Thinking Out Loud

December 5, 2015

More from the Twitterverse

Filed under: Christianity, quotations — Tags: — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:20 am

TOL banner 2You liked the last one so much that we’re back with another edition. If you’re looking for me on Twitter, spell the last name with the number 1 instead of the letter i.

You’re not deep,
You’re not a genius,
You’re not an artist,
You’re not a critic,
You’re not a poet,
You just have internet access. 

– Church Life Coach

Bible knowledge is not the same as Bible wisdom.

Just learned about a phone thing that is impenetrable to hacking.

Something called “land line.”

Church Curmudgeon: “The realistic novel as an art form will be dead in six years, as every third sentence will have to be, ‘He glanced at his phone.'”

Lynne Hybels [reflecting on Willow Creek 40th Anniversary] – “…people wondered if anything good could come from a bunch of kids with drums on stage and singing from an overhead projector.”

Jim Bakker’s 1st foray into television featured excess, money, sex.
Jim Bakker’s 2nd life on TV consists of: fear, scaremongering, and hawking goods.

Why not just teach the Bible?

Canada, October 19th: To my mostly U.S. blog readers and Twitter followers: That noise you’re hearing is a massive political shift taking place in Canada tonight.

Donald Miller: “Our children will rebel against us by reading long-form literature and using land lines to communicate.”

Never quite understood why the LGBT_ _ _ _ thing never includes an S for Straight. Not an option?

It’s Gr8 2 B Str8.

Bible Students Say: “[Greg Boyd’s] time could have been better spent saying he has no idea about the book of Revelation, just like everyone else.”

Existential Comics:

Biggest mysteries:
1. Why is there something rather than nothing.
2. How does knowledge relate to reality.
3. Why do cats do what they do.

Today, many so-called “luxury” homes have no backyards. The assumption is all recreation/entertainment time is spent indoors. (On screens?)

Andy Bannister:

“Without the Word we blow up.
Without the Spirit we dry up.
But with the Word and the Spirit we grow up”

Francis Chan: “You don’t want to leave a legacy of: ‘He played it safe, he survived, he made it through.'”

Shaine Claiborne [quoting an African proverb] – “Until lions have their own historians, the tales of hunt will always glorify the hunters.”

Michael Newnham: “Amazing to me how bloggers are always the bad guys…until the mainstream media decides to tell the same story…”

Eugene Peterson: “The vocation of pastor has been replaced by the strategies of religious entrepreneurs with business plans.”

Kids want guitar lessons?

The future seems to belong to the kids who can play guitar AND keyboard AND bass AND drums. (And a video editor.)

Nathan White: “The best pastor in America is probably some guy we’ve never heard of with no book deals and a church of like 50 people.”

If your church website has an “Our History” page, guess what? People don’t care. They want info about current programs, opportunities.

Karen Zacharias: “Folks who brag that with a concealed weapon they’d stop a gunman within minutes, are the same folks who can’t find their cell phone given 10 minutes to look for it.”

Richard Foster: “The pressing question today is not, ‘Is there a God?’ but, ‘What kind of God is there?'”

Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature is most effective, but brick & mortar stores and publishers haven’t caught on that all customers want this info.

Lisa Harper:

Believing Jesus means you’re willing to risk everything you are
and everything you have
for everything He taught
and everything He did.


…and that’s just part of what fell out of my brain this fall; there are more pictures and links at @PaulW1lk1nson and you don’t have to be “on” Twitter to drop by.

December 4, 2015

From the Twitterverse

Filed under: Christianity, quotations — Tags: — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:20 am

This is for those of you who read the blog, but don’t do the Twitter thing. We’ll start with one from last night where I was feeling particularly whimsical:


Acts 17:6b ESV “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”

Do the people in Beijing know that cities in the rest of the world aren’t shrouded in pollution-caused smog as their city is?

The mark of community — true Biblical unity — is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of a reconciling spirit. (Bill Hybels)

In many Christian organizations and churches, people who are part of the inner circle don’t realize they are part of an inner circle.

Stand out from among the crowd: If everyone else is being told not to do their resumé in Comic Sans font, You be the one who bucks the trend.

My condensation of Kyle Idleman’s take on Luke 9:23 in the book Not a Fan. (Book review + DVD curriculum review.)

Luke 9-23

Don’t tell God how big your storm is, Tell the storm how big your God is.

My wife told me today that if she had only 5 minutes to live, she would pour a glass of wine and write out all her passwords for the kids.

