My Favorite Spurgeon Quotes

Instead of my normal book review, I thought I would just share my favorite quotes from Charles Spurgeon’s devotional “Faith Checkbook”.  These are quotes that impacted me the most from his book, but don’t stop there.  I would encourage you to take this book as a yearly challenge for your devotional time.

My own weakness makes me shrink, but God’s promise makes me brave.

It will be far more profitable for me to become unselfish and out of love to my Lord Jesus begin to care for souls of those around me.

Among the lost souls in hell there is not one that can say, “I went to Jesus and He refused me”.

Jesus is yours now if you will have Him, lean on Him, lean hard on Him.

The Lord does not mock humble souls.

Those whom God blesses, devils cannot curse.

What can the Lord deny us after giving us Jesus?…for if there had been a limit anywhere, He would have kept back His own Son.

The Lord’s eye is not dim, and He sees the blood of the great Sacrifice with steady gaze.

If we are wise, we shall rather welcome the refining process than decline it.

His own Spirit was wrought this desire in us, and therefore He will answer it.

He that sends the clouds can as easily clear the sky.

We must feel for others, and give them, not a few dry crusts, but such things as we ourselves would wish to receive.

He argued from past deliverances that he should receive help in a new danger.

God has given us a promise of real estate in the glory-land.

Blessed is the man who is busy in secret with his kindness.

Jesus still proclaims the opening of the prison to them that are bound.

He chooses to send you, it is not for you to shrink from the heavenly call.

The Lord may not give gold, but He will give grace.

A dauntless faith in God’s brushes fear aside like the cobwebs in a giant’s path.

Let me make my service of Jesus my occupation, my lifework, my one pursuit.

We have been loved too long, and bought at too great a price to be now forgotten.

You are immortal till your work is done.  If the Lord has more witness for you to bear, you will live to bear it…A wiser mind that our own arranges our destiny.

Our bodies humble us and that is about the best thing they do for us =)

Clouds may gather, but the Lord can blow them away.

What a bondage it is when the child of God is sold under sin, held in chains by Satan, deprived of his liberty, robbed of his power in prayer, and his delight in the Lord!

The fear of God casts out envy of men…He who fears God has nothing else to fear.

The enemy has been once overcome.  I fight with a beaten foe.

It would be well to know much, but better to love much.

Worry kills, but confidence in God is like healing medicine.

Rest assured that losses for the Lord are not losses.

In Him we died unto sin once, and the capital sentence cannot a second time be executed.

Warrior of the cross, fight on!  Never rest till thy victory is complete, for thine eternal reward will prove worthy of a life of warfare.

All our past mercies are tokens of future mercies.

We have only to summon courage enough to go forward, and we shall win dark homes and hard hearts for Jesus.

Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in His grace; and make the vision of His favor more precious.

Our business is to persevere and learn by little by little.

He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness.

Let me never find the galley of self-conceit and self-confidence floating on the waves of my usefulness.

Try the preaching of the crucified, risen, and ascended Savior; for this is the greatest “draw” that was ever yet manifested among men.

His heart is with His people, His delight is in them, He is never slow to meet them.

God cannot turn to us unless we turn from our sin.

Jesus made the life of His people as eternal as His own.  How can they die as long as He lives.

God’s time is the best time.

It ought not to be difficult for us to humble ourselves, for what have we to be proud of? =)

O Lord, sink me in self that I may rise in thee.

The all-sufficient is sufficient for my largest want.  He who is sufficient for earth and heaven is certainly able to meet the case of a poor worm like me.

We have looked elsewhere long enough, it is time that we look along to Him who invites our expectation, and promises to give us His salvation.

Let us thank God for a little success, and pray for more.

The remembrance of the grief shall heighten the flavor of the delight.

How can we distrust when Jehovah Himself becomes house and home, refuge and rest to us?

I have more knowledge, more experience, more patience, more stability than I had before the trials came.  (Amen!)

But as for the Lord our God, He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we already enjoyed His aid.

He will be all to all His beloved so long as the moon endureth.

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What Does Your Teen Need?

A parent shared this podcast between two Christian moms who have raised teenagers. They give some tremendous lessons, and ones you will want to hear as you either help parents teenagers, or raise teenagers on your own! Give a listen, it is worth your time.

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2019 Goals For Youth Ministry

Each year, I compile a list of goals for the coming year.  One piece of advice, have a list on your phone or cork-board in your office where you write these ideas all throughout the previous year.  That way, when you sit down at your computer in December, you’re not lost for ideas.

Here’s the list for 2019.  Can’t wait to get started!

  • Inter-generational Service Projects—Encourage more adult & teen service involvement, including helping plan events.
  • New Writing Project—God continues to provide writing opportunities through book sales and blog articles for youth ministry, and this coming year working towards another book opportunity.
  • Summer Camp—One of my bucket list items—speaking at a summer camp! And I get to bring teens, what a deal!
  • Theology Enrichment—Review of theological textbooks and attendance of a theological/preaching conference.
  • Pastoral Training Course—After a decade in the ministry, I’d like to write down some lessons I’ve learned and wisdom I’ve received from others, and put this in a training course to help those new to ministry.
  • Teen Mentoring—While the goal of adults mentoring teens continues to be a goal, I’d like to see more teens mentoring younger students. Leadership teens will be expected to mentor younger teens, and younger teens will learn to be a mentor and example to younger kids.
  • International Trip—Mission Trip to Germany this summer serving alongside missionaries our church supports.

