“Humility, Hope, Faith & Excellence”, Quotes on Discipleship from Tom Holliday (Spiritual Leadership)

In 2019 I had the honor of listening to Pastor Tom Holliday, of Alexandria Presbyterian Church teach in a small fellowship group at his home in Alexandria, VA. I am so glad that I took notes to look back on and share! The theme was spiritual leadership and discipleship.

He spoke for about an hour listening for questions and comments focusing on the nature of the heart of a disciple. In this session, he focused on Humility, Hope, Faith, and Excellence.


We looked at Matthew 16:24-25 “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”. Pastor Tom described that we are examining our character, the very core of our hearts, and how we live out our lives.

The heart of the learner is humble, he is not above his master, he must learn to follow. We ask ourselves to examine our hearts for all things within our own nature and in our lives that may be in opposition to God. The one that follows after Christ, in discipleship must constantly be denying and dying to himself so that he or she finds the Spirit of The Lord and walks in the Light.— Tom Holliday

Galatians 2:20-21 –I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

He continued, saying that none of us could ever be as trained as Jesus. Paul said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ”. (1 Corinthians 1:11)

Lord let me live an indwelled Christian Life. Teach us. We want to be as fully trained as possible as we can be in this life.” –Tom Holliday

Notes: The humility that is spoken of has a deep purpose. Humility as it alters the heart from the very core equips the disciple to

  • Follow Christ.
  • Examine one’s heart for all that is our nature that is in opposition to God.
  • In the Spirit of Christ, to die to self and walk in the light.

Live by faith in Christ whose death paid the price of our sin. We die in Him and He begins to live in us.


“There is no hope without effort. Hope in Christ he said- must be grown. We cannot remain passive. Many live with no hope at all.” –Tom Holliday

1 John 3:3 –And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

“Is your hope in the right thing? If you love if you hope, do you know that your hope is in Christ? Are you sure that you know what your hope is in? Is it in anything but Christ? What else might it be in? Is it in a perfect wife, a perfect husband, in being right?”–Tom Holliday

“If you don’t have a growing hope in all that He purchased for you by dying on the cross, in that you will see Him, and that you will become Like Him, and be changed instantaneously, then you need this HOPE.  You need that HOPE. This is what we anticipate. Also, in this life, today wants to be more like HIM.” –Tom Holliday

“You offer yourself to Him. We do that to the Power to make ourselves Holy. Without Effort. It is His Effort. Not our own. It is Divine Power.” –Tom Holliday


“Faith. It starts with faith- but don’t put your faith in faith. Your faith can’t be your hope”. –Tom Holliday

2 Peter 5:5 -For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge.

“The word, Virtue. The Greek word “arete”, means excellence. It implies the ‘property’ of something. Example: what you were made to be. The excellence of a horse is to run fast. The excellence of a knife is made to cut well… The excellence of a disciple is to be like Jesus.” –Tom Holliday

“Faith can default to being only knowledgeable. It can lead to being “puffed up”, and stuffed with information.  What end does that lead to? Puffed-up knowledge can lead to the Three C’s getting mixed up- confidence preceding competency, competency preceding character, and so on.” –Tom Holliday

“Virtue is not what I do. It is not who I am. It is my life in family, school, community, church, and outward.” –Tom Holliday

Galatians 5:6 –For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

“Faith expressing through love. Love is the crowning Jewel.”–Tom Holliday

Notes: Faith working by love is the same as a new Christian being baptized into Christ in order to become new. Faith alone is not enough. That Love, Who is the crowing jewel of The Kingdom is Christ.

A quote from Huxley adds that “”Faith operative through love” must be identical with, or involve “the keeping of God’s commandments,” and “a new creature.” And Tyndale said, “faith, which by love is mighty in operation.”

Romans 1:4 -in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Pastor Tom continued, “What would you call your Spiritual Ceiling? Is it this high? (above the forehead), this high (above the head?) Do you think that you have grown all that you can? Does this make God sad? I believe that the ceiling is higher!”

“C.S. Lewis said that life is miraculous. That it was not like teaching a horse to jump, but that it was like teaching a horse to FLY. Can prayer teach a horse to fly? How are you limiting God in your life? Look to Jesus. What do you want His Spirit to do?”–Tom Holliday

“The Temptation is to see this life in terms of what “I” have done. Stop measuring experiences. Go to scripture. Jesus is doing the work.”–Tom Holliday

“We may not give grandeur or glorification, ‘apostification’ to ourselves. It is sin, it is attempting to do the work of Jesus, ourselves.” –Tom Holliday

As we begin to close in prayer, Pastor Tom reminds us, “Jesus gives you The Wanting. You can ask for it. Ask.”

Notes: The root of excellent is excel, meaning to raise, to raise oneself, surpass, literally—to rise out of, project. Excellent, therefore, is reserved for a thing unusually good for its kind, of exceptional merit and virtue. We strive for excellence because it is part of our nature. We are made in God’s Image and His excellence pours into everything that He does. Deuteronomy 32:4

Phillippians 1:9-10 —And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,

Tom Holliday – Alexandria Presbyterian Church

A study on Spiritual Leadership taught by Tom Holliday begins on September 18, 2022, at APC, Alexandria VA.

“Stepping out in Faith”, Quotes and Notes on Faith (Trusting God, Heart Perspective)

Stepping Out in Faith

Walking by Faith means that you are placing your faith in God before all else. Often we face difficult situations that put us in a sense of bondage to circumstances. Obstacles may seem overwhelming. When we place our trust in God to lead us forward, we step out in faith. My own experience in walking by faith is one of awe on an ever-deepening journey. We are promised God’s reward in scripture.

