Here's a sampling of some of the things I've been reading and reviewing this week. The hope is that these bite-sized sections of books, articles, blog posts, etc will stand on their own and be beneficial (or at least thought-provoking!) in-and-of-themselves. But I also hope that some of you will like these excerpts enough that they pull you into the larger work from which they've been taken.
Let's start sampling:
Larry Osborne, Sticky Teams. Zondervan, 2010, pp. 212 (bold emphasis added):
"Be greatly encouraged. Be filled with joy and optimism....Jesus did promise that he would build his church and that the gates of hell would not hold it back. Don't miss something important in that promise. The gates of hell aren't an offensive weapon. No one picks up a gate and goes on the attack. Gates are a last line of defense. Jesus wasn't just saying that the church can't be destroyed. He was saying that it won't be held back.
"For two thousand years, we've [i.e., the Christian church] suffered more than our share of failed leadership, astounding cultural blind spots, nasty fights, misplaced priorities, millstone traditions, and lots of sin in the camp. But we've not been able to kill off the church yet. She's still [Jesus'] bride. He's still in love with her, and he's still coming back to take her home....
"So hang tough, my friends. Remember: in the end, we win."
Scot McKnight, Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. Brazos, 2014. p. 162:
"To follow Jesus as the community of Jesus meant embracing the cross as the way of life: that meant the way of suffering, of death, of humiliation, and through that death into resurrected life. What the world said - and by 'world' I mean Rome's and Israel's leaders - came face-to-face with what Jesus said: where they said preservation, he said cross; where they said life, he said death; where they said victory, he said defeat. His death, paradoxically, is the way of life, and his defeat is the way of victory. What Jesus advocated, then, was a cruciform existence for his followers. The moral fellowship of the kingdom, then, is a fellowship in the cross."
Jared C. Wilson, The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto Against the Status Quo. Crossway 2015. p. 67:
"What we do in church shapes us. It doesn't just inform us or entertain us. It makes us who we are. The worship service, in other words, doesn't just cater to certain tastes [nor should it primarily be about this, if you follow Wilson's train of thought]; it develops certain tastes. We will eventually be conformed to the pattern of our behaviors. Most of us instinctively know this. Habits come from character, but it works the other way too - character is shaped by habits."
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