Quotations for life and ministry

Our random motivational quotes in the right margin of most pages of this site are there to encourage you and make you think. They mainly encapsulate issues about fulfillilng your own potential and ministry, and communicating the Gospel effectively. They are all, we believe, vital and biblical truths, whatever the belief or worldview of the speaker! Since you will only see a fraction of them as you visit this site, the full list is shown below. The sources are shown, where known.

We also urge that in evangelism, you use quotes from many secular authorities in this way. This approach is highly biblical – Paul quoted secular thinkers a number of times in the NT (not only at the Areopagus), and in what must have been a remarkable two-year ministry referred to only briefly in Acts 19:9-11, he would surely have frequently quoted Greek thinkers in his apologetic debating approach with Greeks. It is noteworthy that effective evangelists such as Dr Billy Graham have always had a wide grasp of secular contemporary culture, and quote widely from leaders within it.

There are many online sources for quotations – just use Google. Please tell us of good quotes you think would suit our site.

A key mission strategist has summed up the lessons learned by the cross-cultural missions movement for effective communcation as: “appeal to their authorities, speak their language, use their imagery.” These are a key to evangelism anywhere.

The quotes

Here they are, in no particular topic order. They are quoted in good faith under UK copyright law ‘fair use’ – the jurisdiction in your own country may vary. If inadvertantly, any fall outside that legal framework, they will willingly removed.s

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new

– Samuel Johnson

“Only you can be you. God designed each of us so there would be no duplication in the world. No one has the exact same mix of factors that make you unique. That means no one else on earth will ever be able to play the role God planned for you. If you don’t make your unique contribution to the Body of Christ, it won’t be made

– Rick Warren

“You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it, too

– Anne Lamott

“A gentle word opens an iron gate

– Bulgarian Proverb

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

“God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called

“Always drink upstream from the herd

– Will Rogers

“The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the right answer

– Thomas Watson

“I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to

“People need fewer ‘ought-to’ sermons, and more ‘how-to’ sermons. The deepest kind of teaching is that which makes a difference in people’s day-to-day lives. Jesus spoke to the crowd with an interesting style. When God’s Word is taught in an uninteresting way, people don’t just think the pastor is boring, they think God is boring!

– Rick Warren

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can do only a little

– Sydney Smith

“Instructions For Life: think twice about accepting the lowest bid

“We must learn to share the gospel in ways that show it is both GOOD and NEWS. The gospel is about what God has done for us and what we can become in Christ

– Rick Warren

“He who limps is still walking

– Stanislaw J. Lec

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not

– Denis Waitley

“We can believe almost anything if it be necessary to protect our pride

– Douglas A. Thom

“Adults are obsolete children

– Dr. Seuss

“Truth consists of having the same idea about something that God has

– Joseph Joubert

“Truth exists; only falsehood has to be invented

– Georges Baraque

“The world’s favorite verb is ‘get’. The verb of the Christian is ‘give’

– Billy Graham

“One of the blunders religious people are particularly fond of making is the attempt to be more spiritual than God

– Frederick Buechner

“Be tactful with those who are not Christians … Talk to them agreeably and with a flavor of wit, and try to fit your answers to the needs of each one

– Col. 4:5-6 (JB)

“The difference between adults and children is that adults don’t ask questions

– American Proverb

“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there

– Yogi Berra

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go

– Oscar Wilde

“I make progress by having people around me who are smarter than I am – and listening to them. And I assume that everyone is smarter about something than I am

– Henry Kaiser

“The flak is always the heaviest closest to the target

– Boyd K. Packer

“No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However a large number of electrons were temporarily inconvenienced

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step

– Martin Luther King Jr.

