This weekend I read Love Wins by Rob Bell. I found the message hopeful by witnessing the universal love of God and challenging us to live that love of God being church.
Here are a few quotes to ponder:
“Jesus invites us, in this life, in this broken, beautiful world, to experience the life of heaven now. He insisted over and over that God’s peace, joy, and love are currently available to us, exactly as we are.”
“Forgiveness is unilateral. God isn’t waiting for us to get it together, to clean up, shape up, get up - God has already done it.”
“Your deepest, darkest sins and your shameful secrets are simply irrelevant when it comes to the counterintuitive , ecstatic announcement of the gospel. So are your goodness, your rightness, your church attendance, and all of the wise, moral, mature decisions you have made and actions you have taken. It simply doesn’t matter when it comes to the surprising, unexpected declaration that God’s love simply is yours.”
“And so there are conferences about how churches can be more ‘relevant’ and ‘missional’ and ‘welcoming’ and there are vast resources, many, many books and films, for those who want to ‘reach out’ and ‘connect’ and ‘build relationships’ with people who aren’t part of the church. And that can be helpful. But at the heart of it, we have to ask: Just what kind of God is behind all this? Because if something is wrong with your God, if your God is loving one second and cruel the next, if your God will punish people for all of eternity for sins committed in a few short years, no amount of clever marketing or compelling language or good music or great coffee will be able to disguise that one, true, glaring, untenable, unacceptable, awful reality.”
“Jesus is supracultural. He is present within all cultures, and yet outside of all cultures. He is for all people, and yet refuses to be co-opted or owned by any one culture. That includes any Christian culture. Any denomination. Any church. Any theological system. We can point to him, name him, follow him, discuss him, honor him, and believe in him - but we cannot claim to him to be ours any more than he’s anyone else’s.”