1. “Multitasking is commonplace among wild animals. It is an attentive technique indispensable for survival in the wilderness…. In the wild, the animal is forced to divide its attention between various activities. That is why animals are incapable of contemplative immersion….”
2. Cook your own food. And eat in.
3. “With every decision we make to complain, criticize, play the victim, focus on the negative, and so on, we become more and more the kind of person who is by nature negative, grouchy, unhappy, and unpleasant to be around, until eventually we lose the very capacity to live happily, gratefully, and full of wonder at our lives in God’s good world.”
4. “The gospel gives us the freedom to fail. Because we are loved. No matter what happens.”
5. “The daily decision to rejoice—to cultivate a way of seeing our lives in God’s good world, not through the lens of our phones, news apps, or flesh, but through gratitude, celebration, and unhurried delight—will over time form us into joyful, thankful people who deeply enjoy life with God and others. What starts as an act of the will eventually turns into our inner nature. What begins with a choice eventually becomes a character.”
6. “The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the “mind of Christ.”22 To actually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.”
7. When you can, share.
8. The story of Jesus comes to us through the genre of biographies.
9. “My convictions run deep, yes, but I’m a firm believer in antidiscrimination laws. We live in a pluralistic nation, and I respect that, even enjoy it. Let me say it again: I don’t have a political agenda here; my concern is for disciples of Jesus. My “agenda” is to strengthen your faith in Jesus’s mental maps as reality. My point is this: we’ve been taught—and at times, the church has aided and abetted secularism here—that religious ideas like good, evil, and God can’t be known; they can only be taken on faith. But for Jesus and the writers of Scripture, faith is based on knowledge. It’s a kind of deep trust in God that is grounded in reality.”
10. “Live off the four horsemen of the industrialized food apocalypse: caffeine, sugar, processed carbs, and alcohol. _____”
11. “Jesus sees our primary war against the devil as a fight to believe truth over lies.”
12. “Neither should the body be indulged and catered to, because the more you pamper and submit to its desires, the more they grow into insatiable cravings. (A potato chip—or an orgasm—tends to make you want another one.) And that way lies being nothing more than an animal.10”
13. “We prefer to think of ourselves as rational individualists rather than the emotional, relational, and easily manipulated social creatures we actually are.”
14. “Working theory of the devil’s strategy: deceitful ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society”
15. “fasting is a practice by which you deny your body food in an attempt to starve your flesh. It is a psychosomatic act, in the true sense of the word, that’s built around a biblical theology of the soul as your whole person.”
16. “To allow yourself to be in the panic, feeling it roll over you, and not going for the fix.”
17. “I would argue the desire to be great was put there by the Creator himself. After all, we’re made in his image.
18. “Whether you define church as a Sunday gathering around a stage, a much smaller community around a table, or, as I would recommend, a mixture of both, we can’t follow Jesus alone.” (p. 229
19. “We hear the refrain “I’m great, just busy” so often we assume pathological busyness is okay. After all, everybody else is busy too. But what if busyness isn’t healthy? What if it’s an airborne contagion, wreaking havoc on our collective soul?”
20. “If I stay in my constraints and let them do their work, if I consider that my duty to follow through on my commitments is just as ‘authentic’ as my feelings or desires, then my constraints have the potential to set me free from the tyranny of my own flesh and forge me into a person of love.” P. 142
21. “Theology becomes therapy…. The biblical interest in righteousness is replaced by a search for happiness, holiness by wholeness, truth by feeling, ethics by feeling good about one’s self. The world shrinks to the range of personal circumstances; the community of faith shrinks to a circle of personal friends. The past recedes. The Church recedes. The world recedes. All that remains is the self.25”
22. “In fact, God seems to love that kind of raw, uncut prayer, skirting the line between blasphemy and desperate faith. He’s not nearly as scared of honesty as we are.”
23. “Most people fail in the art of living not because they are inherently bad or so without will that they cannot lead a better life; they fail because they do not wake up and see when they stand at a fork in the road and have to decide.14”
24. “Saint Augustine said it well: “Free choice is sufficient for evil, but hardly for good.”22”
25. “Self is the new God, the new spiritual authority, the new morality. But this puts a crushing weight on the self—one it was never designed to bear. It must discover itself. Become itself. Stay true to itself. Justify itself. Make itself happy. Perform and defend its fragile identity.” (p. 118
26. “Working theory of spiritual formation: It’s by spirit and truth that we are transformed into the image of Jesus and set free to live in line with all that is good, beautiful, and true. It’s by isolation and lies that we are deformed into the image of the devil and enslaved in a vicious cycle of disorder and death.”
27. “The point of a trellis isn’t to make the vines stand up straight in neat rows, but rather to attain a rich, deep glass of wine. It’s to create space for the vine to grow and bear fruit.”
28. “Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character. In the end, your life is no more than the sum of what you gave your attention to.”
29. “fasting is a practice by which you deny your body food in an attempt to starve your flesh. It is a psychosomatic act, in the true sense of the word, that’s built around a biblical theology of the soul as your whole person. Contrary to what many Western Christians assume, your soul isn’t the immaterial, invisible part of you (a better word for that is your spirit or your will); it’s your whole person, which includes all of your body—your brain, nervous system, and stomach. Now, just to make sure we’re clear, your body is not evil. This is where the medieval monastic movement got it wildly wrong. Your body is a gift, as is pleasure in the right time and place and way. But your body, like the rest of your soul, has been corrupted by sin. As a result, your body often works against you in your fight with the flesh, via your sex drive, fight-or-flight system, or survival instincts. Fasting is a way to turn your body into an ally in your fight with the flesh rather than an adversary.”
30. “The more like Jesus we are, and the more like the image of God we are, the more people see of God’s glory.”
31. “You’ve got to understand that this stuff has permeated the culture. It’s become our language; we’re so in it we don’t even see that it’s one perspective, one among many possible ways of seeing. Postmodern irony’s become our environment.16”
32. “Character is destiny.”
33. “People all over the world—outside the church and in—are looking for an escape, a way out from under the crushing weight to life this side of Eden. But there is no escaping it. The best the world can offer is a temporary distraction to delay the inevitable or deny the inescapable. That’s why Jesus doesn’t offer us an escape.”
34. “As Renee DiResta, technical research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory, summarised postmodern ethics: “If you made it trend, you make it true.”
35. “You. Can’t. Do. It. All.”
36. “you’re far more likely to run into the enemy in the form of an alert on your phone while you’re reading your Bible or a multiday Netflix binge or a full-on dopamine addiction to Instagram or a Saturday morning at the office or another soccer game on a Sunday or commitment after commitment after commitment in a life of speed.”
37. “To follow Jesus, especially in the Western world, is to live in that same tension between grateful, happy enjoyment of nice, beautiful things, and simplicity. And when in doubt, to err on the side of generous, simple living.”
38. “It's our daily, seemingly insignificant decisions that eventually sculpt our characters and harden them into stone or free them to flourishing.” P. 153
39. Your own soul, in the process of becoming like Jesus, is your message.
40. “I hate all my favorite failures and yet deeply grateful for what God has done through them.” -John Mark Comer
41. “I rarely read political books, but I can’t stop thinking about Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed. In context, he’s writing about the social crisis of modern America, but honestly, I can’t think of a better one-paragraph biblical theology of the world: In this world, gratitude to the past and obligations to the future are replaced by a nearly universal pursuit of immediate gratification: culture, rather than imparting the wisdom and experience of the past so as to cultivate virtues of self-restraint and civility, becomes synonymous with hedonic titillation, visceral crudeness, and distraction, all oriented toward promoting consumption, appetite, and detachment. As a result, superficially self-maximizing, socially destructive behaviors begin to dominate society.14”
42. “Can you imagine what it would be like to stand in front of the Creator? The problem is that we fear all the wrong things: the future, money problems, the what-ifs. We need to fear God. If we get that right, the other fears fade into the background. The prophet Isaiah experiences God’s presence and the first words out of his mouth are “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” We need to recapture Isaiah’s vision of God. When we do, it will reveal how unclean we really are, and how desperately we need forgiveness.”
43. “No matter what we sow, the law of returns applies. Good or evil, love or hate, justice or tyranny, grapes or thorns, a gracious compliment or a peevish complaint—whatever we invest, we tend to get it back with interest. Lovers are loved; haters, hated. Forgivers usually get forgiven; those who live by the sword die by the sword. “God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.”
44. “happiness isn’t the result of circumstances but of character and communion.”
45. “We’re called to a very specific kind of work. To make a Garden-like world where image bearers can flourish and thrive, where people can experience and enjoy God’s generous love. A kingdom where God’s will is done “on earth as it is in heaven,” where the glass wall between earth and heaven is so thin and clear and translucent that you don’t even remember it’s there. That’s the kind of world we’re called to make. After all, we’re just supposed to continue what God started in the beginning.”
