Billy Graham Quotes

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion—it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

“There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.”

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spine of others are often stiffened.”

“Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.”

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.”

“Churchgoers are like coals in a fire. When they cling together, they keep the flame aglow; when they separate, they die out.”

“Don’t ever hesitate to take to [God] whatever is on your heart. He already knows it anyway, but He doesn’t want you to bear its pain or celebrate its joy alone.”

“Many people are willing to have Jesus as part of their lives—as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. They may even profess faith in Jesus and join a church. But Jesus to them is almost like an insurance policy—something they obtain and then forget about until they die. What keeps you from being His disciple?”

“The very practice of reading [the Bible] will have a purifying effect upon your mind and heart. Let nothing take the place of this daily exercise.”

“The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”

“Salvation is an act of God. It is initiated by God, wrought by God, and sustained by God.”

“I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.”

9 Glory of God Alone Quotes

“The end of all the why questions is God and His glory.” – Kevin DeYoung

“The end for which God created the World.” – Jonathan Edwards

“What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” – A.W. Tozer

“Simply put, the fact that salvation is by faith alone, grace alone, and Christ alone, without any meritorious contribution on our part, ensures that all glory is God’s and not our own.  Likewise, the fact that Scripture alone is our final authority…protects the glory of God against every human conceit.” – David VanDrunen

“It is not sufficient for anyone, and it does him no good to recognize God in his glory and majesty, unless he recognizes him in the humility and shame of the cross.” – Martin Luther

The chief good of man is nothing else but union with God.” – John Calvin

“We never truly glory in him until we have utterly discarded our own glory…The elect are justified by the Lord, in order that they may glory in him, and in none else.” – John Calvin

“It is the necessary consequence of his delighting in the glory of his nature that He delights in the emanation and effulgence of it.” – Jonathan Edwards

“The glory of the Lord is the splendor and brilliance that is inseparably associated with all of God’s attributes and his self-revelation in nature and grace, the glorious form in which he everywhere appears to his creatures.” – Herman Bavinck

11 Christ Alone Quotes

“If you want to make atonement to [God] apart from Christ the mediator, making your works…the mediation between Him and yourself, you will inevitably fall as Lucifer did…and in horrible despair lose God and everything.” – Martin Luther

“In Christ alone means all of Christ – everything taught about Christ in the entire Scriptures – and it means Christ and no one else.” – Albert Mohler

“It is to Christ alone that I must be faithful.  I must be exclusively devoted to Jesus Christ above all else.” – Trevin Wax

“Faith is no faith without an object.” – Martin Luther

“The summary of the gospel is that our Lord Christ, true Son of God, has made known to us the will of his Heavenly Father and has redeemed us from death and reconciled us with God by his guiltiness.  Therefore, Christ is the only way to salvation of all who were, are now, or shall be.” – Huldrych Zwingli

“We are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who alone is the mediator to reconcile the Father.” – Philip Melanchthon

“For Calvin, the Christian life is a daily feeding upon these riches.  We never move on from the gospel, but grow more deeply into its nourishing soil, thereby bearing the fruit of love and good works.  The supreme gift in this union is Christ himself, but he brings his gifts with him.” – Michael Horton

“Christ if full of grace, life, and salvation.  The soul is full of sins, death, and damnation.  Now let faith come between them and sins, death, and damnation will be Christ’s, while grace, life, and salvation will be the soul’s; for if Christ is a bridegroom, he must take it upon himself the things which are his bride’s and bestow upon her the things that are his…Who then can fully appreciate what this royal marriage means?  Who can understand the riches of the glory of this grace?  Here this rich and a divine bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness.  Her sins cannot not destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by him.  And she has that righteousness in Christ, her husband, of which she may boast as of her own and which she can confidently display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell and say, ‘if I have sinned, yet my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned, and all his is mine and all mine is his.” – Martin Luther

“Faith must be taught correctly, namely, that by it you are so cemented to Christ that He and you are as one person, which cannot be separated but remains attached to Him forever.” – Martin Luther

“The reason we are able to forget our union with Christ is that we have yet to experience the full glory of what it will mean.  For now, we are members of Christ’s body, but we still wander, our bodies still ache, and we shall still die.” – Reeves and Chester

“The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians.  What is Luther?  The teaching is not mine.  Nor was I crucified for anyone…How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?” – Martin Luther

14 Faith Alone Quotes

“We have the very great temptation to trust in our own works because we can see them and we can feel good about ourselves when we do them.” – Albert Mohler

“Here I must take counsel of the Gospel, I must hearken to the Gospel, which teaches me, not what I ought to do…but what Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me…that he suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death.  The Gospel wills me to receive this, and to believe it.  And this is the truth of the Gospel.  It is also the principal article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.” – Martin Luther

“Faith and grace are always tied together.  We’re saved by grace when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, but it’s the work of grace that makes that faith genuine and alive.” – Brandon Smith

