Tag Archives: Pride


A few quotes from Karl Martin’s book “Stand.” (which reveals an extensive and well indexed reading history).

Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no alive who is Youer than you.  – Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to you.

‘But what about all the miracles?  The healints? Raising people from the dead?  Doesn’t that prove that Jesus was God?  You know, more than human?’

‘No, it proves that Jesus is truly human.’


(The Shack, William P Young).

…eye contact is the most intimacy two people can have = forget sex – because the optic nerve is technically an extension of the brain, and when tow people look ito each other’s eyes, it’s brain-to-brain.  (Douglas Coupland, Hey Nostradamus)

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Inside Out Living

From Tim Keller Ultimate Training Camp, 11th May 2003

This about the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14).

It says that there is a basic problem, and then two solutions to it.

The problem is one of righteousness, which may seem something of an outmoded concept, and may belong to another era, but really it is about the basic idea of acceptance, of being taken as we are.  He takes illustrations from the Fisher King, Beowulf (lust for glory), Japanese society (where people disappear if they do not have a job) and says that this is a universal human longing, we may just have psychologised this.

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The Christian Church is a Holy Spirit-formed community where salvation is proclaimed and sins forgiven; men and women are redefined by baptism in the company of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; a life in Christ is formed; a eucharistic-shaped worship of God is enacted; and a holy life is practiced in a world of suffering, injustice, war, despair, addictions, and sin, both blatant and covert – a world at odds with both neighbour and God.  It seems like quite a wonderful thing.  It is a wonderful thing – all these people getting a taste of new life.  Real Life, “ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,” and finding themselves participating in the holy operations of the Trinity.

But it doesn’t take long for those of us who are in on this to realise that this new life isn’t finished life but a life in process.  Many of us are slow learners.  Many of us hang on to selfish immaturities for as long as we can, unwilling to grow up.  Others of us slip back into old habits of disobedience as we look for shortcuts to holiness.  Still others experiment with ways in which we attempt to stay in control of our lives and manipulate God to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.  Not a few of us keep trying to find a way to deal with God without having to pay attention to our neighbours. When we take a good, long look at any congregation we see that most of the spiritual sins, moral and emotional, and the social disorders rampant in the general population continue to make their way, sometimes even flourish, among the elect.  (page 87)

“Miserable offenders” is subjected to a great deal of creative editing by our contemporaries, but if anything it is an understatement.  (page 87)

But there is one form of sin that flourishes in religious communities in ways hardly possible outside of them – it begins in places of worship.  Religious communities provide the conditions for this spiritual disorder, this sin, far in excess to what is provided in the secularised world.  The common name for the sin is self-righteousness.

Unlike the sins that are commonly noticed and repented of by a worshipping congregation, self-righteousness is almost never recognised in the mirror.  Occasionally in someone else, never in me. (page 88)

The best protection against eusebeigenic [the word Peterson uses for sin contracted in the process of being made godly, reverent, devout] is an acute awareness of our lost condition in which we so desperately and at all times need a Saviour.  But that is a difficult awareness to maintain when we walk into our workplace in a fresh cotton dress, or a coat and tie and are greeted with “Good morning pastor” or “Nice to see you, doctor,” or “I just read your latest book, professor – you sure got it all together in that one.”  How do we cultivate a sharply imagined realisation of “nothing in my hand I bring, only to the cross I cling” while in the other hand we are carrying our university diploma or Sunday school lesson plan or latest job assignment to lead a mission trip to Zimbabwe?  After all, we are Christians, with credentials as Christ’s chosen witnesses! (page 89)

Table Talk

On hospitality

Kathleen Norris tells a story said to originate in a Russian Orthodox monastery.  An older monk tells a younger one: “I have finally learned to accept people as they are.  Whatever they are in the world, a prostitute, a prime minister, it is all the same to me.  But sometimes I see a stranger coming up the road and I say “Oh, Jesus Christ, is it you again?” (page 84)

The way is humility

From May 30th, from Augustine:

The way to Christ is first through humility, second through humility, third through humility.  If humility does not precede and accompany and follow every good work we do, if it is not before us to focus on, if it is not beside us to lean upon, if it is not behind us to fence us in, pride will wrench from our hand any good deed we do at the very moment we do it.