46. “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart.”13”
47. “I have two sons. Jude is five, with dark, curly hair. He looks just like his mom. Moses is two, with bright eyes and a wide smile. I love watching my boys play together. They are never anxious. Never depressed. But every once in a while, they wake up in the middle of the night scared. Sometimes it’s a bad dream. Other times it’s a monster in the closet (that turns out to be a blanket). You know the drill. When they wake up crying, all they need to calm down is a minute or two in my arms. Once they feel that security—that safety, the fact that dad is present—they are fine. The implications are obvious. Jesus calls us to have faith like a child. I wonder if that means we need to trust God like my sons trust me. To climb up into his arms, take a deep breath, and know we are safe, as long as we are with him. I sleep much better these days. It still takes me a while to fall asleep at times. Like my boys, I still wake up with fears, concerns, thoughts that are out of control. My heart still picks up pace. My mind begins to race. But I’m learning to call out to God, to remember my place, and to take my thoughts captive. I’m learning to take a deep breath, to dwell on his scriptures, and to learn from my boys. After all, when was the last time you met a stressed-out five year old? I don’t think they exist. When was the last time you met a stressed-out child of God? They are all over the place.”
48. “It’s not so much that “Jesus is the only way to God.” I mean, he is, but a better way to say it is: Jesus is God come to us.”
49. “the key to spiritual formation is to change what we can control (our habits) to influence what we can’t control (our flesh).”
50. Take up journaling.
51. People are just too busy.
52. “deception is tied to temptation, temptation to slavery to sin, and it’s the truth that will set you free.”
53. “Jesus is the Messiah, not your therapist. And the church is your family, not your once-a-week session. There is nothing wrong with a weekly counseling appointment, as long as it is only supplementing, not replacing, your relationships with brothers and sisters in the church.”
54. Maturity is measured by your whole person, not only your spiritual life.
55. “Anxiety is temporary atheism.”
56. “degree to which we don’t share a common baseline of facts.”
57. “I cringe when I hear people abuse the Bible to bolster a twisted version of the American Dream.”
58. “In this way of thinking, children are seen as a nuisance, and family as a hindrance to “freedom.” This is so very far from God’s heart.”
59. “Aim at an easy life and your actual life will be marked by a gnawing angst and frustration; aim at an easy yoke and, as John Ortberg once said, “Your capacity for tackling hard assignments will actually grow.”
60. “God’s view of the family, however, is over-the-top. To him, it’s the first thing on human’s job description.”
61. “It’s about giving up control, and trusting God.”
62. “It is not so much that we tell lies as that we live them.”27”
63. “In fact, for those of us who follow Jesus, we choose, of our own free will, to place ourselves under external authority-that of God himself, as mediated through Scripture, and, to a degree, our church. We do this because we believe authority is not inherently oppressive but, similar to parenting for children, a training ground for us to learn how to master our flesh and grow into people of love. Through trusted sources of authority, we get access to reality. And when authority is used well, with wisdom and compassion, we grow and mature into the kind of people who live in congruence with reality and, as a result, have the capacity to handle even more freedom.” P. 140-141
64. “Which means to apprentice under Rabbi Jesus is more than just to enroll as a student for a daily lecture in his master class of life; it’s also to enlist as a soldier and join his fight to believe truth over lies.”
65. “Working theory of the devil’s strategy: deceitful ideas that play to”
66. “you would think that if Jesus’ agenda is to fix the world gone awry, then the story would end up back where it all started — in Eden, with everybody naked and unashamed. But instead, it’s a little different. Actually, it’s a lot different. It’s a Garden-like city called New Jerusalem with walls and gates and streets and dwellings and art and architecture and food and drink and music and culture. Why is that? Because the Garden was never supposed to stay a garden; it was always supposed to become a garden city.”
67. “Life is extraordinarily complex. Change is even more so. Anybody who says differently is selling you something.”
68. “Well-respected psychologist and researcher Dr. Erich Fromm lived through both world wars and lost his Jewish faith on the other side of that trauma. After researching Nazism for years, he came to the conclusion that no one starts out evil;12 instead, people become evil “slowly over time through a long series of choices.”13 His book The Heart of Man, which is an exploration of evil and the human condition, is worth quoting at length: The longer we continue to make the wrong decisions, the more our heart hardens; the more often we make the right decision, the more our heart softens—or better perhaps, becomes alive…. Each step in life which increases my self-confidence, my integrity, my courage, my conviction also increases my capacity to choose the desirable alternative, until eventually it becomes more difficult for me to choose the undesirable rather than the desirable action. On the other hand, each act of surrender and cowardice weakens me, opens the path for more acts of surrender, and eventually freedom is lost. Between the extreme when I can no longer do a wrong act and the extreme when I have lost my freedom to right action, there are innumerable degrees of freedom of choice…. Most people fail in the art of living not because they are inherently bad or so without will that they cannot lead a better life; they fail because they do not wake up and see when they stand at a fork in the road and have to decide.14”
69. “Anxious to avoid a repeat of history, Edmund Burke laid out the logic behind the American architecture in a letter from 1791:
70. “To have faith in something is simply to live as if it’s true.”
71. “we can’t follow Jesus alone. Jesus did not have a disciple (singular); he had disciples (plural). The call to follow Jesus was—and still is—a call to join his community of the Way. And by following Jesus together, not alone, we are able to (1) discern Jesus’s truth from the devil’s lies, (2) help one another override our flesh by the Spirit, and (3) form a robust community of deep relationships that functions as a counterculture to the world.”
72. Single-task.73. “Our fight with the devil is first and foremost a fight to take back control of our minds from their captivity to lies and liberate them with the weapon of truth.”
74. “Who am I becoming?”
75. “Post-Christian culture is an attempt to move beyond the Christian vision while still retaining much of its scaffolding. It’s a reaction against Christianity—the West’s rebellious teenager moment. We’re the stereotypical adolescent, kicking against our parents’ authority and railing against all their flaws while still living in their house and eating all their food.”
76. “When the sun set our rhythms of work and rest, it did so under the control of God; but the clock is under the control of the employer, a far more demanding master.”
77. “the practices of Jesus are how we fight the world, the flesh, and the devil.”
78. “the Genesis 3 lie is the paradigmatic lie behind all lies. The deception (or really temptation) is and has always been twofold: (1) to seize autonomy from God and (2) to redefine good and evil based on the voice in our heads and the inclination of our hearts, rather than trust in the loving word of God. Here’s another way to frame it. There are three great questions in life: Who is God? (Or the gods? Or is there a God or gods?) Who are we? How do we live?”
79. “That’s why Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and he’s good. We are his creation. This is his world. We live under his roof, drink his water, eat his food, breathe his oxygen. So on the Sabbath, we don’t just take a day off from work; we take a day off from toil. We give him all our fear and anxiety and stress and worry. We let go. We stop ruling and subduing, and we just be. We “remember” our place in the universe. So that we never forget . . . There is a God, and I’m not him.”
80. “think it’s wise to cultivate a healthy suspicion of technology. Technological, and even economic, progress does not necessarily equal human progress.”
81. “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”
82. Hurry is incompatible with the life Jesus has on offer.
83. “Our war against the three enemies of the soul is not a war of guns and bombs. It's not against other people at all. It's a war on lies. And the problem is less that we tell lies and more that we live them; we let false narratives about reality into our bodies, and they wreak havoc in our souls.” P. xxii
84. Keep your phone off until after your morning quiet time.
85. Cultivate a deep appreciation for creation.
86. “One of the reasons there are so many bitter, disenfranchised people who are angry at the church is because of bad theology. It’s really, really important to separate your theology of the kingdom from the church. These are two separate, autonomous entities. Yes, there is overlap and the lines blur and bleed, but they are two different ideas. Jesus’ ultimate goal for the universe is the kingdom, not the church. The kingdom is where the renewal of all things takes place. Where Eden is restored. Where the entire creation is made new. The story of the Bible ends with heaven crashing into earth. The kingdom is a huge, elephantic theology with layers and texture and depth and dimensions. The problem is that most people erase or ignore the theology of the kingdom. In doing so, they pin all their hopes and dreams on the church. These unrealistic expectations are way too much to bear for the frail shoulders of God’s bride. She was never designed to bear the weight of changing the world, much less perfection. I hear people say things like, “The church is God’s plan to save the world.” No, it’s not. Jesus is God’s plan to save the world. He is bringing his kingdom crashing into this present age, and he is saving the world. Yes, the church is part of God’s plan to save the world. That is very true. We are the body of the Messiah. Meaning, we are the arms and legs, the appendages, the extensions of Jesus to the world. We join and partner and work with him for the kingdom; but he is the one saving the universe, not us.”
87. “We live in a culture that wants to transgress all limitations, not accept them—to cheat time and space. To “be like God.”
88. Drive the speed limit.
89. “in a book like Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, now says that the Portlandesque bumper-sticker view of evolution as a linear progression from monkey to Homo erectus to Homo sapiens to (naturally) progressive secular humanist is untrue. Many scientists now think that all sorts of hominin species were on the earth at the same time. (Fun fact: the average person of European ancestry is 2 percent Neanderthal.4) Harari makes the case that the”
90. “with hurry, we always lose more than we gain. Here for the win, Walter Adams, the spiritual director to C.”
91. “Contrary to popular artistic imaginings, the devil is not in hell; he’s here, on earth. If Jesus’s anthem is ‘On earth as it is in heaven,’ the devil’s is ‘On earth as it is in hell.'”
92. Get a flip phone. Or ditch your cell phone all together.
93. “If he isn’t doing anything with his life that matters for God’s kingdom, how will you partner with him?”
94. “Why? Because therapy culture often pushes us deeper into hiding. As individualistic westerners, we are bent toward isolation, not openness. And for many people, therapy sessions are a warped form of individualism. People want to go someplace safe where nobody in their real, actual life—people who know them, love them, and have a history with them—get to hear what’s going on deep inside. There is a profound danger to that.”