“if anyone would feel the greatness of sin he would not be able to go no living another moment; so great is the power of sin.” – Martin Luther

Faith doesn’t transport us to paradise immediately because we still struggle with sin…Nevertheless, we also enjoy assurance because our righteousness isn’t our own.” – Thomas Schreiner

“If you have a true faith that Christ is your Savior, then at once you have a gracious God, for faith leads you in and opens up God’s heart and will, that you should see pure grace and overflowing love.” – Martin Luther

“Faith…is a living, restless thing.  It cannot be inoperative.  We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith.” – Martin Luther

“Luther affirmed that works don’t justify us, but works show that we’re justified.” – Brandon Smith

“We would certainly find ourselves in a miserable condition if we had to again be afraid all of the time that God’s grace could all of a sudden not be there for us anymore.” – John Calvin

“Faith isn’t about works, but faith works.” – Brandon Smith

“Wherefore it ought to be the first concern of every Christian to lay aside all confidence in works and grow in the knowledge, not of works, but of Christ Jesus, who suffered and rose for him.” – Martin Luther

“We are justified by faith alone, but not by faith that is alone.” – John Owen

“Now God takes delight in the saints for both these: both for Christ’s righteousness imputed and for Christ’s holiness communicated, though ‘tis the former only that avails anything to justification.” – Jonathan Edwards

“That we are justified by faith, is spoken to take away clearly all merit of our works, and wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our justification to Christ only.”- John Wesley

How to take notes in a sermon

Why do you take notes during a sermon?  If it’s just for your own personal growth or to help you remember, then you’re missing half the opportunity of the message.  Notes and your Bible are tools you can use every day to teach others how to follow Christ.

When you listen and take notes knowing you are going to share the information with someone else, it changes the way you engage in the teaching time.  Taking notes will help you get the most out of a sermon.

Write the reference.  Whenever you hear a Scripture reference, write it down to refer to later.  Even if it is not one that you look up at that time, write it down and read it later.

Names, dates, places.  When you hear examples or background information, write down important facts like names, dates, and places.  They can form a trail of “bread crumbs” to jog your thoughts when you review later on.

Questions?  Does hearing something during a sermon sometimes raise a question for you?  Well, you likely can’t interrupt the sermon to ask, but write down questions that come into your mind during a sermon so you can follow up later on to find the answers.

The power of the pen.  Underlining especially poignant thoughts, Bible verses or phrases, and application points lets you emphasize for yourself what God is teaching you.  Some people do not want to write in their Bible.  That is fine, however, if it helps you to remember or keep track, then by all means feel free to underline or circle certain words or phrases.

(Dr. Mike Miller helped write this several years ago)

How to Listen to a Sermon

Take it in.

Come in to a service each week with an open mind.  Spend time in prayer preparing your heart to hear what the Lord is going to say.  Come on time.  The teaching doesn’t start when the pastor stands in the pulpit.  From the first moment of the service, God is speaking, through music, prayer, drama, video and baptism.  When you come to a worship service- take it ALL in.

Take it down.

Scholars tell us that your ability to retain what you learn increases 80% when you write it down, rather than just hearing it.  Write down the points of the sermon, the scripture references, questions you may have.  In fact, write as though you were going to be reteaching that same material from your notes.

Think it over.

Use your notes during the week to begin to apply the message in your life.  Look back over key points and scripture, praying for God to reveal areas of your life that need changing or restructuring.  If your notes stay stuck between the pages of your Bible or left on the pew, they aren’t doing you much good.

Live it out.

Hearing, understanding, and applying God’s Word will have a visible effect on your life.  Your attitudes, actions, goals, dreams, relationships, business and focus will all be influenced by God’s Word when you commit to living out what you learned.

Ways to Increase Intimacy with God

Some of us, as believers, struggle with the idea of growing closer to God.  To be honest, from conversations I have with some believers, it’s that they just don’t know how to increase their intimacy with God.  While others simply don’t realize that they are missing something if they are not intimate with Him.  They called on Him for salvation, they try to obey His commands, but they don’t live their lives in deep relationship with Him.  The following steps can be taken to increase your intimacy with God.

  1. Confirm your salvation.  Evaluate your life and the fruit of it and make sure that you are actually a follower of Christ and not just going through the motions.
  2. Consider your church.  Make sure you are attending a Bible-believing, God-glorifying, Christ-exalting church. Now, make it a habit to stay plugged in and miss as seldom as possible.
  3. Cast your cares.  (1 Peter 5:7) Make prayer a vital part of your life.  Remember this is the way that Scripture dictates that we communicate with God.  Communication is key for any healthy relationship.
  4. Contemplate the Scripture.  Read it, study it, meditate on it, and memorize it.  Remember, the Bible is breathed out by God and is useful for believers (2 Timothy 3:16).
  5. Count your blessings.  As you evaluate your daily life realize how many gifts have been give to you by God and remember that every good gift is from Him (James 1:17).

