How has Year 3 been so far here in Sydney? Good like gelato in the afternoon with our Hebrew class. Peaceful like watching your children sleep soundly after a difficult day. Hard like running the gauntlet through airport security in a creative access city. Deep like the waters of Wisdom Literature. Tiring like writing essays fuelled by midnight adrenaline. Fun like praising Jesus in a recording studio with friends. All the ebb and flow of the past six months are a gracious gift from our good, good Father.
As previously, (Year 1.1, Year 1.2, Year 2.1), I’ve gleaned a few quirky quotes from other lips — nuggets of wisdom, sayings worth sharing. Whether from lectures or chapels, lunchtime conversations, I hope some of these “proverbs” are helpful to you.
“The threat to God’s people was never from the outside. It was always within. Just like Balaam is pictured as the fool, Israel is pictured as the fool for turning to Baal. Because the Moabites have just traded Baal for Yahweh. Yet Israel trades Yahweh for Baal. Whatever we place before God is dumber than a donkey.”
– Kit Barker, on Numbers 22-25, 31
“Why did I leave a successful career to go to bible college? Because I realised I was too far ahead as a solicitor. I could help people at the end, but I couldn’t transform their hearts.”
– Ben, 1st year student
“Prayer is like tennis with God. It takes persistence, and ongoing conversation.”
– Kirk Patston on the Lord’s Prayer
“In Psalm 88, the psalmist’s unrelenting pain is only matched by unrelenting prayer.”
“An MBA is nothing without character. A PhD is nothing without faithfulness.”
– Jack, 3rd year student
“Success is more dangerous spiritually than failure. We become forgetful. You gifts are operating, but your graces are withering.”
– Matt Fuller on Deuteronomy 5
“Dying to yourself is all of the Christian life. It just looks different from season to season.”
On Mission and Church
“Those making the biggest impact in world missions must be the most secret.”
– E.D.W., M to Muslims in the Philippines
“You are always free to share the gospel. Even with a gun to your head, you’ve done the right thing if you share the gospel. Have complete freedom in sharing the gospel, and maximum security in everything else.”
– M to East Asia
“Please pray we will be faithful. When you are persecuted, it is easy to become not just underground, but under the ground.”James*, pastor in Central Asia
“It’s much easier to change churches than to change your church.”
– Inner West pastor
“In Christ there is not East or West, no South or North… but one great fellowship that will cover the whole earth.”
– Anton Zhang at his Commissioning Service
“What is God’s plan? That the nations praise Him. What is God’s means? The gospel. What is a worthy ambition? To preach where Christ is not known. Paul is saying, ‘Rome has churches. People can hear from you. I am going where no one else is. Because I can’t get Isaiah 52 out of my head: “Those not told will see and understand.”‘”
– Dave Burge, preaching on Romans 15:8–21
“Asking for funds is a way of learning humility.”
– Albert, missionary to Cameroon.
“The Apostle Paul measured everything by what is best for the advance of the gospel. What does it matter? Christ is being preached!”
– Stuart Coulton on Philippians 1:12
“Come if you think there is no better honour than to live for Christ and to die for him.”
– CT Studd, missionary to China
On Preaching, Preaching Conference
“What’s good for an essay is bad for a sermon.” – David Cook (critiquing my sermon!)
“Preaching is the one thing you can’t delegate.” – Matt Fuller
“Pastors: your people need your head in the text, and they need your feet to visit them.” – M.F.
“Remember, remember, the LORD who redeemed you,
Without him you’d still be a slave
So share what He gives you with brothers and sisters
You’ll rejoice when you exit the grave.”Matt Fuller’s summary of Deuteronomy 23-25
“When Israel forgot its past, it forgot its poor.” – M.F.