The Bible is the Language of God’s Heart

When it comes to hearing God, the Bible is the language of his heart. Nothing he says in any other way in any other context will ever override, undermine or contradict what he has said in the Scriptures. That’s why Jesus doesn’t just show up on the road to Emmaus and say, ‘Hi, it’s me!’ Instead, he takes considerable time to deliver a lengthy biblical exposition in which he reinterprets God’s Word radically, in the light of his own life, death and resurrection.

Pete Greig
How To Hear God (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2022), p. 36.
(I heard it on Lectio 365 for April 27)

Posted in Friends Theology, Quotes | Comments Off on The Bible is the Language of God’s Heart

The Word of God

‘It is Christ himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to him’

C.S. Lewis
The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Vol. 3: Narnia, Cambridge & Joy, 1950-1963, edited by Walter Hooper (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2007), p. 246.

Posted in Friends Theology, Quotes | Comments Off on The Word of God

On Adversaries

“Loving, forgiving, and doing good to our adversaries is our duty. Yet we must do this without giving up and without being cowardly. We shall resist whenever our adversaries demand of us obedience contrary to the orders of the Gospel. We shall do so without fear, but also without pride and without hate.”

-from a sermon preached by André Trocmé the sunday after France fell to the German attack in World War II

Posted in Christian Living, General, Quotes | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on On Adversaries

Lectio Divina for Resurrection Week

Back in 2020, I made a series of lectio divina readings for Palm Sunday through Good Friday. The title pages have 2020 dates; but there is nothing dated about the readings – except they are keyed to the scriptures that take us through that week leading up to Jesus’ resurrection. In the hope that they may be of use to you in worshipping through the week, I decided to make a convenient menu of links which you can use to refer to them.


Palm Sunday




Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

The links above are to Youtube videos that I made on my phone back in 2020 for the LBFC Devotions channel. (I intend to edit them into a podcast series also; but that’s not ready yet.)

Posted in Meditations, Worship | Comments Off on Lectio Divina for Resurrection Week

What does it mean to know God?

“To Know God means to look like Him and to live in a way that reflects his character.”

Rikk Watts
Posted in Christian Living, Quotes | Comments Off on What does it mean to know God?

Seeing Color Newsletter/Journal of John Woolman

In the recorded message this week, I mentioned the free newsletter Seeing Color. This note is to make the link to it available. If you subscribe, it will come in email each month.

I also mentioned the Journal of John Woolman. The text is freely downloadable or can be read online. Some may find the older style of his writing difficult. There is also a free audiobook version available on Librivox. You can read from a browser or get the Librivox app for your phone. There are updated and edited versions for sale in all the usual places.

Posted in Christian Living, Contemporary Issues, Friends Theology, References | Comments Off on Seeing Color Newsletter/Journal of John Woolman

On Knowing God’s Will

I was asked a question by a young friend in the congregation recently:

In what ways can we know God’s will? For example I feel sometimes I want to know all of God’s will for my life up front so that I don’t have to guess, but it seems in reality that God only shows me bits and pieces of his will over time because he wants me to trust him. Is this correct? I’m asking because [a friend] and I talked on the phone a bit and he mentioned how God’s will is mysterious.

I think my friend was onto a very important truth in the words of his question! I’ll get to that after establishing a bit more context for knowing God’s will.

There may be mysterious things about God’s will; but there is a whole lot of God’s will that is clearly taught from scripture. Check out the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 through 7, for example. Our problem is often that we have our own agendas and want God to tell us what is next to advance our agenda rather than being satisfied with his agenda in the everyday matters of life. Of course God does have a purpose in life for each of us. That’s where we tend to focus – too much, generally speaking. What unique for me? And then we don’t work on aligning our lives with what we can easily know of His will for every follower of Jesus from scripture – and that’s where we fall short.

I found a couple of pieces of advice lately from a couple of good Christian teachers that I included in a very brief comment in another post.

I wrote an article on community discernment to help on big decisions from a Quaker perspective, too. This article also discusses more generally the “prerequisites” for knowing God’s will.

But the big picture…. I’d say that God’s will for knowing God’s will is that we trust Him. Trust is a more of a relationship thing than a plan.

What we often want is a map of the future or a plan of action or a direction. Then we can take control of it ourselves! We tend to stop waiting on God, stop seeking Him, stop spending time with Him, stop listening – and instead start doing. The “doing” tends to take on more and more of what we think is good and less and less of God’s walking us through living so as to carry His image day by day. Sometimes God starts us in a direction that he intends to change after having his planned impact on us. It’s a mechanism for changing us more than a direction he intends to maintain through to the end that we were thinking of. I think of being directed to grad school. I thought it was to prepare me to be a Christian professor at a major university. Well, that didn’t happen. And it wasn’t a failure. It wasn’t misleading. It was the path that brought me to the not-imaginable-to-me place where I am today. So in that sense, “mysterious” fits.