One of the biggest problems in the local church is that we don’t really know each other; we have superficial task-based relationships… While “Let’s get together sometime” isn’t very specific, it works if you hear it as, “I’d really like to get to know you better.”

My son just told me I’m the only one he knows who has a form of high blood pressure which is contagious.

Jesus knows me, this I love. Jesus Knows Me This I Love

Actual plot of an Amish fiction book: “Enos Erb, an Amish man, claims that his brother, Benny – a dwarf like himself – has been murdered.”

Every major youth ministry event or program where we live in the past 30 years was either named Chaos, Riot or Bedlam.

Tim Keller: “Major religions are mostly geographically bound to their homeland except Christianity which exhibits much more cultural diversity.”

Zach Hunt: “Time to go ahead and tear down the Statue of Liberty. Poor tired huddled masses are officially no longer welcome here.”

Control freaks are so invested in shaping other people that they rarely have time for personal development or growth.

Because of music downloading, we’re raising a whole generation of teens who don’t know how to get the shrink-wrap off a CD case.

That moment where you need to refer someone for counsel and conversation and realize your go-to resources are fewer than you thought.

You know things have gone too far when someone isn’t happy with Xmas and wants to change it to Ecksmas.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
Tale of a fateful trip
That started from a land-locked port
Aboard a big, big ship

[all that just to lead up to this link]

“Right now the Muslim community needs a Gandhi, or a Martin Luther King; only change from within the community will fix this.” ~My wife.

Does your pastor “unpack” a scripture passage, or does he “break it down?”

Much hinges on this, I think.

In German, the title of Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling translates into English as “I’m With You.”

Anne Lamott: “Everything takes so long — healing, wisdom, writing, relationships, gardens, forgiveness — everything except your kids and grandkids growing up.”

“If I believe Gospel-telling requires particular vocabulary or it’s not Gospel, I’ll be stiflingly uncreative in my ability to talk about it.” – Abraham Piper, at the original 22 Words blog, in December of 2008.  …His very first post ever: “I’d like to be an interior designer and plan restaurants without a single bad place to sit. It shouldn’t be that hard.”

…and that’s just part of what fell out of my brain in the last four weeks; there’s more, pictures, and links at @PaulW1lk1nson and you don’t have to be “on” Twitter to drop by.


December 22, 2014

And So It Goes

Last week this appeared on the Dallas Willard quotes Twitter feed:

We must be open to the possibility of God’s addressing us in whatever way he chooses, or else we may walk right past a burning bush.

So of course, a certain element couldn’t leave that alone and posted a reply:

Or we could stick to Scripture and be CERTAIN that He’s spoken!

And then someone blogged a link to it, writing:

Um, okay, but what if it isn’t really God? Wouldn’t we be better off just reading the Bible?

And so it goes, day after day after day after day.

God must let out a sigh each time he sees this.

Here’s my take. If you do in fact read the Bible, then you know very well that God speaks to us in different ways, through the Bible, through the general revelation and the common grace, through other people, and by the Holy Spirit.

My point here isn’t that there are a variety of methods God uses, or how many there are, or how they work. My point is the phrase “then you know very well.”

Dallas is saying in effect, don’t miss out on something God may be using to show you something or teach you something. He has infinite means at his disposal.

And deep down in our hearts we all know that to be the case.

But there are people of a certain stripe within the realm of Christianity who simply can’t wait for an opportunity to dismiss Dallas Willard’s brand of faith, and demonstrate their spiritual superiority by waving the sola scriptura flag. It’s not so much that they violently disagree with the idea that God is at work in the world around us in so many different ways, as much as it’s an attempt to exploit Dallas’ words so they can make their point, thus advancing the cause of the Bible and truth and pure doctrine.

The problem is, these people have God so completely figured out that in carrying out their version of Christian living they can sometimes miss out on what God is doing in the world around them; miss out on hearing God’s voice.

Didn’t somebody say that already?

September 17, 2013

Frittering Your Day Away on Twitter

Filed under: links, media, quotations — Tags: , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:11 am


I’m glad I decided to restrict my exposure to Twitter. I don’t know how people do it; do they have 36-hour days that I don’t? How do you follow a thousand people?

