"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16

Escape from Christendom

Rarely do I find good allegory like John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress and C. S. Lewis’ The Pilgrim’s Regress, nevertheless Escape from Christendom by Robert Burnell just made its way into my recommended reading list, all thanks to a brother’s introduction.

The language employed is plain and easy to understand, yet not without style. And the best of all is that it’s really short and straight to the point, making it more achievable for light readers. So, below are some quotes that caught my eyes while I was reading, and I thought it is good to share with you here, and perhaps you might be interested enough to read it. But what I really meant is, do pick up a copy and start reading it, you won’t regret it.

"Christian City is the place for those who want religion but don't want to lose their lives."

"In the Middle Ages Christians tried to lose themselves in God by putting the world behind them… But then, a person can travel to the ends of the earth and not lose himself."

"Worship, that is true worship, can begin only when a life has been utterly abandoned to the desert of God's presence. Out there the heart begins to worship the Father in spirit and truth."

"Don't be afraid to be lost in God. You'll find your life nowhere else."

"People often expect God's forgiveness to be like a beautiful park with fountains and rivers and green grass. They cannot understand why it should be a desert. Yet one has to learn that God's forgiveness is everything - everything! And this is possible only in a desert, where a Christian comes to see nothing, appreciate nothing, hope in nothing but the cross of Jesus."

"This Wilderness of Forgiveness is not only a place for receiving forgiveness,
but also for giving it."

"The supernatural forbearance which has flooded your being all day is being challenged by the bitterness buried in your soul for all these years. You have to make a choice. The sterile, shallow, lip service forgiveness of your past life is powerless even to be polite… But the forgiveness of God which has been flowing in to the point of becoming an obsession can flow out now if you will allow it to."

"He needs your Forgiveness. Not courtesy, but active, genuine forgiveness. He needs your Love."

"But the most personally satisfying worship I receive comes from men and women who are pursuing religious successes. (Devil)"

"In Christian City it is possible to go through all the surface motions of faith in God while one's real worship, the thing which obsesses the mind day and night, is idolatry. Now that I have left there I can survive only if I'm lost in the worship of God."

"Changes are taking place in you which, if you let them, will last forever. Your heart is being opened by the outpoured Spirit. Your mouth is being opened to speak as God gives you utterance. And your eyes are being opened to see visions and dream dreams. You are receiving eyes which see God."

"The difference, brother, is that here you do not merely taste worship or dabble in worship. Here in the desert you are lost in the worship of God so that all your praise and thanksgiving goes to Him. Everything you do is done for Him."

"Fanatics worship principles, ideas, human personalities and even demons, but never God. Consuming worship of God is the doorway, not to fanaticism, but to liberty such as you have never known. When you are lost in the worship of God, you no longer worship such things as money, romance, or success. You have found the one true object of worship, and as you worship Him you are fulfilled."

"There, they do have prayer meetings and people pray before they go to bed. When life becomes difficult, their prayer becomes intense, until the crisis passes. But in the Wilderness of Prayer, prayer becomes one's way of life - the source of one's whole existence. The time has come for you to be lost in a life of prayer."

"A prayer life is something we engage in alone, yet it brings us into fellowship with God and man as nothing else will."

"Prayer is going to God, to the Father's door, and asking for bread so that you can give it to your needy brother. When you knock and keep knocking, it always opens. Always. Out of that communion with God comes something you share with others. And as you share what God gives you, you have a communion with them. A person will have this communion even if he's shy or clumsy. For this life of prayer delivers one from the fear of other people's opinions and the fear of one's own blunders."

"Well, in the past you cried to God in your occasional emergencies. Here you are learning to see your life as a continuous crisis, driving you to call on God day and night."

"The clearer our vision of what happens in the world - how close to the edge of chaos the nations are - the more we understand that the only way to know life is to come close to God the Father in prayer, to cry to Him day and night. We pray without ceasing because the crisis in earthly life is never over."

"Because prayer is our main work. It takes thought, concentration, an active will and the best of one's strength to pray for the hallowing of God's name, the coming of God's kingdom, to pray for laborers in the harvest, or to pray for specific people and their needs."

"This is because your prayers are becoming engaged in the Real Battle. Prayer is the ground where we overcome evil with good. In these mountains you will learn to pray for your enemies. The life of overcoming evil with good starts with asking that good will come to those who have done evil to us."

"You can confidently abandon yourself to this harvest without danger of being engulfed by it, provided you keep your vision of the City, and provided you do your work here with a whole heart."

"Don't be in a hurry. Take time to listen and ask the right questions. Find out where people really hurt, what they really need."

"The water in the flask and this message of yours are identical. These dying people are thirsting for Jesus, not theories about Jesus, but Jesus Himself. The message of Jesus is a drink of refreshing water which brings them back to life."

"Brother, you lost your strength because you lost your vision. The City of God over there is still your destination. It is your home, the dwelling place of our God. While you work, be sure to take time daily, hourly, to pause and look at the City of God. If you fail to look up in the midst of your labors and see the City of God, fail to stop and hear its music, neglect to breathe the atmosphere it sends forth to you, or to drink from that steam which flows out from beneath its gates, you will be exhausted. You must remember that sustaining power comes from the City."

"The more problems I have to contend with here in the Harvest, the more time seems to press in on me, the more firmly I fix my eye on the City of God. I make sure to keep looking up. Every time I eat bread and drink wine I do so in anticipation as well as in remembrance. This is the food of the City, you know. It keeps my eyes and my heart there."

"Keep looking to that City and remember who waits for you there. He has prepared a place for you and will soon be coming for you. Meanwhile, as you look to the City, He will renew your strength so that you will mount up on wings as the eagles, you will run and not be weary, you will walk and not faint."

"Never has it been more clear to me that two revivals are in progress on the earth. One is the revival of the Spirit of God by which dead men and women are freed from their sins by the blood of the Lamb and raised to a life which is the life of the sons of God, a life which bears God's nature, manifests God's mercy. The other revival is the revival of religious flesh, a revival which is so appealing and gathers such multitudes and wields such power in this world because it offers all the comfort of religion while allowing you to keep your ego and all rights to yourself. Surely each of us has to decide which revival he is going to be part of."