Jeff Lucas – Samson – Part 3

Samson Part 3

Judges 15:1-20


Look further why it is that Samson managed to get himself into such trouble.


Part of the leadership team of Spring Harvest – spent 18 months of his life in a Butlins chalet.  Because of doing that, he has a flat outside Polburgh in Sussex.


Was in a train and did not have a ticket, the ticket collector was not having a good day, indeed was not having a good decade “Tickets!  Tickets!”


Had a couple of badges in his lapel, one was a fish and one was a dove.


“Are you a Christian?”

“Do you get to a Church round here?” “Yes”

“How’s it going, is it going well?”  “It’s not good”


“Why is it not going well, I have been going to a conference, and I am more advanced than the rest of the Church, and they can’t keep up with me.”


“How do you come more advanced?  I attend this conference, I am now more advanced, it is called Spring Harvest.


“I do a bit of work with Spring Harvest,”
“Oh well, if you know, Jeff Lucas is at the next station,

“Well that’s me, it’s on the credit card,

“no you’re not,”

And off he went, more advanced.


Samson becomes proud, “I am the servant of the Lord”


Samson only ever prays two prayers – one for water, and one for strength in fighting.


He is somewhat presumptuous.


He caused a fight at the reception, called his wife a heifer, stormed out, and then shows up a year later with the gift of a goat, and expects a romantic evening.


And this time he has another fight,  and things are ready to go again.


So the trinity of pride, arrogance and disappointment cause great harm before he ever meets Delilah.


Disappointment with “our own” can be devastating

Judges 15:11


Python-esque: at last 3,000 men are rising up, at last the strength of Israel has showed itself, and they are going to attack the Philistines, and they are going to arrest Samson.


They are 3,000 of them, they are obviously expecting a bit of resitance


Verse 12 “Tell me that you won’t kill me yourselves”

One of the saddest verses in the whole narrative.


He is hopeless, and when he is hopeless, his holiness is up for negotiation.


We who are hopeful can be devastated when Church lets us down.

There is plenty that we can irritated with sometimes at Church

If you are in Church for 6 months and noone has irritated you yet, then you are probably dead.


The Bible’s analysis of human behaviour is this, “we are sheep”, we are thick.  We might go to seaworld, but we are never going to sheep world are we.


We are human beings and we can do some pretty stupid things.


Some real transcripts in court rooms


“She has three children right?”

“How many of them were boys?”

“Were there any girls


“You are going to have to kill you because you are going to identify me?”
“Did he kill you?”


Or autopsy questions it is possible that he could have been practicing law somewhere….  *** Get from internet ***


Next time these things happen in Church, just say “Sheep, sheep”


We are a consumer culture,

We used to be able to offer coffee.

Now we need a PhD in caffeine to ask for coffee.


But we are consumers, and we want things

“We want to go to the non-clapping section.”


Then you ask for that section, non-capping, non-enjoying, non-flag waving,

That section is already full


Sometimes on platforms and people say the weirdest and most hurtful things


A man saw a mark on your head,

I believe it might be the mark of the beast.


And then another place where Jesus was laughing


And then in Plockton, and a message with mime,

And this weird

And this is God delighting in you

And you have been hurt

And Jesus says you are doing this



The Church is a place where we go to be angry,

And take our stand and can do no other on the wildest things.


The word of the Lord is “Lighten up”


Be a pillar of the Church and not in the way that a pillar gets in the way and blocks the way

Living for vengeance is exhausting

Judges 15:4


An episode when he was desperate to kill the mice that been in his garage.


Can you imagine catching 300 foxes and then an extended time of fox tail braiding.


Every piece of know genius that Samson has learned in the Israeli scouts, and then set torches in their tails before sending them in the crops.


But bitterness is hard work, and it weighs you down.


Chris the doctor and his friend looks after him,

And shows no respect,


He makes rude comments, you need an X-Ray, there’s a doorway down the left, and you go down there and you have an X-Ray.  You don’t really listen to what the person is saying, and this lead apron is there

What is the apron there for

“It is there for the protection of the gonads”

“What would they be?”
Couldn’t think what they were, a North American tribe,

We bring peace.


And I thought she said “Put these round your neck?

And tied the largest knot

The woman came back in, took one look and she just said



And we have these loads round your neck, and God says “noooo”


And you have a go at that invisible person, chuntering,

Really yelling at this person after Church,

Really giving off and came to a set of traffic lights,


And he turned round and there is this chap looking at him

And pretended he had handsfree phone

And pressed an imaginary button,

And switched the hazards on.


