Sermon quotes on expectations

Annie Dillard

My eyes account for less than one percent of the weight of my head,” she observes with sweet resignation; “I’m bony and dense; I see what I expect.”).

RM Harrington

Men box God into the contents of personal experiences, and then seek to define his attributes by this limited exposure to eternity.

Ronald Heifetz

Leadership is often a matter of failing people’s expectations at a rate they can stand.


Ernest Hemingway

You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.

A Moveable Feast


John Irving

When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Timothy Keller

It seems almost oxymoronic to believe that this new idealism has led to a new pessimism about marriage, but that is exactly what has happened. In generations past there was far less talk about compatibility and finding the ideal soul mate. Today we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searchers and the searched for.

Donald Miller

When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

A. B. Simpson

Our God has boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small. Our expectations are too limited.

Bill Watterson

I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep everyone’s expectations.


Philip Yancey

When Jesus came to earth, demons recognized him, the sick flocked to him, and sinners doused his feet and head with perfume. Meanwhile he offended pious Jews with their strict preconceptions of what God should be like. Their rejection makes me wonder, could religious types be doing just the reverse now? Could we be perpetuating an image of Jesus that fits our pious expectations but does not match the person portrayed so vividly in the Gospels?


Michael Horton

American Christianity is a story of perpetual upheavals in churches and individual lives. Starting with the extraordinary conversion experience, our lives are motivated by a constant expectation for the Next Big Thing. We’re growing bored with the ordinary means of God’s grace, attending church week in and week out. Doctrines and disciplines that have shaped faithful Christian witness in the past are often marginalized or substituted with new fashions or methods. The new and improved may dazzle us for a moment, but soon they have become “so last year.”

Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World.

William Carey

Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.

Augustine of Hippo

Christmas is fast approaching. And now that Christ has aroused our seasonal expectations, he’ll soon fulfill them all!

Larry Hein

May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God, who is Father, Son, and Spirit.

Andrew M Davis

But what seems to happen in our lived practice of worship is that we don’t simply enjoy the stimulation; we expect it from God. We don’t just value “positive” emotions, but in our lived experience and practice, we demand them from God every time we step foot in a church or “meet” with him. God gets demoted, and what we can get from God is promoted.

The Power of Christian Contentment, Baker Publishing Group, 2019, p.46-47.

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