Apologies if the last parts of the Christian education series are rolling out slowly. I’m still working on that series in the background. The lack of posts recently is distressing to me, also, but I’m being pulled in a number of directions, some of which I rather not be yanked into.
But that’s life, and it’s why it’s hard to be a blogger year after year. I’m still here, though, and I hope to have more out next week.
Thanks for being a reader. I appreciate your dedication to Cerulean Sanctum, especially when I’m forced to choose between “real life” and getting a post up regularly.
This year (2007) marks my 30-year anniversary of coming to Christ. I met Him at a Lutheran camp on a confirmation retreat weekend. Even to this day, I can remember much of that evening.
I’ve kept my eyes, ears, and spirit open over that time, storing away what I’ve learned. Obviously, what I share here isn’t the sum total of all I’ve learned, just some basic truths God taught me that inform my every day.
I hope these observation get you thinking and praying. Most of all, I pray that they are a blessing that brings lasting fruit for the Kingdom. Thanks for being a reader.
In no particular order…
Love God. Love people. It’s that simple.
Anytime we interact with another person, we should ask the Lord, In what ways can I help this person grow closer to You?
Christians who take time to observe the world around them see God and gain wisdom.
The most worthy lessons of the Kingdom take the entirety of one’s life to fully learn.
You are never more alone than in an unfriendly church.
God could directly feed the widows and the orphans with manna from heaven, but He instead chose us in the Church to bake the bread through the resources He’s already given us and then distribute it.
The world is tired of hearing Christians talk about the Gospel; they want to see it actually lived.
In the end, nothing in life satisfies but Jesus.
It’s a terrible indictment against men and young people in the American Church that old women are praying most of the intercessory prayers.
Always lead with love. Love should precede every act we perform in the name of Christ and love should be the finale.
Small home groups are fantastic for relationship-building, prayer, and sharing, but usually not the best venue for serious Bible study (especially if they’re co-ed).
Admonish an adult once, perhaps twice, then turn the issue over to the Lord in prayer. Never hound people.
We won’t find ourselves transformed, much less change the world, if we pray less than an hour a day.
Most Evangelicals have little or no understanding of the Holy Spirit.
The American Church needs to learn a truth Ben Franklin uttered at the signing of the Declaration of Independence: “We must all hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.”
Too many Evangelicals long to see Jesus thrash those they view as heretics rather than help them come to a better understanding of truth.
One of the most easily seen fruits in mature Christians is that they pray for people who oppose them rather than complain about them.
A simple truth we constantly forget: Do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
If all other aspects of Sunday meetings were removed, prayer would be the one untouchable, yet we spend less time doing it in our meetings than anything else.
The mature Christian is more concerned with being loving all the time than being correct all the time.
Each of use should know our neighbors’ names and the names of their children. We should also know their birthdays, if possible, because the card we send might be the only one they receive. And that’s a powerful witness.
It is a sign of our trustworthiness as Christians that other people seek us out when they need help. If that’s not the case, then something is wrong with our witness.
There is no shame in confessing a need, especially before fellow believers. That’s one reason why the Church exists.
Many of Evangelicalism’s most intractable problems would vanish if we adopted the confessional booth.
We must start seeing discipleship in terms of an entire lifespan and not what we can accomplish in the moment.
Preaching is most effective when it’s lived by the preacher.
We do a great disservice to families in our churches when we split them up the second they hit the lobby.
If we wish to see the American Church be all She can be, then let’s welcome persecution.
A youth minister’s primary responsibility isn’t to teens directly but to their parents. A good youth minister teaches parents how to teach their own teens, leaving the bulk of the responsibility to them.
The way we so easily judge people offends the One who said, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
We are too obsessed with heretics and not concerned enough with understanding what their heresy says about our own shortcomings and failures.
It costs us nothing to judge others, but an enormous amount to walk beside them and help them grow.
Bible study works best when led by highly-trained, Scripturally-knowledgeable people who have lived what they believe.
Busyness is crippling the effectiveness of the American Church, but no one wants to fix the root causes because doing so would call into question the very nature of our modern society.
True love is laying down our plans and schedules to help a person in need.
One of the worst things a Christian can be is unteachable.
God never rescinded His first command to Man: Steward the Earth.
The man who recognizes the goodness of God in nature and sees Christ in the stranger has the more complete theology.