I find that trying to condense my thoughts into fortune-cookie sized wisdom-bites just about impossible. However, for what it’s worth, here’s what the last few weeks have looked like on @PaulW1lk1nson with annotations:

  • Elevation pastor Steven Furtick’s 2 1/2 minute sermon highlights video offers a refreshing approach to giving.
  • [Contrary to the 2nd commandment:] Paper money and coins carry the image of human government and leaders, therefore Christians should pay for everything with debit and credit.
  • I think some men validate their masculinity by the noise volume level of their power tools. [Written while trying to relax at a friend’s cottage… my wife just wanted to hear the loons, but the atmosphere was rather looney!]
  • At Newspring, pastor @perrynoble invites the congregation to vote on future sermon topics!
  • I wonder if instead of just teaching kids and teens abstinence, we would do well to throw in a few lessons on delayed gratification.
  • “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” – G.K. Chesterton  (quoted by: @EugeneCho]
  • “It isn’t possible to burn out if you’ve never actually been on fire.” ~Perry Noble
  • Creation care: Urban municipalities should enact bylaws that you can’t cut down a tree unless you’re going to replace it with a new one.
  • “Humble Theology” means we approach Scripture with an understanding of our inadequacy to grasp with certainty everything taught in the Bible [“Humble Theology” is a concept I discovered reading @DanKimball in the 2012 book, Adventures in Churchland published by @Zondervan]
  • @johnortberg — Great idea for Christian cartoon show–the disciples as little boys: ‘The Tiny Twelve’ Bet it happens
  • Faith is about relaxing in the way we do when we are with a friend who we know for certain is fond of us.- Catholic theologian James Allison
  • Pastors vary as to “office hours” but “hours” spent outside the office, i.e. in the community at large, are often most productive ministry.
  • Pastors: If you’re preaching to the choir, then you probably have your back to the congregation.
  • In Quebec, Canada, ‘tabernacle’ is a swear word, sort of like saying “Jesus” as an expletive. [But isn’t it interesting that, in keeping with Catholic priorities, the church is preeminent over Jesus, even when blaspheming?]
  • Today my wife asked why I’ve never helped when one of our cats had to go to the vet to be euthanized. My response? “I’m Anabaptist. We’re a pacifist denomination.”
  • This morning a rare face-to-face meet-up with a regular reader of  She starts her day at C201; awesome responsibility!
  • [attended a] Lively concert with the band newworldson @newworldson
  • In the tradition of “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23,” we bring you, “An Ox Looks at Being Unequally Yoked.” New from Oxdervan Publishing.
  • The Biebs, in New York City for Fashion Week, heads to a Hillsong-affiliated church: …
  • From a Canadian perspective, party politics at the municipal level or county level must automatically eliminate many good potential candidates.
  • When people on other planets find the Voyager spacecraft and the long-play record we sent them, what exactly will they play it on? Seriously, we sent them a record?
  • I want to start promoting the idea that “the mark of the beast” described in Revelation 13:17 is actually a reference to Google. [Six letters, too.]
  • I asked my wife if she wanted to see a counselor to talk about her nightmares, but at $80 an hour, she thinks the nightmares are cheaper.
  • A classic Canadian “inspirational” rock song! Copperpenny “Help Your Brother” …
  • Imagine if your cell/mobile phone had component parts that you upgraded instead of discarding it? Much less waste! …
  • Unexplainable things on Twitter: How former UK resident @SheilaWalsh could become a big fan of American college football. Don’t tell her British friends!
  • Rare YouTube gem: Phil Keaggy Band in Cleveland, 1978 w/ Phil Madeira “Mighty Lord” …
  • A classic Canadian “inspirational” rock song! Copperpenny “Help Your Brother” …

But I do love how Greg Boyd @greg_boyd totally ignores the 140-character limit and just continues from one Tweet to the next:

  • I just got COMPLETELY SLAUGHTERED in our worship service!!! BAWLED non-stop through two songs. The REALITY of God’s love overwhelmed me! When any group people are 100% focused on Christ in worship, each person becomes a conduit for God’s presence–and WHAM! It’s spectacular! It’s like the whole atmosphere of the room gets electrified! It’s as if the music and singing acquires a different dimension or something! I know many of u know what I’m talking about. One taste of this and you understand why heaven will never become boring! He is SO BEAUTIFUL! The one downer is that afterwards, your heart aches for every person on the planet to experience THIS!

April 8, 2013

Fixing The Jericho Road

Filed under: quotations — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:08 am
Think about it…
“We are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside… but one day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that a system that produces beggars needs to be repaved. We are called to be the Good Samaritan, but after you lift so many people out of the ditch you start to ask, maybe the whole road to Jericho needs to be repaved.”~ Martin Luther King Jr., from “A Time to Break the Silence” (sermon, Riverside Church, New York, April 4, 1967).

