Archive for October, 2016

Weekend Quotes:

Talk 1:

“Before you marry, you must look them in the eye and say, ‘You are #2.’  If that is not sweet joy to them, then don’t marry them.” -John Piper

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us … The gravest question before us is … ‘what do I conceive God to be like.’ ” —A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy

“Sometimes people stumble over the vastness (of Space) … it does seem to make us infinitesimally small. But the meaning of this magnitude is not mainly about us. It’s about God … The reason for wasting so much space in a universe to house a speck of humanity is to make a point about our Maker, not us.”  — John Piper, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ


forgiveness verses 

Talk 2:

“The critical question for our generation, and for every generation, is this:
If you could have heaven,
with no sickness,
with all the friends you ever had on earth,
and all the food you ever liked,
all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed,
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

Keller: “Father, my younger brother has been a fool, and now his life is in ruins … I’ll bring him back into the family at my expense … In the story, the younger brother doesn’t get a good older brother, but a Pharisee … but we do not … get a better one. We have him in Jesus.”

Where am I in this story?

  • Far country, living it up w/o God?
  • At home near God, but unhappy, wanting to be far away having fun? Being “good” as a deal with God, to get his stuff..
  • On the way home, wondering what kind of reception I’ll receive?
  • In Father’s embrace, tears running down my cheek, and His?
  • At home, feasting on banquet, beginning to forget how lost I was?
  • Standing alone outside party, grumbling because it’s not in my honor; someone else is getting the attention that I deserve?


1 Countless calendars ago
A Father raised two boys;
The Younger bolted far away,
The Older made no noise.
2 Son One ignored his Father’s heart,
While seizing on his wealth;
Son Two, he bided long his time
Awaiting ol’ Dad’s death.

3 Neither really wanted Dad –
They just wanted his stuff;
Yet patiently, he loved his sons,
Cease-fire was not enough.
4 The Youngest son came crawling back,
A broken man, for sure;
On him was poured extravagance
Like perfume down a sewer.

5 Welcomed home, his Daddy ran
With ring and robe and shoes;
A party planned to celebrate
The son he wouldn’t lose.

6 Meanwhile the older brother heard:
“The little Rascal’s back,
And worse than that, a party’s planned…”
…the Elder blew his stack.
7 “I’ve slaved for Dad 10,000 years,
Got nothing in return;
And frankly now, I wish him dead,”
His father’s heart he spurned.

8 Insulted by his son’s affront
The father kept his poise
And asked his eldest to come in,
“Forgive – and taste my joy.”

9 The do-good son refused to budge
Now why should he forgive?
He’d let his brother rot before
Instead of seeking him.
10 Should not the oldest brother been
The one to track and comb,
Every nook and every cranny
Till he brought his sibling home?

11 A Better Older Brother
Would have restrained the Younger man,
Would have locked the front door tightly
Before he packed his bags and ran.

12 A Better Older Brother
Would not turn his own heart numb,
And that’s the news this Christmas:
A Better Brother’s come.
13 His name is Jesus, and He spent
His life to bring us home,
Paid infinite expense to make
A renegade his own.

14 In Christmas we discover
Jesus is the Better Son
He has chased us down our alleys
Wouldn’t quit until He’d won.

15 He is our Holy Hero
Who says he’s not ashamed
To call us his own brothers *
To give us His last name.

Talk 3:

“I’ll tell you why I left. Because stateside young people have every opportunity to … understand the Word of God in their own language, and these Indians have no opportunity whatsoever. I have had to make a cross of two logs, and lie down on it, to show the Indians what it means to crucify a man. When there is that much ignorance over here and so much knowledge and opportunity over there, I have no question in my mind why God sent me here. Those whimpering stateside young people will wake up on the Day of Judgment condemned to worse fates than these demon-fearing Indians, because having a Bible, they were bored with it – while these never heard of such a thing as writing.”   — Jim Elliot

“By this the elect of God are known: that they love the Word of God.”    —C.H. Spurgeon

Jesus, the Hero of Every Bible Story

Talk 4:

To Our Generation of 16-29 year-olds, Christianity appears to be:

  1. Hypocritical
  2. Fixated on Getting Converts
  3. Anti-Homosexual
  4. Judgmental
  5. Too Political
  6. Sheltered

UnChristian, Kinnaman and Lyons

Outsiders’ analogies: Christians are like…

  • the Titanic … sinking & unaware of their fate.
  • an Ostrich … with it’s head in the sand.
  • pack of Cats … look like they’re thinking deeply, but really contemplating next meal.