95. “To the Scripture writers, hope is the absolute expectation of coming good based on the character of God.”
96. I’m not calling you to do more. I am calling you to do less.
97. “One way to think about temptation is to see all temptation as the appeal to believe a lie, to believe an illusion about reality.”
98. “the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character.”
99. “it’s wise to regularly deny ourselves from getting what we want, whether through a practice as intense as fasting or as minor as picking the longest checkout line. That way when somebody else denies us from getting what we want, we don’t respond with anger. We’re already acclimated. We don’t have to get our way to be happy.”
100. “Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters. —Edmund Burke, in A Letter from Mr. Burke, to a Member of the National Assembly”
101. “Salvation is healing. Even the etymology of our English word salvation comes from the Latin salve.”
102. “Our job is to make the invisible God visible — to mirror and mimic what he is like to the world. We can glorify God by doing our work in such a way that we make the invisible God visible by what we do and how we do it.”
103. “margin is “the space between our load and our limits.”
104. “The causes of anxiety and depression are ingrained deep in the patterns and ruts of our lives. It takes time to wash those out and build new roads toward joy.”
105. “secularism and its emphasis on individualism, denial of God, and deconstruction of the traditional family is just as (if not more) destructive to indigenous cultures than nineteenth-century imperialism ever was.33 My friend (and cultural analyst) Mark Sayers called it “Western supremacy.” Imposing whiteness on the world is rightly shunned. But to some, imposing westernness (especially Western ideas about sexuality or gender) on the world is not only okay; it’s virtuous.”
106. “We make our decisions, and then our decisions make us.”
107. “People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
108. “when God describes himself, he doesn’t start with how powerful he is or how he knows everything there is to know or how he’s been around since before time and space and there’s no one else like him in the universe. That’s all true, but apparently, to God, it’s not the most important thing. When God describes himself, he starts with his name. Then he talks about what we call character. He’s compassionate and gracious; he’s slow to anger; he’s abounding in love and faithfulness, and on down the list.”
109. “As a pastor, I have front-row seats to watch the before and after of a lie’s entrance into a soul, and not to scare you, but it’s gut wrenching. I used the example of “You’ll be happier if you get a divorce” because it’s so common. I see it all the time. While every marriage is its own story, I watch so many people initiate a divorce in a desire to be happy but end up even more miserable. Many of them carry regret to their graves.”
110. “Jesus didn’t die so we don’t have to; he died to teach us how to die—how to follow him through death and into life.”
111. “Of course, things aren’t really getting better; there’s a mountain of data to argue they are getting worse. And a short tour of Twitter will reveal that many people are simply freaking out.”
112. “context, Jesus had just told his followers that “if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples,” and as a result, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
113. “Hurry is the root problem underneath so many of the symptoms of toxicity in our world.”
114. “Do not underestimate what he can do in your life to put you back together.”
115. “The trick is to learn how to wait well.”
116. “Apparently, I’m known as a “reader.” I read two or three books a week, which normally comes in at around one hundred and twenty-five books a year. And I feel pretty good about that. At least I did. Until I read Charles Chu’s calculations. The average American reads two hundred to four hundred words per minute. At that speed we could all read two hundred books a year, nearly twice my quota, in just 417 hours. Sounds like a lot, right? 417? That’s over an hour a day. But can you guess how much time the average American spends on social media each year? The number is 705 hours. TV…2,737.5 hours. Meaning, for just a fraction of the time we give to social media and television, we could all become avid readers to the nth degree. Chu lamented: Here’s the simple truth behind reading a lot of books. It’s not that hard. We have all the time we need. The scary part—the part we all ignore—is that we are too addicted, too weak, and too distracted to do what we all know is important.”
117. “If your heart is stubborn, cold, or in open rebellion against Yahweh, then the worst thing God can do is give you what you want and let all your desires come true.21”
118. “the philosopher Dallas Willard defined ideas as “assumptions about reality.” They are working theories, usually based on some kind of evidence or experience, about how life actually works.”
119. Before you buy something, ask yourself, What is the true cost of this item?
120. “Most of us have more than enough time to work with, even in busy seasons of life. We just have to reallocate our time to “seek first the kingdom of God,”7 not the kingdom of entertainment.”
121. “Faith…is not belief without proof, but trust without reservations.”
122. “These ideas became traditional because so many people realized they led to human flourishing. But in our post-Christian, deconstructionist zeitgeist, they've become radical yet again. We must discover ‘the joy of conviction in a culture of compromise.’" P. 234
123. “in America you can be a success as a pastor and a failure as an apprentice of Jesus; you can gain a church and lose your soul.”
124. “On each side of the river stood the tree of life . . .” “The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations . . .” “No longer will there be any curse . . .” “They will reign for ever and ever . . .”11”
125. “Humanistic propaganda screams at us everywhere we go. “You deserve better.” “There’s no one like you.” “Stand up for yourself.” And after a while we start believing the mantra. The most influential culture-shaping document in American history is the Declaration of Independence. And built into the ethos of American society are three inalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I think the wording is ironic: the pursuit of happiness. It’s almost like the architects of modern democracy said, “We guarantee you life, and we promise you liberty. But happiness? Good luck.” America is a social experiment founded on the pursuit of happiness. Hundreds of millions of Americans are chasing down happiness. Money, materialism, sex, romance, religion, family, and fame are all pursuits of the same human craving—joy. But apart from Jesus, we never get there. People spend decades searching high and low for happiness and never land at joy. In an odd twist of fate, America, for all her life and liberty, is one of the most depressed nations in the world. And many of us are mad at God. Somehow we think God owes us. We deserve happiness. We deserve a good, comfortable life, free from pain and suffering. We have rights! Right? The scriptures present a totally different worldview that stands against the humanism of Western Europe. It is written, “By grace you have been saved.” The word grace is (charis) in the Greek, which can be translated as “gift.” All of life is grace. All of life is a gift. Humans have no rights. Everything is a gift. Food, shelter, the clothes on our backs, the oxygen in our lungs—it’s all grace. The entire planet, the sky above us and the ground beneath our feet, is all on loan from the Creator God. We live under his roof, eat his food, and drink his water. We are guests. And we are blessed. A reporter once asked Bob Dylan if he was happy. Dylan’s response was, “These are yuppie words, happiness and unhappiness. It’s not happiness or unhappiness. It’s either blessed or unblessed.” I like that. We are blessed. When you reorient yourself to a biblical worldview, the only posture left to take is gratitude. If all of life is a gift, how could we help but thank God?”
126. “We feel distant from ourselves. We lose sight of our identities and callings. We get sucked into the tyranny of the urgent, not the important.”
127. “Slow down. Simplify my life around the practices of Jesus. Live from a center of abiding.”
128. “Solitude is not a private therapeutic place.” Rather, “solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.”
129. “M. Scott Peck, in his groundbreaking book People of the Lie, called the devil “a real spirit”
130. “For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.14”
131. “But Sabbath is more than just a day; it’s a way of being in the world. It’s a spirit of restfulness that comes from abiding, from living in the Father’s loving presence all week long.”
132. “Often what we believe about God says more about us than it does about God. Our theology is like a mirror to the soul. It shows us what’s deep inside.”
133. “I love Tim Keller’s definition of work. He puts it this way: work is “rearranging the raw material of God’s creation in such a way that it helps the world in general, and people in particular, thrive and flourish.”
134. “In the cruciform kingdom, only the bad things die: image and status and bragging rights, all vanity.”
135. “Yahweh is forgiving, but sin is not.”
136. “In this new religion of the self, what our ancestors called chastity is now called oppression if it’s externally imposed or repression if it’s internally imposed. What they called self-discipline or self-control, we call, honestly, sin. In a worldview where desire is sacrosanct, the ultimate sin is to not follow your heart. As another theologian, Cornelius Plantinga, observed, “In such a culture…the self exists to be explored, indulged, and expressed but not disciplined or restrained.”
137. “To borrow from the language of Jesus, you gotta figure what the “work the Father gave you to do” is. And then you need to learn the art of saying no. To good things. A smart man once said, “Good is the enemy of best.”17”
138. “For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.”
139. “sow a thought, and reap a deed; sow a deed, and reap another deed; sow some deeds, and reap a habit; sow some habits, and reap a character; sow a character, and reap two thoughts. The new thoughts then pursue careers of their own.11”
140. Live by a budget.
141. “Working theory of the law of returns applied to spiritual formation: sow a thought, reap an action; sow action, reap another action; sow some actions, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny, either in slavery to the flesh or freedom in the Spirit.” (p. 189
142. “My point is simply this: our deepest desires—usually to become people of goodness and love—are often sabotaged by the stronger surface-level desires of our flesh.” (p. 122
143. “If I stay in my constraints and let them do their work, if I consider that my duty to follow through on my commitments is just as ‘authentic’ as my feelings or desires, then my constraints have the potential to set me free from the tyranny of my own flesh and forge me into a person of love.”
144. “To walk with Jesus is to walk with a slow, unhurried pace. Hurry is the death of prayer and only impedes and spoils our work. It never advances it.”
