Friday, March 28, 2014

the prodigal's sister

"And now, O Christ, let there be light
So we can see the way aright
Between two dismal forms of death,
And with that light, O give us breath
To live again, and bring us back
From pleasures in a foreign shack,
Or from the pride of weary arm,
While working on the Father’s farm.
From demon sloth and pleasures raw,
Or demon toil and pride of law.
The pathway home from either place
Is opened by the word of grace.
O Christ, pursue us till we see
That all of God’s bequests are free.
The ticket that we have to show
Is this: that we are glad to go.”

(John Piper, in The Prodigal's Sister) 

The painting above is "Sacrificial Grace" by Makoto Fujimura.

Friday, March 14, 2014

world too small to satisfy our hearts

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."  (Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV)

"If the ills of humanity were caused by culture, they could certainly be cured in no other way than by culture.  But the ills are native to the human heart, which always remain the same, and culture only brings these out.  With all its wealth and power, it only shows that the human heart, in which God has put eternity, is so huge that all the world is too small to satisfy it.  Human beings are in search of another and better redemption than culture can give them.  They are looking for lasting happiness, an enduring eternal good.  They are thirsting for a redemption that saves them physically as well as spiritually, for time but also for eternity."   

(Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, III:326-327)

faithfulness is pretty boring

In the parable of the talents, the master says to his servant, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” 

The master, who represents God, praises his servant for being faithful. He doesn’t praise his servant for being awesome. He doesn’t praise his servant for being extreme, innovative, productive, or edgy. He doesn’t praise his servant for taking the road less traveled, finding self-fulfillment, or adding his verse to the story (see Dead Poets Society). He praises his servant for faithfully working with what he was given. 

The thing God cares about and honors is faithfulness, not famousness. Face it: faithfulness is pretty boring. Faithfulness looks like creating spreadsheets and changing diapers and caring for aging parents and setting up chairs on Sunday morning. Nobody gets a standing ovation for faithfulness. Nobody makes documentaries about faithful servants. Nobody notices faithful servants. 

Nobody except God, that is.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

sunday quotes

“What is the local church? It’s the institution which Jesus created and authorized to pronounce the gospel of the kingdom, to affirm gospel professors, to oversee their discipleship, and to expose impostors. All this means, we don’t ‘join’ churches like we join clubs. We submit to them.”  (Jonathan Leeman, "What Is The Local Church?")

“No man who is full of himself can ever truly preach the Christ who emptied himself.”  (J. Sidlow Baxter)

“Jesus redefined all authority as servant-authority. Any exercise of power can only be done in service to the Other, not to please oneself. Jesus is the one who did not come to be served, as the world’s authority figures expect to be, but to serve, to the point of giving his life... [He] clearly states his position on the meaning of authority and headship: In the world, rulers and high officials exercise their authority by ‘lording it’ over others. Not so with you. Those tasked with leadership must be the slaves of all, following their master, who ‘did not come to be served but to serve. . . .’”  (Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage)