Interviews, Writers

N.T. Wright Interview: “Simply Jesus” & Wright Responds to Critics

Click this link to read the unedited interview:
http://frankviola.org/2012/01/23/ntwright/

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Abiding, Christ as the Vine

Abiding

“Abiding in Him is not a work that we do…but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us.”
~ Andrew Murray

If what Murray said is true then all the work is the Lord’s. All is done by the might of the Spirit (and we get to be vessels for Him and His power). Even remaining in Christ, remaining in Love. I hope to return to this quote tomorrow to meditate on it, as well as what John talks about in his gospel, the 15th chapter, verse 1-17 (ESV):

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants,t for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

Blessings in Christ from a sleepy brother. Good night!

Flowered Almond, photo by Francesc Toldrà http://www.hidb.es

Flowered Almond, photo by Francesc Toldrà http://www.hidb.es

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Quotes

Sharing Some Quotes – Part 2

Wanted to share some quotes again that I have stumbled upon recently.

Hope you will enjoy them!

Frank Viola, from his book “From Eternity to Here”:

“The burning intent of your God is that all of His living stones be built together with other living stones to form His house. Not for themselves, but for their Lord. To be the house of God, by God and for God.”

Milt Rodriguez:

“Christians are so fascinated with Christ’s second coming when they haven’t even fully comprehended His first coming!”

Joshua Tongol:

“If you don’t INTERPRET scripture through the LENS OF JESUS, you’re going to be very CONFUSED about who God is. You’ll read many stories that may seem to CONTRADICT Jesus’ life and teachings. Why? Because all of the characters in the Bible didn’t FULLY understand God. But when Jesus came on the scene He said, “Let me show you what God is REALLY like.” Why? Because He was God in the FLESH.”

James 1:19-20, ESV:

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

T. Austin-Sparks from The On-High Calling Volume 1 – chapter 9:

“Looking to Jesus… (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

There is a real touch of Paul in this Letter to the Hebrews – “Looking off unto Jesus.” Whoever actually wrote this Letter, the shadow of Paul is over it. His influence is everywhere. And certainly he was called upon to look off unto Jesus. Now that is a very vital lesson for us to learn. We have to do that again and again in our Christian life. If we get our eyes upon anything but the Lord Jesus we just go to pieces. Have all respect for God’s saints. I am not saying that you have to eye every servant of God with suspicion and be saying all the time: “Well, of course, he is not perfect, you know.” Give honor to whom honor is due, but never build your faith upon any man, however good he may be.

And as for ourselves – well, I think perhaps we are more tempted to look at ourselves than anything else! This is one of our real Christian exercises. We have continually to remove our eyes from ourselves and everything to do with ourselves. There is nothing more discouraging than this self of ours, and nothing more misleading. Our own judgments are all wrong, and so are our thoughts and ideas. They are not God’s thoughts. We must take our eyes off ourselves, but not look out into space and be vacant. “Look off unto Jesus,” and you know how that sentence is finished – “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Did you start this thing? Are you a Christian because you decided to be a Christian? Well, the Lord help you if that is so! No, He started this thing. Are you not glad that you can say: “It was the Lord who found me. It was the Lord who put His hand on me.” What He said is very true: “Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). He was the author of our faith, and it says that He is the finisher – He will finish it.”

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Quotes

Sharing Some Quotes – Part 1

This post was originally posted in Swedish now translated to English and slightly modified:

I found some golden quotes that I’d like to share like this, just passing by.

The first one is from our brother who is no longer with us, Theodore Austin-Sparks:

“‘The time is coming, yes, and has already come, when true worshippers will worship in spirit and in reality. Indeed, the Father looks for men who will worship Him like that.’ (John 4:23, Phillips)

Jesus said to the woman, “the hour cometh, and now is.” Then He dismissed the whole system that had existed up to that time. It was the whole system of Judaism according to the Old Testament. In one sentence, He dismissed the whole dispensation. And He introduced an altogether new order of things.

What did He mean? Because when He said the hour cometh, and now is, He did not mean literally just an hour and so many minutes. He meant that it was the first hour of the new day. With this hour an altogether new day has come. What is the new day? If you would have asked Jesus to put it into a short sentence, He would have said, “Well, I am here.” The hour is not just a matter of time but a matter of PERSON. The new dispensation is the dispensation of Jesus Christ. Christ is the new dispensation. “I am here,” He said. You go through that Gospel of John. He is centering everything in Himself. “I am the Way; I am the Truth; I am the Life; I am the Shepherd; I am the Vine; I am the Resurrection.” It is a Person. It is that which lies behind everything. Christianity is Christ. Christ is Christianity. That is where it all begins and it never departs from HIM. The development of the Christian life is only the development of Jesus Christ in the life.”
~ Theodore Austin-Sparks ~
“That They May All Be One, Even As We Are One” – Meeting 7

The second quote is about the popular subject of “discipleship” and how we as the church are a tool in together conforming to Christ’s image. Brother Milt Rodriguez puts it this way:

“True discipleship…[is] not a matter of being placed into a program of individual training of bible study, individual prayer, individual evangelism, and individual character development. Rather, it is the life transformation process of being practically conformed into His image. This is the out flowing of His community life. It is the fleshing out of the fellowship of the Godhead.”
Milt Rodriguez ~

Jon Zens has also made a statement about “discipleship” that goes like this:

“Our life is not about “making disciples,” “multiplying churches,” or “completing the Great Commission in our generation. Our life is Christ. Of course, Paul traveled around and endured many hardships for the Gospel’s sake. But his passion in life was not to be a “soul-winner,” to see a church planted in every city, or to envision millions of house churches covering the earth. He summed up his life’s passion with clarity: “for me to live is Christ . . . the love of Christ compels me . . . that I might know him and the fellowship of his sufferings.”
~ Jon Zens

Because the last two quotes were about discipleship I came to think about a few blog posts by Frank Viola that I also would like to quote.