A man is only as deep as his prayer life.
A message every church in America should learn: You never have to advertise a fire.
The more we restrict God in what He can and will do, the more He’ll honor that restriction.
The Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He only shows up where He’s gratefully invited.
Our neighbors should know that our houses are always open to them.
Love truly does cover a multitude of sins.
If we haven’t died at the cross, we’re worthless to the Kingdom.
Who we are in secret is a better gauge of our spiritual maturity than who we are in public.
Not seeng results in prayer? Better check how grateful we are to God for the little things He gives us.
We never know enough of someone else’s story to judge them perfectly. Better to listen carefully, then admonish…carefully.
No great, wise saint of God started out that way. We never know at what stage we meet one of those future saints, so we must always be gracious when interacting with others.
The perfect recipe for helping someone grow in Christ: Six parts love to every one part admonition.
God makes all things beautiful in His time, not ours.
If there were no people, there would be no reason for the Gospel.
If we are unwilling to help others work through the admonitions we give them, we should instead remain silent.
On Judgment Day, God will be far less concerned with how well we knew the Scriptures than how we practiced what we knew.
Too much of what we supposedly do for the Kingdom comes from the arm of flesh, not from the power of the Spirit.
There’s no reason each of us can’t lead at least one person a year to Christ.
Most churches never once consider what it feels like to be an outsider, which is why so few visitors take root.
Most of the West has heard about Jesus (even if they’ve heard incorrectly), which is why our practice of our message is as vital as our pronouncement of it.
A person may have perfect doctrine and a form of religion, but if he doesn’t care about his neighbor, it’s all for naught.
The reason we learn the Scriptures is to be equipped for every good work.
The more tender my heart is toward the least of these, the more tender it is toward God—and vice versa.
We minister best from the overflow of our Spirit-filled hearts, not from being poured out until empty.
For some reason, we stopped making heaven the ultimate destination.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain.
We make an idol of the nuclear family if we raise it above the needs of the household of Faith.
If a fellow Christian has a financial need, forget about buying that plasma TV. And remember this: someone is always in need.
The first thing the new Church did after being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was to see that no one among them lacked for anything.
Fear drives almost all human failings. The opposite of fear is love.
You can tell the effectiveness of a church’s discipling program by noting how many of the leadership staff came from within.
A king’s ambassador, when sojourning in a foreign land, is the full representative of the king and wields his complete power and authority. Never forget that we are Christ’s ambassadors.
We perpetually underestimate Satan’s wiles; at the same time, we underestimate our authority over him in Christ.
Most lost people aren’t consciously looking for ways to sin; they’re only trying to get by.
You and I have benefitted greatly from the prayers of others, but most people have never had someone pray for them.
Because our God is a God of beauty and truth, we Christians need to honor our artists and intellectuals as much as our pastors and preachers.
Most of the Lord’s finest servants labor in obscurity.
We Christians should spend every day working to depopulate hell.
We may know what it means to be a sinner, but few of us have appropriated what it means to be a saint.
Our communion meals should be feasts as big as we eat on Thanksgiving Day.
Wine is the drink of celebration, not Welch’s.
A church-hopper is a carrier of dissension.
We need to treat our pastors as imperfect fellow laborers, not as Grand Exalted Poobahs.
Without the Lord, we can do nothing.
If we Christians stopped worrying about what others think of us, the Church would be transformed and the world along with us.
We spend too much time trying to keep our youth from sleeping with each other and not enough time teaching them to be husbands and wives.
Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.
We were all born to serve.
American Christians are more concerned about what’s in their bank accounts than in their treasure chests in heaven.
Joy can only well up in a grateful heart.
Gossip destroys anyone it touches.
In Christ, there is no shame or guilt.
Christians who pray prayers with enormous faith get enormous results.
If we don’t reach people with the Gospel before they are 21, most will never come to Christ.
We have not because we ask not.
It is best to think of the Scriptures not as what we can read through in a year, but as what we can read through in an entire lifetime.
We come to Christ full of holes. Whatever hole we forbid Christ to fill will instead be filled by the world.
If we’re discipling correctly, no Christian in a church should be irreplaceable.
A community of Christians is only as strong as its weakest members.
If our lives are filled with everything but Christ, then we are impoverished indeed.
We are all dust.
God is always nearer to us than we believe Him to be.