145. “Stepping out in faith to start this nonprofit will end in disaster for my family… “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”23 Against the thought, My wife and I are a bad fit, and I would be happier if we got a divorce… “What God has joined together, let no one separate” and “Husbands, love your wives” and “be considerate as you live with your wives…heirs with you of the gracious gift of life.”24 Against the thought, I want to buy that new thing I don’t need or If I had that thing, then I would be happy… “Be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ ”25”
146. “God made human in order to rule.”
147. “Every thought in your mind needs to be filtered. If you are going to survive this war, you need to be a domineering, controlling, micro-managing tyrant when it comes to your thought life. Any and all thoughts outside of God’s Word, you take captive, shut up, and expel. You give those thoughts no time. No mental real estate. No free pass. You throw those thoughts into prison. No, better yet, you send them straight to solitary confinement. And when you’re done, you throw away the keys.”
148. Turn your smartphone into a dumbphone.
149. “Corrie ten Boom once said that if the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy. There’s truth in that. Both sin and busyness have the exact same effect—they cut off your connection to God, to other people, and even to your own soul.”
150. “As Willard once said, “We truly live at the mercy of our ideas.”
151. “The poet Mary Oliver once said, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”
152. “As a result, Evagrius penned a short book called Talking Back: A Monastic Handbook for Combating Demons. Best subtitle ever.”
153. “Translation: Just because you're no longer under the Mosaic covenant, don't abuse your newfound freedom in Jesus; don't give in to your disordered desires. Instead, give yourself over to the relational constraints of love.”
154. “The church is a hospital—a place where sick, broken, wounded, flawed people are made new by Jesus.”
155. “Technology must never be accepted as part of the natural order of things. … Every technology—from an IQ test to an automobile to a television set to a computer—is a product of a particular economic and political context and carries with it a program, an agenda, and a philosophy that may or may not be life-enhancing and that therefore requires scrutiny, criticism, and control.28”
156. “All too often there is a massive disconnect between “spiritual life” and life.”
157. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
158. “Slow down. Breathe. Come back to the moment. Receive the good as gift. Accept the hard as a pathway to peace. Abide.”
159. “Here’s my point: the solution to an overbusy life is not more time. It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters.”
160. “Michael Zigarelli from the Charleston Southern University School of Business conducted the Obstacles to Growth Survey of over twenty thousand Christians across the globe and identified busyness as a major distraction from spiritual life. Listen carefully to his hypothesis: It may be the case that (1) Christians are assimilating to a culture of busyness, hurry and overload, which leads to (2) God becoming more marginalized in Christians’ lives, which leads to (3) a deteriorating relationship with God, which leads to (4) Christians becoming even more vulnerable to adopting secular assumptions about how to live, which leads to (5) more conformity to a culture of busyness, hurry and overload. And then the cycle begins again.6”
161. If you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.
162. “What starts as an act of the will eventually turns into our inner nature. What begins with a choice eventually becomes a character.” P. 156
163. “Jesus is calling us out. He’s saying that greatness is when we love and serve others.”
164. “Many have noted that the modern world is a virtual conspiracy against the interior life.”
165. “For millennia, followers of Jesus have immersed their minds in Scripture, not just to gather data, memorize factoids, and get the right answers on a theology test. Doctrine does matter—very much—but not to “pass the test” and get into heaven. It matters because we become like our vision of God. The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the “mind of Christ.”22 To actually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.”
166. “This simple mechanism—of mind to thought to action to habit to character to either slavery or eternal life—is at the very heart of apprenticeship to Jesus.” P. 153
167. “Calling isn’t something you choose, like who you marry or what house you buy or what car you buy; it’s something you unearth. You excavate. You dig out. And you discover.”
168. “Don’t make decisions when you’re exhausted or scared, make them when you’re rested and at peace before God and surrender to him.” -John Mark Comer
169. “I have little reason to believe that people who have zero desire to live with Jesus and his community now would want to be conscripted into that forever”
170. “The most important thing in life is who I become through union with Jesus and the relationships I form and forge along the way.” -John Mark Comer
171. “Love is the desire not to take but to give. It’s the settled intention of the heart to promote good in the life of another.”
172. “Parker Palmer, in his masterpiece of a book on vocation, writes this: “The soul is like a wild animal — tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”
173. “Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life.”
174. “The cultural milieu we live in is one of celebrityism. The temptation, when you get really good at something, is to do it to serve and love yourself, not the world, and to do it for your own glory, not God’s. It’s so easy for gifted people to fall into pride, hubris, shameless self-promoting, and self-aggrandizement. It’s lame.”
175. When you do buy, opt for fewer, better things.
176. “My point is this: lies distort our souls and drive us into ruin.”
177. “Even on the bad days, in the hard moments, in the pain, the crisis, or disappointment, the diagnosis, the grief over all the ways life is less than what it could or should be, even then, I think of AA’s wonderful line: “Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace; taking, as [Jesus] did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.”6”
178. “Now our children are growing up in the fallout of deconstructionism.”
179. “Followers of Jesus need to come back to the reality that baptism is their primary pledge of allegiance,40 contempt has zero place in the heart of those who claim to apprentice under Jesus, and the litmus test of our faith is the degree to which we love our enemy.”
180. “This all reminds me of a line from Psalm 39: “In vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.”23”
181. “Late in the fourth century AD, a young intellectual named Evagrius Ponticus went into the desert of Egypt to fight the devil. Like you do.”
182. “Many people think that eternal life refers to a quantity of life after death, but for the New Testament writers, it also meant a quality of life that starts now for the apprentice of Jesus, grows in scope over a lifetime of apprenticeship, and then continues into eternity.” P. 147
183. “To put things in perspective, a goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds.20 Yes. That’s right. We’re losing, to goldfish.”
184. “Our war against the three enemies of the soul is not a war of guns and bombs. It’s not against other people at all. It’s a war on lies. And the problem is less that we tell lies and more that we live them; we let false narratives about reality into our bodies, and they wreak havoc in our souls.”
185. “Everything matters to God. The way of Jesus should permeate and influence and shape every facet of your life.”
186. “Do you see your work as an essential part of your discipleship to Jesus and as the primary way that you join him in his work of renewal? If not, you should.”
187. “My point is simply this: our deepest desires—usually to become people of goodness and love—are often sabotaged by the stronger surface-level desires of our flesh. This is exacerbated by a culture where the widespread wisdom of the day is to follow our desires, not crucify them. But in reality, “Be true to yourself” is some of the worst advice anybody could ever give you.”
188. “Everything starts with deceptive ideas, or lies we believe (put our trust in and live by) about reality—mental maps that come from the devil, not Jesus, and lead to death, not life. But deceptive ideas get as far as they do because they appeal to our disordered desires, or our flesh. And then the world comes in to complete the three enemies’ circular loop. Our disordered desires are normalized in a sinful society, which functions as a kind of echo chamber for the flesh. A self-validating feedback loop where we’re all telling each other what we want (or what our flesh wants) to hear.”
189. “More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.”18 Very few practices have the capacity to humble us as does fasting. When you begin fasting, it’s common to feel sad, even anxious, or just plain hangry. With regular practice, these feelings (mostly) go away and are replaced by joy, contentment, a sense of intimacy with God, and spiritual power. But it takes a while to wean your soul off its addiction to the Western gods of pleasure, instant gratification, and sensory appetites. The first thing it normally does is reveal where you are still in bondage.”
190. “The sexual liberation revolution of the 1960's set in motion a cascade effect: the reversal of the long-standing moral consensus around promiscuity (which separated sex from marriage) worked in tandem with the advent of birth control and the legalization of abortion (which separated sex from pro-creation), which moved to the legalization of no-fault divorce (which turned a covenant into a contract and separated sex from intimacy and fidelity), then to tinder and hookup culture (which separated sex from romance and turned it into a way to "get your needs met"), From there it's moved on to the LGBTQI+ revolution (which separated sex from the male-female binary), the current transgender wave (which is an attempt to separate gender from biological sex), and the nascent polyamory movement (an attempt to move beyond two-person relationships). Amid the revolution, the questions nobody seems to even be asking are, is this making us better people? More loving people? Or even happier people? Are we thriving in a way we weren't prior to "liberation"?”
191. “The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn….”
192. We forget, over and over, that Jesus’ invite was come and follow me.
193. “Jesus blessed the “poor in spirit”11 by the thousands, gave them the Sermon on the Mount,12 and then sent them home, still poor, but blessed. Jesus’ agenda is to make wounded people whole.”
194. “the Genesis 3 lie is the paradigmatic lie behind all lies. The deception (or really temptation) is and has always been twofold: (1) to seize autonomy from God and (2) to redefine good and evil based on the voice in our heads and the inclination of our hearts, rather than trust in the loving word of God.”
195. “Wagstaff added that this “sense of exile, or alienation, may result for the individual who is marginalised, cast adrift, by the inability or unwillingness to conform to the tyranny of majority opinion.”
196. “We can't control what we desire, but we can control what habits we give our minds and bodies to and, in doing so, index our hearts away from the flesh and toward the Spirit. This is under our power and therefore a form of responsibility before God and our fellow humans.” P. 184
197. “Sometimes a calling is staring us in the face, we just need to make eye contact.”
198. “If you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus.”
199. “Hurry is violence on the soul.”
200. “You become what you give your mind to.”
201. “Ultimately, nothing in this life, apart from God, can satisfy our desires. Tragically, we continue to chase after our desires ad infinitum. The result? A chronic state of restlessness or, worse, angst, anger, anxiety, disillusionment, depression—all of which lead to a life of hurry, a life of busyness, overload, shopping, materialism, careerism, a life of more…which in turn makes us even more restless. And the cycle spirals out of control.”