Their world is coming unglued and Christianity doesn’t seem up to the challenge.”

“Being salt and light demands 2 things: we practice purity in the midst of a fallen world and yet we live in proximity to this fallen world. If you don’t hold up both truths in tension, you invariably become useless and separated from the world God loves. For example, if you only practice purity apart from proximity to the culture, you inevitably become pietistic, separatist, and conceited. If you live in close proximity to the culture without also living in a holy manner, you become indistinguishable from fallen culture and useless in God’s kingdom.”                               —Mike Metzger

Emperor Julian (c. 350… last non-Christian emperor of Roman Empire; antagonistic):

“Atheism (Christianity) has been especially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead… that the ‘godless Galileans’ care not only for their own poor but for ours as well…”

“If we do not savor Jesus, we haven’t seen Him for who He is. If we don’t prize Him above all things, we have not apprehended His true worth.” John Piper Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

“Once more, he who really has this high estimate of Jesus will think much of him, and as the thoughts are sure to run over at the mouth, he will talk much of him. Do we? If Jesus is precious to you, you will not be able to keep your good news to yourself; you will be whispering it into your child’s ear; you will be telling it to your husband; you will be earnestly imparting it to your friend; Without the charms of eloquence you will be more than eloquent; your heart will speak, and your eyes will flash as you talk of His sweet love.

Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor. Recollect that. You either try to spread abroad the kingdom of Christ, or else you do not love Him at all. It cannot be that there is a high appreciation of Jesus and a totally silent tongue about Him … Be wise in your generation, and speak of Him in fitting ways and at fitting times, and so in every place proclaim the fact that Jesus is most precious to your soul.” C. H. Spurgeon

“I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next Spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home, and died for her and for you? for the sake of perishing, immortal souls? for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from lost persons saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”               — A. Judson

COMMA Method of Studying the Bible:

Connect with God in Prayer.


    • anything repeated or emphasized?
    • what words/phrase sticks out to you?


    • what passage teach us about God? about ourselves?
    • how passage relate to Jesus and Gospel?

Memorize a verse


    • how passage challenge my thinking/life?
    • surface sin in my life?
    • what will I do in light of this passage?

Sharing Faith vs Seek the Lost



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Talk 1: Luke 5:1-11

  • What is one ‘impossible situation’ you’re facing, and what would it look like to have Faith in God in the middle of that situation?   Can you think of any verses from Scripture which could be a promise for you to claim?

  • Do you think that God Cares about your current situation?  What in the Bible would convince you?

Talk 2: Luke 15

  • Who do you identify with most —  Younger Brother, Older Brother, Father?   Why?

  • If Jesus is the “Better Older Brother” who sought and brought us home at great personal expense, how would rehearsing that reality affect you practically?  (your fears? anger? etc)

  • What does “prodigal” mean to you now? If you retitled the parable,what would you call it?

  • Has anyone ever treated you like the Father treats his sons?  What might that feel like?

Talk 3: Mark 1:40-45

  • Who are the “lepers” on campus that you encounter or avoid?  Why do you avoid them?

  • On a scale of 1-10, rate your level of compassion (“to suffer with”) for them.

  • Do you spend more energy on purity (from)  or proximity (toward) fellow students? Why?

  • If we naturally talk about what we love the most, what does this say re: your love for Jesus?  If not good, what is the solution?


  • What specific Action or Risk must I take to experience that “God Can” and that “God Cares”?

  • Since Jesus “rewrote the sign” for me, how can I respond to His love and help “rewrite the sign” for others back on campus? Who can I talk with?