What are some goals you have for the coming year?

 

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2018 Year In Review

Next week, on this here blog, I will reveal the goals I have for the upcoming year of 2019.  Wow, is it really going to be 2019?  Where are all the flying cars? Disappointing.  Anyways, it’s a great thing to have goals for the future, but it is also an important aspect of ministry to look back and evaluate.  Without evaluation, there is no improvement.  Looking at last years goals, it was a blessing to see many of them were able to come to fruition.

(Disclaimer:  This list is not to brag about what I have done.  The goal of this list is to hopefully spark some ideas for your own ministry that may give God glory and allow your ministry to grow.)

Continue Parent/Pastor Conferences—These meeting have been extra special and valuable in my pursuit of an effective partnership with parents.

Pre-Marital Counseling—After years of reading marriage books and compiling marriage articles, I was able to re-write my pre-marital counseling curriculum.

International Trip—The process was set in motion this year with plans to serve in Germany this coming summer.

World Religions Series—High School students went through a series that focused on reaching and understanding other religions.

Winter Retreat—What a special trip this was to speak to several youth groups including our own and a fun time spending a weekend with our teens.

Expansion of Elderly Ministry—A new addition of shut-in visits was added this year, and it was a tremendous blessing. We gave a special gift and each teen prayed with a senior saint.

Local Mission Trip—A unique experience of puppets in the park. The teens weren’t done there, but also were able to remodel & paint two of the main children’s ministry classrooms.

Children’s Safety Policy Improvement—Revisions to the children’s safety policy, pick up procedures established, and other security measures were put in place this year.

 

 

 

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Book Review: Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands

Book Review:  Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp

The Good:

Is This Real Life?  What I appreciate about this book is how true to life it is.  These are not utopian principles that only exist on perfect planets.  No, we are talking about chapters full of incredible, insightful and practical advice that belong on the counselor’s shelf.

What does that mean?  Clear definitions of words using Biblical backing.  For example, gossip was defined as when “I confess the sin of another person to someone who is not involved”.  Yep, that’s it.  These tightly wound, easy to pick up definitions are throughout the book, and quite helpful in everyday counseling opportunities.

I’m gonna use that.  You will find yourself saying “oh, I’m gonna use that” out loud on numerous occasions.  The charts, tactics, Bible passages, and unique methods are so valuable to help people who are in need of a change.

The Bad:

Careful there partner.  What I like about Tripp’s books is they are never short on boldness.  It is bold from the very first page where it claims this will be the “best news a human being could ever receive”.  Now that’s bold.  But on occasion, he goes a little too far in his theological statements using language that might be too absolute or take an interpretation too far.  It’s rare, but make sure to not take it all as Gospel (which I don’t believe Tripp intended in the first place).

The Grade:  A-.  I think I am a bit late to the party.  Nearly every counselor training session that I have attended, the speaker recommends this very book.  And it did not disappoint.  Great value in the counselor setting, and for that matter as a pastor, parent and husband…great value in everyday life.

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Book Review: In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

Book Review:  In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson

The Good: 

Mind Blown.  This is not an exaggeration.  Literally, I was saying to myself as I was reading, “I literally have never thought of it that way”.  Batterson presented ground-breaking truths that were unique, but did not twist or alter Scripture.  Instead, he brought a complete change of perspective.

Colossal Burger.  Whenever I’m in a restaurant where I’m not sure what to order, I usually order a cheeseburger with the name “colossal” or “monster” in the title.  Not sure why, because when the waitress places it in front of me, I realize that thing is much bigger than my mouth.  Who cares, right?  Go for it!  That’s how I would describe the theological points of this book.  Deep and thought provoking…almost difficult to digest.  But in the end, you’re like, I’m gonna grab this with two hands and enjoy it.

Legacy Worthy.  You know what is a sign of a good book?  When you underline some lines in the book and write in the margin “Lord, help me teach this to my kids”.  A good book is legacy worthy.  A book where the quotes and principles are ones I want to remember and teach my kids.  Quotes that are worth of family mantras or mottos.  That’s a sign of a good book. 

The Bad:

Not on Same Page.  I’m not sure I am on the same page with one of the descriptions of faith in the book.  It wasn’t heretical, but it focused more on the mind than the heart.  It wasn’t something I’d be comfortable writing, and something I’d have to think over before accepting as truth.

Landing Gear.  The landing of the book was not as smooth as I hoped.  I’m still ready to chase the lion, and inspired like few books can, but the finish was not as inspirational as I would have hoped.

The Grade:  A. 

This came as a recommendation from a family member, saying “best book I’ve ever read”.  Me:  Alexa, order me this book (I don’t one of those machines, but you get what I’m saying).  Want to play it safe, keep your blinders on, and stay in the shallow end…then keep walking.  But…You want to dream?  You want a hard-hitting, rock your comfort-seeking life, mind-blowing book?  Here’s a book for you.  “This simple truth:  God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go”.  Think about it.

