From John Ortberg – “It all goes back in the box”
Illustration of someone gathering art at a big city museum – they don’t think about the fact that they can’t take them out. “Sure, they’re mine. I’ve got them under my arm. People in the halls look at me as an important dealer. And I don’t bother myself with thoughts about leaving. Don’t be a killjoy.” (page 188). Such is the folly of the accumulation of wealth.
The Robinson Crusoe verse
Charles Spurgeon referred to Psalm 50:15 as the Robinson Crusoe verse in which we are delivered and God is glorified – “You shall have the deliverance but I shall have the glory” – man and God take shares (page 163-164)
You never Enjoy the World aright, till you see how a Sand Exhibiteth the Wisdom and Power of God: And Prize in every Thing the Service which they do you, by Manifesting His Glory and Goodness to your Soul, far more than the Visible Beauty on their Surface, or the Material Services, they can do you Body. (Thomas Traherne, page 166)
The contentment of the Christian Hedonist is not a Buddha-like serenity, unmoved by the hurts of others. It is a profoundly dissatisfied contentment. It is constantly hungry for more of the feast of God’s grace. (page 124)
We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of reward makes the Christian life a mercenary affair. There are different kinds of reward. There is the reward which has no natural connection with the thing you do to earn it, and is quite foreign to the desires that ought to accompany those things. Money is not the natural reward of love, that is why we call a man mercenary if he married a woman for the sake of her money. But marriage is the proper reward for a real lover, and he is not a mercenary for desiring it. A general who fights well in order to get a peerage is mercenary; a general who fights for victory is not, victory being the proper reward of battle as marriage is the proper reward of love. The proper reward is not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation. (page 126)
Ortberg beginning a series on Nehemiah begins with the question “Who hear has a problem?”
He then makes the case that everyone has an overwhelming problem that they are called to address, and to work out for ourselves, what is the problem that we are called to face up to?
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord, but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished. I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it. (George Muller, page 142)
Meditates on the idea that things as complicated as bird flight can be reduced down to a few simple rules.
Man is an over-complicated organism. If he is doomed to extinction he will die for want of simplicity – Ezra Pound (page 31)
Most social change initiates or is shaped by a single traceable conversation (page 31)
Complexify before you simplify (page 33)
On the big ingredients of peace building
– the centrality of relationships
– the practice of paradoxical curiosity
– providing space for the creative act
– the willingness to risk
On Psalm 88 – are your wonders known in darkness
How do people get so sick of negotiations that war seems a more promising option? – page 52
Round this he says that Pessimism is a gift (can’t find the page)
Borrows the idea from Elise Boulding that we live in a 200 year present (page 22) – easy to calculate if we think about the age of those who have influenced us, and the ages of those that we will influence in later life.
Structural History and Personal Biography are connected (page 23)
Turning points are moments pregnant with new life, which rise form what appear to be the barren grounds of destructive violence and relationship. This unexpected new life makes possible the processes of constructive change in human affairs and constitutes the moral imagination, without which peacebuilding cannot be understood or practiced. (page 29)
Violence is the behaviour of someone incapable if imagining other solutions to the problem at hand – from Vincenc Fisas (page 29)
Do you know my friends, that the Spirit without you is very God? Oh that our eyes were opened to see the greatness of God’s gift! Oh that we might realise the vastness of the resources secreted in our own hearts! I could shout with joy as I think, ‘The Spirit who dwells within me is no mere influence, but a living Person; He is very God. The infinite God is within my heart!’ I am at a loss to convey to you the blessedness of this discovery, that the Holy Spirit dwelling within my heart is a Person. I can only repeat: ‘He is a Person!’ and repeat it again: ‘He is a Person!’ And repeat it yet again: ‘He is a Person!’ Oh my friends, I would fain repeat it to you a hundred times – The Spirit of God within me is a Person! I am only an earthen vessel, but in that earthen vessel I carry a treasure of unspeakable worth, even the Lord of glory. (page 124)