May 27, 2012

Spirit Day: Pentecost Sunday

Filed under: quotations — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:50 pm

Darryl Dash is a pastor and church-planter in Toronto who generally blogs for the benefit of fellow pastors, but posted something today which applies to us all:

Today is Pentecost Sunday. I’m haunted by these words by Oswald Chambers, which remind me of how much I need the Holy Spirit.

Beware of worshiping Jesus as the Son of God, and professing your faith in Him as the Savior of the world, while you blaspheme Him by the complete evidence in your daily life that He is powerless to do anything in and through you.

I long for evidence in our lives and churches that the Spirit is at work through us. I’m praying that it would be so.


November 7, 2011

A. W. Tozer: A Third Kind of Love

I wrote this on the weekend for Christianity 201, but it’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to and I want its words to echo here as well, though this isn’t the first time he’s been mentioned here.   The late  A. W. Tozer is a very deep author — the kind I was talking about two weeks ago when I redefined ‘rich text‘ — who should be on your must-read list.  (A few other posts at C201 on or about him can be located here.)  I hope you find the analogy here as worthy of your thoughts as I did.

In three different contexts this week, I was confronted by the writings of A. W. Tozer.  One of these, earlier this week, concerned a piece he wrote that was titled, “Three Kinds of Love.”  At first, I thought this would be an explanation of the difference between phileos, eros and agape love.  But it turned out to be something quite different; he writes about the love we have for God. 

Rather than just run the excerpt today, I’m going to try to paraphrase what Tozer wrote…

He begins by saying that traditionally, religious writers talk about two kinds of love for God:

  • The love that springs out of gratitude for God:  “I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my supplications,” and “We love him, because he first loved us.”  Ps. 116:1 and I John 4:19, italics added.  This is a very basic, elementary kind of love that actually has selfish overtones: It’s a love that is driven by benefits we receive
  • The love of the admiration of excellence: A higher level of love where the selfishness factor is reduced, and is replaced by a consideration of God’s glorious being; his power, knowledge and might become the driving factor; we love him because of all that he is.

But then, Tozer takes it to another level and introduces the analogy of a mother of what we would today call a special-needs child, in this case one who is considerably developmentally challenged.  This was a rather progressive example in Tozer’s day — we would approach this metaphor differently now — and I use it with apology to those of you whose nuclear or extended families are touched by the reality of a special needs child or several.

He says that, “The child excites no gratitude in her breast, for all the benefits have flowed the other way; the helpless infant has been nothing but a burden from the time it was born.”  This is a child that won’t be helping set the table, won’t be taking out the garbage.

At the second level, “Neither can the mother find in such a child any excellence to admire, for there is none.”  This is a child whose artwork won’t be adorning the refrigerator door; whose report cards won’t be shown off to the aunts and uncles.

Yet she loves the child with a great intensity.  Her life and the life of her child are more intertwined than they were before she gave birth.  They are bonded emotionally.  It is what he calls “the union achieved by hearts; more beautiful than anything that can be experienced by flesh and blood.”

There is no element of because.

It’s not, “I love because;” because there is no because. It’s simply, “I love.”

This is the third kind of love, what he calls a supranatural love.

For the last 48 hours, I’ve been trying to process how the story of the mother relates to our love for God.  Tozer notes that we all have things to be thankful to God for; just as we all have moments where we are overcome by the excellence of magnificence, the great majesty of God. 

But I’m trying to find in my own heart the parallel to the third type of love, something that is not the product of logic, or enumeration of God’s attributes, or any other because.   

Tozer says,

If this all seems to mystical, too unreal, we offer no proof and make no effort to defend our position. This can be understood only by those who have experienced it.  In the rank and file of today’s Christians it will be rejected or shrugged off as preposterous.  So be it.  Some however, will read and will recognize an accurate description of the sunlit peaks where they have been for at least brief periods and to which they long often to return.

And such will need no proof.

these thoughts based on Three Degrees of Love as it appears on pp. 147-150 of the 1955 Christian Publications edition of The Root of Righteousness.

June 20, 2011

Master of Apologetics

After putting this together for Saturday’s Christianity 201, I decided that it was worthy of more exposure…

Ravi Zacharias is one of the leading voices in the field of Christian apologetics, and an author of many significant books on the subject. RZIM, his organization is based in Atlanta, Georgia; and he has a daily radio program heard throughout Canada and the United States. These are in somewhat random order; so take a minute to pause between them; feel free to comment if one especially strikes you.

“We experience emptiness not when we are wearied by our trials, but when we are wearied by our happiness.”

“A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.”