202. “An easy life isn’t an option; an easy yoke is.”
203. “On earth as it is in heaven,” the devil’s is “On earth as it is in hell.”
204. Jesus offer is to teach you and me to shoulder the weight of the human condition which is easy.
205. “... ideads are spiritual entities that enslave our souls. Ideas - Not tyrants.”
206. “helper is not an employee — someone who works for you, someone you boss around. A helper is an equal. Genesis uses the adjective suitable, meaning “on the same level.” It’s someone you love and respect. And it’s one who comes alongside as a partner in a project, as an ally in a war. We all need that kind of helper.”
207. “What we do flows from who we are. Both matter.”
208. “At this point in my life, I’m just trying to not miss the goodness of each day, and bring my best self to it.”
209. “When people die, we honor and celebrate the best parts of their character. Love, sacrifice, loyalty to family and friends, humility, joy, compassion. All of which required their denial of fleshly desires. So while our culture celebrates the gospel of self-actualization, the type of self you actualize into is still paramount.”
210. Lust (Psych2Go
211. “Women, don’t marry a man without a gardening project.”
212. “The Hebrew word Shabbat means ‘to stop.’ But it can also be translated ‘to delight.’ It has this dual idea of stopping and also of joying in God and our lives in his world. The Sabbath is an entire day set aside to follow God’s example, to stop and delight.”
213. “Of people who refuse Jesus’s invitation to follow him into love, he said, “First they will not, in the end, they cannot.”
214. Never impulse buy.
215. “All healthy, free people self-edit this inner mix of desires. The wise recognize that pleasure is not the same thing as happiness. Pleasure is about dopamine; happiness is about serotonin. Pleasure is about the next hit to feel good in the moment; happiness is about contentment over the long haul, a sense that my life is rich and satisfying as it is. Pleasure is about want; happiness is about freedom from want.”
216. “Again, ideas are assumptions about reality.”
217. “Because he loves you, he’s willing to hold back the answers to your prayers and allow a time of pain, if that’s what it takes, in order to make something beautiful out of you.”
218. Get into the slow lane.
219. “Doctrine does matter — very much — but not to "pass the test" and get into heaven. It matters because we become like our vision of God. The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the "mind of Christ. "To actually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.” P. 88
220. “our strongest desires are not actually our deepest desires.”
221. “When you think of Eden, don’t think of a public park with a lawn, a play set, and a flowerbed or two, where God hands Adam a lawnmower and says, Keep it tidy, will ya? Think of a violent, untamed wilderness teeming with beauty, but no infrastructure, no roads, no bridges, no cities, no civilization, and God says, Go make a world. Adam wasn’t a landscape-maintenance employee. He was an explorer, a cartographer, a gardener, a designer, an architect, a builder, an urban planner, a city-maker.”
222. “The phrase a personal relationship with Jesus is nowhere in the Bible. I’m not saying we don’t have one, but people take that idea way too far. You are not saved into a vacuum. You are saved into a community of called-out ones. Jesus saved us to reconcile us to God and to people.”
223. “We sin because we believe a lie about what will make us happy.”
224. “Nobody knows where the West will go in the years to come. The smartest people can only guess. But this could be our finest hour. We could be days away from a sweeping renewal across the Western church. It’s happened before, at the moment it was least likely. It could happen again.” (p. 240
225. “If you live into this lie long enough, tragically, what was false starts to become true.” (p. 35
226. Experiment with mindfulness and meditation.
227. “Jesus’ life is the example for how to love. It’s that easy. And that difficult.”
228. Kill your TV.
229. Jesus was rarely in a hurry.
230. “freedom is very easy to abuse. And when we abuse freedom, we negate love. Notice Paul’s next line: Rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.4”
231. “We make our decisions, and then our decisions make us. In the beginning we have a choice, but eventually, we have a character.”
232. Our churches will live up or down to the maximum of our maturity.
233. “Scripture is first and foremost a story. And it’s a story about God. We want to make it a story about us—about how to get ahead in life or have great sex or up our portfolio or just be happy. And there are all sorts of “success principles” in the Bible, but honestly, that’s just not what the story is about. If you strip the Bible down to the core, it’s a story about God, and about how we as people relate to God.”
234. “One of the biggest challenges we have to our democracy is the”
235. “To say yes to Jesus's invitation is to say no to a thousand other things. As the monks used to say, ‘Every choice is a renunciation.’ To say yes to Jesus is to say no to living by my own definition of good and evil, to spending my time and money however I want, to the hyperindividualism, antiauthoritarianism, and full-tilt hedonistic pursuit of our day. It's a thousand tiny deaths that all lead up to one massive life. It's not a futile grasping for control, but the freedom of yielding to Love.
236. “Our generation is living through three tectonic shifts in Western culture.”
237. “Only he can take evil, demonic, horrific experiences and thread them into his cosmic plan of redemption.”
238. “Therefore, we must run every habit, every thought, every relationship-everything-through this simple grid:
239. “We’re image bearers, created to rule, to partner with God in pushing and pulling the creation project forward, to work it, to draw out the earth’s potential and unleash it for human flourishing — to cooperate with God in building a civilization where his people can thrive in his presence. And in this cosmic agenda, each of us has a vocation, a calling from God, a way that God wired us, somebody to be and something to do — because the two merge in perfect symmetry.”
240. Get into the habit of giving things away.
241. “Walter Adams, the spiritual director to C. S. Lewis: To walk with Jesus is to walk with a slow, unhurried pace. Hurry is the death of prayer and only impedes and spoils our work. It never advances it.11”
242. “We were set up to love. To absorb the love of God into our bloodstream and then to share it with another human being.”
243. “As C. S. Lewis wisely said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.”34 But lest you think I’m rallying a digital militia to “take America back for God”—relax, really. That’s not where we’re heading. The devil is far too interesting and intelligent for a simple us-versus-them binary.”
244. “Apparently, I’m known as a “reader.” I read two or three books a week, which normally comes in at around one hundred and twenty-five books a year. And I feel pretty good about that. At least I did. Until I read Charles Chu’s calculations. The average American reads two hundred to four hundred words per minute. At that speed we could all read two hundred books a year, nearly twice my quota, in just 417 hours. Sounds like a lot, right? 417? That’s over an hour a day. But can you guess how much time the average American spends on social media each year? The number is 705 hours. TV … 2,737.5 hours.”
245. “To clarify, it’s not that God’s will is weak—on an even playing field with all the other wills. As if we, God, and Satan are all equal players in a game for the world. It’s that in the universe God has chosen to actualize, love is the highest value, and love demands a choice, and a choice demands freedom. So God has chosen to limit his overwhelming capacity to override any “will” stacked against him, in order to create space for real, genuine freedom for his creatures, human and nonhuman. And evil is the by-product of that freedom that God built into the fabric of the universe. Put simply, God is incredibly good, but the world is a terrifyingly free, dangerous, beautiful place to call home.50”
246. “Willpower is at its best when it does what it can (direct my body into spiritual practices) so the Spirit's power can do what willpower can't (overcome the three enemies of the soul.” P. 175
247. “growing number of people are more loyal to their ideology or political party than they are to Jesus and his teachings.”
248. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
249. “If Jesus's anthem is
250. “It turns out that sin makes people the same. When we give in to our flesh, we devolve to a remarkably unoriginal baseline. Desire. Use. Repeat.” P. 145
251. “We need to learn to embrace our potential and our limitations. Because both of them are signposts, pointing us forward into God’s calling on our life.”
252. “I identified repeating thoughts that were lies from the devil.”
253. What is needed is not more anger or anxiety. What is needed is a non-anxious presence.
254. “The whole point of apprenticeship is to model all of your life after Jesus. And in doing so to recover your soul. To have the warped part of you put back into shape. To experience healing in the deepest parts of your being. To experience what Jesus called “life…to the full.”
255. “When God has put something in you and you know it’s from the Spirit and it’s bursting to get out, but . . . nothing . . . happens. It’s torture. Waterboarding on the soul.”
256. “Fasting is a way to turn your body into an ally in your fight with the flesh rather than an adversary.” P. 178
257. “There are books to be read; landscapes to be walked; friends to be with; life to be fully lived…. This new epidemic of distraction is our civilization’s specific weakness. And its threat is not so much to our minds, even as they shape-shift under the pressure. The threat is to our souls. At this rate, if the noise does not relent, we might even forget we have any.2”
258. “In the following story, Eve is tempted by the serpent. She’s called to rule over the creation, but instead she’s ruled by the creation. It’s a sad turn of events — an upending of the created order.”
259. “Paul’s point is that our flesh is anti-love. The flesh runs off our animal drives for self-gratification and survival,”
260. For most of us, we need to slow down.
261. “But the Bible claims something radically out of step with its time. It claims there is one true Creator God who made everything. And the world was born, not out of conflict or war or jealous infighting, but out of the overflow of his creativity and love.”
