well, it can be rather over-used language. It’s hackneyed, and more than a little cliched. But here’s some out-takes from my reading of John Howard Yoder from Radical Christian Discipleship, his popular-level essays. Theres some gems here.

“The most popular alternative to trying to fit in is to try to be different..What these rebels often do not see is that their rebellion is usually just as much a kind of conformity as that of blatant conformists. In fact, it is doubly so. The rebel is first a prisoner of the system that he or she rejects…There is nothing more compulsive, not to mention boring, than the nonconformity of any one generation’s set of rebels.”  p28

“Some of the ideas and practices that we have rethought and become modest about have been objects of sincere and profound religious devotion. For this reason, we must be careful when cutting ourselves down to size that we do not also cut God down to size.” p43

“When resurrection is the centre of our message, human standards of possibility do not apply. When all the doors are closed, God opens a window or takes off the roof.” p46

“The way of the cross is not a theory about what God does in order to forgive, but what God did because God is forgiving.” p52

“It would be possible to speak of two kinds of Christian use of time. One is productive activity, like farming or manufacturing. The other is religious, like preaching or praying. Such a distinction does as much harm as good. In fact, to reserve the term ‘full-time Christian service’ for the latter is to express an attitude that is foreign to the gospel. Plowing is, or should be, as religious as praying. Bible reading is, or should be, just as labor intensive as road building. Whatever activity full-time Christians turn to is, or should be, worthy of all their attention and ability, and subject to critical evaluation as a case of time-redeeming stewardship.” p78

“The refusal to let our love be stopped by a border–be it of race, creed, or human sympathy–will be the measure of our Christian nonconformity.” p92

“This is the paradox of Christian freedom: that when we give up living by the rules and begin living in daily fellowship with Christ, we discover that rules are helpful after all. We discover that the rules were really meant all the time to help us live in fellowship with Christ.” p102

“Christians will never let themselves think that they are in fellowship with God because they are different from the world, but they will be different from the world because of their fellowship with God.” p103

“Those who understand God’s goodness can never keep it to themselves…the gospel kept for oneself is no gospel.” p104

“Hope is that quality of confidence that enables living as if God were to have the last word when at present that does not appear to be the case.” p125

“Peace is proclamation in the sense that we should talk not first of all about a social strategy for making the world a little less lethal, but about a victory already won. The gospel is about something that has already happened.” p160

“Where there is no total commitment to the gospel, there has been no total liberation by the gospel.” p175

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“The Messiah wrapped in a servant’s grimy towel is not giving up power. He is restoring it to its original purpose, cleansed of its distortions—the power to love a lovely and loveless world to the uttermost. None of his power is reserved for carefully guarding privilege or meticulously accounting for status; every bit of it is poured into this one end.”

From Andy Crouch’s, brilliant ‘Playing God’ p166.

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Again in a Q-&-A at a recent church weekend, I found myself encouraging people to keep on ‘turning up.’ Old wisdom says, “90% of life is simply showing up.” I get that.

But what about the things that we don’t want to show up to, but we have to?  Or the things that we do want to do, but are afraid to begin?

I want to encourage you to show up consistently and see what God does as a result. Just begin. Just show up and start. Show up and ask God to guide you as you go. 

In those times, as I begin by putting one foot in front of the other. I battle with the desire to immediately want to quit. Every single time I find that if I make myself show up and push through for long enough, something good happens. God’s favour and help is seen.

Even when we think we have nothing to offer, when we simply show up and are willing, God blesses the little that we do have and multiples it, just like He did with the fishes and the loaves.

There is always enough when God wants to give something away through us. There will always be enough when it comes from His hand.

+ What do you need to show up to today in your life?

+What are you running from that you need to face and begin?

Make a decision today to offer up your ‘not enough’ to God and see how He will multiply it and make it ‘enough’, simply because you were willing to show up. Being ‘light’ takes no striving. We simply show up. So keep on turning up, in His strength.

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*artwork from the brilliant Neil Haas.

What is it you do?
What is your routine with God?

We’ve all known the guilt, and pressure and duty in those ‘quiet-time’ routines.
Someone I met this week, courageously spoke of reading the bible in ninety days. Years ago I would have felt a crippling sense of inferiority! I’m really not that kind of reader, I’d fail miserably days into that kind of routine, but perhaps most of all that kind of approach doesn’t nurture sustainable life-giving faith.