“When you shoot an arrow of truth, dip its point in honey

– Arab proverb

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it

– Chinese Proverb

“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito

– Bette Reeves

“We are each of us angels with only one wing. And we can only fly embracing each other

– Luciano De Crescenzo

“The best way to show that a stick is crooked is not to argue about it or to spend time denouncing it, but to lay a straight stick alongside it

– D L Moody

“You never know till you try to reach them how accessible men are; but you must approach each man by the right door

– Henry Ward Beecher

“Do not let what you cannot do … interfere with what you can do

“Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated … you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps

“Most people would like to be delivered from temptation but would like it to keep in touch

– Robert Orben

“You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone

“Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion

– Alice Cooper

“I no longer worry about being a brilliant conversationalist. I simply try to be a good listener. I notice that people who do that are usually welcome wherever they go

– Frank Bettger

“On the Web, all advantages are temporary, and you must keep innovating to stay ahead

– Jakob Nielsen

“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out

– Paul, tentmaker

“Relevance is not a substitute for the Gospel, but an entry point for it

– E J Carnell

“God forbid that I should ever teach any adaptation of the Gospel. But I contend that we may serve it up in any sort of dish that will induce the people to partake of it

– Catherine Booth, Salvation Army

“You will never be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life

– James G. Bilkey

“We attract hearts by the qualities we display; we retain them by the qualities we possess

– Jean Baptiste Antoine Suard

“ ... the Wide World. And that’s something that doesn’t matter, either to you or me. I’ve never been there, and I’m never going, nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all. Don’t ever refer to it again, please. Now then! Here’s our backwater at last, where we’re going to lunch

– Ratty
Wind in the Willows

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea

– Antoine de Saint Exupery

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it

– Thomas Fuller

“Most Christian literature … begins too far along the evangelistic process; it assumes that the reader has at least some basic knowledge of Christianity and biblical concepts

Interlit Magazine

“You can shear a sheep many times but you can skin him only once

– Vermont proverb

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem

– Theodore Rubin

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off your bow-lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover

– Mark Twain

“When surveying people who stopped attending church after six weeks, 92% of them said it was because no one talked to them.

“Don’t just throw the seed at the people! Grind it into flour, bake it into bread, and slice it for them. And it wouldn’t hurt to put a little honey on it

– Charles Spurgeon

“We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams; –
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

– Arthur O’Shaughnessy

“It wouldn’t hurt to have a quick look? Would it? No-one will know!

– any of us, using the Web

“Stop! Look! Listen! Which secular newspapers, magazines, websites or broadcast media communicate their message honestly, compellingly and well? Why? How? Emulate them!

– Internet Evangelism Guide

“I have sometimes called this ‘double listening’. Listening to the voice of God in Scripture, and listening to the voices of the modern world, with all their cries of anger, pain and despair.

– John Stott

“ ... what I believe to be one of the major tragedies in the Church today. Namely, that evangelicals are biblical, but not contemporary, while liberals are contemporary but not biblical, and almost nobody is building bridges and relating the biblical text to the modern context

– John Stott

“The person who knows he’s right never needs to ask questions

– proverb

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

– Albert Einstein

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place

– George Bernard Shaw

“Words that soak into your ears are whispered ... not yelled

– old farming saying

“You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar

– old farming saying

“You have a calling which exists only for you and which only you can fulfil

– Dr Naomi Stephan

“Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile initially scared me to death

– Betty Bender

“Evangelism is not a professional job for a few trained men but is instead the unrelenting responsibility of every person

– D. Elton Trueblood

“If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world

– C S Lewis

“The soul never thinks without a picture

– Aristotle

“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us / to see ourselves as others see us

– Robert Burns

“I think we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do – by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create and who we include.

– Père Henri, in Chocolat

“Can’t you see the angel imprisoned in the block of stone trying to get out? I am trying to free him

– Michaelangelo

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all

– Peter Drucker

“When a society is criticised by outsiders, its members wince but shrug their shoulders. ‘What you can expect from strangers?’ is the feeling. When the attack comes from within, no such indulgence is shown. ‘He was one of us,’ runs the refrain.

– Michela Wrong

“Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady

No Line on the Horizon by U2

“Death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything

– Saul Bellow

“The color of the world is changing day by day

Les Misérables

“If a can opener no longer has the capacity to open cans, what is it?