The first one is called “Discipleship, Mission, and Church: A Plea to Learn Our History” and brings to attention different viewpoints on missions and discipleship that exist today. Here is an excerpt from the blog post:

“The other camp rightly understands that you cannot separate disciple-making from the ekklesia. You cannot separate the forming of people into full-pledged followers of Jesus and a living, breathing, vibrant community that gathers under His headship.

To put it another way, you can’t separate discipleship from the ekklesia anymore than you can separate child-rearing from the family. And you can’t separate the ekklesia from Jesus Himself, for it’s His very body.

I want you to imagine a saltwater fish. The fish can only survive in his natural habitat, which is the ocean. Why? Because the ocean surrounds the fish with everything it needs to live, breathe, and have its being.

The fish is also a dependent creature. Fish swim in schools.

Now consider a different image. Imagine that this fish is removed from the ocean and from its school and is thrown in someone’s backyard. People take turns spraying the fish with a water hose every 15 minutes. They also sprinkle salt on its body.

That’s an apt picture of modern discipleship.

Discipleship has been separated from the Christian’s native habitat (ekklesia) and it’s become a highly individualistic event. An individual discipler “disciples” an individual disciplee to become a better individual disciple.”

To end with something different than a quote I simply want to share a link to the other blog post, so here it is: “Reframing Discipleship”

Not so much my own words in this post, but hopefully, you who read this will be blessed in some way anyway.

Have you read any quotes that you want to share? Maybe thoughts to share as well? Or something else you want to say? Feel free to leave a comment. It is deeply appreciated.

Love in Christ,
// Daniel

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Sort-of Poems, Thoughts

To Breathe and to See

Light seeping in

Photo by Vinicio Capossela | http://www.sxc.hu/photo/976656

Open…
Breathe…

Open…
Breathe…

Open…
Breathe…

Those were the words I had heard months ago. And when I let my lips softly form them I felt waves of a tingling presence in my body. I have been reminded of those words several times since then. I still don’t know what to make out of them or even if they are from God. If He does want to say something to me through them. Yes, I choose to believe that. And if it isn’t so He most certainly can turn that slip, that false conviction to achieve what He intended.

I believe that. Yes, I believe that it means that I have shut in so much inside of me. Things from my childhood that have left smelly piles of debris on my inside that have created unhealthy patterns and skewed views. A view of myself and others that is not the Truth. Yeah, who knows what truth really is? Does not everyone view things from a subjective perspective and refer to what we experience to be “truth”, our experience of reality?

But I know. I know in a way that cannot be described with words. Words do not seem to give justice to the reality that I am so fully convinced of having seen.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
(1 Cor. 13:12, ESV)

But there are so many veils that attempt to cover up the breath-taking and extremly beautiful vision of Him – the King, servant of all. What a paradox of greatness in simple shoes.

Veiled eyes. Dim light. Blurry contours. Broken whole. To see reality through smudged glasses with skewed, distored lenses makes me not to see at all. But maybe you can see me more with your eyes closed…?

“Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.”
(Proverbs 21:4, ESV)

So, if we are proud at heart our light is sin? Since sin means separation from “the Light of the world” it must implicate that when I see through proud eyes at myself, at others and at the reality (visible and  invisible) it is not Truth I see. What I see is only what is illuminated by the lantern of sin and does not in a long-shot give justice to reality itself – Jesus Christ.

Editing this in at a later time:
Earlier tonight when I was talking to my wife, I got a picture of how we humans, in our sin (which in essence is separation from God) create our own box, a confined world, where we are king and ruler. Where everything is basically exist to satisfy our goals and objectives. We want to build our own kingdom. Our own Tower of Babel. Whether it is by worldly or religious accomplishments.

I am slowly beginning to see. Truth flowers are budding in my heart’s soil. The vermin is on the brink of extinction and the weeds are uprooted one by one. He tends to me so gently. Each shovelful and every gentle breath in me gives life not of this world.

I see Him. At least to some extent. The light seeps into darkened corners and He opens up, I let Him open. I open up to Him.

He breathes life into me. He is the Life in me. In us. We are one.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
(2 Cor. 3:18, ESV)

There is only one way to wake up and see reality itself. The way is open to anyone who wants to humble himself, put off his ruling crown and receive Him as King.

“But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.”
(Daniel 5:20, ESV)

“Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.”
(Isiah 5:15, ESV)

Maria sings to God’s glory:
“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”
(Luke 1:51-53, ESV)

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