262. “In the pre-Freud West, human flourishing was about saying yes to the right desires, the higher desires for love, and no to the lower desires, the baser, more appetite kind of desires. And you would navigate your desires by the mental maps that were handed down to you by a trusted but external authority source -ideally, Jesus himself, as his teachings come to us through the New Testament - in order to not repeat the mistakes of previous generations and to carry forward those generations' cumulative wisdom. After all, you're not the first human to ever live. Why repeat other people's mistakes?” P. 115
263. “To God, your identity — what makes you you — isn’t rooted in the past (who you were) or in the present (who you are), but in the future — in who you are becoming.5”
264. Get in the longest checkout line at the grocery store.
265. “It’s not failure if you fail at doing something you’re not supposed to do. It’s success. Because with each success, and with each so-called failure, you’re getting a clearer sense of your calling.”
266. “One of the key tasks of our apprenticeship to Jesus is living into both our potential and our limitations.”
267. Show up ten minutes early for an appointment, sans phone.
268. “Our primary war against the devil is to fight for truth over lies”
269. “When we say that God is faithful, we don’t mean you’ll never experience suffering. A lot of people—in particular, Americans—misinterpret God’s faithfulness to mean some kind of promise to give us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So when tragedy strikes or the economy goes south or the child tests positive or we don’t find a spouse by thirty, we think God is unfaithful.”
270. “Followers of Jesus need to come back to the reality that baptism is their primary pledge of allegiance, contempt has zero place in the heart of those who claim to apprentice under Jesus, and the litmus test of our faith is the degree to which we love our enemy.” P. 215
271. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.26 Notice again that Paul’s exhortation isn’t to not quit a hard job or to keep following your dream to start a small business. In context, the “doing good” he’s referring to is the fight against our flesh.”
272. “Your body is a gift, as is pleasure in the right time and place and way. But your body, like the rest of your soul, has been corrupted by sin. As a result, your body often works against you in your fight with the flesh, via your sex drive, fight-or-flight system, or survival instincts. Fasting is a way to turn your body into an ally in your fight with the flesh rather than an adversary.”
273. “And like any fight, death comes with the territory. As does sacrifice. For me, I had to die to who I could have been if I’d stayed on the path of upward mobility. Even now there are rare moments when I’ll think, What if? I had to make peace with who I am. And who I’m not. I had to let go of the envy, the fantasy, the cancerous restlessness. To accept, gratefully: this is my life.”
274. “Don’t get married because you think he or she is “the one.” Trust me, they’re not. There’s no such thing! But do get married when you see who God is making somebody to be, and it lights you up.”
275. “But for Jesus, leadership isn’t about coercion and control; it’s about example and invitation.”
276. “In his commencement address at Kenyon College, the novelist and social critic David Foster Wallace eloquently said, “In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.”59”
277. “There’s no official checklist, but here’s what we suggest: Take email off your phone. Take all social media off your phone, transfer it to a desktop, and schedule set times to check it each day or, ideally, each week. Disable your web browser. I’m a bit lenient on this one since I hate surfing the web on my phone and use this only when people send me links. But this is typically a key facet of a dumbphone. Delete all notifications, including those for texts. I set my phone so I have to (1) unlock it and (2) click on the text message box to (3) even see if I have any text messages. This was a game changer. Ditch news apps or at least news alerts. They are the devil. Delete every single app you don’t need or that doesn’t make your life seriously easier. And keep all the wonder apps that do make life so much easier—maps, calculator, Alaska Airlines, etc. What Knapp put in one box and labeled “The Future.” Consolidate said apps into a few simple boxes so your home screen is free and clear. Finally, set your phone to grayscale mode. This does something neurobiologically that I’m not smart enough to explain, something to do with decreasing dopamine addiction. Google”
278. Cultivate a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures.
280. “In the beginning we have a choice, but eventually, we have a character.”
281. “What if the formula “more stuff equals more happiness” is bad math? What if more stuff often just equals more stress? More hours at the office, more debt, more years working in a job I don’t feel called to, more time wasted cleaning and maintaining and fixing and playing with and organizing and reorganizing and updating all that junk I don’t even need. What if more stuff actually equals less of what matters most? Less time. Less financial freedom. Less generosity, which according to Jesus is where the real joy is. Less peace, as I hurry my way through the mall parking lot. Less focus on what life is actually about. Less mental real estate for creativity. Less relationships. Less margin. Less prayer. Less of what I actually ache for? What if I were to reject my culture’s messaging as a half-truth at best, if not a full-on lie, and live into another message? Another gospel?”
282. “Amid the revolution, the questions nobody seems to even be asking are, Is this making us better people? More loving people? Or even happier people? Are we thriving in a way we weren’t prior to our ‘liberation’?” (p. 28
283. “And mindfulness is simply silence and solitude for a secular society. It’s the same thing, just missing the best part—Jesus.”
284. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”
285. “His basic thesis was that when we believe lies and then let those lies into our bodies, tragically, they often become a kind of upside-down shadow of the truth.”
286. “Lies, that come in the form of deceptive ideas, are the devil’s primary method of enslaving human beings and entire human societies in a vicious cycle of ruin that leads us further and further east of Eden.”
287. “Rethink everything you think you know about what will lead you to the good life, and put your trust in me.”
288. “God is not shocked by your emotions. No matter how messed up your soul may be, God is right there with you, listening.”
289. People in a hurry have no time for love.
290. “The reconciliation of God’s mercy and justice in the death of Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s character.”
291. “You got letters after your name but learned the hard way that intelligence is not the same as wisdom.
292. “In the modern world, we start with the assumption that we know what God is like, and then we judge every religion or church or sermon or book based on our view of God.”
293. “Working theory of the devil’s strategy: deceitful ideas that play to disordered desires that are normalized in a sinful society Working theory of the law of returns applied to spiritual formation: sow a thought, reap an action; sow action, reap another action; sow some actions, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny, either in slavery to the flesh or freedom in the Spirit.”
294. “Human beings are responsible for art, science, medicine, education, the Sistine Chapel, Handel’s Messiah, New York City, space travel, the novel, photography, and Mexican food — I mean, who doesn’t love Mexican food? But we’re also responsible for a world with 27 million slaves, blatant racism, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the genocide in Rwanda, ISIS, the financial meltdown of 2008, pornography, global warming, the endangered-species list, and don’t even get me started on pop music. So we humans are a mixed bag. We have a great capacity — more than we know — to rule in a way that is life-giving for the people around us and the place we call home, or to rule in such a way that we exploit the earth itself and rob people of an environment where they can thrive. This was God’s risk. His venture. His experiment.”
295. “Do you enjoy your life? Or are you so focused on the future that you're missing out on the present? So obsessed with what you don't have that you forget what you do have? Life is a gift. Deeply enjoy every moment you can. Savor the ordinary. A cup of coffee. A meal with friends. A good night's sleep. Laughter. Plant your feet on the ground and take it all in. Because what you're doing now will set the stage for your future.”
296. “Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” All creation speaks”
297. Walk slower.
298. “Yes, Jesus was the template for what Godness looks like. If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus of Nazareth. But the mystery of the incarnation is that he was also the template for what real, true humanness looks like. He’s the Son of God and he’s the “son of Adam.” If you want to know what a human being, fully awake and alive, ruling over the world as a conduit for the Creator God’s love looks like in flesh and blood — then look at Jesus.”
299. “If you want to experience the life “to the full” of Jesus, his nonstop, conscious enjoyment of God’s presence and world, all you have to do is adopt not only his theology and ethics but also his lifestyle. Just follow his way. That’s it!”
300. “It’s been proven by study after study: there is zero correlation between hurry and productivity. In fact, once you work a certain number of hours in a week, your productivity plummets. Wanna know what the number is? Fifty hours. Ironic: that’s about a six-day workweek. One study found that there was zero difference in productivity between workers who logged seventy hours and those who logged fifty-five.15 Could God be speaking to us even through our bodies?”
301. “Our victory isn't won by swords, spears, or predator drone strikes but with truth embodied in self-sacrificial love.” P. 247
302. “that knowledge—or even truth itself—is a form of oppression.”
303. “Hurry is the great enemy. Let’s slow down, be present to what is, and then the practice of it.” -John Mark Comer
304. Lead a cheerful, happy revolt against the spirit of materialism.
305. “As a leader, make decisions slowly over a long period of time with community, with much waiting on God and from a place of rest and peace, not exhaustion and fear” -John Mark Comer
306. “His original role seems to have been the spiritual formation of human beings through testing.”
307. “While the church is not an ethnic minority (and it’s important for me to clarify that), we are what sociologists call a cognitive minority. Meaning, as followers of Jesus, our worldview and value system and practices and social norms are increasingly at sharp odds with those of our host culture. We face constant pressure, from both the Left and the Right, to assimilate and follow the crowd.”
308. “C.S. Lewis, once said, "The main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark, prison we are all born in" and warned of the danger of, "coming to love the prison.”
309. “Doctrine does matter — very much — but not to “pass the test” and get into heaven. It matters because we become like our vision of God. The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the “mind of Christ. “To actually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.”
310. Sacrifice your ambition, your drive, your work-a-holism, influence, status, pat on the back. Let all of that die or your soul will die instead and the souls of those around you.
311. “chronological snobbery,”21 the innate human bias to think we’re smarter than people who came before us and therefore new ideas are naturally better or more truthful than old ones.”
