I confess much of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote is so deep it eludes me. I wrestle for hours with some of his instruction. Every now and then I come across something he wrote which is plain, simple, and at-once life-changing. One of those statements I read recently was, “My life is put to shame when what I rely on fails.”

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It prompts one to reflect on their own life and ask, “On what am I relying? On what am I building my life? What is my foundation?” So, I will ask you, “What is your foundation?” One thing I know, Christ is reliable without fail. He is fail-proof. No one and nothing else can make this claim.

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David Platt said, “You and I both have a choice. We can stand with the starving or with the overfed. We can embrace Jesus while we give away our wealth, or we can walk away from Jesus while we hoard our wealth.” No one wants to admit they are a hoarder. I suspect most followers of Jesus want to consider themselves generous. But we can’t deny the fact those of us in the West live in incredible comfort while nearly half the world is starving and lacks access to clean drinking water.

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Half of the people groups in the world have never heard the name of Jesus. Half the world has never been given a cup of cool water or a piece of bread in the name of Jesus. This is devastating.

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Regular readers know I love the teachings of A.W. Tozer. I love the way he pulled no punches and possessed deep insight into the character of God. It’s uncanny how often his writing seems so relevant for today, but in truth was mostly written fifty or more years ago. Here’s something from him which I read recently: “There is something better than being comfortable, and the followers of Christ ought to find it out-the poor, soft, overstuffed Christians of our time ought to find it out!

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There is something better than being comfortable! We… have forgotten altogether that there is such a thing as discipline and suffering.” Along the same lines, he also wrote,” We do not want the cross. We are more interested in the crown.” To put it in simple terms, one could say Christians are “all crown, no cross”.

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America has long been called the land of opportunity. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than when it comes to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are free from restrictions when it comes to sharing our faith. There is no consequence to be feared for gathering together for fellowship and church gatherings. Our prisons are not filled with those incarcerated for sharing literature or resources about Jesus. In short, Americans are free to discuss, teach, evangelize, and even sell materials and programs to help deepen your faith and devotion to God.

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This is indeed the land of opportunity. What scares me is I’m afraid we are squandering the very opportunity with which we are blessed. With so much freedom, we must be at the forefront of spreading the hope and love of Christ to every people-group on the planet. How do you think we’re doing?

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G.K. Chesterton said, “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” Wow. How often do we think of our relationship with Christ as a love affair? It is troubling in my own life to recognize I’ve got a significant way to go in this regard. I love Him. I’m in awe of Him. I’m thankful for His mercy, provision, and protection. But do I possess the kind of white-hot, unstoppable love we associate with a love affair? Do I wake each morning unable to contain my excitement to see and spend time with Him?

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Do I put off going to bed because it means less time spent in His presence? I’d love to be the guy who could answer in the affirmative to these questions, but I’m not. I want to be. In fact, it gets me excited even as I write these words. I want to love God with the love of a love affair, not of some dutiful worshipper.

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I read a great quote from Louis Giglio: “Jesus doesn’t give you what you need; Jesus is what you need.” I think we often miss this point in our self-sufficient society. We don’t necessarily tend to think about the help we need, we only think of the stuff we need. There’s always something more we think we need to make us happy. We’re always one step away from being fulfilled.

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The common thread is we have this seemingly insatiable hole inside. We can’t seem to ever figure out what will fill it. Nothing makes the ache go away for good, so we settle for temporary substitutes hoping someday one of them will last. If you are tired of chasing after what you think you need and want, you can relax. The answer is simple and immediately available: you need Jesus.

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Passion is a popular topic in the personal development space (otherwise known as self-help). There are shelves of books promising to help you ignite your passion, find your passion, fuel your passion, or simply follow your passion. Essentially the message always boils down to the point of doing what you love. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this is good advice.

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I’m more interested in seeing how it relates to our pursuit of God. After all, He’s the One who put such passions inside of us all. The question for me isn’t so much one of whether you should follow your passion, but rather, how can you use your passions to glorify God and further the mission of Christ?

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I’ve been listening to a series of messages from David Platt addressing the scourge of consumer Christianity. It reminded me of something I read from A.W. Tozer a couple years ago. It’s a longer quote than usual, but it is too good to edit. Tozer wrote, “Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster.

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He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness…”

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Reading the incredibly inspirational story of Kyle Maynard, I was blown away. Kyle was born without arms or legs, yet he has lived an incredible life. He has climbed mountains unassisted, won wrestling championships, and competed as a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter. How does one do such amazing things? Where do they find the discipline and resolve to hone the abilities to do so?

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Someone like Kyle silences all our complaining and whining. He makes our biggest frustration look minuscule by comparison. I don’t know if Kyle is a follower of Jesus or not. But if he isn’t, sadly, none of his accomplishments count for anything. Without Jesus, no matter what we do, it doesn’t matter anyway.

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In a recent sermon, Pastor Craig Groeschel made the comment, “Easy never changed the world.” The life of a disciple has not ever been, nor will it ever be, easy. Following Jesus is difficult. It’s unpopular and brings little glory. But eleven men, disciples of Jesus, changed the entire world. Their impact is still being felt 2,000 years later. Their life wasn’t easy.

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They were mocked and seen as insurgents and fools. They were constantly pursued, jailed, beaten, and in almost every case, they were killed. It wasn’t easy to follow Jesus in the first century, and it isn’t easy to follow Him now. But easy never changed the world.

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