Innocent people get hurt in all this,

He attacks them viciously,

We have come to do to him what he has done to this

And Samson says “I did to them what they did to me”


The escalation of conflict, because bitterness has not be resolved


“Everyone says forgiveness is a nice idea, until they have something to forgive” CS Lewis.


We look at people who are forgiven,

And the like of Nelson Mandela, went to Verwoerd’s home

And the Green’s (Denise Green) said about Alderhey hospital, Alan Milburn said “wh happened is unforgiveable” and Denise Green said “What has been done is out of my control, and what happens now in my control.”


In Shoah, “If you could lick my heart, it would poison you”


We have to be careful about forgiveness, just forgive right now,

That is particularly difficult for women being told what to do,

Some times we just need to come to God and I have no desire to forgive,

But God will you take me in a direction,

Will you start to tell how to forgive.


People caught up in “premature forgiveness” because they were made to say a mantra for which they were not ready.


We have to avoid disappointment in the house of our friends

We have to be willing to go that direction


“Forgiveness is a journey, today you can forgive, and tomorrow you can feel pain all again”


“I distinctly remember forgetting it” – there is a choosing in forgiveness.


God wants us to go in a forgiveness direction,

Lest we be trundling around with 25lbs of lead around our necks.


Pride Really Does Come Before A Fall

Judges 15:16 (I think the jawbone of Samson”


Conflict brought out the truth of what was in her heart.


Got a phonecall from our son.

Came to car crash,


He started shouting.


First of all he sings a song in celebration of himself,

And he sings a song about jawbones of asses, and there is only one person conspicuous by their absence.


Then he names the place Jawbone hill,

Then he uses language reminiscent of Moses “The servant of the Lord”

He is so self-deceived in his arrogance.

When was the last time he used this phrase “uncircumcised” when he as puffed up and arrogant (even though he ignored this term when choosing his wife)


Pride and arrogance and bitterness are really embarrassing.


Jeff Lucas, at Spring Harvest, a thing happened

Had spoken one night in the big top, and it had gone well,

And the next morning went to the place where people were buying tapes

And they were signing books, and folk were pointing and they could feel pride begin to hijack soul, he had his pen ready to sign books

And he was walking along

God said one sentence “Famous in Butlins for a day are we?”

Didn’t want to tell that story, wanted to hide that story,

We all struggle with the same things.


There will come a day when this sad man called Samson, who never ever knew anyone very much, he tells his secret, because we all want to be known,

It was not just about lust, and temptation, and the faultlines of pride and bitterness were already in place,


The other thing that happened on that train

The advanced Christian wandered on down through the train,

Wondered if he will ever meet him again,

As he walked on down, an thinking about advanced Christian,

At the next station, there was a young family,

And he is listening in,

And these people are thinking,

And they had not much, and they had an Eastern European accent, and the baby started to sing the lullaby,

Didn’t recognise the words, but knew the tune,

And the burden of the heart

At the foot of the cross


Wanted to communicate to her that we were part of the same family

So looked at her and smiled her crooked smile,

Amen, Amen,

Smiled and nodded back,

And as the train trundled in through the smoke stacks,

I want to stay here,

I don’t want to be an advanced Christian

Just keep me close to the cross,

The cross speaks to us of outrageous grace that forgives

Why would be cling to bitterness when we stand in the shadow

At the cross, at the cross when we first saw the light.


My prayer for you,

Your prayer for me

It isn’t about ministering or writing or platforms,

Pray for me “Jesus keep us near the cross”


A man of alive is a man who stays close to the instrument of death

And realises it is the place of resurrection power

Painfully Excited About Gareth

Of course this is not about the very talented Gareth; but it is about me, and about my own willingness to accept my own vocation, and ultimately the wisdom and kindness of God.

There are three big battles the disciples face in the gospels:  persecution, distraction and competition.  It is these three that consume us, and the energy of the Spirit in us must be directed at their extinction.

They are such poison.  I appreciate the story of the old devils tempting an old saint in some Eastern desert; he is immune to all their allurements and deceptions; until one of them whispers to him “your brother has just become Archbishop of Alexandria”.  Gore Vidal writes that whenever one of our friends becomes successful, a part of us dies.  Bonhoeffer said that whenever disciples gather there arises a reckoning amongst them.

