Well, I’ve got one more task to complete. I’m keeping it as promise and covenant with a friend and brother in Christ. I’ve just finished reviewing Brandon Andress‘s latest book, Beauty In The Wreckage. I didn’t use any quotes from the book, but Brandon did give me permission to use quotes. After prayer, much prayer, I decided to share 1 quote from each chapter. Man, talk about Tension! After you read his book (to be released October 9) you may or may not think that was the best quote from the chapter. Honestly, raw honesty, there are too many to limit it to just one. So each of these are 1 (of my many favorite) quote that touched my heart. But you must put these favorite quotes in context, and that comes from the book. And hopefully, will entice you to get your copy of his latest book:
“Despite the wreckage around us, there is another reality surrounding us, immersing us, in unending life and beauty. It is a reality that longs to revive our broken and wounded hearts so that they may beat again. It is a reality that washes over our blinded eyes so that we may see again. It is a reality that is overflowing and abundant in an ever-present completeness and wholeness and harmony in all things. It is a reality that straightens every path, that stands against and presses into the dark, hostile and oppressive forces of the world, and extends justice and righteousness for all people.”
(from the Miraculous Sign of Jesus at the wedding in Cana) “Are you standing at the empty jars and only seeing the impossibility of the situation? Are you standing at the empty stone jars and thinking about the shame and dishonor and regret and pain and suffering that will ruin the marriage and halt the celebration? Are you standing at the empty stone jars next to others who are convinced that the party is over and who are already pointing fingers at who is to blame–the man who drank too much, the woman who took two glasses rather that one glass every time she got a refill, those who just showed up but who weren’t invited and drank too much, the person who bought the wine but didn’t buy enough?
At the empty stone jars all seems lost. All seems bleak. All seems dire. There may be some anxiety and stress. There may be some worry and fear. There may even be some internal pain and suffering. What do you see? ……
And it is the marriage of heaven and earth and the celebration continues all around us. Can you see it?
“The Kingdom of God is Shalom. It is the life we were always meant to live, because that is the only place where life to the fullest is found. …… Shalom is not found in a classroom, earned by religious affiliation or practice, received through the proper steps or handed down from one person to another. It can only be found by the humble, earnest seeker who simply receives that which has been surrounding them the entire time, the Shalom of God.”
“But even in the darkness, if we are still enough to hear it and patient enough to trust it, there is always the sweet song of the Spirit, leading us in hopeful anticipation, surprising us with beauty in the present and giving us a glimpse of the life that’s yet to come.”
“For if we are to begin this upward ascent from the valley of the shadow of death, it begins with the acknowledgement that we do not want to stay in this place forever. And it may help you to know that this journey does not require you to leave your aching heart behind.
The end destination for a wounded and broken heart is never the valley of the shadow of death. We carry this wounded and broken heart with us, upward over the mountain. And we carry it together, brother. We carry it together, sister. The truth is that your pain and suffering can be a transformative passageway, even while your heart aches, even while your spirit groans. It just requires that we begin this journey together with a humble and open heart.”
“The power of the cross is not some cosmic, unilateral transaction done by God to magically erase our spiritual sins that are floating around somewhere in the cosmos, so that we can say, ‘My sins have been taken away, hallelujah!
The power of the cross is mutual self-emptying. The power of the cross is mutual self-giving. The power of the cross is mutual self-sacrifice. The power of the cross is the defeat of sin, or our disunion with God. The power of the cross is the union of Divinity and our humanity. The power of the cross is Shalom.”
“And any movement away from Life in the Divine is a movement toward death. Death in how we begin to think. Death in how we begin to live. Death in how we begin to relate to others. Since God is life, the One in whom we live and move and have our being, then any movement away from the Life in God is a movement toward death. It is really that simple. And it is this death that begins to manifest in our thinking and then outward in our actions, in our relationships, and into our world.”
“For it’s not in seeking more and more stimulation or consumption in which we find great depths in this life. It is only in a regular rhythm of abstention, whether it be through solitude or silence or even fasting, where the Spirit can awaken our sense to discover and appreciate, moment by moment, all that we so easily take for granted.”
“Shalom always moves beyond the single individual, in a deep and abiding love, for the benefit and care and nourishment of every individual and the larger family. It is the way this life was always meant to be lived, and still can be. It is a family that cares so deeply for each other that they are willing to go to any length to demonstrate that love, even if it means their lives. And it is in this place where the Shalom of God begins to extend far beyond ourselves.”
“Shalom is not a passive, isolated state of being in oneself. It is an active, transformational, communal movement that is changing the world. It is only peace that can stop the cycle of verbal and physical aggression. It is only forgiveness that can stop the cycle of resentment and retaliation. It is only reconciliation that can stop the cycle of fracturing and dividing. It is only grace that can stop the cycle of judgment and retribution. It is only love that can stop the cycle of hatred and cover a multitude. And it is only the Shalom of God that will save us from ourselves.”
It was tough limiting to one quote per chapter, but like an appetizer, it makes us hungry for the main course. Remember, October 9–get your copy!
And love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the Glory goes to HIM!