312. “The late Dr. Larry Hurtado, historian of early Christianity, in his wildly celebrated book Destroyer of the Gods, told the story of how a tiny Jewish sect of Jesus followers overcame the bastion of paganism and won over the Roman Empire in only a few centuries. His thesis was that it wasn’t the church’s relevance or relatability to the culture but its difference and distinctness that made it compelling to so many. The church was marked by five distinctive features, all of which made it stand out against the backdrop of the empire: The church was multiracial and multiethnic, with a high value for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The church was spread across socioeconomic lines as well, and there was a high value for caring for the poor; those with extra were expected to share with those with less. It was staunch in its active resistance to infanticide and abortion. It was resolute in its vision of marriage and sexuality as between one man and one woman for life. It was nonviolent, both on a personal level and a political level.”
313. Come to a full stop at stop signs.
314. “Every follower of Jesus, in every culture, has to constantly ask the question, In what ways have I been assimilated into the host culture? Where have I drifted from my identity and inheritance? The temptation for us in the West is less to atheism and more to a DIY faith that's a mix of the Way of Jesus, consumerism, secular sex ethics, and radical individualism.” P. 228
315. “Okay, dear reader, it’s time to start building your own monastic handbook for combating lies: What’s the thought, feeling, and/or sensation?
316. “We find God’s will for our lives in our limitations.” – Pete Scazzero
317. “There is nothing else. Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
318. “The word helper is ezer in Hebrew. It sounds derogatory in English, like God made Adam a personal assistant. But it’s not that way at all in the original language. Ezer can be translated “partner” — one who comes alongside to help achieve a goal.”
319. “Here’s how you know if you’ve created God in your own image: he agrees with you on everything.”
320. “We need to relearn how to power down, unplug, disconnect, take a break, and be in one place at one time. We forget that we’re not a machine. We can’t work 24/7.”
321. “We call it addiction; Jesus and Paul call it slavery.” P. 146
322. “All he means by that is men carry a responsibility to lead. By “lead” I do not mean boss around, take charge, dominate, intimidate, or any other stupid thing that men have done in the name of the the Bible. I mean step out, take responsibility, care for, listen to, love, serve . . . and risk.”
323. “The best definition I know of ideology is when you take a part of the truth and make it the whole. In doing so, you imprison your own mind and heart in lies that drive you to anger and anxiety. It promises freedom but produces the opposite. It does not expand and liberate the soul but shrinks and enslaves”
324. “Human beings simply can’t live without loving relationships and meaning to both our suffering and our existence as a whole. Jesus comes to offer both.”
325. “As we said earlier, one of the great problems of spirituality in our day and age that so few people feel safe enough to admit is how separated we feel from God. We rarely experience God’s presence throughout our day. “Love, joy, and peace” does not describe the felt experience of many Christians. Often we come to church hoping for a God hit—a fleeting moment of connection to God before we return to the secular wasteland. Could the antidote for this spiritual malaise be as “easy” as silence and solitude? If our theory is right and the problem is more our absence than his, more about our distraction than”
326. “Every time we sow to the flesh—or put another way, every time we give in to our flesh’s desire to sin—we plant something in the soil of our hearts, which then begins to take root, grow, and, eventually, yield the harvest of a deformed nature. . . . Thankfully, the same is true of the Spirit. Every time you sow to the Spirit and invest the resources of your mind and body into nurturing your inner man or woman’s connection to the Spirit of God, you plant something deep in the humus of your central fulcrum, which, over time, takes root and bears the fruit of a Christlike character.”
327. “It's as simple as that: small, regular habits/practices/disciplines that open our minds up to the Spirit and close them of to the flesh.” P. 177
328. “When we call something a lie, we mean it doesn’t correspond to reality.”
329. “We were put on earth —because the entire cosmos is this God’s temple —to make visible the invisible God. To show the world what God is like. We are the Creator’s representatives to his creation.”
330. “the kind of minority we’re talking about here is what the historian Arnold Toynbee called a creative minority, which he described as a small but influential group of committed citizens who—motivated by love—bless the host culture, not from the center, but from the margins.27 Here’s Jon Tyson’s definition: A Christian community in a web of stubbornly loyal relationships, knotted together in a living network of persons, in a complex and challenging cultural setting, who are committed to practicing the way of Jesus together for the renewal of the world.”
331. “Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it so well: Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him…. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person.19”
332. “The end isn’t silence and solitude; it’s to come back to God and our true selves. It isn’t Sabbath; it’s a restful, grateful life of ease, appreciation, wonder, and worship. It isn’t simplicity: it’s freedom and focus on what matters most. It isn’t even slowing; it’s to be present, to God, to people, to the moment.”
333. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Translation: Just because you’re no longer under the Mosaic covenant, don’t abuse your newfound freedom in Jesus; don’t give in to your disordered desires. Instead, give yourself over to the relational constraints of love.”
334. “Image and dust. To be made in the image of God means that we’re rife with potential. We have the Divine’s capacity in our DNA. We’re like God. We were created to “image” his behavior, to rule like he does, to gather up the raw materials of our planet and reshape them into a world for human beings to flourish and thrive. But that’s only half the story. We’re also made from the dirt, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”: we’re the original biodegradable containers. Which means we’re born with limitations. We’re not God. We’re mortal, not immortal. Finite, not infinite. Image and dust”
335. “Because where you put your resources is where you put your heart. It’s the steering wheel to your engine of desire.”
336. “We find God’s will for our lives in our limitations.”
337. “It’s by Spirit and truth that we’re transformed into the image of Jesus, but the reciprocal is also true. It’s by isolation and lies that we’re deformed into the image of the devil.”
338. “Dreaming of the perfect life, which in turn poisons our actual lives.”
339. “Do you ever catch yourself with the sneaking suspicion that you’ll wake up on your deathbed with this nagging sense that somehow, in all the hurry and busyness and frenetic activity, you missed the most important things?”
340. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.26 Notice again that Paul’s exhortation isn’t to not quit a hard job or to keep following your dream to start a small business. In context, the “doing good” he’s referring to is the fight against our flesh. The first application of this beautiful line is to not give up in our struggle to get free of our animal natures. Because—and here’s the most beautiful thing—“at the proper time we will reap a harvest.” Again, in context, he means the harvest of Christlike character and freedom.”
341. “Nobody believed he was real…. That was his power. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
342. “It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
343. If you can, take long vacations.
344. “For hundreds of years, the church would fast twice a week: Wednesdays and Fridays. That was just what you did if you were a Christian. In the fourth century, when the church developed the practice of Lent, it was originally a fast similar to Islam’s Ramadan. As a lead-up to Easter, followers of Jesus would wake and go without food until sunset. For forty days. Every year. Please note: go without food.”
345. Set times for email.
346. “What are you facing right now? Where do you need a way out? A thought pattern you just can’t break free of? A compulsion or addiction that’s killing your joy? A character flaw that leaks out in embarrassing ways, despite your best efforts to nip it in the bud?”
347. “What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
348. “It's true it will cost us to follow Jesus, but it will cost us even more to not follow him.” P. 252
349. “Maybe the truth is that we want a God who is controllable because we want to be God. We want to be the authority on who God is or isn’t and what’s right or wrong, but we want the mask of religion or spirituality to cover up the I-wanna-be-God reality.”
350. “As David Brooks put it in a New York Times op-ed, “Over the last half century, we’ve turned politics from a practical way to solve common problems into a cultural arena to display resentments.”
351. “Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion and Russian democracy advocate who now lives in exile in Croatia, opined, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”
352. “We laugh at the devil as a premodern myth, akin to Thor’s hammer or Santa Claus. We scratch our heads at the New Testament’s language of the flesh in a sensual culture where people equate feeling good with being good. And when we hear the world, we envision a spittle-spewing street preacher with a bullhorn in a public park, railing about the dangers of AC/DC and the impending rapture.”
353. “truth is reality. Lies are unreality.”
354. “One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
355. “Willpower is at its best when it does what it can (direct my body into spiritual practices
356. Set a time and a time limit for social media (or just get off it
357. “The phrase a personal relationship with Jesus is nowhere in the Bible. I’m not saying we don’t have one, but people take that idea way too far. You are not saved into a vacuum. You are saved into a community of called-out ones. Jesus saved us to reconcile us to God and to people. Justification has multiple dimensions. The cross makes us right with God and reconnects us to the broken humanity around us. Take, for example,”
358. “Here’s my best shot at a definition of agape love: A compassionate commitment to delight in the soul of another and to will that person’s good ahead of your own, no matter the cost to yourself Love is the desire not to take but to give. It’s the settled intention of the heart to promote good in the life of another. To see the beauty inherent in another soul and help them come to see it as well.”
359. “Ideology is a form of idolatry. It's a secular attempt to find a metaphysical meaning to life, a way to usher in utopia without God. The best definition I know of ideology is when you take a part of the truth and make it the whole. In doing so, you imprison your own mind and heart in lies that drive you to anger and anxiety. It promises freedom but produces the opposite. It does not expand and liberate the soul but shrinks and enslaves it.” P. 36
360. “The problem is most people don’t really think prayer makes a difference in how God acts. The majority of us are fatalistic when it comes to prayer. Lots of people honestly believe that what’s going to happen is going to happen, with or without prayer. That kind of a twisted, lazy theology is what sucks the life out of people’s prayers. Are you saying my prayers really make a difference in what God does or does not do? Yes. Do not miss that. Many Jesus followers do. What I’m saying is really important. Prayer changes reality. Prayer moves the hand of God. Dallas Willard writes: “God’s response to our prayers is not a charade. He does not pretend that he is answering our prayer when he is only doing what he was going to do anyway. Our requests really do make a difference in what God does or does not do. The idea that everything would happen exactly as it does regardless of whether we pray or not is a specter that haunts the minds of many who sincerely profess belief in God. It makes prayer psychologically impossible, replacing it with dead ritual at best…of course this is not the biblical idea of prayer, nor is it the idea of people for whom prayer is a vital part of life.” When you pray, things happen. And the reverse is also true. When you don’t pray, things don’t happen. It is written, “You have not because you ask not.” Do you know what that really means? You have not because you ask not! What a novel idea. I repeat: Prayer changes reality. Prayer moves the hand of God.”
