"Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating him who we see. To see his Majesty and to imitate him, that is the sum of Christianity."
"'Love your neighbor' was spoken by a man whose neighbors tried to kill him... The challenge to leave family for the gospel was issued by one who kissed his mother goodbye in the doorway... 'Pray for those who persecute you' came from the lips that soon would be begging God to forgive his murderers."
"Something about death makes us accuse God of betrayal...
You see, if God is God anywhere, he has to be God in the face of death. Pop psychology can deal with depression. Pep talks can deal with pessimism. Prosperity can handle hunger. But only God can deal with our ultimate dilemma - death. And only the God of the Bible has dared to stand on the canyon's edge and offer an answer. He has to be God in the face of death. If not, he is not God anywhere."
"Jesus' death was not the result of a panicking cosmological engineer. The cross wasn't a tragic surprise. Calvary was not a knee-jerk response to a world plummeting towards destruction. It wasn't a patch-job or a stop-gap measure. the death of the Son of God was anything but an unexpected peril.
No, it was part of a plan. It was a calculated choice. 'It was the Lord's will to crush him.' the cross was drawn into the original blueprint. It was written into the script. The moment the forbidden fruit touched the lips of Eve, the shadow of a cross appeared on the horizon. And between that moment and the moment the man with the mallet placed the spike against the writs of God, a master plan was fulfilled.
What does that mean? It means Jesus planned his own sacrifice.
It means Jesus intentionally planted the tree from which his cross would be carved.
It means he willingly placed the iron ore in the heart of the earth from which the nails would be cast.
It means he voluntarily placed his Judas in the womb of a woman.
It means Christ was the one who set in motion the political machinery that would send Pilate to Jerusalem.
And it also means he didn't have to do it - but he did."
"You have to wonder if God's most merciful act is his refusal to answer some of our prayers."
"Our problem is not so much that God doesn't give us what we hope for as it is that we don't know the right thing for which to hope."