Favorite Quote:  “Maybe we should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances”.

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Need a Book for Mentoring Junior High Boys?

Book Review:  A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Choices

The Good:

Yep, That Sounds Right.  The book gives you an inside look at the life of a teenage boy.  And as I went through this with one of my students, we both found it to be right on in many ways.  The struggles and decisions were dead on.  The author chose the right subjects to discuss at just the right time.  So, as a result, the conversation flowed naturally from chapter to chapter.

Junior High Gold Mine.  You just don’t find many books like this.  Turning a teenager is not an easy task on anyone.  These boys to men need some help.  And with this book, help is on the way!  It provides easy to read chapters, loads of follow-up questions, and challenging material to help these young men grow to be men of God.

The Bad:

Updating…With any book, it could use some updating.  Technology is going at such a rapid pace, there are some words and vernacular that is somewhat dated.  Even with this book being published only 7 years ago, you may have to add to some of the application to keep it relevant.  But for the most part, the practical suggestions are very applicable and up to date.

The Grade:  A.  It’s not earth shattering or rocket science, but I will say this…It is one of the best resources I have ever come across in mentoring junior high boys.  There is not a ton of material out there, and this is an age that needs discipleship and guidance.  So parents, youth pastors and workers, I would encourage you to meet with a handful of guys and read through this book together.  Spend some time teaching them these important principles.  You may save them from making poor decisions, and help them make godly choices.

 

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Book Review: Everybody Always

Book Review:  Everybody Always by Bob Goff

Also see Bob Goff’s 1st Book, Love Does, review here.

The Good:

Life-changing.  There is a difference between a good book and a book that is life-changing.  A good book is enjoyable, but a life-changing book grips your heart.  A good book you read when you get a chance, a life-changing book you can’t wait to read the next chapter.  A good book you might put on your shelf, a life-changing book is one you want to share with everyone.  This book…it’s life-changing.  Now, I realize I set the bar high, so don’t go into it with it being on par with the Bible.  That’s not my point.  The point is if you capture the message of the book, and apply it…boom, life changed.

Outside of the Box, More Like “What Box?”.  What I love about the author is his whimsical, spontaneous, but fun-loving personality.  You hitch a ride on the story of his life, and you don’t want to get off the crazy.  It is the most fun I have ever had reading a book.  Goff thinks and acts so much differently, it is so refreshing.  He brings so much joy through simply saying yes to loving others.

Master Illustrator.  You feel like you are right there, seeing what Bob is seeing.  With each paragraph, it feels like you are living out the story.  Then as he lands the plane (sometimes literally), Goff hits you between the eyes with a dynamite, punch to the gut quote that are so raw, real, and dead on that you need a minute to let it sink it.  Can I give you a couple quick teaser quotes – “When joy is a habit, love is a reflex”.  “As soon as we have an agenda, it’s not love anymore”.  Man, that last one hurt.  See what I mean?

The Bad:

Be Careful Bob.  He uses a whole lot of “I think Jesus is saying” in the book.  While I am certainly not saying there is heresy here, but the illustrations sometimes are a stretch…but maybe that’s a good thing.  This is a read that will stretch you, how you think, and if you truly are following the model Jesus lived.

The Grade:  A+.  As I shared stories from the book with my wife I got tears in my eyes, for different reasons.  Some of the things Bob would do and say just make you laugh out loud.  But the heart-wrenching stories of lives impacted grip your heart, and you find tears in your eyes.  I love this book.  I love the stories, the raw honest approach, and the willingness to be a world changer by acting like Jesus.  It’s weird to say, but I’ll miss my time each night reading a chapter like a delicious dessert after dinner.  But if I learned anything, it’s my turn to make some stories of loving others like Jesus loves.

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Book Review: How to Walk Into Church

Book Review:  How to Walk Into Church by Tony Payne

The Good:

Real Life.  What I appreciate about this book is the raw honesty.  Payne is able to present real life examples of what church is like, honest question people wrestle with, and provide solutions to those issues.  It’s a refreshing look at church and it’s purpose.

No Excuses.  The book is able to tackle the question “Why go to church” head on.  Rather than just get in the minivan on Sunday and drag your family into church, it’s important to answer that question.  Payne will lead you through the routine and lead you through a path of joy and worship on the other side.

Brief & Creative.  It seems there is a myth out there that a book needs to be long for it to be effective.  Wrong!  This book took me two days to tackle (which for a slow reader like myself, is quite the feat).  In it you find creativity, storytelling, plus Biblical principles and solutions.  Payne does a fantastic job of combining brevity and creativity.

The Bad:

The Ending.  This is nitpicking, but it seemed quite abrupt.  Usually books like this sends you out with a conclusion or summarizing though.  Not this one, it ends with Ephesians 2:10, and send you on your way.

The Grade:  A-.  Whether you are struggling in your present church, looking for a church to join, or even questioning the purpose of church…find answers in this book to help you walk into church with joy and a heart ready to serve.

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