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LGBT Resource Page for the Central Illinois Retreat

Dan Flynn

There is so much that can be said, investigated, and processed on this subject. Here is a sample to get the ball rolling for you:

Read a good book from a Bible-believing perspective.   I recommend the following:

  1. Is God Anti-Gay by Sam Allberry. 85pages. Amazon $6.79
  2. What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung. 150 pages. Amazon $7.34
  3. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Butterfield. 208 pages. Amazon Kindle $8.00
  4. Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill. 160 pages. Amazon $9.68
  5. Understanding Gender Dysphoria by Mark Yarhouse. 191 pages. Amazon $15.38

Read a book from an opposing perspective. I recommend:

  1. God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines. 224 pages. Amazon $9.27

Read some good articles or watch some good videos/talks. I recommend the following:

  1. Tim Keller’s review of Vines’ book: http://www.redeemer.com/redeemer-report/article/the_bible_and_same_sex_relationships_a_review_article
  2. Sam Allberry’s Review of Matthew Vines’ book: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/god-and-the-gay-christian
  3. Tim Keller’s answer to why we follow some OT laws and not others (e.g. the shellfish and blended shirt argument): http://www.redeemer.com/redeemer-report/article/old_testament_law_and_the_charge_of_inconsistency
  4. Sam Allberry (Gospel Coalition, 30 minutes): https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/you-are-not-your-sexuality
  5. Sam Allberry’s talk and Q & A at Village Church (Matt Chandler) 2 hours: http://www.thevillagechurch.net/resources/is-god-anti-gay/
  6. Sam Parkinson’s article: Should I Attend My Gay Friend’s Wedding? http://ftc.co/resource-library/blog-entries/should-i-attend-my-friends-same-sex-wedding
  7. Matt Moore’s article on How God Didn’t Take Away His Same Sex Desires: http://www.moorematt.org/for-years-i-pleaded-with-god-to-make-me-straight-why-did-my-prayers-go-unanswered/
  8. Kevin DeYoung’s 40 Questions: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2015/07/01/40-questions-for-christians-now-waving-rainbow-flags/
  9. Randy Newman’s excellent blog on how to approach SSM practically in our super-charged societal conversation: http://www.randydavidnewman.com/2012/05/14/talking-points-about-gay-marriage/
  10. Mark Vroegop’s on transgenderism & today’s cultural narrative: (back side)


“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”                                –Rick Warren

“To believe in Jesus means that you believe what the Bible says about Him and you believe what the Bible says about you. You’ve stopped believing in what you say about you…

You need to listen carefully to the cultural narrative. There’s a deeper cultural narrative that’s being promulgated in our world today. And that narrative sounds something like this:

What you need to do is look deep inside yourself, figure out who you are and be that person, and don’t let anybody –including the world or government or your family or God tell you that you can’t be who you are.’   That is the narrative in our culture. The heroes of our day are the people who don’t let anything stand in their way … the people who we respect and cheer and clap for and esteem are those who figure out who they are, and then they just tell the world who they really are, regardless of the categories which they are talking about.

Over the weekend you probably have heard about Bruce Jenner. Just watch what people are saying and the applause that’s happening … and look at the narrative, look at the theology that is coming out in that.   ‘Figure out who you are, declare it to the world, you’re a hero because after all, the end game is to figure out who you are, and don’t let anyone stop you from being that person

… And yet here comes the Bible that says, “Wait a minute… Your narrative inside of you is broken. And the way you become a follower of Jesus and where true hope is found is not by believing in yourself and believing in the inner you, but instead believing in what God says about you. That truth is not found inside of you but it is found outside of you in the person and work of Jesus. Real hope comes from not believing in yourself, but believing in Jesus. Repentance involves looking away from yourself and instead putting your trust in the work of Another.” Friends, this is how Christianity is becoming so countercultural… it’s not just that Biblical morals are no longer accepted, but it is that the narrative under which everything is based is fundamentally different.   [Christianity says] that true success and true truth is not found within us but it’s found outside of us… it’s in the person and work of Jesus… and that if it’s up to me, I’ll never come to the right conclusions, and I won’t be able to merit God’s affection, because I’m fundamentally broken, I’m a sinner at my core, I’m utterly, totally depraved, I need somebody else to Rescue me, I need truth outside of myself, I need a Redeemer who can give me His righteousness, and that’s how wholeness actually happens.”                       –Mark Vroegop

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