Category Archives: Notes & Quotes

One Who Has Been There

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“The bromides, platitudes, and exhortations to trust God from nominal believers who have never visited the valley of desolation are not only useless; they are textbook illustrations of unmitigated gall. Only someone who has been there, who has drunk the dregs of our cup of pain, who has experienced the existential loneliness and alienation of the human condition, dares whisper the name of the Holy to our unspeakable distress. Only that witness is credible; only that love is believable.” 
Brennan Manning – Ruthless Trust
#Unabashedhope #truth #wisdomfromthecoffeehouse #BrennanManning #RuthlessTrust #grief #hope

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It’s Always about Him

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“When we focus so strongly on our need to get better, we actually get worse. We become even more neurotic and self-absorbed. 
Preoccupation with our guilt (instead of God’s grace) makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective. And what is Original Sin if not a preoccupation with ourselves? 
What needs to be ultimately rooted out and attacked is the sin underneath my sins which is not immoral behavior but immoral belief: faith in my own moral and spiritual ‘progress,’ rather than in the One who died to atone for my lack of progress. 
Listen carefully: Christianity is not first and foremost about our behavior, our obedience, our response, and our daily victory over sin, as important as all these are. 
It is not first and foremost about us at all, it is first and foremost about Jesus! 
So instead of trying to fix one another, perhaps we might try ‘stirring one another up to love and good deeds’ by daily reminding one another, in humble love, of the riches we already possess in Christ.” 
–Tullian Tchividjian

#Unabashedhope #brokenpeople #grace #unconditionallove #TullianTchividjian

Welcome As You Are

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“When the prodigal son limped home from his lengthy binge of waste and wandering, boozing and womanizing, his motives were mixed at best. He said to himself, ‘How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here I am dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father.’ 
The ragamuffin’s stomach was not churning with compunction because he had broken his father’s heart. He stumbled home simply to survive. 

For me, the most touching verse in the entire Bible is the father’s response: ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly.’ 
I am moved that the father didn’t cross-examine the boy, bully him, lecture him on ingratitude, or insist on any high motivation. He was so overjoyed at the sight of his son that he ignored all canons of prudence and parental discretion and simply welcomed him home. The father took him back just as he was. 
What a word of encouragement, consolation, and comfort! We don’t have to sift our hearts and analyze our intentions before returning home. Abba just wants us to show up. 
We don’t have to tarry at the tavern until purity of heart arrives. We don’t have to be shredded with sorrow or crushed with contrition. We don’t have to be perfect or even very good before God will accept us. We don’t have to wallow in guilt, shame, and self-condemnation. 
Even if we still nurse a secret nostalgia for the far country, Abba falls on our neck and kisses us.” 
–Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Grateful for the Thorns

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“To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.” #HenriNouwen #truth #wisdomfromthecoffeehouse #UnabashedHope #gratefulforthethorns 

The Ministry of Disappointment

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Disappointment is the crucible that can make even the most faith-filled person question God’s existence and his authority. It can also be the place that we truly find God and separate our need for answers from his all encompassing love for us. God is not an absent parent who, between shifts at his job and a run for cigarettes, forgets that we need milk for school in the morning. God is not a strict teacher who wants to sting our knuckles with a ruler every time we make a mistake.

God loves us. Not just because bumper stickers or badly designed t-shirts say so. God loves us. Not just because we try to be good or do good things for him. God loves us. Not because we clock in on time at church on Sunday or ladle chili into bowls at a soup kitchen. He loves us because he said so, because it is only in his character to do so. He is the God whose love is found in prosperity and poverty, in answers and in questions, in disappointment and in miracles. He is the God who keeps track of our tears, helps us to find joy and wants to walk with us everyday, whether we have the answers or not.

A Deeper Story – excerpt only
The Ministry of Disappointment
Amena Brown Owen

Grateful, Oh So Grateful

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“Whatever you are challenged by, be grateful. There is a lesson to be learned. Be grateful you are alive, being given the opportunity to grow, learn, and conquer yourself. Be grateful there’s a challenging experience upon you now, knowing you are equipped to handle it.” Iyanla Vanzant

I am grateful, oh so grateful. Even for the thorns…

Don’t Push Away the Experience

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“It’s not the problem, the people, or the situation. It is your resistance to the problem, the people, or the situations which causes anger, fear, or frustration. Whatever comes at you is coming to teach you or heal you. Whatever you do, don’t push the experience away. If you do, it will show up later with more force and urgency.” Iyanla Vanzant