Skip to main content

Thoughts From Ray Ortlund

Dear Friends,

As the New Year kicks in I felt this was a good set of thoughts to start off the year! In fact, Ray Ortlund, who posted the first one on the website of “The Gospel Coalition” said of the words of Francis Shaeffer – “Let’s Ponder this Francis Schaeffer Quote About Once a Week.” I would agree. And I include two others who interestingly point out the same truth. Good thoughts to ponder as we start out 2024! Enjoy.

“The central problem of our age is not liberalism or modernism, nor the old Roman Catholicism or the new Roman Catholicism, nor the threat of communism, nor even the threat of rationalism and the monolithic consensus which surrounds us [nor, I would add today, postmodernism or materialistic consumerism or visceral sensualism or whatever]. All these are dangerous but not the primary threat. The real problem is this: the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, individually or corporately, tending to do the Lord’s work in the power of the flesh rather than of the Spirit. The central problem is always in the midst of the people of God, not in the circumstances surrounding them.”
Francis A. Schaeffer, from “No Little People” (parenthetical addition by Ray Ortlund)

Roger Ellsworth in his book, “Come Down Lord” shares a similar thought:
‘The church, in order to maintain credibility in the world, has to have the power of God! She is involved in a great spiritual warfare, and only God’s power will enable her to prevail. Human ingenuity and wisdom are simply not equal to the task. Trying to do this kind of work without the power of God is like trying to break huge granite boulders with our bare hands. The problem is that the church is trying to subsist on her own power. She is relying on her own abilities. Human wisdom can produce many things, and the church is trying to pass them off as the hand of God at work, but the world is not buying it. They still bombard us with the disturbing question: ‘Where is your God?’ And if we will get alone and examine our hearts, we will be driven to admit that the many things we are producing are shabby substitutes for the real power of God… If we are not careful, we can think that pushing all the right buttons will produce lasting spiritual results. We can reduce the work of the church to shrewd maneuvering with statistical probabilities and psychological jargon. We can be guilty of doing the very thing David refused to do – fight in Saul’s armor. We can have polish without power. We need to realize that God can do more in one minute with His power than we can do in a lifetime with our ‘strategies.’

David Platt agrees: ‘Perhaps the greatest obstacle to the gospel spreading today, is the people of God trying to do the work of God apart from the power of God.’

Will you join me in praying for Christ’s Body on earth to do His work in His power and not our own? Will you earnestly and regularly petition the Lord that His presence and power might be manifest in His Church? When that happens, mockers cease asking (as they did often in the Old Testament - Ps. 42:3 and 10, Ps. 79:10, Ps. 115:2...) – “Where is your God?”

In Him Who Is Able To Do More Than We can Ask or Imagine, Pastor Jeff


Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts On the Holy Spirit

Dear Friends, A. W. Tozer once said, “I think you will agree with me when I say that many people are confused about the Spirit of God.” What Christian who has walked in church circles for any length of time could disagree? That’s why I want to offer some helpful thoughts regarding the Holy Spirit from well-known saints, past and present. I trust you might find them useful in helping you listen to His guidance, respond to His leading, walk in His power, exercise His gifts, and be transformed by His presence in your life. Enjoy. “The Holy Spirit is not enthusiasm. Some people get enthusiastic and imagine it is the Holy Spirit. Some who get all worked up over a song imagine that this is the Spirit, but this does not necessarily follow. Some of these same people go out and live just like the sinful world. But the Holy Spirit never enters a man and then lets him live just like the world that hates God. In fact, that is the reason most people do not want to be filled with the

Thoughts From Diana Gruver

Dear Friends, In recent years I have found more and more people of all ages wrestling with depression, despite their faith in Christ and assurance of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Part of that (for the older folk) seems to be their struggle with a world so different from the one they grew up in, that they no longer feel at home in this world, while with younger people it seems to have a lot to do with the social isolation caused by their phones and social media. I know it sounds odd to say that social connectivity can lead to loneliness and depression, yet it’s true. It’s one thing to be connected electronically to others and another altogether to enjoy face to face “in the flesh” presence, eye contact, conversation, affection, laughter, and physical touch – even if it’s a simple handshake, hug or pat on the back. Better to have one committed, caring, loyal, ‘there in the flesh friend,’ than 1000 followers on Instagram merely leave a comment in your thread on occasion. Yet please do

Thoughts In Memory of Tim Keller

Dear Friends, News broke last Friday (May 19) that pastor Tim Keller had gone home to be with Jesus. I must say that his commitment to a gospel-centered understanding and application of Scripture, his determination to reach this generation, his encouragement to live out the Gospel through our lives and words and actions, his keen insights into contemporary culture, and his gracious way of engaging even with those he disagreed with – have been an inspiration to me and multitudes of others. He was truly a gift of God to many pastors and parishioners in our day. Therefore, today, in honor of his life and ministry, I offer you a mere sampling of 20 Tim Keller quotes. But I warn you that although reading Keller can be insightful and refreshing, it can also be a bit convicting and unsettling. Through his insights you will learn to see old things in a new light (which stirs the spirit!), but you will also discover that you do some of what you do for reasons other than what you had th