The Long Reach of Timeless Truth

Bishop JC Ryle's Legacy 200 years after his death

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The older I get the more I realize that true effectiveness isn’t measured in days and weeks but in decades and centuries. One of the men that exemplifies that is Bishop J.C. Ryle. If you have never read anything by him I encourage you to do so. His reach into our times is still felt and still needed 200 years after his death. The Bishop says it much better than I could he says “We live in an age when there is a false glare on the things of time and a great mist over the things of eternity.” Preach Bishop. 200 years to the day of his death and he is still preaching with his life and words.

Some of my favorite quotes from J.C. Ryle

“My chief desire in all my writings, is to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him beautiful and glorious in the eyes of people; and to promote the increase of repentance, faith, and holiness upon earth.”
― J.C. Ryle

“The love of the bible will show itself in a believer’s readiness to bear evil as well as to do good. It will make him patient under provocation, forgiving when injured, meek when unjustly attacked, quiet when slandered. It will make him hear much, put up with much and look over much, submit often and deny himself often, all for the sake of peace.”
― J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion

“It costs something to be a true Christian. Let that never be forgotten. To be a mere nominal Christian, and go to church, is cheap and easy work. But to hear Christ’s voice, follow Christ, believe in Christ, and confess Christ, requires much self-denial. It will cost us our sins, our self-righteousness, our ease, and our worldliness. All must be given up. We must fight an enemy who comes against us with thousands of followers. We must build a tower in troubled times. Our Lord Jesus Christ would have us thoroughly understand this. He bids us “count the cost.” – J.C. Ryle

“Happiness does not depend on outward circumstances, but on the state of the heart.”
― J.C. Ryle, A Call to Prayer

“Be very sure of this,-people never reject the Bible because they cannot understand it. They understand it only too well; they understand that it condemns their own behavior; they understand that it witnesses against their own sins, and summons them to judgment.”
― J.C. Ryle

“I entreat my readers, besides the Bible and the Articles, to read history.”
― J.C. Ryle, Holiness

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who as a heaven for everybody, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.”
― J.C. Ryle

“Myriads of professing Christians nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with colour-blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. If a preacher of religion is only clever and eloquent and earnest, they appear to think he is all right, however strange and heterogeneous his sermons may be. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. Popery or Protestantism, an atonement or no atonement, a personal Holy Ghost or no Holy Ghost, future punishment or no future punishment, ‘high church’ or ‘low church’ or ‘broad church,’ Trinitarianism, Arianism, or Unitarianism—nothing comes amiss to them; they can swallow it all, even if they cannot digest it! Carried away by a fancied liberality and charity, they seem to think everybody is right and nobody is wrong, every clergyman is sound and none are unsound, everybody is going to be saved and nobody going to be lost. Their religion is made of negatives, and the only positive thing about them is that they dislike distinctness and think all extreme and decided and positive views are very naughty and very wrong!”
― J.C. Ryle

“Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.”
― J.C. Ryle

“(1.) Preach Christ crucified, and dwell chiefly on the blessings resulting from his righteousness, atonement, and intercession. (2.) Avoid all needless controversies in the pulpit; except it be when your subject necessarily requires it, or when the truths of God are likely to suffer by your silence. (3.) When you ascend the pulpit, leave your learning behind you: endeavour to preach more to the hearts of your people than to their heads. (4.) Do not affect much oratory. Seek rather to profit than to be admired.”
― J.C. Ryle

(Most quotes taken from Good Reads)

Why Kids Need the Sufficiency of Christ.

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One of the greatest lies we believe is that something we own, can gain or obtain will make us happy. We confuse the gifts with the giver of the gifts. This starts early for us. We chase after many things, often good things. But we often do it in a way that can lead us from Christ rather than to Christ. Someone once said that we don’t know that Christ is all we need until Christ is all we have. The sufficiency of Christ is the understanding of the reality that all things come from Christ that he is our single pursuit in life. That every good and perfect thing come from him. That we can rejoice in times good and times bad because we have our prize already we have Jesus. That He gives us what we need when we need it not what we want when we want it. Our kids need to know this.

Our kids need to know that Christianity is the only religion that gives material things their proper place. We can enjoy them as gifts from a God who is a good father and loves us with an unending love. We don’t think things are evil, although they can be. The best way for us as parents and family ministers to

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The Songs of Jesus (New York City: Viking, 2015)

Finding a good devotional is never easy. For me, the most consistent I have been with a devotional is Keller’s The Songs of Jesus. I find it insightful and personally challenging most days. The quick insights into the psalms and the personal prayers from Dr. Keller are both inspiring and convicting. His devotion from May 5th was helpful particularly since we are in the midst of another election cycle.

Psalm 59:1-7

59 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
    protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil,
    and save me from bloodthirsty men.

For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
    fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
    for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
    You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.
Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
    spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah

Each evening they come back,
    howling like dogs
    and prowling about the city.
There they are, bellowing with their mouths
    with swords in their lips—
    for “Who,” they think,“will hear us?”

SPEWING

Today’s media make it easier than ever to “spew…words…sharp as swords” (verse 7). Unlike in writing letters, we dash emails and text messages off without weighing them. Unlike in face-to-face confrontation, we blurt things out without fear of seeing the hurt or anger in the other person’s face. Because of anonymity, we think no one can identify us. Words are thus more weaponized now than in David’s day. But every word – even an offhanded careless one (Matthew 12:36) – is an indicator of what is in the heart (Matthew 12:34) and will be judged by God. More often than ever we are saying, “I didn’t really mean what I said.” But you did. Watch and control words to know and shape your heart (James 3:1-12).

PRAYER

Lord, save me from the sins of my tongue and the flaw of character that fuel them. Make my words honest (by taking away my fear), few (by taking away my self-importance), wise (by taking away my thoughtlessness), and kind (by taking away my indifference and irritability). Amen.

What Getting Angry, Scared or Despondent Says About Us.

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When something touching an idol in our lives the three most common reactions are anger, fear, and despair. When something we love more than we should is shaken we respond in anger, fear, and despair which each, in turn, drives us deeper into our idolatrous behavior.

For example, when I was growing up I was not ok in life if others didn’t approve of me and like me. It is something I struggle with to this day. Although by God grace I struggle less today because of the power of Gospel at work in me daily. When I was growing up if someone didn’t like me I felt despair. I would do everything in my power to help them see that I was fun, kind and an all-around good person. I would sacrifice time with people who actually liked me because I need to be liked by everyone. The more I was around these people the more fear and despair I felt.

12 Books Every Leader Should Read.

book Leader

One of the things that I found as a leader that if you want to continue to grow you need to read books, and not just any book you need to read good books. The problem I have found is there are so many books out there many are great some not so great. A good book should feel like a conversation. Books give you the ability to have a conversation with people you will likely never meet. Great books do that.   One of the best strategies I have found to find a good book then read the books by the people they recommend and quote often. Here is a list of 12 good books to get you started.

  1. Theology –

    True Spirituality – Francis Schaeffer
    Prodigal God – Tim Keller
    Mere Christianity – CS Lewis
    Pilgrims Progress – John Bunyon
    Confessions – St. Augustine

  2. Technology –

    Reclaiming Conversation – Sherry Turkle

  3. Leadership –

    Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Institute
    The Call To Joy and Pain – Ajith Fernando
    How to Read a Book – Mortimer J Adler

  4. Biography –

    Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
    Amazing Grace – Eric Metaxas
    Bonhoeffer – Eric Metaxas