5 Reasons Small Groups Matter

It doesn’t matter if you call it “small groups,” “life groups,” “home groups,” “community groups,” “Sunday School,” or any other myriad of names.  What matters is that your church has them.  Here are 5 reasons that small groups matter.

  1. They provide opportunity for stronger relationships.  Small groups allow for people to get to know each other better than simply sitting next to them in a large sanctuary.  They give a chance for more and better conversations.
  2. They provide opportunity for deeper study.  Typically the lessons are heavier on the application but they often allow for more personalized interaction in fuller conversation regarding the topic.
  3. They provide opportunity for more in depth prayer requests.  Usually small groups give time for more specific prayer requests that allow someone to not only be prayed for but also to be followed up with.
  4. They provide opportunity for more specific service projects.  As a result of deeper relationships and more in depth prayer requests more specific service projects can be developed and carried out.  These points of ministry can be extremely helpful to those within the group.
  5. They provide opportunity for initial introductions.  The fear of a large group can often be intimidating for a first time guest to attempt a visit in a sanctuary.  However,  a small group provides a more casual and comfortable atmosphere for a first time guest.

If you aren’t in a small group at your church, find one and give it a try!

The Lord’s Supper and Pain

These last couple weeks have been far different than we anticipated them to be.  While we anticipated a recovery time for Lottie after her surgery, it has been weeks longer than we expected.  We are still watching her recover with great effort and observing her strive to maximize her recovery time to gain strength and independence in every way she can.  The reality of dependence on us for her movements and her general needs is difficult to accept and often times hard to understand.  However, God is graciously showing small steps of improvement as we see more signs of our lionhearted Lottie rising to the challenge.

This past Sunday evening during worship we observed the Lord’s Supper.  I have always considered this event a celebration, a worship opportunity for believers to rejoice in the saving death of Jesus.  During these observances I have often pondered the realities of the brutal beatings of His body, the crown of thorns on His head, and His brutal murder on the cross.  As Scripture instructs, I have regularly reflected upon my life and confessed my own sin prior to partaking of the bread and the cup.

While all of these elements still took place for me this past Sunday, there was also another element that happened inside.  This time I was hurting.  I was not physically hurting; I am not being persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, ridiculed, or even offended.  I was not spiritually hurting; I am not far from God, nor have I strayed from His mighty hands of grace.  However, I was emotionally hurting; I am sad that my daughter is sad, and confused, I am sad that my family is having to walk through this time, I am sad that it is Lottie going through this pain instead of me.

This hurt brought a wonderful realization to me that I would never have been able to experience apart from walking through hardship at the very time of our observance of the Lord’s Supper.  This time, as I held the bread in my hand, I thought about the sacrifice that the Father gave in watching His son be beaten, bruised, spat upon, and ridiculed.  This time, as I held the cup in my hand, I thought about God the Father watching His son be nailed to a cross and shed His blood when He did not deserve such pain.  I thought about the Father and what it must have taken for Him to send His Son for our sin, our punishment, our penalty.  And I ached.  I ached because it is immensely difficult to watch your child suffer needlessly, but watching Lottie be sad and confused is nothing in comparison to what God the Father must have felt as He chose to pour out His wrath on His righteous son as the atonement for our sin.

The Lord’s Supper is beneficial to all believers as a reminder of the death, resurrection, and return of Christ.  However, for those who are hurting, it is a beautiful reminder of our opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ (Romans 8) for the glory of Christ and for the good of His people.  I am more confident in God’s glory being made known through this trial than I ever have been and am leaning more heavily on his perfect plan for our future.

4 Ways to Pray

When I was a young boy my Mom took time to help me grasp a deeper more focused prayer life.  She helped me journal my prayers.  She guided me to not only pray for the trinkets in life that I wanted that day, but instead to honor God by seeking His treasures.  She provided me with a guideline for this more particular prayer time and it has assisted me throughout my life as I pray to the Lord.  This is how we are to do our P.A.R.T. in prayer.

Praise – Begin your time each day in praise.  Rejoice in Christ for all that He is.  Celebrate all that God is.  Tell Him His names and remind Him of His attributes.

Admit – Confess your sin before God.  Remember that He already knows all of your inadequacies and is still loving you, and providing for you.  However, it is refreshing to have Him restore unto you the joy of your salvation as you confess your sin to Him.  Take heart, when you confess your sin to God, He is faithful and just to forgive your sin.

Request – Notice that before you even get to your request time you have worshipped God as great and honored God as Holy.  When you make your requests to Him keep His greatness and His perfection in mind.  He will do what is best for you, so pray accordingly.  Pray for areas of life concerning you as well as others.

Thanks – Conclude your time by thanking God for all that He has done to answer your previous requests.  Celebrate the great work He has done in, through, and around you.  If Praise is celebrating WHO God is, then, Thanks is rejoicing in What God has done.