“And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

When we “walk by faith and not by sight”, (2 Corinthians 5:7) it means that we trust God in every circumstance that we face and that we aim to choose righteousness over sin no matter what the cost. In living, the heart’s perspective is to store up our treasures in heaven rather than on the earth.

When we step out in daily living, we are reminded of the need for action that follows faith. Each step is given to God, with a heart aimed toward Him, that trusts that He will reveal the next. It is a faith walk. When we take this miraculous walk with God, we may not see far, yet each step is revealed in its turn as we follow trusting His plan.

Proverbs 3:5-6 –Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Faith sacrifices selflessly and acts lovingly. The actions of faith are bold and courageous. True faith works its way out in action as well as belief. It walks itself forward as faith that follows God’s will and His commands through action. We exercise faith by stepping out.

Quotes on Walking by Faith

God in his wisdom, to make and keep us humble and to teach us to walk by faith, has hidden from us almost everything that we should like to know about the providential purposes which he is working out in the churches and in our own lives. –J. I. Packer

To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings. —George Mueller

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. – Billy Graham

Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them. — Elisabeth Elliot

In faith, there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t. –Blaise Pascal

If the Lord fails me at this time, it will be the first time. –George Mueller

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe. –Augustine

 Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. Faith is the belief that God will do what is right. –Max Lucado

 He calls us to trust him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through. –Francis Chan

Sainthood lies in the habit of referring the smallest actions to God. Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods. –C.S. Lewis

Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God. –William Carey

Trials should not surprise us, or cause us to doubt God’s faithfulness. Rather, we should actually be glad for them. God sends trials to strengthen our trust in him so that our faith will not fail. Our trials keep us trusting; they burn away our self confidence and drive us to our Savior. –Edmond Clowney

 Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand. –Thomas Aquinas

“Christian Character, The Lord Tests Our Hearts”, Gospel Study with Christian Quotes (Sanctification, Spirit of God, Transformed Hearts)

Christian Character, The Lord Tests Our Hearts

We long to be defined as people of Character. In a world that is fraught with perplexing challenges, the heart needs to be reminded that in the Bible character is an unchanging excellence that God defines not one of the world nor our circumstances. Surely we strive and fall short, we fall and rise back up. But in keeping our gaze upon the Lord, we walk in His Promises and commit to obey them.

Character is defined as strength of moral fiber. A.W. Tozer described character as “the excellence of moral beings.” As the excellence of gold is its purity and the excellence of art is its beauty, so the excellence of man is his character. Persons of character are noted for their honesty, ethics, and charity. Descriptions such as “man of principle” and “woman of integrity” are assertions of character. A lack of character is moral deficiency, and persons lacking character tend to behave dishonestly, unethically, and uncharitably.

A person’s character is the sum of his or her disposition, thoughts, intentions, desires, and actions. It is good to remember that character is gauged by general tendencies, not on the basis of a few isolated actions. We must look at the whole life. For example, King David was a man of good character (1 Samuel 13:14) although he sinned on occasion (2 Samuel 11). And although King Ahab may have acted nobly once (1 Kings 22:35), he was still a man of overall bad character (1 Kings 16:33). Several people in the Bible are described as having noble character: Ruth (Ruth 3:11), Hanani (Nehemiah 7:2), David (Psalm 78:72), and Job (Job 2:3). These individuals’ lives were distinguished by persistent moral virtue.

Character is influenced and developed by our choices. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8), and that godly choice was an important step in formulating an unassailable integrity in the young man’s life. Character, in turn, influences our choices. “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3a). Character will help us weather the storms of life and keep us from sin (Proverbs 10:9a).

It is the Lord’s purpose to develop character within us. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Godly character is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification. The Lord is pleased when His children grow in character. “You test the heart and are pleased with integrity” (1 Chronicles 29:17; see also Psalm 15:1-2).

We can develop character by controlling our thoughts (Philippians 4:8), practicing Christian virtues (2 Peter 1:5-6), guarding our hearts (Proverbs 4:23Matthew 15:18-20), and keeping good company (1 Corinthians 15:33). Men and women of character will set a good example for others to follow, and their godly reputation will be evident to all (Titus 2:7-8). (Source: http://www.Got Questions.org)

Christian Quotes on Character:

  • Nothing so clearly discovers a spiritual man as his treatment of an erring brother. —Augustine
  • Prayer is the supreme instance of the hidden character of the Christian life. –Deitrich Bonhoeffer
  • The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics . God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly.Oswald Chambers
  • What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are. —-C.S. Lewis
  • The test of Christian character should be that a man is a joy-bearing agent to the world. —Henry Ward Beecher
  • Meekness is one of the brightest graces which can adorn the Christian character. —J.C. Ryle
  • So often we try to develop Christian character and conduct without taking the time to develop God-centered devotion. We try to please God without taking the time to walk with Him and develop a relationship with Him. This is impossible to do. –Jerry Bridges
  • Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own. — Henry Ward Beecher
  • The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. —Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. Something of ‘the image of Christ’ must be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings. —J.C. Ryle
  • What makes a Christian a Christian is not perfection but forgiveness. –Max Lucado
  • Every Christian has a choice between being humble or being humbled. –Charles Spurgeon
  • The worlds greatest need is the personal holiness of Christian people. –J.I. Packer
  • To be a Christian is to move toward need, not comfort. –John Piper

The Christian in the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars. –Francis Shaeffer