Desperation and Deliverance

I think about “the rhythm of desperation and deliverance” all the time.

A pastor who feels competent in himself to produce eternal fruit—which is the only kind that matters—knows neither God nor himself. A pastor who does not know the rhythm of desperation and deliverance must have his sights set only on what man can achieve.

—John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, 54

Fathers Who Give Hope

Fathers Who Give Hope

I listen to this sermon from John Piper regularly. The message comes from Colossians 3:12-21, especially verse 21:

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (ESV)

His outline is:

  1. The Address – “Fathers”
  2. The Command – “Do not provoke your children”
  3. The Purpose – “lest they become discouraged”

Paul requires Christians to rear children who are not discouraged. Initially, that requires rearing children away from hope in money, health, a spouse, or self (all of which will disappoint), and instead toward hope in God.

Fathers bear the unique burden of giving hope to their kids, though not independent of their wives. We ought to lead our sons and daughters in such a way that they would see the heavenly Father through our dim reflection.

Perhaps the most daunting, and encouraging, counsel is that what we are as fathers is what our children will become. Giving hope is not a program, it is primarily about living and growing as hope-filled Christians.

That is the first thing that fathers can do to provoke their children to long-term discouragement and hopelessness—they can fail to BE hopeful, happy, and confident in God.

Interruptions or Inconveniences

Two Sundays ago was National Sanctity of Human Life Day. 38 years ago, January 22, our Supreme Court made a commitment to death, to legalized and protected murder in the name of personal health and individual freedom.

Thankfully there are many Christians who love and fight for life. They may work for life through writing or by voting or serving in office or caring or adopting. May their tribe increase ten-fold and may God help all Christians promote life.

May He also help the church to love life, to celebrate life, to proclaim life, and to live life together. Perhaps one reason people value choice over life is because we have failed to show how great life is. If we see other believers–our own body–as interruptions or inconveniences, is it really a surprise if unbelievers see a new baby–or the wrong gendered baby–as an interruption or inconvenience?

When the church gathers we should rejoice in Christ who is our life. As we scatter, we must take the joy of life with us. May we live bigger than ourselves this week as God makes known His manifold wisdom through the life of the church.


A few important links:

  • abort73.com – Statistics, arguments, testimonies, videos, and gear for the case against abortion.
  • The Deadly Logic of Abortion – Recent article by Al Mohler considering two “horrifying accounts,” one about a couple who aborted twin boys because they wanted a girl, and the other about a doctor who performed thousands of gruesome abortions.
  • President Obama and Abortion – President Obama’s wicked, smooth-talking press statement and John Piper’s address to the President from a few years ago.

How Important Is the Bible?

In this 18 minute video, John Piper asks and answers five questions about the importance of the Bible.

  1. What would happen if it did not exist?
  2. What would you give to have it or keep it?
  3. What does it make possible?
  4. How does it weather critics and detractors?
  5. How much effort should be given to spread it and preserve it?

He also references the ESV and why our loving of God and others depends on our thinking (about Bible truth).

via Justin Taylor

In Honor of Tethered Preaching

In Honor of Tethered Preaching

The Bible-oriented preacher wants the congregation to know that his words, if they have any abiding worth, are in accord with God’s words. He wants this to be obvious to them. That is part of his humility and his authority. Therefore, he constantly tries to show the people that his ideas are coming from the Bible. He is hesitant to go too far toward points that are not demonstrable from the Bible.

Discerning Repentance

One’s attitude does not produce discernment, like sadness can’t diagnose disease. On the other hand, the right attitude should be one of the results of discernment, like an accurate diagnosis may cause sorrow. As always, discernment flourishes only when energized by the light of doctrine.

Discernment is not created in God’s people by brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance. It is created by biblical truth and the application of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to our hearts and minds. When that happens, then the brokenness, humility, reverence, and repentance will have the strong fiber of the full counsel of God in them. They will be profoundly Christian and not merely religious and emotional and psychological.

Quoted from John Piper’s post, Test Revival with Doctrine.

A Vision for Young People

Here’s a great start to a new series on a gospel vision for the rising generation of young people. From someone who’s in the thick of parenting and pastoring youth:

living for the glory of Christ is not on hold until you are eighteen or twenty-one. There is a way for six-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for ten-year-olds to make much of Christ and a way for sixteen-year-olds to make much of Christ. And there is a way for parents and church leaders and all of us to create a matrix of relationships and teachings and expectations and blessings that awaken young people from the emptiness and aimlessness of our popular youth culture and give them a vision for Christ-exalting significance throughout their pre-teen and teen years.

Putting Wounded Egos Out of Their Misery

Pride is bad. What’s more, pride is sickeningly ugly. It is a frightful thing to find in the mirror and a hideous thing to see in someone else. It introduces itself in inopportune situations. It is no respecter of persons. It is enough to damn a man to everlasting wrath.

Pride also takes assorted shapes and sizes though some displays of pride are more familiar and others are often unexplored. The following quotes are from What Jesus Demands from the World and they expose two standard sorts of self-admiration with surgical accuracy.

Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says, “I deserve admiration because I have achieved so much.” Self-pity says, “I deserve admiration because I have sacrificed so much.” …The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego, and the desire is not really for others to see them as helpless but as heroes. The need that self-pity feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride.

And then just a little down the page,

A person can seem to feel unworthy by constantly depreciating himself in public, but all the while feel angry that others do not recognize this as a virtue. (p.126)

I have been both of those proud people and battle against them today by the Spirit and truth. I also know both types of proud people and struggle for them by prayer, preaching, and patience. But let us not be proud. If we boast, let it be in the Lord. If we pity, let it be those kept from salvation by their pride. If we are angry, let it be toward the flesh that blinds us to how unworthy we really are. And if our ego is wounded, let us put it out of its misery by putting it to death.