappraisal of one’s whole value system, understanding that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34)

– Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus, HarperOne, copyright 2005, page 40