“One of the most staggering truths of the Scriptures is to understand that we do not earn our way to heaven. …works have a place–but as a demonstration of having received God’s forgiveness, not as a badge of merit of having earned it.”

“I do not believe that one can earnestly seek and find the priceless treasure of God’s call without a devout prayer life. That is where God speaks. The purpose of prayer and of God’s call in your life is not to make you number one in the world’s eyes, but to make him number one in your life. We must be willing to be outshone while shining for God. We hear very little about being smaller in our own self-estimate.”

“Philosophically, you can believe anything, so long as you do not claim it to be true.
Morally you can practice anything, so long as you do not claim that it is a ‘better’ way.
Religiously, you can hold to anything, so long as you do not bring Jesus Christ in to it.”

“There is no greater discovery than seeing God as the author of your destiny.”

“These days its not just that the line between right and wrong has been made unclear, today Christians are being asked by our culture today to erase the lines and move the fences, and if that were not bad enough, we are being asked to join in the celebration cry by those who have thrown off the restraints religion had imposed upon them. It is not just that they ask we accept, but they now demand of us to celebrate it too.”

“I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where he is. He is exactly where we left him.”

“You cannot really have the world and hold on to it. It is all too temporary and the more you try to hold on to it, the more it actually holds you. By contrast, the more you hold on to the true and the good, the more you are free to really live.”

“Where the eye is focused, there the imagination finds its raw material. The right focus must be won at immense cost and discipline. Train the eye to see the good, and the imagination will follow suit.”

“It is theoretically and practically impossible to build any community apart from love and justice. If only one of these two is focused upon, an inevitable extremism and perversion follow.”

“It is a mindless philosophy that assumes that one’s private beliefs have nothing to do with public office. Does it make sense to entrust those who are immoral in private with the power to determine the nation’s moral issues and, indeed, its destiny? …. The duplicitous soul of a leader can only make a nation more sophisticated in evil.”

“Anyone who claims that all religions are the same betrays not only an ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even the best-known ones. Every religion at its core is exclusive.”

“God is the shaper of your heart. God does not display his work in abstract terms. He prefers the concrete, and this means that at the end of your life one of three things will happen to your heart: it will grow hard, it will be broken, or it will be tender. Nobody escapes.”

“The tragedy is that just when we need to remember the most because we have climbed some pinnacle of blessing and success- that’s when the tendency is to turn our back upon God.


Good Quotes, Quotation Collection, Christian Quotes, Liberty Tree, Christian Apologetics Forum, Just My Thoughts, Simply Quotastic

This is an awesome exercise to do. If there are any authors or speakers you’d like me to research, let me know, but I encourage you to do this sort of thing yourselves as well.

January 25, 2011

Bob George on Knowing God

Classic Christianity remains one of my all-time favorite Christian books.  Enjoy…

There’s a big difference between knowing what something says and knowing what it means.  Millions of Christians know what the Bible says, but many do not know what it means, because that can only be revealed by the Spirit. Man’s pride rebels against the idea that he cannot understand spiritual truth on his own but this is what the Bible clearly says:

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  (I Cor 2:14)

The reason why is very simple, there is no human alive who can read another man’s mind and if we cannot know what another human being is thinking how much less can we ever know what God is thinking? I Cor 2:11 reminds us of this:

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

How then can God teach us his thoughts? “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (v. 12) Man does not need the enlightening ministry of the Holy Spirit to understand the law; the law was given specifically for the natural man. We need the Holy Spirit to open our minds to the things having to do with the unfathomable riches of His love and grace, those things that “God has freely given us.” Those truths are described in I Cor. 2:9 this way:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.

In order to understand the things that God wants to teach us regarding His grace we must have a humble, teachable attitude for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Just as the same sun that melts wax hardens clay, the same message of God’s grace that softens the heart of the humble hardens the proud.  The proud cannot receive grace because the proud will not receive grace…

That is why an uneducated but humble person will receive far more genuine and intimate knowledge of God Himself than a highly educated but arrogant theologian…

Bob George, Classic Christianity

January 23, 2011

C. S. Lewis Defines “Progress”

…You may have felt you were ready to listen to me as long as you thought I had anything new to say; but if it turns out only to be religion, well, the world has tried that and you can’t turn back the clock.  If anyone is feeling that way…

First, as to putting the clock back.  Would you think I was joking if I said that you can put a clock back, and that if the clock is wrong it is often a very sensible thing to do?  But I would rather get away from that whole idea of clocks.

We all want progress.  But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.

…I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.

~C. S. Lewis, Basic Christianity

Older Posts »

Blog at