Gareth, I hope you had good Greenbelt.  Your elevation to 14th exciting thing was actually for my own edification a much as for yours.

In Pursuit Of His Glory – Part 2

Family points

Key Words Family Parent Children
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 266-267
Quote Talks about how he would bring up his children again

1. Listen to them when they talk with you, they will never turn to you at a convenient time

2. Do not dismiss their feelings of being hurt over the way their friends or teachers treat them

3. Make the meals at the table last longer – and encourage them to talk

4. Don’t leave them when they are afraid to go to sleep or need a bedtime story

5. Set time to be with them and keep your appointment as you would for the most important person on earth, for your children are even more important yet

He relies on Romans 8:28 and the promise of Joel to restore the years that the locusts have eaten. “But one must not forget: the fact that something works together for good doesn’t mean it was right at the time”

References All things work together for good (Romans 8:28)
The years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)

The perfection of the ancestors

Key Words Pride Ancestors Past Father Reputation Success
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 264
Quote The quest to live up to one’s predecessors can be like Elijah who cried “I am no better than my ancestors”, But God wasn’t finished with Elijah yet
References No better than the ancestors (1 Kings 19:4)

Pursuit of the dream

Key Words Success Ambition Numbers Weakness Desire Popularity Reward
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 243-261
Quote Kendall talks about his apparent failures in the Chapel, how numbers have fallen and revival has not come

“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or does it explode p243

“You can always tell a successful man, but you can’t tell him much p244

In relation to numbers at chapel (p245) he talks about friendship. To some he was tomorrow’s man who would restore the numbers. When it became apparent that this would not happen these friendships disintegrated, whilst others accepted him no matter what happened.

O God, I asked for strenght that I might achieve; I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I aksed for help that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity that I might do better things
I asked for riches that I might be happy, I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men; I was given weakness that I might fell the need of God
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am among all men most richly blessed.
– A confederate soldier

Makes comparison with David, who was given so many good things, yet was not allowed to build the Father’s house. He tells story about a child going to the theme park and coming back home with their family. Asked if she had enjoyed herself one girl says “I did not get my balloon”. None of the rides ice creams could compensate for this. Instead of acknowledging that the boundaries have fallen in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6)

He disagrees with Charles Finney, the 19th century American evangelist (who he admires – p255) who taught that if we do certain things God will do certain things, therefore any Church can see revival

“When Ronald Regan had a slogan on his desk “There is no limit to how far a person may go as long as he doesn’t care who gets the credit

References Though he slay me (Job 13:15)
Leanness to their soul (Psalms 106:15)
David told he couldn’t build the temple (1 Chronicles 17:1-15)
David’s covenant (2 Samuel 7:1-17)
Boundaries have fallen (Psalms 16:6)
Though the fig tree does not bu ýÿRX½<C:Users

Fear not

Key Words Fear Afraid
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 237
Quote Fear not (or its equivelant) is found 366 times in the Bible. One for every day in the year and one for leap year

Not the man I was

Key Words Sanctification Repentance Holiness Growth Discipleship
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 237
Quote From John Newton:
I’m not what I ought to be, I’m not what I hoped to be and I’m not what I will be, but thank God I am not what I used to be

Dignifying the trial

Key Words Suffering Trial Injustice Pain Forgiveness
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 222
Quote Talks about dignifying the trial, and putting up with the way that people may treat you badly

“You must totally forgive them, for until you forgive them you will be in chains”

Wanting a monument

Key Words Ambition Success Waiting Memory Monument Permanence
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 208
Quote Thoughts on Absalom who wanted to be sure that he would be remembered so he made a monument to himself. The thought of leaving any kind of monument to oneself, building an empire or ensuring that people will remember us is but to forfeit what God himself would have done for us. The glory that will come from God only is worth waiting for.
References Absalom’s monument (2 Samuel 18:18)
The Glory of God (John 5:44)

Avoid prophecy

Key Words Prophecy Visions Old Men
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 205
Quote You young men should stay away from preaching on prophecy (meaning the signs of the times and the events that precede the Second Coming) and let the older men preach on such because they won’t be around to see their mistakes.
References Old men dreams (Joel 2:28-29)
Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21)

Analogy of faith

Key Words Inspiration Scripture
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 203
Quote Talks about Calvin’s contribution to Reformation understanding of scripture, that it has an internal consistency, and that somehow faith is in proportion.
References Analogy of faith (Romans 12:6)

Every Christian

Key Words Theology
Source In Pursuit of his Glory
Author Kendall, R.T.
Page 193
Quote Every Christian is called to be a theologian.

