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“… the challenge for us is to live in such a way that we are radically dependent on and desperate for the power that only God can provide.” (p.45)

“The dangerous assumption we unknowingly accept in the American dream is that our greatest asset is our own ability. … Even more importantly is the subtly fatal goal we will achieve when we pursue the American dream. As long as we achieve our desires in our own power, we will always attribute it to our own glory.” (p.46)

“We have convinced ourselves that that if we can position our resources and organize our strategies, then in church as in every other sphere of life, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. But what is strangely lacking in the picture of performances, personalities, programs, and professionals is desperation for the power of God. Gods power is at best an add-on to our strategies.” (p.50)

“Think about it. Would you say that your life is marked right now by desperation for the Spirit of God? Would you say that the church you are a part of is characterized by this sense of desperation?” (p.60)

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“… is His word enough for us?” (p.26)

“… in the American dream, where self reigns as king (or queen), we have a dangerous tendency to misunderstand, minimize, and even manipulate the gospel in order to accommodate our assumptions and desires.” (p.28)

“We are not ready to give him what he asks for because our hearts are set against him.” (p.30)

“The modern day gospel says, ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.’ Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, ‘You are an enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.'” (p.32)

“Our understanding of who God is and who we are drastically affects our understanding of who Christ is and why we need him.” (p.34)

“What happened at the cross was not primarily about nails being thrust in Jesus’ hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon his soul.” (p.35)

“So how do we respond to this gospel? Suddenly contemporary Christianity sales pitches don’t seem adequate anymore. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Invite Jesus to come into your life. Pray this prayer, sign this card, walk down this aisle, and accept Jesus as your personal Savior. Our attempt to reduce this gospel to a shrink-wrapped presentation that persuades someone to say or pray the right things back to us no longer seems appropriate. That is why none of these man-made ctach phrases are in the Bible.” (p.37)

“… realize that we are saved not just to be forgiven of our sins or to be assured of our eternity in heaven, but we are saved to know God.” (p.39)

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Starting right now, watch for nine groups of quotes posted one hour apart today here on my blog from the nine chapters in David Platt’s book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream. If you read only one book outside of Scripture this month, make it this one.

“So what was I to do? I found myself faced with two big questions. The first was simple. Was I going to believe Jesus? Was I going to embrace Jesus even though he said radical things that drove the crowds away? The second question was more challenging. Was I going to obey Jesus? My biggest fear, even now, is that I will hear Jesus’ words and walk away, content to settle for less than radical obedience to him.” (pp.2-3)

“We …[are] settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves.” (p.7)

“‘Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Now this is taking it to another level. Pick up an instrument of torture and follow me. … Imagine a leader coming on the scene today and inviting all who would come after him to pick up an electric chair and become his disciple. Any takers?” (p.10)

“We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with. A nice, middle-class, American Jesus. … A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin of the American dream. … We are molding Jesus into our own image. … we may be worshiping ourselves.” (p.13)

“The price of our nondiscipleship is high for those without Christ. It is also high for the poor of this world.” (p.15)

“Do we really believe he is worth abandoning everything for? Do you and I really believe that Jesus is so good, so satisfying, and so rewarding that we will leave all we have and all we own and all we are in order to find our fullness in him? Do you and I believe him enough to obey him and to follow him wherever he leads, even when the crowds in our culture – and maybe in our churches – turn the other way?” (pp.18-19)

ct: self-understanding & self-giving

Neither self-denial (a repudiation of our sins) no self-affirmation (an appreciation of God’s gifts) is a dead-end of self-absorption. On the contrary, both are means to self-sacrifice. Self-understanding should lead to self-giving. The community of the cross is essentially a community of self-giving love, expressed in the worship of God … and in the service of others … It is to this that the cross consistently and insistently calls us. (John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ, p.285)

ct: the community of celebration

… the same New Testament, which contains Paul’s flash of individualism: “I have been crucified with Christ … I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me,’ all insists that Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Thus, the very purpose of his self-giving on the cross was not just to save isolated individuals, and so perpetuate their loneliness, but to create a new community whose members would belong to him, love one another and eagerly serve the world. This community of Christ would be nothing less than a renewed and reunited humanity, of which he, the second Adam, would be head. It would incorporate Jews and Gentiles on equal terms. In fact, it would include representatives from every nation. Christ died in abject aloneness, rejected by his own nation and deserted by his own disciples, but lifted up on the cross he would draw all men to himself. And from the day of Pentecost onwards it has been clear that conversion to Christ means also conversion to the community of Christ … These two transfers – of personal allegiance and social membership – cannot be separated. …

The Christian community is a community of the cross, for it has been brought into being by the cross, and the focus of its worship is the Lamb once slain, now glorified. So the community of the cross is a community of celebration, a eucharistic community, ceaselessly offering to God through Christ the sacrifice of our praise and thanksgiving. The Christian life is an unending festival. And the festival we keep, now that our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us, is a joyful celebration of his sacrifice, together with a spiritual feasting upon it. But what is it that we share in? Not in the offering of Christ’s sacrifice, nor even in the movement of it, but only in the benefits he achieved by it. For this costly sacrifice, and for the precious blessings it has won for us, we shall never cease, even in eternity, to honor and adore the Lamb. (John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ, pp.255,273)