– Alan Hirsch

“If you think you’re free, there’s no escape possible

– Ram Dass

“The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions

– Ellen Glasgow

“People do not believe lies because they have to, but because they want to

– Malcolm Muggeridge

“It’s been said that next to food and drink, our most basic human hunger is for storytelling

– Leighton Ford

“Once there is suspicion about person’s motives... everything he does becomes tainted

– Ghandi

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

– African proverb

“If you don’t know the way from here to there, imagine yourself there and find the way back to here

– London taxi driver

“I look at a stone-cutter hammering away at a rock a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the 101st blow, it splits in two. I know it was not the one blow that did it, but all that had gone before

– Jacob A. Riis

“It is an incredibly difficult task to lead people from self-centered consumerism to being servant-hearted Christians. It is not a task for fainthearted ministers or those who don’t like to get their religious robes wrinkled. But it is what the Great Commission is all about

– Rick Warren

“If you want to reach people nobody is reaching, you’ve got to do things nobody is doing

– Craig Groeschel

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in

– Leonard Cohen

“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves

– William Arthur Ward

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails

– William Arthur Ward

“When the winds of change blow, some seek shelter, others build windmills

– Chinese Proverb

“You can’t drive a ten-ton truck over a five-ton relationship

“It is easier to go to a consistent extreme than to stay at the center of biblical tension

– Robertson McQuilkin

“Once you get people laughing, they’re listening and you can tell them almost anything

– Herbert Gardner

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people

– Victor Borge

“Out of 132 contacts that Jesus had with people recorded in the New Testament, 6 were in the temple, 4 were in the synagogue, and 122 were out in the mainstream of life

– J K Johnson adapted from Why Christians Sin (Discovery House, 1992)

“In my life
there are so many questions and answers
that somehow seem wrong.
In my life
there are times when I catch in the silence
the sigh of a faraway song.
And it sings
of a world that I long to see.
Out of reach,
just a whisper away
waiting for me.

– Cosette, in Les Misérables

“Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation

– Henry Ward Beecher

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.

– Abraham Lincoln

“He turns our weaknesses into His opportunities

– Graham Kendrick, Make Way Music/Thankyou Music

“Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

– C S Lewis

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem.

– G K Chesterton

“If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don’t feel at home there?

– C S Lewis

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough

– Einstein

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe

– Abraham Lincoln

“If everyone in your church was the same as you, what would your church look like?

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression

Agape love bridges the gap between two people

“We think we in the land of the living going to the land of the dead, but in fact we live in the land of the dead and are going to the land of the living!

“It’s never crowded on the extra mile

“As for me and my mouse, we will serve the Lord!

“There are numerous reasons why individuals resist change. The five most common are fear, comfort with the status quo, having no say in the change, no sense of the possible benefit, and finally, being a key stakeholder in the present way of doing things.

– from User Adoption Strategies by Michael Sampson

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

– from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

“If you have a team where everyone agrees with one another, you’ve probably figured out a way to punish those who don’t

– Kris Vallotton

“Of 100 men, one will read the bible; the 99 will read the Christian

– D L Moody

“Much evangelism is like throwing paint over a fence hoping it splashes on someone who may not like that they’re being painted

– Brett Smith

“My life started to get good when the fear of regret became more powerful than the fear of being in a new situation

“A lie builds a roof that gives no shade

– Fulani proverb

“We must learn to find the back door to people’s hearts because the front door is heavily guarded

– Ravi Zacharias

“Please give us a simple answer, so that we don’t have to think, because if we think, we might find answers that don’t fit the way we want the world to be

– Terry Pratchett in Nation

“In a post-Christian world where most people have said no thanks to our traditional ‘God Spaces’, we need people with ‘web feet’ who understand how to create God Space on the Internet

– Doug Pollock

“If we took the time to find out what not-yet Christians really thought about our attempts to have spiritual conversations with them, we’d soon discover that far to often we are ‘spamming people for Jesus’. Here’s a question to ask a not-yet-Christian that will help clue you into this unfortunate reality: ‘If I invited you to speak to a large group of Christians on the topic of what NOT to do to have a spiritual conversation with you, what would you tell them?’ Their replies will be very revealing.

– Doug Pollock

“God doesn’t want something from us. He simply wants us.

– C S Lewis

“It is difficult to win a war you are not fighting

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened

– Winston Churchill

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.

– Chinese Proverb

“To hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth

– Longfellow

“Right now I’m having so much trouble with D L Moody, that I don’t have time to criticize my friends

– D L Moody

“Perhaps the worst plight of a vessel is to be caught in a gale on a lee shore. In this connection the following rules should be observed: 1. Never allow your vessel to be found in such a predicament...

– manual on seamanship

“If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God you’ll be at rest.

– Corrie Ten Boom

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