From Carmel To Horeb

The Wind and fire

Key Words Voice Theophany Divine Communication
Source From Carmel To Horeb
Source Author Buber, Martin
Location 93
Quote You wanted to descend like a storm wind
And to be mighty in deed like the tempest
You wanted to bow being to being
And bless human souls whilst scourging them,
To admonish weary hearts in the hot whirlpool
And to stir the rigid to agitated light
– You sought me on your stormy paths
And did not find me

You wanted to soar upward like a fire
And wipe out all that did not stand your test
Sun-powerful you wanted to scorch worlds
With sudden force to kindle a young nothingness
– You sought me in your flaming abysses
And did not find me

Then my messneger came to you
And placed your ear next to the still life of my earth
Then you felt how seed after seed began to stir
And all the movements of growing things encircled you,

Blood hammered against blood and the silence overcame you
The eternally complete, soft and motherly
– Then you had to incline upon yourself,
Then you found me

References Elijah on Horeb (1 Kings 19)

The shadow of the too important

Key Words Ego Pride Zeal Loyalty Fundamentalism Commitment Fanaticism
Source From Carmel To Horeb
Source Author Heschel, Abraham
Location 93
Quote It is the pattern of the impeccable which makes the average possible. It is the attachment to what is spiritually superior: loyalty to a sacred person or idea, dovotion to a noble friend or teacher, love for a people or for mankind, which hold our inner life together. But any ideal human social or artistic if it forms a roof over all of life, shuts us off from the light. Even the palm of one hand may bar the light of the entire sun.
References The rise of Elijah (1 Kings 18-19)

Decision and commitment

Key Words Decision Commitment Alone Discipleship Atonment
Source From Carmel To Horeb
Source Author Heschel, Abrahm
Location 119
Quote God is not alone when discarded by man. But man is alone.

Priesthood of pressing needs

Key Words Priorities Integrity Faith Role Presentation Service Priesthood Ministry
Source From Carmel To Horeb
Source Author Updike, John
Location 119
Quote We stand brothers, where we stand, in our impossible and often mischievously idle jobs, on a boundary of opposing urgencies where there is often not space enough to set one’s feet – we so stand as steeples stand, as emblems; it is our station to be visible and to provide men with the opportunity to profess the impossible that makes their lives possible. The Catholic church in this at least was right; a priest is more than a man, and though the man disintegate within his vestments and become degraded beyond the laxest of his flock, the priest can continue to perform his functions as a scarecrow performs his.

The Older Brother

We’ll Leave The Light On For You – Week 2; 20th April 2010

Depthful, close reading of the second part of the story of the Prodigal Son.


The audience to this encounter are very important.  There are three groups of people: there is Jesus, there are the followers of Jesus (very often with dubious backgrounds) and there are the Pharisees.

This talk looks at the older brother, and what he suffers from:

Chronic Resentment

The way that the brother has never appreciated what the Father has given him, even though he is the one who is going to inherit the whole rest of the land.  He has never learned to appreciate the grace of the Father, and it has eaten away at him, and destroyed him.

Illustration of hunters in the North who catch wolves by putting some meat onto a knife.  When the wolf comes along it begins to eat the meat, and nicks its own mouth on the blade of the knife.  However, the wolf is so consumed by the need for meat, by the cold, that it does not notice that it is eating and destroying itself with its own blood.

Chronic Judgmentalism

The brother has exageratted the sins of the younger brother.  Tim Keller writes (28 minutes)

“It is natural for younger brothers to think Older Brotherness and Christianity are the same thing”

They can look so similar to each other, but actually they are so similar to each other.  The difference is that Elder Brotherism has no grace.  Every time we do something good, the very next thing that can happen inside me is “What a good big brother I am”

Chronic Blindness

The older brother does not see the way that he is.

Talks about the Father taking the shame of the Older Brother behaving in this way.

Plays out two possible endings to the story.