361. “For starters it means that your work is a core part of your humanness. You are made in the image of a working God. God is king over the world, and you’re a king, a queen — royalty — ruling on his behalf. Gathering up the creation’s praise and somehow pushing it back to God himself.”
362. “want to love my children well, be present as a father, and intentionally unfold them into their full potential, but I also want to close the door, watch TV, and let them sort out their own annoying problems. I want to live deeply grateful and content with what I have, as well as practice radical generosity, but I also want to buy a new jacket I don’t need and upgrade my perfectly good car.”
363. “Not all desires are created equal. Or at least, not all are equally beneficial. Some of our desires are higher or nobler and lead to life and freedom and peace; others are lower or more animalistic and lead to death and slavery and fear.”
364. “To restate: love, joy, and peace are at the heart of all Jesus is trying to grow in the soil of your life. And all three are incompatible with hurry.”
365. “We make decisions in communities. We’re big believers in communal discernment. You don’t make any of these decisions alone.” -John Mark Comer
366. “I think one of the most interesting and paradigm-shifting verses in the Bible is Romans 12v1 where Paul says, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship.” Notice Paul’s language. Offer your bodies. Not your souls, your bodies! True sanctification and worship of God involves your soul and your body. God is after all of you. We worship by caring for our spiritual life, by reading the scriptures, prayer, and the disciplines. And we worship by going on a run, eating healthy and whole foods, spending time outside in praise of the Creator, and watching over the bodies God has blessed us with. True worship is holistic.”
367. Most of Jesus teaching is about how to live, not dying.
368. “And hurry is a form of violence on the soul.”
369. “Because to Jesus, love is serving. It’s cleaning garbage off his feet. It’s wiping grime from between her toes. It’s choosing — choosing of your own free will — to play the role of the servant, the least important person in the room.”
370. “You were made to do good— to mirror and mimic what God is like to the world. To stand at the interface between the Creator and his creation, implementing God’s creative, generous blessing over all the earth and giving voice to the creation’s worship.”
371. “the most effective lies are the ones that are mostly true. Here’s a little free advice for those of you wanting to grow in the art of deception: spin a tale in which 95 percent of what you say is accurate; just make the 5 percent of inaccuracy the linchpin that undoes your mark. the next most effective lies are those that are true but not the whole truth. They are one side of a two-sided conversation or an oversimplification of the complex reality of life. Cue the “Yes, but…” or “Yes, and…” retorts in a debate.”
372. “Ideas have power only when we believe them. We hear all sorts of ideas every day, some brilliant, others ridiculous; but they have zero effect on us unless we begin to trust them as an accurate map to reality.” (p. 46
373. “stronger surface-level desires of our flesh. This is exacerbated by a culture where the widespread wisdom of the day is to follow our desires, not crucify them. But in reality, “Be true to yourself” is some of the worst advice anybody could ever give you.”
374. “It’s two broken people coming together to follow God’s calling on their lives.”
375. “Our time is our life, and our attention is the doorway to our hearts.”
376. “Do you enjoy your life? Or are you so focused on the future that you're missing out on the present? So obsessed with what you don't have that you forget what you do have? Life is a gift. Deeply enjoy every moment you can. A good night's sleep. Laughter. Plant your feet on the ground and take it all in. Because what you're doing now will set the stage for your future.”
377. “[The Church is] not a community of comfort but of calling.” P. 231
378. “The devil’s primary stratagem to drive the soul and society into ruin is deceptive ideas that play to disordered desires, which are normalized in a sinful society.”
379. “If we fight the image of God in us — even if we succeed in the short run — it will come back to eat us alive.”
380. “We make our decisions, and then our decisions make us.” (p. 157
381. Take a regular day alone for silence and solitude.
382. “Freedom without self-mastery is a disaster waiting to happen.”
383. “Hurry and love are incompatible.”
384. “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”
385. “In reality Jesus’ moral teachings aren’t arbitrary at all. They are laws, yes. But moral laws are no different from scientific laws like E = mc2 or gravity.26 They are statements about how the world actually works. And if you ignore them, not only do you rupture relationship with God, but you also go against the grain of the universe he created.”
386. “Ronald Rolheiser, my undisputed favorite Catholic writer of all time, with hurricane force: Today, a number of historical circumstances are blindly flowing together and accidentally conspiring to produce a climate within which it is difficult not just to think about God or to pray, but simply to have any interior depth whatsoever…. We, for every kind of reason, good and bad, are distracting ourselves into spiritual oblivion. It is not that we have anything against God, depth, and spirit, we would like these, it is just that we are habitually too preoccupied to have any of these show up on our radar screens. We are more busy than bad, more distracted than nonspiritual, and more interested in the movie theater, the sports stadium, and the shopping mall and the fantasy life they produce in us than we are in church. Pathological busyness, distraction, and restlessness are major blocks today within our spiritual lives.”
387. “Ideology is a form of idolatry. It’s a secular attempt to find a metaphysical meaning to life, a way to usher in utopia without God.”
388. “Reminder: Your phone doesn’t actually work for you. You pay for it, yes. But it works for a multibillion-dollar corporation in California, not for you. You’re not the customer; you’re the product. It’s your attention that’s for sale, along with your peace of mind.21”
389. Recognize advertising for what it is—propaganda. Call out the lie.
390. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
391. If your strategy in life is to live out Jesus vision of the sermon on the Mount, but you don’t change your routine to match that of Jesus, you don’t stand a chance.
392. “Hurry and love are like oil and water; they simply do not mix.”
393. “Satan and the Problem of Evil is the best case I’ve ever read against the ever-popular “God is in control” mantra. In his section on philosophy he wrote this about spiritual formation: Self-determining freedom ultimately gives way either to a higher form of freedom—the freedom to be creatures whose love defines them—or the lowest form of bondage—the inability to participate in love. We either become beings who are irrevocably open or irrevocably closed to God’s love. The former is eternal life; the latter is eternal death.16”
394. “In the past, it was the responsibility of all people to restrain the desires of their flesh; today, it’s the right of all people to follow the desires of their authentic selves.” P. 117
395. “Sabbath is more than just a day; it’s a way of being in the world.”
396. “More recently, Dallas Willard put it this way: Desire is infinite partly because we were made by God, made for God, made to need God, and made to run on God. We can be satisfied only by the one who is infinite, eternal, and able to supply all our needs; we are only at home in God. When we fall away from God, the desire for the infinite remains, but it is displaced upon things that will certainly lead to destruction.5 Ultimately, nothing in this life, apart from God, can satisfy our desires. Tragically, we continue to chase after our desires ad infinitum. The result? A chronic state of restlessness or, worse, angst, anger, anxiety, disillusionment, depression—all of which lead to a life of hurry, a life of busyness, overload, shopping, materialism, careerism, a life of more…which in turn makes us even more restless. And the cycle spirals out of control. To make a bad problem worse, this is exacerbated by our cultural moment of digital marketing from a society built around the twin gods of accumulation and accomplishment. Advertising is literally an attempt to monetize our restlessness. They say we see upward of four thousand ads a day, all designed to stoke the fire of desire in our bellies. Buy this. Do this. Eat this. Drink this. Have this. Watch this. Be this. In his book on the Sabbath, Wayne Muller opined, “It is as if we have inadvertently stumbled into some horrific wonderland.”6 Social media takes this problem to a whole new level as we live under the barrage of images—not just from marketing departments but from the rich and famous as well as our friends and family, all of whom curate the best moments of their lives. This ends up unintentionally playing to a core sin of the human condition that goes all the way back to the garden—envy. The greed for another person’s life and the loss of gratitude, joy, and contentment in our own.”
397. “Humility is not thinking of yourself at all. The humble person is lost in the needs of others.”
398. “That painful work of what felt like humiliation at the time was really the seeds of my liberation. As some would say, breakthroughs often start with breakdowns. ” -John Mark Comer
399. “But consider this: What if Jesus knew the true nature of reality better than we do? What if his perception was even more acute than that of Steven Pinker? Or Sam Harris? Or Stephen Hawking? What if he was the most intelligent teacher to ever live and his insight into the problems (and solutions) of the human condition is the most piercing to date?”
400. “Because what you give your attention to is the person you become. Put another way: the mind is the portal to the soul, and what you fill your mind with will shape the trajectory of your character. In the end, your life is no more than the sum of what you gave your attention to. That bodes well for those apprentices of Jesus who give the bulk of their attention to him and to all that is good, beautiful, and true in his world. But not for those who give their attention to the 24-7 news cycle of outrage and anxiety and emotion-charged drama or the nonstop feed of celebrity gossip, titillation, and cultural drivel. (As if we “give” it in the first place; much of it is stolen by a clever algorithm out to monetize our precious attention.) But again: we become what we give our attention to, for better or worse.”