Here’s it said even better from John Ortberg’s, newest book – Soul Keeping 

“A common problem is that people think of spiritual practices as obligations that will actually drain them. Sometimes I may need to engage in a practice like giving generously, or serving humbly, which my sinful side resists. But generally I need to engage with practices that connect me to God’s grace and energy and joy. That might be going to the ocean, listening to glorious music, being with life-giving friends, taking a long-hike – doing them with Jesus. The test of a sustaining spiritual practice is: Does it fill you with grace for life?”

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We miss transformation because we avoid pain. We set up our lives to prevent any kind of pain, struggle or suffering. We insulate, protect, deny, rationalise, and even theologically spin pain into something our brains won’t mind thinking about. 

1 David Murray’s great blog article: Ten cures for over-promising! Remember over-deliver.
2 David Hieatt’s brilliance on insane deadlines and the value they bring. Always great.
3 Pastoral burn out, and four-shifts in this all. Rick Warren’s take on this. 
4 Dodd’s ten phrases for dying churches. Challenging stuff.
5 The seven people on your team that well……are killing you! You know. 

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We’re only arrows, unable to do anything in our own strength.

I don’t know much about arrows but I think if you fire one badly it kind of wobbles as it flies through the air, and loses momentum. But if it is shot straight, with power and a good aim, it flies fast.

Sometimes it is held with the rest of the others, at other times it’s chosen to take aim at a target. I would imagine that as the arrow flies through the air, it feels a sense of liberation and direction, knowing that it was made for that very moment. It probably feels as though it is totally free. In being used, it realises what its true identity and purpose is. Then it gets gathered back again, by the one who is pleased with the arrow He knows.

Wait and fly, wait and fly. The life of a little arrow.

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Here’s some of my summer reading sugguestions in the light of Krish’s provocation.

Desiring the Kingdom by JB Smith, is long overdue. Lots of pals have recommended it. And I have so loved his Good and Beautiful trilogy.

Forty ways to look at Winston Churchill by Gretchin Rubin. Well simply because everything Rubin writes is worth reading. Insight, pace and brilliance, so am looking forward to this one.

The Fabric of faithfulness, by Steven Garber. Belief and behaviour woven here, and it’s a important looking IVP title. Cant wait to rummage with the big ideas of this.

Do / Purpose by David Hieatt, as his blog is epic and his creative output quite something. This seems a truly great brand counsel, story and purpose. A beautiful and inspiring title. 

An infinite journey by Andrew M Davis, looks like a substantive pathway into Christlikeness. What could be more

And I’ve got some Dallas Willard, Archibald Hart, Jonathan Martin and Eugene Peterson to re-read. Yes….. I’ve still gotta get better at my novel-reading ratio’s so I’d love to hear your sugguestions. What are you looking forward to read?

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Come just as you are……. bring your everyday moments. Your ordinary life so that God is all-in-all for you. Come just as you are. 

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More from James Bryan Smith in his epic trilogy on spiritual formation. These are really worth your time. Here more of what I’ve loved from The Good and Beautiful life, p182 over the weekend.

“We live in the unshakeable kingdom of God, so that even when we are tested, we never fail. This is why I am confident that our world is perfectly safe. Safe? You may be thinking, are you kidding? This world is scary and dangerous! That is true if you are on the throne of your life, living outside the kingdom of God. Inside the kingdom of God we are in no danger.

No danger? You could get cancer, hit by a bus, lose your job or lose a loved one in a heartbeat. Let me say clearly: none of these things can harm those who live in the kingdom. If we die, we step into glory. If we lose a job, we can learn how to trust God for something better. If we lose a loved one, we can be certain that we will soon enjoy their company, for all eternity. As long as we live in fellowship with our good and beautiful God in his mighty kingdom, we have nothing to fear, not even fear itself. For nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God. When we know this to be true, we can let go of worry and begin living with confidence and joy.”

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May the love of the Lord Jesus
draw you to Himself;
the power of the Lord Jesus
strengthen you in His service;
May the unstealable joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
And may you discover in a new way His unfailing peace.
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

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