In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.
- C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Christianity asserts that we are going to go on forever and that must either be true or false. Now there are a great many things that wouldn’t be worth bothering about if I was only going to live eighty years or so, but I had better bother about if I am going to go on living forever. Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are getting worse so gradually that the increase in my lifetime will not be very noticeable but it might be absolute hell in a million years. In fact, if Christianity is true, hell is precisely the correct technical term for it. Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others, but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or to even enjoy it, but just the grumble itself going on and on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God ‘sending us’ to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.
- C.S. Lewis
Two hours of rigorous and thoughtful questions by Martin Bashir & others directed toward Dr. Tim Keller:
I know it takes time to develop a life of prayer: set-aside, disciplined, deliberate time. It isn’t accomplished on the run, nor by offering prayers form a pulpit or at a hospital bed. I know I can’t be busy and pray at the same time. I can be active and pray; I can work and pray; but I cannot be busy and pray. I cannot be inwardly rushed, distracted, or dispersed. In order to pray I have to be paying more attention to God than to what people are saying to me; to God than to my clamoring ego. Usually, for that to happen there must be a deliberate withdrawal from the noise of the day, a disciplined detachment from the insatiable self.
- Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor
Where the religious leaders of his day focused on legalism, nationalism, and isolation from the outside world, he preached a message of love, humility, and restoration. Where the textual scholars hid away from the people and exercised a harsh religious code, he preached openness, love, and the need for a salvation that relied not on works but on the grace of God. Where others cast stones, he forgave. Where others passed by the poor, outcast, immoral, and destitute, he fed them, lingered with them, went into their homes, healed them, and spoke with them about their struggles and ideals. Where others saw fisherman, prostitutes, and tax collectors, he saw a group of disciples capable of changing the world.
- Carter & Coleman, How To Argue Like Jesus
Sticky Teams by (Larry Osborne) offers snarky leadership insights that can help your team stick together… Here are a few highlights:
Diagnosing healthy relationships: ”Friends and strangers have very different patterns of relating to one another. Friends are vulnerable, while strangers hold their cards close to the vest; friends tend to give each other the benefit of the doubt, while strangers are cautious and suspicious; and when it comes to dicey issues, friends debate, while strangers argue” (31).
Keeping sanity about controversies: ”…hot-buttons constantly change. One decade’s battleground is another decade’s yawn” (29).
Consequences of a negative leadership culture: ”When there’s pollution upstream, it eventually defiles everything downstream” (49).
Anonymous critics: ”I’m not comfortable listening to anonymous sources. Let me know when they’re willing to be identified. I’ll be happy to listen [then]” (53).
Problematic people: ”The best time to remove a problem player is before they have a place on the team” (48).
Contentious people: ”Be especially leery of those who are angry and argumentative for all the right things, particularly the single-issue crusader” (55).
Being inflexible: ”Lots of people prefer the comfort and familiarity of the past, even at the expense of the future and the success of the mission. It’s human nature” (70).
Not shooting your mouth off: ”Once we take a public stand on an issue, few of us ever change our mind. It’s too threatening for our egos. We become so concerned about defending our viewpoints that we have no time or energy to inspect them” (133).
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?
- John Piper