A Long Obedience In The Same Direction (Eugene Peterson)


‘Discipleship in an instant society’

1. Discipleship
Jeremiah 12:5; Nietzsche

“… the assumption that anything worthwhile can be acquired at once…”

“It is not difficult in such a world to get a person interested in the message of the gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest”

“…little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness”

“Religion in our time has been captivated by the tourist mindset.”

2. Repentance
Psalm 120

“A person has to be thoroughly disgusted with the way things are to find the motivation to set out on the Christian way.”

“A person has to get fed up with the ways of the world before he, before she, acquires an appetite for the world of grace.”

“It is not a beautiful song… It is harsh. It is discordant. But it gets things started.”

“Christian consciousness begins in the painful realization that what we had assumed was the truth is in fact a lie.
…The lies are impeccably factual… but they are lies all the same, because they claim to tell us who we are and omit everything about our origin in God and our destiny in God.
They instruct us in love without telling us about the God who loves us and gave himself for us”

“The psalmist’s God is a lightning flash illuminating just such a crossroads”

“The transition from a dreamy nostalgia for a better life to a rugged pilgrimage of discipleship in faith”

repentance is always and everywhere the first word in the Christian life”

“Repentance is not an emotion. It is not feeling sorry for your sins. It is a decision.”

“Repentance is the catalytic agent for the change”

“Any hurt is worth is that puts us on the path to peace”

“History is not a blind alley, guilt not an abyss”

“The ‘no’ released them to a freedom that was diverse and glorious… a ‘no’ to the world that is a ‘yes’ to God”

“Among the more fascinating pages of American history are those that tell the stories of the immigrants to these shores…
Every Christian has some variation on this immigrant plot to tell…”

3. Providence
Psalm 121

Bonhoeffer: ‘The wisest course for the disciple is always to abide solely by the word of God in all simplicity.’

“There are times when finding out we are wrong is a sudden and immediate relief, and we can lift up our heads in hope.”

“No literature is more realistic and honest in facing the harsh facts of life than the Bible.”

“All the water in all the oceans cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside. Nor can all the trouble in the world harm us unless it gets within us.”

“The only serious mistake we can make… is to conclude that God has gotten bored looking after us…
that God has gotten too busy fulfilling prophecy in the Middle East to take time now to sort out the complicated mess we have gotten ourselves into.”

“The great danger of Christian discipleship is that we should ahve two religions: a glorious, biblical Sunday gospel that in the cross and resurrection of Christ makes eternity alive in us, a magnificent gospel of Genesis and Romans and Revelation; and, then, an everyday religion that we make do with during the week…”

“Faith is not a precarious affair of chance escape from satanic assaults. It is the solid, massive, secure experience of God.”

4. Worship
Psalm 122

“I go about my work hoping that what I do and say will be usable by the Holy Spirit to create in that person a determination to worship God in a Christian community”

“Three things:
1. Worship gives us a workable structure for life;
2. worship nurtures our need to be in relationship with God;
3. Worship centers our attention on the decisions of God.”

“The city [of Jerusalem] itself was a kind of architectural metaphor for what worship is”

“How do we get that framework, that sense of solid structure so that we know where we stand and are therefore able to do our work easily and without anxiety? Christians go to worship.”

“When we sin and mess up our lives, we find that God doesn’t go off and leave us — he enters into our trouble and saves us. This is good: an instance of what the Bible calls ‘gospel’.”

“When we praise we are functioning at the center; we are in touch with the basic, core reality of our being”

“Feelings are great liars. If Christians worshipped only when they felt like it there would be precious little worship”

“we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting”

“Worship is an act that develops feelings for God; not a feeling for God expressed in an act”

“Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God–it whets our appetite”

5. Service
Psalm 123

“God is not a police officer on patrol… ready to club us if we get out of hand….
He is a potter working with the clay of our lives, forming and reforming”

“Prayer is not an attempt to get God to do what he is unwilling to do, but a reaching out tot what we know that he does do”

“our real problem is not in achieving freedom but in learning service under a better master”

“every relationship that excludes God becomes oppressive”

“if the attitude of servanthood is learned by attending to God as Lord, then serving others will develop as a very natural way of life”

“freedom is the freedom to live as persons in love for the sake of God and neighbour–not a licence to grab and push”

“free others from every form of bondage–religious, economic, cultural, political”

“A servant Christian is the freest person on earth”

6. Help
Psalm 124

“I am expected to explain God to his disappointed clients. I am thrust into the role of a clerk in the complaints department of humanity…
But God doesn’t need me to defend him”

“The proper work for the Christian is witness, not apology”

“Don’t hesitate to put Scripture under the searchlight of your disbelief. The reason many of us do not ardently believe in the gospel is that we have never given it a rigorous testing, thrown our hard questions at it”

“daring to believe that failing in love is better than succeeding at pride”

“Faith develops out of the most difficult aspects of our existence– not the easiest”

7. Security
Psalm 125

8. Joy
Psalm 126

9. Work
Psalm 127

10. Happiness
Psalm 128

11. Perseverance
Psalm 129

12. Hope
Psalm 130

13. Humility
Psalm 131

14. Obedience
Psalm 132

15. Community
Psalm 133

16. Blessing
Psalm 134


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