I don’t think having a map of the future or a full and promised plan of action is generally God’s will for us. God’s will is that we enter into a relationship of trusting Him, growing to know Him more and more over time, and being changed in that relationship to be more like Him (that’s a way of describing what it means to carry His image well).

Relationships are not plans. They are alive. They are community. In our relationship with God, He grants us considerable power over our portion of the relationship. We can abuse it, ignore it, have expectations about it, leave it behind…. or value it, let Him have the position of Lord in it, and so on.

All of our actions regarding the relationship have consequences, but they do not change God’s heart for us or drive Him away. In a sense, we make our bed and then lie in it. Our actions do not force his hand. He is faithful and just and loves us no matter what. But our actions bring the necessary consequences to change us or teach us or humble us or…. whatever is needed in God’s wisdom. We think things are good decisions, and they bring a kind of death, or darkness! Oops. Better learn from that and trust God again!

Can we bring ourselves to trust Him? Even into and through death? Though whatever comes from other humans? Will we trust Him and find Him faithful to himself and His love – even His love for the broken people that we are, in need of change?

Then there’s also some stuff I’ve been checking out lately that packages discipleship as a “Rule for Life” thing. “Rule” is not like a legal thing; it is the older meaning of rule that is more like a framework or support structure or a trellis that holds up a plant, but in this case giving us a form for life to grow around.

Rich Villodas has been talking about “Rule for Life” stuff recently. He attracted my attention with a comment that said:

“Here are 4 core questions to help you build a Rule of Life. These questions are created with prayer, self-care, community, and mission in mind.

  1. What are the spiritual disciplines you need to anchor you in a life with God?
  2. What are the practices of self-care you need to care for your body and nurture your soul?
  3. What core relationships do you need in this season of life to support you on your journey?
  4. What are the gifts, passions, and burdens within that God wants you to express for the blessing of others?”

His comment reminded me of my first little article above quoting Ray Bakke and the bishop who commented on what path makes one the most generous. And also, without satisfactory answers to the questions Rich Villodas poses, I think it is difficult to accurately discern a specific, unique direction of God’s will for us. That is, we need to back up to get the basics of life with God right before He moves us in a more unique direction. It’s like the “talents” parable. If we have not been faithful with the part of God’s will that he has already revealed to us, why would we expect Him to tell us more?

Posted in Christian Living, Guidance, Questions | Comments Off on On Knowing God’s Will

A Special Christmas Message from Ray Bakke

This is a timely and timeless Christmas message from Ray Bakke, given at Every Nation Church in Seattle. Ray’s son and my friend Brian Bakke thoughtfully provided a link to the recording – one of the best Christmas gifts ever! I’d like to pass it on. Happy Christmas!

Posted in Missions, References, Theology, Worship | Comments Off on A Special Christmas Message from Ray Bakke

2021 Advent Resources

I mentioned in a Zoom worship time that there are many Advent resources that you may find helpful during this Advent season. This is the list of links to resources that I promised. I may update the list from time to time…. So let me know if you find errors or things that should be added.

Regent College Advent Resource Guide: Called to this Time

Regent College Advent Resource Newsletter

Regent College Audio lectures and chapel talks on Advent, some free.

Spotify playlist for the Advent Collection album from The Brilliance

Amy Orr-Ewing’s Mary’s Voice in Advent series – starts December 1 – Youtube version

CCDA Advent Begins in the Dark

CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) Spotify Advent Playlist

CCDA Advent for Weary Souls

Renovare Advent Devotional

Waiting Together: An Advent Prayer Companion by Richella Parham (weekly prayers to pray three times daily through Advent)

Wonder: An Advent Devotional from Dwell (daily devotions through Advent with scripture readings)

BIOLA‘s Center for Christianity Culture and the Arts: on Facebook, Advent 2021 page – There are resources online and a daily Advent devotional that you can subscribe to.

Posted in General | Comments Off on 2021 Advent Resources

Advice on Discerning God’s Will

When unsure and seeking God’s calling on your life, Ray Bakke advises:

Follow Jesus, start loving your neighbors, and somewhere in there your calling will come.

Rick Villodas reports a helpful question from Bishop Robert Barron to consider when trying to discern God’s will:

“Which path makes me most generous?”

Of course, being in a trusting community with other followers of Jesus who can be with us in discernment is so important!

Posted in Christian Living, Guidance, Quotes | Comments Off on Advice on Discerning God’s Will